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Chamber NewsBreak - September 2013

   Taste of Portage Market Fair marks 22 years 
taste of portage logo
This year's Taste of Portage really brought home the taste with an infusion of new food vendors and creative menu options that hungry visitors could sample. And from the response of the vendors, the visitors sampled away the weekend as many vendors ran out of food by event's end.

A couple of new acts to the Taste did a great job. The Chameleon band rocked Market Square by getting people up to dance on a perfect summer evening, while the Zumba dancers pumped energy early Saturday morning.

Plenty of classic cars showed up and showed off at the car show--96 in all--along DeWitt St. on Saturday morning while the craft vendors showed off their wares along Cook St. The kid's activities expanded to include Open Arms Child Development Center, Learning Tree Child Care Center, Historic Indian Agency House and the Portage Family Skate Park, a group that put on a demonstration under the afternoon sun. 

Thank you to all who helped the Chamber put on this wonderful event including our sponsors, volunteers and our Master Electrician Tyler Hoel.  We also want to thank these unsung trash heros: Fred Galley, Janis Nowak and her husband Dave, Rob Roth and his daughter MacKenzie, Pastor Randy Mantik and his son.

Gold Level sponsors:
City of Portage Tourism & Business Improvement District
Bronze Level sponsors: Crawford Oil & Propane, Portage National Bank, Hill Automotive, Johnson Chiropractic, Divine Savior Healthcare, Weaver Auto Parts, Wisconsin River Title Consultants
First Weber Realty, Fairway Independent Mortgage, General Engineering Company
Blau Family Chiropractic, H&M Contracting, Schultz Small Engine
Silver Level sponsors:
Don-Rick Insurance, Portage Motors, Rhyme, Community Bank, Frontier Communications, NAPA Auto Parts

 Food Crafts Band  Cars Trophies Kettle FaceNorthwoodsZumbaOpen Arms    Cottonwood    Lochlan   



maggie mae poster
shelly cibulka ad sept 2013
   Business Profile: Gretchen Willis Photography 


I am Gretchen Willis, an on-location photographer who provides high quality images to my clients, with a focus on customer service and owner of Gretchen Willis Photography. I shoot families, tweens and teens (including graduating seniors as well as 8th graders), and events (such as family reunions, birthday parties, school plays, etc.) I am currently expanding my business to include commercial work, including headshots and product photography.


I've always enjoyed and appreciated photography and, after seeing lots of beautiful photographs online, I decided to learn more about photography. After reading countless books and asking hundreds of questions, I finally started approaching friends and family about shooting sessions to build my portfolio. 


I ran my photography business in Texas for one year while I was building my portfolio then moved to Wisconsin in the fall of 2011. In the summer of 2012 I really decided to start full steam with my business. It's only been a year so far but I'm excited to see where the future will take me!


Personally, I like that I am working in a creative industry lucky to be able to practice an art while also providing clients with a service they want. Professionally, I enjoy capturing the true emotions of people. This comes through in how I shoot - I will shoot a family with their traditional posing but I also love to capture the moments in between when someone shares a shy smile or someone tells a joke. These emotions and expressions are always real, and authentic, and I love showing my clients how beautiful they truly are.


My typical client is someone who values photography and wants high-quality workmanship and unique, one-of-a-kind products, along with customer service that can't be topped.  My clients receive top-notch service and beautiful images they will treasure for years to come. I want to strike a balance between providing clients with archival images they can proudly display on their walls, and also giving them images they can share with friends and family on the internet. 


I would like to build my business over the next 2 years and expand my market for tweens (ages 11-14), an age that parents do not capture enough. I want to preserve that special time when kids are not a baby anymore, but not an adult either--they are finally starting to spread their wings, trying new experiences, and are figuring out who they really are.


I am a volunteer photographer for the Coalition for Children, Youth, and Families of Wisconsin (, an organization that oversees Foster families and adoptive families in Wisconsin, and work with Red Thread Sessions (, a national directory pairing adoptive families with photographers who donate their time. Outside of photography I am also involved with the Portage MOPS chapter, I deliver Meals on Wheels, and I'm an active church member at St. John's Lutheran church.


I could NOT do this without the support of my husband and children, and many friends and family members who encourage me daily.

