The core services Wisconsin’s 267 local chambers of commerce offer their members vary from village to town to city. But whether they focus on advocacy, tourism, economic development, entrepreneurship, young professionals, workforce or organizing community events, they all play an important role in our state that should be recognized.
That is why Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed September to be Chamber of Commerce Month in Wisconsin. Walker made the proclamation at the request of the Wisconsin Chambers of Commerce Executives (WCCE), a division of the State Chamber that offers professional development and advocacy for local chambers of commerce.
“Chambers are central to Wisconsin’s local economies,” said Philip Fritsche, president of the Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce and WCCE Advisory Board Chair. “In most places, the chamber is involved in all major local decision making either as a facilitator or advocate for its members.”
Fritsche said that chambers are critical community partners and problem solvers with the unique ability to work with stakeholders from both the private and public sectors.
“We are going to be asking all chambers in Wisconsin, big and small, to reach out to local media, community groups, government and the public to talk about what they do every day to make their part of Wisconsin more prosperous for business, great places to visit and ever better places to live,” Fritsche said.
Some suggested activities to celebrate the Chamber Month include hosting a ‘Business After Five’ social event or discussing the state of their local economy, something that is also done at the state-level by WMC and at the national-level by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“In Merrill, September is always a busy month for us,” said Debbe Kinsey, CEO of the Merrill Chamber of Commerce. “See us at the Labor Day Lion’s Car Show at the Merrill Festival Grounds, join us for our Annual Community-wide Rummage Sale on Sept. 9, take part in our 5th Annual Pork in the Park Ribfest at the MARC on Sept. 16 or Business after Hours on Sept. 27.”
The Merrill Area Chamber of Commerce was established in 1911 and is one of the oldest chambers in the State of Wisconsin. They host a full array of business programming, they also have a visitor information center that is open 24-hours, they are the tourism administrator for the City of Merrill and Lincoln County and they also operate the Merrill Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Inc. a 501C3 non-profit that is the fiduciary agent for numerous volunteer organizations such as Merrill City Band, River Bend Trail and Hanging Flower Basket programs.
Chamber Month will culminate Sept. 27-29 with the annual WCCE Conference, which will be held in Neenah. At least 80 chamber professionals from around the state will attend.