CHAMPS 2019 Accomplishments
CHAMPS annual meeting was held on June 12, 2019 and we recognized the accomplishments of the year.
Board Chairman Brad Johnson of Johnson Law Group International announced that Jesse Heier, co-owner of Jade Fitness and City Dogs, had been voted in to join the board.
DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson was the guest speaker, and he outlined funding items for the Capitol Hill neighborhood included in the budget going through the council, including continued funding for the Eastern Market Metro Park which has also been championed by Councilmember Charles Allen. Mendelson also brought CHAMPS members up to speed on the dispute between the DC Council and the Chief Financial Officer on whether $49 million in surplus tax revenue from Events DC could be reprogrammed to the DC Housing Authority. Mendelson was confident the money would be able to be transferred; he noted that these disagreements happen occasionally and was comfortable with the Council’s legal standing in this instance. (Ultimately the money was transferred).
Mendelson also noted a measure coming before the Council soon that would extend the prohibition on cashless business from food to retail. Mendelson is a cosponsor of the measure, called the Cashless Retailers Prohibition Act of 2019. CHAMPS members, what are your thoughts on this legislation? Should retail businesses be prohibited from going cashless?
Executive Director Julie Aaronson gave an overview of CHAMPS accomplishments through the 2018-2019 year.
We had 27 new members join in the past year, and as we strengthen our numbers, we’ve also strengthened our mission to advocate, connect and promote our Capitol Hill businesses and community organizations. The organization has also grown the ranks of Gold and Silver member sponsors, whose sponsorship , leadership and guidance makes our regular events possible.
- Gold sponsors: 1424 Marketing Group, Café Berlin, Capitol Hill BID, Chuck Burger, Hill Restaurant Group, LGC Security, Johnson Law Group, Loots Law, National Capital Bank, Nishan Halim DDS, Sport&Health Capitol Hill, Tech Painting, The DC Dentist, and Wilson-Epes Printing.
- Silver sponsors: Blue Star Design Build, DC Access, Gallery O on H, Hot Yoga Capitol Hill, Mr. Henry’s, PGN Architects, and Phillips Financial Strategies.
CHAMPS also recognized our Annual Meeting sponsors – CMIT Solutions, Firehook Bakery; Jeanne Phil and Meg Team with Compass; Johnson Law Group International; and Tunnicliffs.
The CHAMPS board of directors sat down this spring for a strategic planning session, and one of the things that came out of that discussion was the establishment of three committees to key off our mission to Advocate, Connect and Promote our Capitol Hill small businesses. We are looking for members to sign up to serve as a guide and sounding board for issue that we want to advocate on; on Business to Business engagement and interaction that you’d like to see; and on the promotional activities that CHAMPS can take on to support your businesses.
CHAMPS has worked to deepen our connections to with DC agencies, councilmembers, and ANC representatives, as well as growing our engagement with local task forces such as the Eastern Market Metro Park Advisory Task Force and the Barracks Row Task Force.
We had a robust fall education series, bringing in agencies with jurisdiction over policies that directly impact CHAMPS members bottom lines. DC Health Link advised us on how small businesses can offer health insurance to their employees. One of the most interesting things that I learned is that there is an option for employers who want to offer insurance but can’t pay 50% of the premium. Another incredibly valuable briefing was with the Office of Tax and Revenue. Mr. Norman Evans explained the small retailer tax credit and provided guidance on how to fill out the new schedule, sharing with CHAMPS members an advance copy. Mr. Evans has continued to answer CHAMPS member questions as they seek to take advantage of the credit. Chairman Mendelson and Councilmember Charles Allen were champions of the tax credit, and all our members are encouraged to learn about whether they are eligible and how to take full advantage of the credit.
On Paid Family Leave, we are working with DC’s Department of Employment Services, Councilmembers Charles Allen and Elissa Silverman, to answer questions about how the July 1 tax collection will be conducted, and to ensure next year’s benefits portion of the law does not place undue burden on small business owners. For those of you with an interest in this policy issues and others facing our small businesses, join the CHAMPS advocacy committee! See me or any of our board members to discuss joining.
Connections happen at every CHAMPS meeting, whether is through advice shared to a new business in the community, recommendations service providers, or an exchange of ideas on an innovative approach to marketing. This occurs at our quarterly meetings, at our monthly entrepreneur meeting, at our storefront meeting, and at our advocacy events. You can really see it at our storefront and entrepreneur meetings.
Our Storefront Working Group works to highlight issues facing storefront businesses, and ensures ongoing communication with government officials to provide needed support. This is where the idea for our small business community giving social media campaign came from.
Entrepreneur Group tackles issues that small business owners face and connect one another with support and resources.
We’ve also grown our partnership with Eastern Market Main Street, hosting 6 joint small business sessions this spring, including a roundtable on social media comprised of CHAMPS members who shared their expertise.
This spring had a social media campaign to recognize and thank our CHAMPS members for the work they have done in the community – supporting school auctions, raising money for National Children’s Hospital, sponsoring Little League teams, holding free classes and education events for the community. I loved seeing elements of the campaign being reposted and shared by CHAMPS followers and member clients and customers! The goal was to remind the community that our small businesses support their customer’s priorities, and I believe we were successful. I look forward to doing this again next year and encourage all our members to participate! This idea came from our storefront group discussions, so retailers, please consider attending if you aren’t already!
We also held a successful Sip and Shop last December with a larger number of attendees and participating businesses than ever before! Sip and Shop is a traveling wine tasting through CHAMPS participating retailers on a Monday night in early December. Last year we brought 250 shoppers to our member stores – with 13 retailers and 5 pop ups participating. And it’s a great sponsorship opportunity for non-retail members, as we hand out tote bags to the shoppers with sponsoring members logos and swag. Planning has already begun for this year, so mark your calendars for Monday December 9th!
The success of CHAMPS is directly related to the participation and engagement of our members. Your recommendations, ideas, and the needs that you identify are what we translate into letters to the DC Council and agencies; into topics for our meetings; and into our guest speakers. Thank you to our members for your input, recommendations, suggestions, and passion for business and entrepreneurship on Capitol Hill.
We could not accomplish all we do without CHAMPS terrific and engaged Board of Directors and we look forward to continuing to serve the mission to advocate, connect and promote for Capitol Hill businesses.