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 March 2012

  The Chamber is a great resource!
Last week we received a call from a Canadian business owner who routinely does business with one of our local Chamber members. The business owner wanted to know if another local Chamber member provided a service related to his business. He figured that as long as he was doing business in this area and was satisfied, he could find another Chamber business that could help him with a second step of his business. There are two things related to this story you should note: One, the business man recognizes the Chamber as a trusted resource. And two, the fact is, if you are not a Chamber member, you are missing out. Each day, people call our office looking for local businesses and individuals who can provide products and services. And because we only recommend Chamber Members, you have an advantage

Are you taking full advantage of your Chamber membership? Are your business cards or brochures displayed in our office? Do you attend monthly Business After 5's and other educational workshops or business luncheons the Chamber provides? Do you submit news items about your business for our monthly newsletter or weekly emails (if we do not know about your new products or services, how can we promote it)? Do you sponsor or participate in Chamber-organized community events to help spread your business to the masses? There are many ways to increase your business. Use your Chamber Membership to your fullest advantage.

Take some time this March to think about your Chamber Membership and how you can use it to help your business grow this summer. If you're not sure where to start, it's OK. People, including a business man from Canada, are aware you exist because you are a you are already off to a great start!
    Welcome New Members  
 St. Vincent de Paul
1311 W. Wisconsin St.
Portage, WI 53901
Aaron Ramquist at 608-742-5513
Non-profit, charitable organization operating a thrift store to fund community assistance programs (food pantry, free medical clinic, scholarships and emergency housing/utility fund)
   Business Profile: First Weber Relocation Services

As a Relocation Director with First Weber Relocation, I partner with companies of all sizes in Columbia, Sauk and Dane counties by providing relocation assistance to candidates and transferees of all levels. Our services are designed to enhance and complement a corporation's recruitment efforts. When the corporation has a viable candidate for a position, and the candidate currently lives outside of the area, I sell the community while the recruiter sells the position and the company.


First Weber's Relocation Services provides a single point of contact for candidates or transferees and the services are customized to the particular needs of the candidate.


Services to candidates and transferees include:

  • Relocation Counseling - Helps candidates and transferees make an informed decision.
  • Informational Packet - Includes up-to-date community information.
  • Area Tour - Focuses on neighborhoods, schools, shopping, recreation, and more.
  • Home Purchase Assistance - Matches transferee with Sales Associate.
  • Rental Assistance - Includes self-help option or fee-based program.

First Weber is a customer-focused, progressive and visionary company offering over 50 convenient office locations throughout the state of Wisconsin.


As a member of First Weber's Relocation Division, I introduced relocation services to companies in Columbia and Sauk counties in 1999 and am available to assist your candidates and transferees. First Weber is proud to be a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the WorldŽ - the country's largest network of leading independent residential real estate firms.


Contact me today to learn more about how I can assist with your employee recruiting efforts!

                               leading companies   nancy odonnel member worldwide

                                                             Nancy O'Donnell




   Summit Credit Union announces Project Money Winner 
summit credit union Just seven months ago, Penny Duane, a divorced, single mom from Madison, was in debt, living paycheck-to-paycheck. Today, the Madison resident is the grand-prize winner of Summit Credit Union's third-annual Project Money competition.  Since the program's kick-off in June 2011, Duane, along with three other contestants, and community members who followed their progress, learned how to 'do more' with their money and achieve financial success. 

Duane was named winner of the 2011 Project Money competition and received the grand prize of $10,000 at the finale reception held by Summit Credit Union on Feb. 21 at the Coliseum Bar in Madison. Each of the Project Money runners-up also walked away with $2,500.


Visit to learn more about each participant's journey and final results, as well as to learn about the next Project Money Challenge. Applications for the 2012 program are available at Summit's web site and will be accepted until March 31, 2012. For more information, visit or call (608) 243-5000 or (800) 236-5560.




ed don rick ad

   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.
   Friesland Men's Choir to perform  
The Friesland Men's Choir performs at St. John's Lutheran Church, 850 Armstrong St., at 7:30pm on Saturday, May 5. This is a free will donation event with the proceeds going to the Pregnancy Resource Center. The PRC provides pregnancy testing, supportive counseling, a library and educational materials, infant clothing and bedding as well as supplies for mama and baby after the birth.  
Jessica Heesch, Director of Columbia County Pregnancy Resource Center, at 608-432-2450 for more information about this event. The center is located at 311 E Wisconsin Street Suite 202 in Portage. Help line: 1-800-705-4710.   
   Students invited to apply for Summit Credit Union scholarships

Summit Credit Union is awarding four $1,500 tuition scholarships this May. Scholarship opportunities are available to all high school seniors and college students who are members of Summit Credit Union and have a GPA of at least 3.0. To apply for the Summit Board of Directors Scholarships, students must be members of Summit as of Jan. 1, 2012, complete an application and explain in an essay how a credit union's cooperative structure benefits its members and the communities it serves.


Scholarship recipients will be chosen based on grade point averages, extracurricular and community activities, employment experience and the essay.  Applications must be completed by March 16, 2012. Summit Credit Union has helped nearly 25 area students pursue quality higher education for more than 10 years.  The Board of Director Scholarship program supports Summit's ongoing educational outreach efforts and its commitment to the communities in which it serves.


Students should click here to review the full eligibility requirements and complete the application.

