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Chamber NewsBreak - October 2012

   First strokes of mural to soon begin 
A project to add new vibrancy to the side of some buildings in Portage is officially underway thanks to a grant from the City of Portage Tourism committee. The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce is lining up murals representing longtime local industries, classic advertising and more to be immortalized in painted tributes. 
The east wall of the DAAR Engineering building across from the Portage Center for the Arts will be the location of the first mural to kick the project off. A depiction of old downtown with the words Crossroads of History headlining the work will greet westbound visitors coming to the downtown along Highway 33.  
Kim Dorn of Portage Lumber has graciously offered to donate the paint with Tyler Hoel of H & M Contracting supplying the lift for this first mural, tentatively scheduled for completion around mid-October by local artist Chris Dreyer. 
The Portage Chamber is seeking building owners interested in offering their buildings as potential sites for murals, which are intended to be informative and invite conversation. The long range plan for the project is to create a mural tour around Portage, one more way to encourage tourism and provide another attraction for visitors. 
If you are interested in donating to the mural project or have a suggestion for a subject, please call Brad at the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce, 608-742-6242.
   Welcome New Chamber Members   
Professional Home Care Plus LLC
107 W. Cook St.   Portage, WI  53901
Contact Kim Paske or Thomas Gustafson at 608-742-2273
We provide at home care to people such as the elderly and those with temporary or permanent disabilities that are in need of assistance. Services include personal care, running errands, light housekeeping, meal preparation, and transportation.

Portage Pizza Ranch
2905 New Pinery Rd.   Portage, WI 53901
Contact Jim Firari at 608-566-1750
Enjoy our made your way buffet, the world's best chicken, with dine-in or carry out service facilitated by our friendly staff.  

BrightStar Care
507 Linn St.   Baraboo, WI   53913
Contact Becky Radke at 608-355-5015

We offer the full continuum of home care services for all ages, including hands-on care, inside and outside the home care, care for those with a cognitive condition, infant and child care, and more.

   Business Profile: AVID Risk Solutions     
Local Portage agents Brian Greenwold and Mike Messer of AVID Risk Solutions believe the insurance industry is wonderful because it enables them to help people, build relationships and friendships, and have a strong pulse of the business climate. The insurance industry is always evolving and changing which makes it an interesting business to be in.
The current business environment is designed to be mobile and accessible almost anywhere. Our operations are cloud based which means we can access our work stations anywhere there is a computer and an internet connection. Being a paperless office, we are looking at changing the insurance business climate by offering each of our clients (personal & business) the option to access their insurance coverage through a private, secure & personalized online portal. 
In addition, we provide value added resources to assist with claims, HR topics, recent law changes, and topics which may affect them. As an ever increasing litigious environment, insurance has evolved to cover items that were unthinkable 30 years ago. Now days, we provide insurance for a vast array of coverage items not limited to: Computer Data Breach, Employee Practices Liability (sexual assault, harassment, wrongful termination & discipline), E-Business & Cyber Liability,
Kidnap & Ransom, Wedding & Pet Insurance.

As an independent agent, more often than not we will be competitive with price so putting price aside; a typical client for us is someone that wants to work with an insurance agent that listens to their needs, helps them address their concerns, and together design a program which is right.

Known as a business that cares and appreciates the opportunity to help, AVID will grow to be one of the largest independent agencies in Wisconsin by 2022 and remain a private company. While the growth goal is aggressive, even more important is keeping the corporate culture of a "client first" mentality while this is taking place. 

