My Beverly Hills loves introducing the people in our community! We’re excited to introduce a familiar face to our Insiders, Alex Stettinski, from the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce! We know that he is extremely busy, and are very honored that he took the time to complete this interview! Thank you so much, Alex!
What is your title? What do you do?
Executive Director of the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce
How long have you been the Executive Director of the BHCC? Where were you before you became the Executive Director of the BHCC?
I have been in this position since June 2011. Prior to that, I served as the Director of Marketing & Communications for the Downtown Center Business Improvement District (BID), one of the largest BIDs in California, where I partook in the re-development of Downtown LA
Tell us more about Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce
The Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce is almost as old as the City of Beverly Hills – we are in our 93rd year serving the Beverly Hills business community. The Chamber runs a multitude of programs and services to support businesses, attract new unique businesses to Beverly Hills, market and connect businesses to the local communities, work with government (local, regional and state) to ensure and protect an environment our businesses can thrive in, and with that protect the budget flow of the City (over 70% of the City’s revenue comes from our business community), which in return ensures the wonderful services the City of Beverly Hills is providing to its residents and businesses.
What are the special things that the Chamber does to make a mark in the BH community?
There are three programs I am particularly fond of: The first one is My Beverly Hills – it’s a unique platform that connects the residents and the businesses of Beverly Hills in a fun, engaging way. We are doing this in partnership with the City of Beverly Hills. There is a website, which is life-style focused, featuring interesting articles on everything a resident could be interested in, a monthly newsletter, which residents and businesses in Beverly Hills can subscribe to – it’s entirely free and keeps you in the loop about your city. In addition, there are regularly scheduled special events bringing residents and businesses together – these events are often attended by over 200 people – a great way to get to know your neighbors! The newest addition are three hyper-local events, the City of Beverly Hills is funding, to showcase different neighborhoods. The first two are combined at the Beverly Hills Culinary Week on Canon and La Cienega (BHculinaryweek.com) from March 16-20. Many restaurants are offering pre-fixed menus and residents and visitors participating to try new restaurants and to re-discover ones they already know. The third event will be a shopping event on South Beverly right before Mother’s Day, featuring unique gift ideas on a fun-filled event in early May.
The second program is the annual Beverly Hills Tomorrow event – for the second year, Larry King is hosting the event at the Wallis, where is talks to four major visionaries and leaders in their respective fields. Some of our guests in the past include Haim Saban, Rachel Zoe, Dr. Noel Bairey Merz, Lynda Resnick, and Henrik Fisker, just to name a few. The event will take place on April 22 and tickets are available until sold out. The City of Beverly Hills is the presenting sponsor.
The third program is also an annual event – the Evening with the Mayor at the beautiful Greystone Mansion. Every year, hundreds of residents and business owners meet on the grounds of the mansion to connect, enjoy refreshments and hors d’oeuvres and learn about our Mayor’s vision and plans for his/her term.
What do you like most about working in BH?
Beverly Hills is a very special and distinct city within the greater Los Angeles area. You know when you drive through Beverly Hills – the roads are well maintained, the sidewalks clean and the buildings look nicer. The City of Beverly Hills and its residents and businesses take pride in their environment. People know each other and have developed relationships that often go back generations. I have been a resident of Beverly Hills for over 18 years, and it makes me feel special that I have the privilege to be part of this extraordinary community and help keep it strong and thriving.
What are your favorite places in Beverly Hills? Do you have a favorite restaurant/coffee shop/retail store/market/wine store in BH? If yes, what is it and why?
I have several favorite places in Beverly Hills, depending on my mood or what I need. Arturo’s is definitely my favorite place when it comes to my shoes– it’s probably one of the best shoe repair places in all of LA. Gary Gagossian is my favorite place when I need a tailor. He has been around for many years and is an incredibly talented bespoke tailor. He makes you the most beautiful suits or sports jackets, and his style is always current. When it comes to fashion, I am a big fan of Thom Browne – so I like Brooks Brothers’ Black Fleece line and Moncler’s Gamme Bleu line, both designed my Thom Browne. I also love to stroll through our department stores, Barneys, Saks and Neiman Marcus, and I love that they are all in walking distance to each other. Picking my favorite restaurant is probably the hardest. Beverly Hills has an amazing selection of eateries, and I go to different ones depending on my mood. Xi’an is definitely one of my favorites when it comes to Chinese cuisine – the food there is so pure and healthy, and that’s kind of what I prefer in general. Bouchon, the Palm, and Ocean Prime are other favorites of mine. And Il Buco is kind of a hidden secret – it’s right by my house, and I often go there when I want to be at a laid back neighborhood restaurant enjoying good food with friends.
Do you know of a Beverly Hills gem?
I think the Wallis Center for the Performing Arts is definitely one of the gems in Beverly Hills. The theater is beautifully integrated with the old post office, and it is a treat for me every time I see a performance there.
What do you think makes BH unique/stand out from other cities?
Beverly Hills is a world class luxury destination and a small village at the same time. People from all over the world come here to enjoy the beauty of the city, while around 35,000 residents live here and deal with very regular every-day issues. That contrast makes Beverly Hills very unique to me.
In your opinion, how are BH businesses and customers different from those you have worked with in other cities?
The standard of doing business in Beverly Hills is definitely higher than in other cities. The expectations of both customers and businesses are greater, and it takes more to satisfy them. In many ways this challenges all to preform to their potential – it is a great breeding ground for excellence. You have to live up to the raised bar, otherwise you will not sustain in Beverly Hills.
What do you think will happen or start trending in BH in the next few years?
Initiated by Mayor Lili Bosse and supported by the Chamber of Commerce, the residential community and the business community have grown closer. There is definitely more engagement than what we have ever seen before, and I think this will remain a trend. And with the Wallis, HOME and Spaghettini, the nightlife has come back to Beverly Hills, and I think this will also remain a trend in the future.
What advice do you want to give BH business owners/operators?
My biggest advice: know the rules of the City and have enough resources for marketing initiatives. The two biggest complains I hear are related to these two issues. The City of Beverly Hills is very protective of its environment – signage and other permit-related issues can become very cumbersome if you don’t know the rules. If you do, there are always creative ways to get your needs met without violating any City ordinances. In regards to marketing, the Chamber can be a very cost-effective resource to support your marketing plan, but it won’t replace it. I see many businesses, especially smaller ones, that struggle with exposure because they don’t have a proper marketing plan and the resources to execute it. Even the most desirable products and the most beautiful spaces need a solid and creative marketing plan, especially in today’s world, where consumers are bombarded 24/7 with messages though all sorts of media.