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West End update – Bob Hendrickson – GINCC

Bob Hendrickson, executive director, GINCC

ISHPEMING — It was a successful week. With not really knowing what to expect going into our annual awards and fundraiser event, the membership and community really came through.

Typically held as an annual dinner drawing 150-200 attendees the Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Area Chamber of Commerce had to move to a virtual event this year due to the on going spread of coronavirus. Since this is the first time we moved to a virtual format, there was a lot of uncertainties rolling it out to the public.

In the end, it was a rousing accomplishment. Instead of just one night of celebration we stretched it out to full week celebrating our 10th Anniversary as the GINCC.

Our membership, along with supporting businesses, donated an array of goods that were auctioned online. We were able to raise over $4,000 from generous bidders. Well it might not seem like a lot in the scale of fundraising, it will help us continue our mission of supporting businesses, building community and promoting the West End of Marquette County.

Our annual award winners were pre-interviewed and presented on social media which received strong engagement and positive reactions. To view their full interviews, go to our Facebook page @GINCC.

Volunteer of the Year is Dawn Lambert for her involvement with U.P. Pink Power as well as several other community projects. She is an example of West End dedication and looking out for those who need help.

Organization of the Year goes to the Greater Ishpeming Commission on Aging for their perseverance after their Senior Center building was condemned, quickly searching out a new temporary location, and a brand-new building under construction all while dealing with the pandemic shut down.

Chamber Member of the Year is given to the Wawonowin Country Club. Their support given to the GINCC to host events and support the mission enable us to build community. As a member-based organization they get it. It’s always been a positive experience working with the staff.

Business of the Year is Cognition Brewing Company which literally thought outside the box when indoor drinking establishments were closed.

They were able to remain open by taking the initiative to work with the city of Ishpeming and utilizing the state law amendment which allowed for long term outdoor seating. In addition, they moved forward with expansion plans, but will always be committed pouring beer in Ishpeming.

Selected as Business People of the Year are Ivy and Mike Ridenour, owners of Jackson’s Pit Gourmet Grill & Bar, for their efforts and coordination of the kids’ lunch program which was offered to local youth for free after the schools closed in March.

They continued the program with community support until the end of the school year. On top of that Mike is the founder of Thunder on the Iron Range music concert which had to be canceled this year, but has plans to bring it back when circumstances allow.

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

We are at times out of office on chamber business. Please call ahead to confirm we’ll be in office, 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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