With 6 months of business under the belt, AVID Risk Solutions is involved or is scheduled for the following events: Incredible Shreddible Party which offers anyone the opportunity to safely destroy paper and unused technology equipment with all proceeds donated to the Arthritis Foundation. AVID helped raise over $100,000 for Gilda's Club Madison in a recent event to help people affected by cancer as well as helping to raise money for student scholarships through UW Baraboo Friends of the Campus. 
Brian and Mike want you to know that as a young company, there is more to come! For more information, call AVID Risk Solutions at 608-229-2843 or visit
   Portage Lumber Do-It Best announces big Grand Re-Opening Event  
portage lumber sign
A giant celebration awaits customers of Portage Lumber Do-It Best & Premier Rental Center from Thursday, September 27 to Sunday, September 30 to mark their Grand Re-Opening following completion of a large remodel project. More than 2,000 new items have been added, along with a newly designed and located Home Decor Galley. 
Customers can take 50% off some of their hottest items (limited to stock on display). Also, free gifts will be granted to the first 50 customers each day. DeWalt tool demos are scheduled for Friday, September 28. A brat cookout will be held Saturday & Sunday with all proceeds donated to the local Habitat for Humanity.


Bring the kids to test out our new Bounce House, now available for rent, on Saturday & Sunday along with free giveaways and door prize drawings!


Check out money saving coupons in our circular - which came out in the Shopper Stopper on Wednesday, September 26. Take advantage of the lowest paint prices of the season, too!


Need an item to complete that project you are working on? Take 15% off all rentals from Sept. 27-30. Call ahead to reserve at 608-745-3499. DOUBLE your Best Rewards points Sept. 27-30. Sign up for Best Rewards Sept. 27-30 & SAVE 15% off your purchase (some restrictions do apply).


Don't miss these spectacular savings and special deals. For more information, call Portage Lumber at 608-742-7186.

   Portage Theatres throwing a Halloween party!!!      

portage theaters logo Portage Theatres is planning a great Halloween themed event for kids in Portage on Saturday, October 27. Spend the day at the Portage Theatres and have some Halloween Fun! All you have to do is bring a non-perishable food item for the Food Pantry to participate. There will be a costume contest and sidewalk parade leaving from St. Mary parking lot (next to the Theatre along Conant St.). 

8:30am - costume contest registration
9:15-10:15am Costume Parade Downtown-Businesses are encouraged to be out on the sidewalk and pass out promotional items, brochures and goodies to the kids.
10:30am - free movie with non-perishable food item donation

Kids will receive a goodie bag at the Costume Contest to take with during the parade and prizes for the contest will be awarded after the parade at the Theatre. 


For more details call 608-742-6678.

   Classic Car Show to benefit St. Mary's School  
st. mary logo
Help support the students of St. Mary's School at their Classic Car and Truck show on Saturday, October 6 from 9am-3pm. Enjoy live music by Late 4 Dinner from 11am - 1:30pm.

The show will employ traditional judging with 35 trophies in 9 classes, with top awards being Father Jim's Favorite, Principal Hahn's Pick, and students of St. Mary's Choice. There is a $10 donation entry fee per vehicle that includes indoor/outdoor concessions and playground area for kids.

St. Mary's is located in downtown Portage at 309 West Cook Street. 
Contact Greg at 608-429-4623 for more details.
   Last call for Customer Service seminar        
Good customer service is vital for all businesses whether you're taking care of a tourists or a resident and with good customer service tourists will come back to your business again and again. Memories that last a lifetime are dependent on the first class service our visitors experience.

Sign up now for Customer Service - Bringing Fun Into Life seminar with Patrick Reinsma, Field Specialist for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, who will conduct this training session for your staff and volunteers on Thursday, October 4 from 7:30am-9am at Prairie Flower Beads, 210 W. Cook St.  To accommodate everyone, a second session will be held at the Historic Indian Agency House from 1pm-2:30pm.  
The training will cover: Why it pays to provide good customer service; How to provide good customer service; Making a career of it. Local business owner share their success story; Features of our area; Questions & answers and pop quiz for prizes!

Training is brought to you by Wisconsin Department of Tourism and the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce. Please register by calling Marianne Hanson at the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce
608-742-6242 or e-mail:  Please indicate which session that you wish to attend. Space is limited.

ed don rick ad

Great Glacier Sept 12

   Miller, Brussell, Ebben and Glaeske have moved   
miller brussel Miller, Brussell, Ebben and Glaeske is now located at 611 E. Wisconsin St. between the A & W and the Moto-Mart. 

