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Chamber Chat: Summer reunions lead to economic impact

Over the past few weeks, it’s been nice to finally get back together with people we haven’t seen in a long time.

Be it family or class reunions, summer is a social gathering time in the Upper Peninsula. The impact from these summer celebrations helps support local businesses and boost local economies.

Unlike general tourism, reunions typically happen regardless of dependent factors, excluding pandemics, that drive visitors to visit a community.

People are driven more for the desire to re-unite with other people rather than the physical offerings and attractions in the area. Of course, those favorite landmarks and activities still play an important role once they are here.

Spending trends of reunion attendees typically follow that of traditional tourism on lodging, groceries, retail, restaurants and bars. However, buyer loyalty is typically stronger with reunion attendees. The desire to contribute to their hometown success and spending money at places general tourism may not.

The months of July and August are heavily driven by reunion events and gatherings. Nearly all of the communities on the West End of Marquette County engage in bringing back people to the area to celebrate their roots.

Camp gatherings, picnics, parades, alumni tournaments and other activities all contribute to the economic impact reunions have on the West End. Most of these events are organized by local volunteers and businesses going above and beyond to make them happen.

Celebrating our local roots makes this area special, be it those coming back to visit or the people welcoming them back.

Reunions are an opportunity to build our communities and it takes the work of volunteers to do this. If you have an interest in helping or contributing toward your community’s efforts contact the Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Area of Commerce and we will help you get in contact with those organizations.

To help facilitate visitors to engage with the local businesses, the GINCC launched www.visitthewestend.com website to showcase West End business that appeal to people visiting from out of town. Check it out and share it with people coming back to the area.

To learn more about the GINCC, visit our website at www.gincc.org, give us a call or stop in. Office hours are 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday.

We are at times out of office on Chamber business. Please call ahead to confirm a visit, 906-486-1111.

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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