Chamber Chat: Summer in review: Business, community & tourism

Surprisingly it was a busy summer at the Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Area Chamber of Commerce. Since there were limited tourist information centers open, people seemed to seek out the GINCC for local and regional information about what to do and where to stay.

We feel we promoted our membership well since they are the first ones we always recommend, before branching out to other options.

One of our main resources shared is our online visitor’s website www.visitthewestend.com. In-office visits started out slow, but by July we had regular traffic coming through the door and we depleted our county and state map supply by the end of August. We just recently restocked thanks to Travel Marquette.

Tourism was strong this summer. For businesses that were able to weather the pandemic storm and make adjustments, they benefited the most. Hopefully, many of the tourists who visited this summer will be repeat visitors in the future being able to take in all the West End has to offer during a non-COVID summer, since many of our traditional tourist attractions were closed or limited.

In terms of working with our membership, it was a challenge in the early months of April, May and June. The feeling of disconnect loomed and it was difficult to tell if our message was getting out there. We worked closely with the Small Business Association of Michigan to relay information regarding the Payroll Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

During the course of all this, we were able to relaunch our website at www.gincc.org. It allows us to have a much more dynamic member directory, some features we’ll still be rolling out over the next couple months. In additional we’ll have a community calendar that will give easy access to up-coming happenings hosted by the GINCC and member businesses.

In the community, we helped organize two Crazy Days Sales in downtown Ishpeming. Along with promoting the Summer Concert Series presented by the Ishpeming Community Events and the Negaunee Farmer’s Market.

This weekend, on September 19 we’ll be helping to organize the Lake Bancroft Art & Craft Fair featuring Croatian Chicken. We are partnering with the Cliffs Shaft Museum to utilize their grounds along with a portion of Lake Bancroft Park. On the other side of town St. Joseph’s Catholic Church will also be hosting a Fall Fest Fundraiser in their parking lot.

To cap off the year, we’ll be celebrating the GINCC’s 10th Anniversary. With no dinner being planned, we’ll be hosting virtual community awards and an online fundraiser the week of October 5-9.

Our office is open to the public Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. We may be out from time to time on chamber business. Please call ahead at 906-486-1111 or email ginccdirector@gmail.com to make an appointment.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Bob Hendrickson is the executive director of the GINCC. He currently resides in Negaunee with his wife, Laura, and daughter, Sierra. He enjoys mountain biking, skiing, fishing and hunting along with family time.


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