Our services include tax preparation & planning, bookkeeping, auditing, business, QuickBooks & Peachtree consulting, financial & estate planning and payroll service. For more information, call 608-742-2103.

   Edward Jones Open House 
edward jones logo Klay Vehring invites you to an Open House at his downtown Edward Jones location at 214 W. Cook St. on Friday, September 28 from Noon-5pm. Refreshments and food will be served. For more information, call 608-742-8841.
   Recreate a masterpiece of famed artists 
We invite you to join us for a new, fun and social class where you can explore your creative side.  This fun and unique painting class is taught by local art professional Peg Napralla.  She will guide you step by step to recreate a masterpiece.  No painting experience is necessary and all the needed materials are provided.
Sign up for one or all of the classes.
Nov. 1 Pollock and Pinot- Have you ever wanted to paint abstract work of art?  This is your chance to explore the color, texture and design of abstraction.
Feb. 21 VanGogh and Vino - We will recreate a famous "Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh.
April 11 Seurat and Shiraz - We will create a painting entirely from dots of color.

Each session is from 6pm-9pm and is $45 per person per session. Call St Mary's at 742-4998 and talk with the school principal to enroll.
   "Reviving Ophelia" playing at Portage High School  
Zona Gale Young People's Theatre presents "Reviving Ophelia," directed by Patrick M. Strain, this is the gripping story of four teenage girls battling the corrosive influences of popular culture and each searching for the personal North Star that will guide her home. Show times are Thursday, September 27 at 7:30pm and Friday, September 28 at 7:30pm at the Portage High School Theatre, 301 E. Collins Street.

"Reviving Ophelia" is a play by Cherie Bennett, based on the book "Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls" by Dr. Mary Pipher. The performance is sponsored by Eleanor Drury in memory of Anne Zimmerman. Tickets are available at Portage Center for the Arts, 301 E. Cook St. and at the door: adults/$10 & students/$6.Call 608-742-5655 or visit
   Mommy Son Date Afternoon at Portage Theatres   
Mothers, enjoy some quality time with your son and take them to Portage Theatres on September 29 from 11am-5:30pm. Admission is $15 for 2 tickets, 2 small drinks, and a large popcorn. Visit for more information.
   Coat Drive gets underway   
The 8th Annual Coats of Many Colors Coat Drive will be held on October 1-27. Gently used & clean winter coats for infant to adult sizes (special need for kids size 5-12) with workable buttons, zippers and snaps and snow boots of all sizes can be dropped off October 1-21 at Portage Churches or the Portage Police Department.

Coats will be distributed on Friday, October 26 from 2pm to 6pm and Saturday, October 27 from 9 am-1pm at 114 W. Cook St. in downtown Portage. Contact Nancy Schaper at 608-742-7242 for more information. The coat drive is sponsored by the Salvation Army.
   Don't miss the Fall Craft Sale & Holiday Market   
The Portage Park and Recreation Department is hosting its 2012 Portage Fall Craft Sale & Holiday Market on Saturday, October 6 from 9am-3pm the Columbia County Fairgrounds located at 300 Superior St. Please join in for a day of fall fun and shopping featuring arts, crafts and other fun gift ideas!

The event includes a fall bake sale and pumpkin pie eating contest. Please donate your baked goods to benefit Portage Parks. Enter your best pumpkin pie recipe for a chance at a prize! As part of the bake sale, pumpkin pie will be sold by the slice and judged by your peers. Votes will be tallied and a prize awarded at 2pm. If you would like to enter a pie, please contact us for a registration form.