Gretchen Willis Photography


   Welcome New Members         
Cottonwood Bar & Grill
312 DeWitt St.    Portage, WI  53901
Randy Heinzel at 608-742-5917
Bar, restaurant in downtown Portage.

VARC, Inc.
232 W. Cook St.    Portage, WI  53901
Tasha Tanner at 608-742-2552
Matching qualified job seekers to businesses with a need for outstanding employees.

Grande Cheese Company
181 W. Monroe St.    Wyocena, WI  53969
 Rachel Schaeve at 920-269-1496
We are a company committed to building a world-class dairy products trademark grounded in a culture of pride in professional excellence and respect for the rights of all Associates.

Pokey's Celebration Station
208 Old Settlers Tr.   Poynette, WI  53955
Paul "Pokey" Chapa, Sr. at 608-575-1447
Texas BBQ restaurant and catering.
   A Word About Parking...      
car parking A great parking spot is an absolute treasure. Finding a spot close to the place you want to shop, the place you want to eat, or the place you have an appointment is a real treat. If you are a business owner, please reserve that treat for our visitors and your customers.

Portage Mayor Bill Tierney is asking business owners and their employees to park in the lots and not on the streets as a courtesy to our guests.


Don rick web


   Getting to Know Watercolor    
dreyer design web

Watercolors have been popular for centuries. Now through this step-by-step approach you can learn this intricate medium. With a goal of teaching the basics to beginners and expanding the talent of experienced artists as well, local artist Chris Dreyer will guide you through the techniques and help you develop skills needed to produce beautiful paintings. He will not only tell you how, but also show you though his Getting to Know Watercolor with Chris Dreyer classes.  


He will teach the basics and advanced techniques making you comfortable painting in the complex medium of watercolor. Even if you have had his classes in the past, he will teach different subjects and techniques at each class, keeping it fresh. Fall 2013 watercolor classes will be held at Portage United Methodist Church, 1804 New Pinery Road, on September 24, October 8 & 22, and November 15 from 2pm to 4:30pm or 6:30pm to 9pm. The cost is only $55 for the four classes. If interested, please call 608-742-1453 to register.



mary kay flyer 2013  


   Walk for Hope      
prevent suicide logo

The first annual SOS (Signs of Suicide) Walk for Hope will feature a 2.5 mile reflective nature walk along the Historic Indian Agency House Nature Trail as well as educational speakers and materials regarding the warning signs of suicide and effective prevention measures. This is a community-wide, family-friendly event designed to raise awareness and allow the survivors of suicide loss to honor their loved ones. Proceeds from the walk will benefit the suicide awareness activities in Columbia County carried out by the organization Prevent Suicide: Columbia County. Their goal is to raise $10,000. 


The walk is scheduled rain or shine for Sunday, September 29 with registration at 1pm and the walk starting at 2pm. The cost is $25 for participants 12 and older (pre-register by September 1 for a free t-shirt). For more information, visit

   Hospice Volunteer Training   
hhu logo
Home Health United - Hospice invites you to join a special group of people dedicated to making a difference in the lives of hospice patients and their loved ones as they near the end-of-life. Due to increasing demand, HHU - Hospice has a continued need for volunteers in all communities in the Portage area and across our service area. Volunteers are needed in both administrative and patient-interactive areas.

The next training session is scheduled for Wednesday, September 11 from 8:30 to 4:30 at the Home Health United branch office, 2888 Village RoadFor more information, please contact the volunteer coordinator at or 877-356-4514. Visit
commbank april ad
   Preservation architect in town   
If you own a house or commercial building that is listed (or eligible for listing) on the National Register of Historic Places, you can apply for one of the tax credit programs the Wisconsin Historical Society administers.

On Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m., Jen Davel from the Wisconsin Historical Society will speak about the programs in a free presentation at Portage City Hall, 115 W. Pleasant St. in Portage. The public is welcome to come learn more about tax credit programs for both homeowners and income-producing properties.

Jen Davel is one of the preservation architects who review tax credit applications for conformance to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.

For more information visit or call Jen Davel at 608-264-6490.

