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Marquette Chamber of Commerce dissolves

MARQUETTE — After nearly five years in operation, the Marquette Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors announced it voted at its Oct. 4 regular meeting to dissolve the chamber, effective Nov. 1.

Started in 2015 with a staff of one, the chamber pioneered the Be Local Buy Local program, Marquette365 Community Calendar, Evolve Creative Chamber and Ampersand Coworking in downtown Marquette.

These programs will continue unimpeded under the guidance of other organizations in the business community, the chamber said in a release. While these programs have been largely successful, the chamber model as the founders initially envisioned it — to cooperatively support the business community of Marquette — is not sustainable.

When the interim executive director left earlier this year, it became clear that to operate, the chamber needed twice the number of members it had to adequately pay a staff person, but needed a staff person to obtain and adequately serve those members.

It was the classic “chicken or the egg” dilemma, the chamber said, and over time the board realized the organization could no longer sustain itself to effectively support its members.

With a number of local and regional nonprofits serving businesses, the chamber board is satisfied with its decision.

Travel Marquette, the Lake Superior Community Partnership, Innovate Marquette SmartZone, Invent@NMU and on a regional level, Invest UP, are available to serve large and small businesses.

The board believes the business community in the Marquette area is well-supported. It also thanks the many individuals, businesses and organizations that have invested their time, talents and financial resources in the chamber throughout the years.

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