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 February 2012

  Come to the Greater Community Expo

Kick off Super Bowl Weekend with the Greater Community Expo and former Green Bay Packer Bill Schroeder courtesy of AmericanWay. The Expo is held at the Portage High School Commons this Saturday, February 4 from 9am to 1pm. The event is free to the public. Schroeder will be on hand from 10am-Noon to talk about his charity, sign autographs and pose for pictures (for a small fee for his charity, Circle of Friends Foundation). More than 35 exhibitors will be on hand for you to talk to and learn more about their products and services. Also, presenters are scheduled every half hour after 10am.


In addition, food and refreshments will be provided by the Service Club Association--the group behind the Splash Pad project. Find out more about this great project by talking to some of the individuals who will be on hand to answer questions. Bring the kids as American Family Insurance-Chuck Miller Agency will be providing facepainting, too! 


We are very excited to be bringing you this event. For a complete list of exhibitors and presenters, click the event logo above. We look forward to seeing you there!!!


Thank you to the following sponsors for helping with this event:

Divine Savior Healthcare
Be Mobile/Verizon Wireless
Frontier Communications
Markent Solutions
New Life Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine
KSMS Our House Senior Living
Bauer Chiropractic & Muscle Therapy
Pardeeville Family Dentistry
Re/Max Connections
Portage Printing
General Engineering
Wisconsin Inspection Consultants
American Family Insurance-Chuck Miller Agency
Beard Chiropractic


   Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet winners announced

Congratulations to our award winners at the Chamber Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet held last Thursday evening at the Best Western Hotel and Conference Center. The evening was a great success with a fine meal provided by the new owners of B + B Hitching Post and an informative presentation by our featured speaker Mary Gage of the Wisconsin Economic Development  Corporation. And of course, we had winners: The Rising Business Star Award was presented to Bindl Family Chiropractic; the Community Service Award was presented to the Partners of Divine Savior; the Educator Commitment Award was presented to Bill Gill; and the Business Excellence Award was presented to Northwoods, Inc. All of the nominees were very deserving.       
Pictured Left to Right: Marianne Hanson, Bill Gill and Charles Poches.
Pictured Left to Right: Marianne Hanson, Jeff Aerts and Dave Voelker
Pictured Left to Right: Terry Kucera, Marianne Hanson, Shelby Lang, Judy Mielke, Maureen Bindl and Mel Bindl.
Pictured Left to Right: Jennifer Bieno, Drs. Greg and Dana Bindl and Marianne Hanson.

Thank you to our sponsors of the annual dinner:
Community Bank of Portage
Culver's Restaurant
Arbor Green, Inc.
Remedy Intelligent Staffing
Portage National Bank
Don-Rick Insurance
Miller, Brussell, Ebben & Glaeske
Portage Printing 
   1st Annual Chili Cookoff at Summit Credit Union

Friday, February 3rd  11am-2pm

Support your local Human Society and try chili from:

Murph's Chop Shop, Pierce's Marketplace, Corner Pocket Bar and Grill, American Legion, Crawford Oil and Propane, Pheasant Inn, Humane Society and Summit Credit Union
   Goodwill's  auction site tops $1million mark in sales 
Goodwill Industries of South Central Wisconsin, the organization that operates the donation center and store located at 2902 American Legion Drive in Portage, has reached a milestone. Its online auction site has generated over $1 million in auction revenue in one fiscal year. The site,, is filled with hundreds of locally donated high-end items as well as unique goods, such as fine china, artwork, collectibles, jewelry, musical instruments and sports paraphernalia. The revenue generated through the sale of such items is used to provide employment, housing and support to individuals with disabilities and other challenges.

The online auction site was established in May 2003. It generated less than $92,000 in online revenue during 2003. "I am thrilled that we have reached this incredible milestone," said Barbara Leslie, President and CEO. "I am thankful that so many area residents generously donate their items to our site and that so many shoppers take advantage of the chance to buy unique and valuable items at incredibly low prices. Because of them we are able to provide life-changing services to individuals right here in South Central Wisconsin."

Items are posted on the site for seven days. Bidding starts at $5. The site's high revenue generating items in years past have included a donated autographed Ken Griffey Jr. shirt that sold for $1,000 and a donated Mattel matchbox car that was purchased for over $2,000.
Individuals interested in donating items to the site are asked to call 608-246-3140 to arrange a personal consultation. All donations to Goodwill are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
   Social Media Workshop - How to Engage Your Customers 

Tuesday, February 21st  7:30am-10am at MATC - Portage Campus Room 102

Social Media is the number one web activity and is becoming a key marketing avenue to reach your customers.  This  overview course will introduce you to cost-effective social media tools to help you market your business. 

Learn how social networks such as Facebook and Linked In allow you to build customer relationships; understand how blogs can help you become an industry thought leader; and discover how microblogs such as Twitter can help you reach customers on the move. 

Social media is now mainstream media, and your business can take advantage of these new advertising channels to build short and long-term store traffic, garner instant customer feedback, and improve customer service.