Business After 5 at Portage Center for the Arts  
September 10th 5 PM - 7 PM
Join fellow Chamber members for networking, conversation and refreshments at our monthly Business After Five. Hosted by Portage Center for the Arts.
Portage Family Skate Park Marathon

September 7th
Registration is required.  Click here for all the details. 
The event starts at 10:30am.  The purpose of this event is to raise money for the skate park and awareness for our sport so it is necessary that all participants show the utmost courtesy to anyone they might encounter during the event. We will be gathering at Riverside Park after the event, please join us to talk skating and more. Bring food if you wish.

   Portage City Flea Markets     
The 2013 Portage City Flea Market feature crafts, produce, antiques, collectibles, and rummage sale items happens on the first Saturdays of the month at Veterans Memorial Field, home of the Columbia County Fair. The event is held inside and outside the Bidwell building in the center of the area from 7am to 3pm rain or shine.

The free-to-the-public markets continue through September. Booth spaces for vendors, measuring approximately 15'x10', are available for a fee. Call the Portage Park and Recreation Department at 608-742-2178. The next chance to enjoy the market is Saturday, September 7.
Blau staff 13
Look at us now!! Blau Family Chiropractic, 641 Latton Ln., Suite A, has several new employees and services including Family Chiropractic Care, Rehab Therapy, Naturopathic Services, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling and Health Performance Evaluations.


Pictured left to right are: Bottom Row; Melissa Gaffney, CRT; Angie Mielke, CRT; Gayl Hamilton, MD

Top Row; Melissa Beernink, CRT; Rachel Seltzner, Naturopath; Mike Krueger, MS Kevin Blau, DC; Sharon Sopha, CA; Brian Heeren, DC. For more information, call Blau Family Chiropractic at 608-742-1300.

   Kids Day     

Kids will enjoy this Health, Safety & Environmental Awareness Day featuring spinal, dental and eye screenings, Photographed ID kit, bouncy house, and tours of a fire truck, ambulance, school bus and police car.


The event takes place at Culver's Restaurant, 2733 New Pinery Rd., on Saturday, September 14 from 10am to 1pm. Bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Portage Food Pantry and be entered to win a prize. 
For more information, visit

Visit the Portage Family Skate Park Booth at Culver's from Noon to 6pm. Contact June Paul at 608-742-7787 for more information. Visit
   Markent Solutions is a Microsoft Authorized Education Reseller     

markent solutions logo Markent Solutions, 121 E. Conant St., announced it has become a Microsoft Authorized Education Reseller (AER), demonstrating its ability to meet Microsoft academic customers' evolving needs in today's dynamic business environment. To earn a Microsoft AER authorization, partners must complete a test to prove their level of academic licensing and market expertise.The AER program is designed to train participating resellers on Microsoft's Academic licensing, authorize them to purchase and resell Microsoft Academic licenses, and demonstrate to potential customers that they are approved and knowledgeable academic partners.


"This Microsoft AER authorization shows our commitment and specialism in the academic IT marketplace and demonstrates our knowledge of Microsoft and its academic products," said Alec Parsons, Markent Solutions General Manager. "We hope to accelerate our academic customers' successes by serving as technology advisors for their IT requirements."


For more information, contact Alec Parsons, Markent Solutions, 608-742-7300, ext. 314.


   HIAH Living History event; Summer Speaker Series 
new agency house

The Historic Indian Agency House of Portage is hosting their 5th annual living history encampment on Saturday, September 14, 2013 from 9am to 5pm. This year's event, "A Funeral at the Fort," will transport you back in time to a 19th century funeral on the Wisconsin frontier. (Please note that special care will be taken to ensure that this event remains family-friendly, despite the somewhat-sobering subject matter. No graphic or gruesome elements will be present.) Visitors to the site will get the chance to observe and interact with a host of characters in historic costume and character in an authentic historic setting. Learn about how our American ancestors dealt with the constant companion of death through special tours, demonstrations and activities taking place throughout the day, featuring fascinating information on mourning traditions and funeral and burial rituals.

Catch a special tour at 9:30am, 11:30am, 2:30pm or 4pm, with a special gravestone-rubbing children's workshop taking place at 1pm at the original and still-existing Fort Winnebago Cemetary just up the road from the Agency House off Highway 33.  The special tours and the children's workshop are free to the public, although reservations for the children's workshop are strongly encouraged and will help ensure that enough craft materials are on hand for all participants. Call 608-742-6362 or email to make your reservation today. (Participating children should be between the ages of 6 to 12 years old and accompanied by an adult chaperone.) 


