“It all started with, yes, my sister leaving me, and thinking ‘I just am lost, I’m lost, and then starting at this chamber of commerce and realizing well they’re rather lost too.”
“You watch these businesses who were barely hanging on, and the next year they get better, and then they come the next year they get better. And you know you had a part in that.”
Sandy did not grow up in San Gabriel.
Sandy works as an executive director for the chamber of commerce.
Sandy came to the job immediately after the tragic loss of her older sister.
Sandy had 27 years in Christian education and ministry
Sandy has been at the chamber for 14 years.
Sandy has overseen several groundbreakings, and successful businesses open in San Gabriel.
Sandy hosts events to welcome all businesses in San Gabriel and make the community aware of what they offer.
On this episode of the SGV Master Key Podcast, Russell and Scott sit down with a wonderful person and friend of Scott’s who works with the San Gabriel’s Chamber of Commerce.
Sandy came to her current position on the tail end of a devastating situation but has turned her pain into kind-giving work for the area of the San Gabriel Valley.
WHAT IS YOUR HISTORY IN THE SAB GABERIAL VALLEY?
Sandy came to the SGV in 2006, and she went right into the chamber. She is from Southern California.
Before the SGV, Sandy lived in Glendale and Burbank. But now, since coming to the San Gabriel Valley, she has become highly attached to it.
Though Sandy does not live in the immediate area, she would do so many events in the Hilton hotel in the SGV that people would assume that she lived in the hotel.
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THIS KIND OF WORK, SANDY?
Sandy got into the chamber through the death of Sandy’s older sister. Sharron was three years older than sandy. They were very attached. To quote sandy, she was “tethered to her.” She passed from a terrible case of cancer she September 30th, 2006.
Before Sandy’s sister passed, Sandy worked in Christian education and Christian ministry for 27 years. Sandy wanted to work on a larger scale or a more significant challenge.
Sandy had a love for non-profits because of the excellent work they do. However, she wasn’t entirely sure how to make that transition. She painstakingly went over applications and opportunities with Sharron.
As Sandy stressed about all of these possible things that could happen, Sharron wisely said to Sandy, “all that’s ever mattered to you is that you make a difference and that you give back. That’s what’s been your driving force, so make sure whatever it is you do, you feel fulfilled in that, that you’re giving back and making a difference.”
After Sharron passed, the San Gabriel Chamber of Commerce asked Sandy to interview them. She was unaware of the chamber as a whole before the interview.
However, she went in anyway. She was still in shock from her sister’s passing, and Sandy said she didn’t even really care about the job, so she had fun at the interview.
She was offered the job on November 1st she took the job. It was hard, though, because Sandy didn’t have Sharron to run the decision by, unlike every big decision up until then. Fourteen years later, Sandy is still grateful that she was able to join the SGV chamber.
DID WORKING AT THE CHAMBER HELP WITH THE LOSS?
Sandy said yes, it did because they needed her. When she started there, all she had working with her was an office manager. Things have changed in the years she’s been working there. They did have a board of directors with heart, and thankfully they still do.
Sandy remembers talking out loud to her sister and saying she was needed here, and she realized that she could contribute to the chamber.
Through the Covid pandemic, the chamber became the lifeblood of so many people. People look to the chamber for information on resources to help them.
Dianna, the children’s ministry director, was the person that hired Sandy. Sandy felt as though Dianne was a person she could really connect with. Thankfully she did find a friend in Dianna.
San Gabriel is a very diverse community. Are you finding you’re getting the community as a whole involved?
The younger community has realized that if they try to do it on their own, it won’t work, so we’ll. So they are starting to use the chamber more.
Unfortunately, not every minority group is as involved as the chamber would like. According to Sandy, the assigned community is still dragging its feet a bit.
As a whole, it’s a bit of a challenge. It’s hard to get them involved, despite outreach.
After the pandemic, the chamber is working on more outreach to that community.
Yoshinio Sushi has recently joined the chamber. The new owner used to work at this restaurant as a waitress.
She heard it was for sale, and despite having two children and another building, she bought it. She immediately joined the chamber.
They plan on having a ribbon cutting when the pandemic lightens up more.
WHAT ARE SOME MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM WORKING AT THE CHAMBER?
Possibly one of the most memorable moments for Sandy working at the chamber was when they opened the Airstream Los Angeles in 2012.
San Gabriel became the first exclusive place to buy an Airstream in southern California.
It was memorable because the brand is also something of a community. And when they opened the Airstream dealership, this community welcomed the new dealer.
Also, the chamber has worked with the San Gabriel Mission playhouse. Sandy had her own personal experience with the mission years ago with her own children, so the mission playhouse was very intimate to her.
The Mission Playhouse did change its name, but since Sandy had been working at the chamber, the Mission has reverted to its original name.
The Mission play house is in the Mission district, where Los Angeles was founded. In the heart of San Gabriel. It’s a beautiful old area that Sandy is working on revitalizing.
Scott has worked with Sandy and even donated money to help save the Mission Playhouse and the Mission area.
When Sandy started at the chamber and when she was stressed, Sandy would walk through the Mission gardens, which made her feel peaceful and welcome to San Gabriel.
The Mission to Sandy is so much of a centerpiece for the city of San Gabriel.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO SEE BUSINESSES COME AND GO AS YOUR ROLE THROUGH EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE CHAMBER?
The most considerable success are things like the Airstream and the Sheraton hotel.
The Sheraton hotel developed a part of the San Gabriel that wasn’t anything before. They were going to call this area the crown plaza.
Some of the citizens were concerned about it, but the chamber encouraged those that had concerns to come to meetings and voice them so the company could address them.
Sandy worked so closely with this project she and some other board members got to be part of the groundbreaking ceremony.
However, this whole area that the Sheraton had devolved brought jobs and a lot of life that was kind of missing from the San Gabriel area.
It was a significant change and Russell, being a native of the area, remembered when this change happened.
Day said it is sad, though, when they open small businesses, like mom-and-pop stores, and they don’t make it. It happens despite her best efforts.
Sandy loves to know people. She is fiercely loyal to her chamber. She loves to connect all the chamber members if she can.
She also loves to throw parties that showcase all of these community businesses.
Sandy is also highly passionate about non-profits in particular. She loves working for them to help grow them.
Sandy really does love the SGV. She has devoted so much time and energy to this area that she really does represent what it means to live in San Gabriel.
1. Chamber of Commerce Expos
2. Airstream Los Angeles
3. San Gabriel Mission
ABOUT SANDY ROSCO
Sandy Rosco is the Executive Director of the San Gabriel Chamber of Commerce. She loves and is passionately committed to helping small businesses grow.
After Sandy Rosco lost her sister, she was hired by the Chamber of Commerce, which helped her find new footing.
In 2006 she helped start the Business Expo, now held annually free to the public. Since then, she has also started the Education and Family Expo and Tasty Tuesday, where members of the Chamber are invited to come together at a fellow member’s small business restaurant.
Through her commitment to the community of San Gabriel, Sandy Rosco has found her footing in a purpose that honors her sister.
Cell: (818) 636-1149
Chamber Number: (626) 576-2525
Podcast Intro and Outro