Join the Chamber as we bring Kristin Uttech, the Lead Marketing Professor at Madison College to work with you.  Register now for this workshop, space is limited.  Workshop fee is $20 and includes continental breakfast.  Register online or reply to this email to reserve your seat!

ed don rick ad

   MATC announces fun, non-credit courses for spring 
Madison College-Portage is offering some fun classes coming up for horticulture, living green, foods, wellness & DIY auto and more. For more information visit, or email Barb Martin at
   Give Portage Green Gift Certificates!  
Portage Green Gift Certificates make an excellent gift. Used just like cash, the certificates can be purchased from the Portage Chamber in $5 and $10 increments. Recipients of the Portage Green may redeem them at these participating Chamber member businesses. By buying Portage Green Gift Certificates, you are helping to boost local business by keeping thousands of dollars right here in Portage. Don't get worked up over figuring out what to get someone; make it easy on yourself and give them Portage Green Gift Certificates! For more information, call the Chamber at 608-742-6242.
   Upcoming Business After 5

Business After 5 - Edward Jones Investments

Tuesday, February 14th from 5pm-7pm

Join fellow Chamber members for networking, conversation and refreshments at our monthly Business After Five. Hosted by Edward Jones Investments - Klay Vehring.

Their office is located in Downtown at 214 West Cook Street. 



Free Spirit Travel ad 


 Color Trends paint seminar at Portage Lumber

Sue Kim, Color Trend and Forecast Specialist for Valspar Corp. will be going over the latest in upcoming color trends and ways to use color to make a statement in your home or office space on Tuesday, Feb. 7. The welcoming is at 4:30pm and the seminar starts at 5pm.


We will have other Valspar representatives as well as our own paint specialists on hand to help you in choosing the perfect color for your needs. We encourage attendees to bring in pictures or items that might help them match a color.


Each attendee will receive a FREE Valspar Perfect Sample pint can of paint tinted to a color of their personal choosing. Each can covers roughly 50 square feet. All Valspar paint will be on sale during this event as well.


Refreshments and snacks will be provided. Please sign up ahead of time if you wish to attend. Seating is limited. You may sign up in-store, via email or by phone 608- 742-7186.

   Indian Agency House awarded grant 

In mid-December, the Historic Indian Agency House (HIAH) of Portage got an early Christmas present; they received confirmation of a generous grant from the Great Circle Foundation, Inc., the same New York-based charitable organization that also awarded similar grants to the historic site in 2009 and 2010.  HIAH Director Destinee Udelhoven described the Foundation as "our educational fairy godmother-they have made so many of our dreams come true!" 

The funding associated with all three grants has been and remains exclusively for specific, pre-approved educational related programming and projects, each laid out in detail in the grant applications submitted to the Great Circle Foundation for their consideration.  Udelhoven noted her "genuine efforts to present innovative ideas and projects that would benefit the community," knowing that the Foundation's mission statement specifically states that it seeks to fund organizations that "offer a compelling plan to meet the needs of individuals in the primary areas of the arts and education." 

Beyond public events, this grant will make it possible for HIAH to complete two major site projects. A recent museum studies graduate has been contracted to produce an in-depth interpretative plan that will be used to re-envision our public tours, with a renewed emphasis on the house as a government business structure and resident employee John Kinzie's duties as Indian Agent and Postmaster.  The other project will be carried out by a university-level graduate who will be sought to research and develop a self-guided educational tour of our new nature trail debuting this spring.


The Historic Indian Agency House opens for the 2012 season on May 15, with a full calendar of events planned. Director Destinee Udelhoven is available to answer any questions related to this grant and the programs it encompasses at 608-742-6362.

   News from Portage Center for the Arts
The Art that Blooms 2012 art has been selected and it is ready for poets to come to the office and chose their inspiration piece.  Art that Blooms will be held on June 8 & 9, 2012.  All are welcome to participate from the Wisconsin Poet Laureate to 'wannabee' poets.  This is also open to area schools to do as a classroom project.  The Pardeeville Middle School has participated the past two years and if you would like more information from the teacher involved give us a call at the Center and we'll get you in touch with her.   If you are unable to get to the Center to choose your inspiration piece let us know and we will work something out.


The Opening Reception for the February Drury Gallery exhibit featuring Kathleen Jahn and Alan Bennett is Friday, February 3 from 4 to 6 p.m. We have a WONDERFUL concert scheduled on February 25 featuring Bob Milne and Boggie Woogie piano. Get your tickets early!  It should be great fun! 


Work for our 2012/13 Season is in full swing and committees are meeting regarding the next Drury Gallery season and the next Performing Arts Concert Series.  Discussion on what play and what national or international staff will be here for our Zona Gale Youth activities is taking place.  Not to mention planning for some really wonderful and FUN fundraising activities (how does a Kentucky Derby party sound??) For more information call the Portage Center for the Arts at 608-742-5655.



   Business Profile: Portage Theaters

The Portage Theatres is a seven-screen multiplex movie theatre located in downtown Portage owned and operated by Jim, Mary, Jeremy and Kimberly Rusch.  The Portage Theatres has gone through a steady pace of improvements and change since the Rusch's took ownership in 2008.

