Chamber of Commerce holds annual meeting

The Greene County Chamber of Commerce conducted business, celebrated members’ successes and had shared hearty laughs at its annual meeting Jan. 18 at the Elks lodge in Jefferson.

After music by the Greene County High School jazz band and a roast beef dinner served by the Does, Chamber president Omega Sang presided at a short meeting. Treasurer Nikki Uebel and secretary Tori Riley were elected for another year. Sang accepted the post of president for only the coming months; she plans to step down prior to the birth of her second child in June.

In addition to the executive board, current board members are Cail Calder, Brett Durbin, Nick Foster, Heidi Naberhaus, Ora Stevens, Toni Wetrich and past president Ben Yoder. Sang noted that there are positions available on the board and anyone interested in serving on the board can contact a current member.

Uebel provided an overview of the Chamber’s 2016 budget, showing income totaling $171,300 and expenses of $170,057. The projected income includes a total of $60,000 in reimbursement from the city of Jefferson in hotel/motel tax revenues, with that amount in the Chamber’s tourism budget.

The policy for the disbursement of the revenues approved last week by the Jefferson city council includes only $50,000. Uebel and Chamber accountant Linda Schmitt have presented the tourism budget to city officials since then, and the Chamber has requested the policy be amended to provide the $60,000 needed for a viable promotion of tourism.

Chamber tourism and events coordinator Angie Pedersen provided highlights of 2015: the Chamber welcomed 19 new members; more than $40,000 in Chamber Checks were sold and redeemed; and the Chamber hosted visits by Lt Gov Kim Reynolds last February and Iowa Economic Development Authority director Debi Durham in October.

Pedersen noted that there was six times the number of bus tours in the county in 2015 than in 2014, and that more than 70 tours of various sizes were booked through the Chamber.

The Bell Tower Festival was “wildly successful,” Pedersen said, and the Hot August Night car/cycle/tractor show have a record-breaking 450 entries.

The promotions committee rolled out a Cruise Into Savings promotion with Hot August Night and added a Browse Bonus drawing to the November Browse promotion.

The Chamber celebrated members’ successes including the expansions at Scranton Manufacturing and Greene County Medical Center, the new location of McFarland Clinic PC, and the opening of the new Hy-Vee grocery store, Wild Rose Jefferson and Cobblestone Hotel.

Lori Smith (right) accepts a plaque noting 25 years of membership for Ben Franklin from Chamber president Omega Sang (left)
Lori Smith (right) accepts a plaque noting 25 years of membership for Ben Franklin from Chamber president Omega Sang (left). Plaques were presented to members with 25-year milestones; others received certificates.

Membership milestones were noted with certificates as follows: 65 years, Don’s Ace Hardware; 40 years, Daniels Auto Service Inc, Durbin Automotive and Mumma & Pedersen Law Firm; 35 years, Hawn Family Farms; 30 years, Deal’s Orchard Farmers Mutual Insurance, Louk Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, MacDonald Insurance/Iowa Realty, and Peoples Trust & Savings Bank; 25 years, Ben Franklin; 20 years, Regency Park Nursing & Rehab Center and Town & Farm Realty; 10 years, Greene County Early Learning Center and Muir Embroidery; and five years, Raccoon River Valley Trail Association, John 15 Vineyard, Dairy Queen, Heart of Iowa Habitat for Humanity, Peony Chinese Restaurant, Pizza Ranch, Greene County Youth Athletic Association, and Gallup House.

New members in 2015 were Animal Protection and Education, Bee Mindful, Cobblestone Hotel & Suite, Greene County Catholic Churches, Raspberry Ridge Publishing, Jeb’s Affordable Transportation, Jefferson Community Golf Course, Lincoln Highway Association, Linda Schmitt accounting, Raccoon Valley Lawn Care LLC, Shopko, Skeeter Creek Fabricators, The Office Stop (Carroll), Thymely Healed Association, Uncorked Wine and Spirits, Unity Point at Home and Wild Rose Casino & Resort.

Dianne Blackmer was presented with the Above and Beyond the Call (ABC) Award. (See related story).

Scott Siepker
Scott Siepker

Scott Siepker, the “Iowa Nice Guy” entertained the 130 persons in attendance. His appearance was sponsored by Home State Bank, Greene County Medical Center, Raccoon Valley Radio and Wind Utility Consulting PC.

He blended his fresh gotta-love-Iowa humor with his three keys to success: steal from the best, surround yourself with talented people, and ask for help.


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