We welcome artisans, crafters, direct sales vendors, and other vendors selling new items.
Advance registration only. Please contact us to obtain a registration form. Registration forms and fees will be due Sept. 28. Vendors will be required to donate a baked item for the bake sale or a pie to the pumpkin pie contest. Baked goods may be home baked or store bought. Pies must be home baked. Registrations may be accepted after this deadline based on availability. Please contact us for details. Vendor info: Friday night setup from 6pm to 8pm with booth spaces 15x10 ft. available for $10. 
For more information, call the Portage Parks and Recreation, 806 Silver Lake Dr., at 608-742-6242 or
   Upcoming Business After 5

Business After 5 - Indian Trails Campground

Tuesday, October 9th from 5pm-7pm

Join fellow Chamber members for networking, conversation and refreshments at our monthly Business After Five. Hosted by Indian Trails Campground


November Business After 5 - Free Spirit Travel

December Business After 5 - Prairie Flower Beads


Reserve a month in 2014 for your business before they're taken!!

     Portage Center for the Arts   
steve meisner band 
   Girl Scouts Celebrate 100 Years   

Historic Indian Agency House, 1832 Home of Juliette Kinzie, Grandmother of Girl Scout Founder Juliette Gordon Low, invites you to a Girl Scouts' 100th Birthday party on Saturday, October 6 from 1pm-3pm.

Celebrate this tremendous Girl Scout milestone at a site with an long history of GIRL POWER! Enjoy an afternoon of outdoor crafts and activities, win prizes, eat birthday cake, and meet Juliette Gordon Low herself (a.k.a Chicago actress Betsey Means). History-based activity booths will be scattered across the grounds of the historic site, including butter-making, corn husk dolls, whittling and potato sack races. Each guest will receive an "activity passport," and those that complete all the listed activities will get a goody bag. In addition, all participating children will receive a Birthday Party fun patch to help remember this special day.  [Please note, activities will NOT be offered prior to the 1PM event start time.]
Cost is $10 per child and $3 per adult. To encourage group participation, please note that one leader or chaperone per troop may attend for free. Participants under 8 must be accompanied by an adult.
Pre-registration is required with pre-payment due by Friday, September 28.(Checks, cash-at your own risk, and credit cards are accepted.) A maximum of 100 registrations will be taken.
Call (608) 742-6362 or email with any questions or to make your reservations today.
  Celebrate an Open House at General Engineering   

General Engineering Company (GEC) is at it again! On Friday, October 5th, 2012, you are invited to attend GEC's Business Appreciation Day! Whether you missed the Open House this past May, or if you'd simply like to join us for a day of appreciation, we invite you out to this special occasion!  

The event will take place from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Friday, October 5th, 2012 at GEC's 916 Silver Lake Drive office location in Portage. GEC will be hosting a traditional cookout with brats, hot dogs, burgers, and more! The staff will also be conducting office tours and hosting a golf chipping contest during the festivities! RSVP by Monday, October 1 if you are able to attend at 608-742-2169.



Community Events

   October Chamber Meeting & Event Dates
2nd:  Ribbon Cutting at the Mercantile    9:30am
3rd:   Ambassador meeting at Community Bank   8am
4th:   Customer Service Training    7:30am at Prairie Flower Beads and                           1:30pm at Historic Indian Agency House
9th:   Business After 5 at Indian Trails Campground   5pm-7pm
15th:   Youth Leadership volunteer session     8:30am
   Ribbon Cuttings
matc expansion rc
A ribbon cutting was held at Madison College-Portage, 330 W. Collins St., to celebrate the completion of a recent expansion project. 
The 2,200 square foot expansion is primarily for science education and hands-on labs featuring a video conference room, two additional science labs, a new lounge and computer area. For more information, call Madison College-Portage at 608-745-3100.
portage lumber remodel A ribbon cutting was held at Portage Lumber Do-It Best, 1009 E. Wisconsin St., to celebrate their Grand Re-Opening event, Thursday, September 27 through Sunday, September 30. All of us at Portage Lumber thank everyone for their patience through remodeling! We truly do have the BEST customers! 
More than 2,000 new items have been added, along with a newly designed and located Home Decor Galley. For more information, call Portage Lumber at 608-742-7186.




   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.


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