Digital Technology

In June 2009, the Portage Theatres debuted state-of-the-art Dolby 3D Digital technology, the theatre's first venture into digital movie presentations. The Portage Theatres was one of the first smaller privately owned theatres in southern Wisconsin to implement this new technology in which feature films are presented using a digital hard drive computer file and digital projector. At this point, the Portage Theatres was one of approximately 2,000 digital 3D screens in existence across the entire country.

With the growing popularity of HD, Blu Ray, on demand, and digital download programming, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) has encouraged theatres owners to provide customers the best movie presentation possible utilizing the latest in presentation technology.

New presentation technology such as this new digital system is hoped to ensure audiences continue to return to movie theatres as well as reacquaint audiences with the pleasures and excitement of the movie-going experience.

In June 2010, due to the success of this digital 3D theatre and the growing popularity of 3D movies, the Portage Theatres installed this same technology in a second auditorium.  The Portage Theatres was one the first theatres in southern Wisconsin to add a second 3D theatre and had two of approximately 4,000 digital 3D screens across the country.

In October 2011, the Portage Theatres moved away completely from the traditional movie presentation in film format by converting its remaining auditoriums to Dolby Digital Cinema. The process delivers an incredibly improved picture that is as sharp night-after-night as it was on opening day. There is no fading, scratches or skips in the picture. The picture is in crystal clear perfect electronic focus and colors are more powerful and pop from the screen. As part of this switch to an entirely digital film presentation system, an extra 3D theatre was added (for a total of 3) and every theatre auditorium was upgraded to 7.1 Dolby Digital sound.

The Intermission Lounge

In addition to its complete upgrade in movie presentation technology, the Portage Theatres also converted its small lobby into a lounge area where customers can purchase tickets and enjoy an assortment of craft beers brewed in Wisconsin, wine, bar snacks, popcorn and soda before and after the movie.

The Portage Theatres movie presentation is now state-of-the art. Improved technology and added customer amenities is the direction the film industry and theatre business is moving. The Portage Theatres is excited to be making these improvements and moving along with it.

     Welcome New Members


309 Gillette St.

Pardeeville, WI 53901

David Nigbor at 262-255-2588

Manufactures solid surface products. 

     Thank you to our Ambassadors!

With a New Year upon us, we want to say thank you to our Ambassdars.  The Ambassadors are a group of professional volunteers from varied backgrounds who, while representing their member business, act as a liaison between the Chamber and its members. They serve as a viable and visible goodwill arm of the Chamber. They are instrumental in the promotion of the Chamber and its members and constantly set a positive stage for the new membership growth and existing membership retention. The Ambassadors focus on activities which enhance the image of the Chamber, create solidarity within the membership and bring a greater appreciation among citizens of what the Chamber stands for.Thank you for your hard work! 


Danielle AndraschkoBMO Harris Bank
Richard DrakeU.S. Cellular
Nancy ElsingCCEDC
Rosie EndresPortage Furniture Store
Marilyn GeorgeMarkent Solutions, Inc.
Robert HansenHansen's Midwest Publishing
Sarah JohnsonZimmerman Plumbing, Inc.
Kim KlinknerSummit Credit Union
Barb KnightCommunity Bank of Portage
Beth LyleSuper 8 of Portage
Marlene MantheyPortage National Bank
Trina McVickerThe QTI Group - QualiTemps
Bob MeicherPortage Community Schools
Jimmy RhodeCulver's Restaurant
Rachel SeltznerBlau Family Chiropractic
Doug SteeleMagnum Broadcasting
De Ann TollefsonHead 2 Toe
Klay VehringEdward Jones - Downtown Branch
Colleen ZimmermanZimmerman PromotionZ



Community Events

   February Chamber Meeting & Event Dates
4th:    Greater Community Expo at Portage High Commons  9am-1pm 
7th:    Golf Committee Meeting at the Chamber office at 8am
14th:  Business After 5 at Edward Jones-Klay Vehring  5pm-7pm
15th:  Youth Leadership Session at Culver's Headquarters  8:30am
21st:  Social Media workshop at MATC-Portage  7:30-10am
22nd: Ribbon Cutting at Michael's Family Restaurant  9am
   Ribbon Cuttings   
A ribbon cutting was held at the Big Chicken Antique and Resale Store, 131 E. Mullet St., to welcome this new business to Portage. They are an antique and re-sale store featuring many unique and unusual items: antique safes, large book section, rare books, glassware, lanterns, many brass bells, vintage sleds, tools, furniture, stained glass & other lamps, beer & soda glasses & bottles, vintage bicycles, many crocks, mirrors, pictures, many bells, vintage kitchenware,
vintage radios & telephones, and more.
For more information call, 608-745-1300.


The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce is providing leadership for
 building a healthy economy and a high quality of life in the Portage Area.
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NEWS BREAK is a monthly publication of the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce.  Please contact the Chamber if you have news about your business that you would like to include in the next issue. 
 Our deadline is the 20th of the month.  Email your news to