Also, the "New Beginnings & Fresh Perspectives" Summer Speaker Series, Installment 4 of 4 concludes on Tuesday, September 24. For more information about this and other events, visit or call Destinee at 608-742-6362.

   Elks Softball Tournament      

The Elks Softball Tournament is scheduled for Friday, August 30 through Sunday, September 1 at the Veteran's Memorial Park ball diamonds. The event features co-ed and men's softball teams. Food and beverages are available on-site, no carry-ins allowed. Come cheer on your favorite team or meet a new favorite team. For more information, contact Matt Russell at 608-617-5875.

   Partners of Divine Savior Mum Sale   

The Partners of Divine Savior Healthcare are holding their Mum Sale on Thursday, September 5 from 9am to 5pm and Friday, September 6 from 9am to 4pm. Seven different varieties of Chrysanthemums (hardy and non-hardy), gourds, pumpkins, Cockscomb, Flowering Kale, Asters, fall arrangements and more are on sale. The plants, provided by Links Greenhouse, are available for pick up at Divine Savior Healthcare's Northeast Entrance, just off Eastridge Road on the back side of the building.  


For pre-order contact 608-745-5166 or look for forms at Divine Savior Healthcare's front desk and gift shop, located at 2817 New Pinery Road.

   Emergency! Getting help for your heart   
ds healthcare
Join us at Divine Savior Healthcare for our free educational program featuring our emergency medicine physician Dr. Michael Walters, emergency professionals, and a patient who will share his story about a recent heart-related emergency.

Topics include identifying signs and symptoms of a heart attack, actions you should take, the EMS response and medical intervention in the Emergency Department. Includes a hands-only CPR demonstration and ambulance tours! This event is scheduled for Thursday, September 5 from 5:30pm to 7pm at Divine Savior Healthcare, 2817 New Pinery Rd., Cafe Classroom, lower level. Call 608-745-6405 to register.
   Honk! A Musical Tale of the Ugly Duckling       
Get your ducks in a row and attend 'Honk! Jr. A Musical Tale of the Ugly Duckling' at Portage Center for the Arts, 301 E. Cook St. The Southampton Press described the show, "A marvelously funny, frequently touching and constantly magical theatre piece...sure to have a long and lustrous life."

Showtimes are September 5, 7, 13 & 14 at 7:30pm and September 8, 14, & 15 at 1pm. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for ages 12 and under. Family Night is September 5th only-$35 for 2 parents/guardians and up to 5 of their children.
   Pardeeville Watermelon Festival    
The Pardeeville Watermelon Festival will be held on Saturday, September 7 at Chandler Park and feature free watermelon (all you can eat), watermelon carving, arts & crafts fair, contests for all ages and, of course, the speed-eating and seed-spitting competition. There will also be concessions and lots of family fun. 

For more information visit or call 608-697-6744, 608-697-6744, or 608-697-6744.
   Songs of WWII at Museum at the Portage
museum at the portage The music of the World War II era will be featured at this event at the Museum at the Portage. Mary Eisenreich, a former teacher from the Green Bay area, will present a one-hour program. She is a member of the Heritage Players who perform at Heritage Hill State Park. 
The event is scheduled for Tuesday, September 10 from 4:30pm to 7pm at Museum at the Portage, 804 MacFarlane Rd.  Please RSVP to Peg Amend at 608-429-9214 or Kathy Rowley 608-697-9631. Doors open at 4:30pm and the program begins at 5pm. 
   Lunch and Learn with AmericanWay
americanway 2 logo AmericanWay University is partnering up with CareRight Inc. and offering a lunch and learn session Thursday, September 19th that includes CEU credits!  You will hear from Annalee Kruger, President of CareRight Inc.and Karrie Landsverk, Partner and Trainer with AmericanWay University as co-presenters on, "Conflict is Not a Four Letter Word." 