   Upcoming Business After 5

Business After 5 - Comfort Suites

Tuesday, March 13th from 5pm-7pm

Join fellow Chamber members for networking, conversation and refreshments at our monthly Business After Five. Hosted by Comfort Suites located on Kinney Road near the I-39 and 90-94 interchange. 



Free Spirit Travel ad 


    Ho-Chunk Gaming wins award
ho-chunk gaming logoTraining magazine presented their 2012 Training Top 125 with crystal awards and announced the rankings during their "Evening with the Stars" gala in Atlanta, GA. Ho-Chunk Gaming-Wisconsin Dells (HCG-WD) earned the ranking of 62 out of the 125 businesses up for awards. Accepting on behalf of HCG-WD was Calvin Whiteagle, Director of Training and Development.


Rankings are determined by assessing a range of factors including financial investment in employee development, the scope of development programs, and how closely those efforts are linked to business goals and objectives. "It was by far one of the proudest moments in my young career to be representing Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells and the Ho-Chunk Nation in accepting the training industry's most prestigious award on Monday," Whiteagle said. "I am proud of all of our team members. We bested some of the world's top companies. When comparing our resources to those of other companies, it only speaks more to the quality of team members we have here." 

Whiteagle explained, "Due to the scope of our training program curriculum, the organizational commitment to career development, and the all-embracing and inclusive nature of training that makes all employees eligible, Ho-Chunk Gaming-Wisconsin Dells ranked 62. We are thrilled and honored, and grateful to our employees, because no matter where we rank we dwell among winners. We appreciate the honor this brings to the Ho-Chunk Nation, and particularly to this property and its employees."


Training is a 48-year-old professional development magazine written for training, human resources, and business management professionals in all industries that advocate training and workforce development.For additional information about the training efforts of all 125 companies see the January/February 2012 issue. The digital edition and individual articles can be found online at Ho-Chunk Gaming - WI Dells is owned and operated by Ho-Chunk Nation Enterprises, with headquarters in Black River Falls, Wis.  Ho-Chunk Nation Enterprises also owns and operates Ho-Chunk Gaming - Wittenberg, Ho-Chunk Gaming - Black River Falls, Ho-Chunk Gaming - Nekoosa, Ho-Chunk Gaming - Madison and Ho-Chunk Gaming - Tomah.  For more information, call Ho-Chunk Gaming - WI Dells at 800/746-2486 or go online


Glacier Rock March 12 flyer  


Community Events

   Greater Community Expo wrap up
Many visitors braved 48-degree winter weather to come Portage High School on Feb. 4 to learn about products, services, and wellness from businesses and non-profits during the fourth Greater Community Expo, held on February 4 at Portage High School. Visitors also got to behold an electric car in the form of a Chevy Volt from Trecek Automotive and a Super Bowl ring on the finger of former Packer Bill Schroeder, who was on hand to provide insight to his charity and football career.
The exhibitors said they appreciated the opportunity to showcase their products at this great event and are looking forward to next year. Thank you to Blau Chiropractic, Divine Savior Healthcare for sponsoring the event and providing Dr. Jill Pogorelec and Kelly Strigenz as speakers, and AmericanWay for providing Bill Schroeder. 
Thank you to all of our event sponsors: 
Be Mobile/Verizon Wireless                                        Frontier Communications              
Markent Solutions                                                         New Life Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine        
KSMS Our House Senior Living                                 Bauer Chiropractic and Muscle Therapy                 Pardeeville Family Dentistry                                       Aramark
Re/Max Connections                                                    Portage Printing
General Engineering                                                    Wisconsin Inspection Consultants                           American Family Insurance-Chuck Miller Agency   Beard Chiropractic Clinic
   Another Youth Leadership group graduates 
YL entrepren 12
A team of Youth Leadership students constructs hats during a small business simulation while Matt Vanderkooi of New Life Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine and Chamber Executive Director Marianne Hanson check their progress.
Youth Leadership got Culverized when the group met for the final session of the season at Culver's Headquarters in Prairie du Sac. Following a real treat--a talk by none other than Craig Culver himself and a tour of the beautiful building that serves as his company's headquarters located on a ridge overlooking the Wisconsin River--the 2011-2012 version of Youth Leadership was complete. But not without completing one final task. These high school juniors got taste of entrepreneurship by running their own 'hat' making company. 
Congratulations to these fine juniors, one of the best groups we have had come through the leadership program. We wish them continued success during the remainder of their time in high school and beyond.    
Youth Leadership will resume this fall with a brand new group of juniors. If you are interested in being a part of this great program, please contact the Chamber at 608-742-6242.
   Chamber's 30th Golf Outing Coming Up
Save the date of June 13th for the 30th Annual Portage Area Chamber of Commerce Golf Outing.  The committee is in the process of planning the event and will begin selling tickets on April 2nd.  Don't miss out on this great opportunity to network with many Chamber members.  More details will be posted in the April newsletter.
   March Chamber Meeting & Event Dates
7th:    Ambassador Meeting at Community Bank   8am 
7th:    Ribbon Cutting at Hibbett Sports   10am
13th:  Golf Meeting at Chamber office  8am
13th:  Business After 5 at Comfort Suites  5pm-7pm
14th:  Ribbon Cutting to welcome advisor Klay Vehring-Edward Jones  9am 
   Ribbon Cuttings   
michaels rc
A ribbon cutting was held at Michael's Family Restaurant, 1152 E. Wisconsin St., to welcome this new business to Portage. Michael's offers a lunch and dinner buffet on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and a breakfast buffet on Saturday and Sunday along with daily specials. For more information call 608-742-0162.


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. 
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