If you ever experience conflict at work, (I'm pretty sure that includes all of us) then you want to make sure you attend to discover how much your own attitude and beliefs impact conflict at work! You will leave the session with techniques to move through conflict effectively and move your business forward, rather than holding your business back. 
This session will be held at the Portage Country Club from 11am to 1pm and lunch will be included in the fee. Cost is only $20 and includes your CEU credits. For more information, call 608-566-1500.
   Calling for vendors to upcoming Our House Senior Living Expo 
our house logoCalling all vendors: If your business caters to seniors or the burgeoning senior market is your market, mark your calendar for the second annual All Things Senior Expo to be held Thursday, November 7 at Ho-Chunk Casino. This event is being held in conjunction with Ho-Chunk Casino's weekly Senior Citizen Day. And once again the Casino will offer the $10 rewards play for attendees.

This event will feature exhibitors, wellness checks and break-out sessions. The day will be filled with a wide range of information about products, services, programs and resources for Sauk, Adams, Marquette and Columbia County's 50+ community. The All Things Senior Expo will provide a one-stop-shop for those looking to connect with valuable local resources.
The Senior Expo is an opportunity for you to market to the exploding senior demographic.

KSMS Our House Senior Living invites you to participate in this one day event and meet hundreds of local seniors. Magnum Communications will provide a live remote broadcast from the Expo. All Things Senior Expo will offer a great opportunity to meet potential customers. You will have the opportunity to: Generate highly qualified leads for your facility, service or product; Build recognition for your company or organization and increase your brand awareness; Network with other companies in the senior market. 

Sponsorships are available this year. We have a gold, sliver and bronze sponsorships. Early Bird registration is $75 if received by August 30. Registration received after August 30, 2013 will be $100.00. Please reserve your booth early using the enclosed registration form with check payable to KSMS Our House Senior Living and Mail to:
Attention: Gretchen Lambert KSMS Our House Senior Living 215 Northridge Drive Portage, Wisconsin 53901
If you have any questions please contact Gretchen Lambert at 608-697-2626.
Click Here for forms. 
   Our House Senior Living Bingo Bash

Join us for our Bingo Bash with great prizes every third Friday of the month at Our House Senior Living Community, 215 Northridge Dr. Your next chance to participate is Friday, September 20 from 2pm to 4pm. Snacks will be served. For more information, contact Gretchen Lambert at 608-697-2626 or visit

   No Fish Tale: Bucher to visit Trecek   
Big game fisherman and Chevy promoter Joe Bucher spends an afternoon at Trecek Automotive telling stories and meeting visitors. He is scheduled to appear at Trecek, 1350 E. Wisconsin St., from Noon to 2pm on Saturday, September 21. Stay tuned for more details. 
Don't let this angler get away. Stop out and see Joe Bucher and check out some new 2014 vehicles, too. 

Community Events

   September Chamber Meeting & Event Dates   
4th     Ambassador Meeting     8am at Community Bank
8th     Maggie Mae Concert at Portage High School    2pm
10th   Business After 5 at Portage Center for the Arts     5pm to 7pm 
13th   Ribbon Cutting for Mary Kay Consultant Debbie Holland    10am
   Ribbon Cuttings  
fire dynamics web
A ribbon cutting was held at the Chamber office for Fire Dynamics, Inc., a local business that gives back to the community and protects it. 
We provide testing of emergency equipment; inspections, service and sales of fire extinguishers and safety equipment in a 
cost-effective way. For more information, please call Craig Ratz at 608-697-4905.
willis photo web 
A ribbon cutting was held at the Chamber office for Gretchen Willis Photography. Gretchen is excited to offer you a fresh new choice for your family, senior, tween, and child portraits. She also covers special events and corporate work, including headshots and product photography! 
Visit and facebook at Gretchen.Willis.Photography. For more information, please call Gretchen at 817-863-4472.
varc rc A ribbon cutting was held at VARC, Inc., 232 W. Cook St., to welcome this new business to Portage. VARC, Inc. is an agency providing numerous services to the community, including job development and support services to those with varying abilities. VARC, Inc., started in 1975 and has grown from a small, nine person operation into six divisions with 500+ workers throughout Wisconsin. VARC's individualized-community focused programming allows for all individuals to participate in their choice of programming. For more information, contact Tasha Tanner, Employment Specialist, in the Columbia County office at 608-742-2552.   
   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. 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