February 2014
2014 Annual Dinner & Awards Banquet
The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Chamber Meeting and Awards Banquet on Thursday, January 30 at Dino's Restaurant. New City of Portage Business Development and Planning Director Steve Sobiek was introduced and served as the main speaker for the event. 
Following a delicious dinner, many deserving individuals and businesses were recognized for outstanding contributions and dedication to our community. Former president Charles Poches and former board member Jennifer Bieno were each presented a plaque in recognition of their service to the Chamber. The Chamber Ambassador of the Year Award was presented to Rosie Endres for her
dedication to Chamber functions throughout the year. And below are the awards, nominees and winners (in boldface) in each category. 
Nominees for the Business Excellence Award were Rhyme, Portage Lumber Do-It Best & Premier Rental Center, Alliant Energy Columbia County Energy Center, and Bonded Collectors of Wisconsin.
Teresa Halberg of Portage Community Schools, Karrie Landsverk of AmericanWay University and St. Mary's School and Education were the nominees for the Educator Commitment Award.
The Rising Business Star Award nominees were Klay Vehring of Edward Jones, The Welcome Home Sew-N-Vac and Prairie Flower Beads.  
And finally, the Community Service Award nominees were Pierce's Market Place, St. Vincent De Paul, Magnum Broadcasting, Janis Deets Nowak of AmericanWay and Klay Vehring of Edward Jones.
Thank you to Ginger Mittelstaedt of Free Spirit Travel for providing the raffle prize-- A trip to sunny, warm Las Vegas. Thank you to everyone who bought a chance(s) to win. Congratulations to the winner of the trip, Charles Corso! 
Vicki Voiss and Eric Erickson of Pierce's Market Place pose with the Community Service Award, Portage Chamber President Andy Murphy (left) and Chamber Director Marianne Hanson.
Rick and Mary Taylor of Bonded Collectors of Wisconsin won the Business Excellence award. 
Klay Vehring of Edward Jones won the Rising Business Star award.
John Muir 5th Grade Teacher Teresa Halberg accepts the Educator Commitment award during a school assembly with District Administrator Charles Poches and Principal Jason Meyer.
Thank You Banquet Sponsors!!!
                                   Gold Level Sponsors:
     arbor green logo  
Silver Level Sponsor:                            
Bronze Level Sponsors:
miller brussel     

Chamber Member Profile

The Ball Room - Billiards - Banquets - Bar & Grill


The Ball Room is open and winning over Portage one person at a time!!! Some of you may have already tried us out for a Friday Fish Fry, a night on the town, or a tasty lunch. Others may still not know that we are serving some of the best food around, in one of the nicest facilities in the area. We are open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner, come and make yourself a regular!


We officially opened the doors on December 27, 2013, and are excited to be a part of the Portage business community, as well as the community at-large.


We are done with phase 1 of 2 in the renovations of our 16,600+ square foot facility (the Old JC Penney building at 112 E Cook St, Portage). The main level renovations for the Bar & Grill, Restaurant, and world-class Billiards Facility are complete, and business is rolling. Phase 2 is underway as construction on our 320+ capacity banquet/convention room started a couple weeks ago.


We have already booked and held several gatherings and events of up to 200 people in our completed space, and are starting to do a lot of catering for parties and corporate events. If you have an event coming up, we would love to talk to you about our catering menu and take your event to that next level!


We are happy to be a part of Portage, and hope to grow with this great business community for many years to come! For more information, please call 608-566-1454.


The Ball Room Owners:

Mike Ganz

Bill Spahn II

Carlyn LeBeau

Bill Chadwick

Portage Depot print for sale 

A limited number of Russ Porter Portage Depot prints (shown right) are now available at the Chamber office for pick up, checks in the amount of $50 payable to the Portage Canal Society.


Russ Porter was born in Chicago, attending the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. He started as a draftsman for General Electricity X-Ray Corp.  His interest in railroads brought him an associate editors job for Model Railroader Magazine.  Working from a home studio in Milwaukee and later in a restored Pullman Car North of Wisconsin Dells, Russ painted hundreds of paintings of trains, depots and great lakes ships. 


In 1997 Russ published " America's Rails", a book of railroad history including his photographs and paintings. He was declared one of America's foremost railroad artists by the National Railroad Museum in 1997. The museum still caries many of his lithographs. Sadly this warm and talented railroad enthusiast left us in 2006.





ice-skates-spray.jpg Frozen Fridays - Ice Skating on the Canal 

Bring your own skates and join in the last Ice Skating Party on the Portage Canal for the season on Friday, February 7 from 3pm to 7pm.  


Enter the Canal area near the US Bank Drive-Up Parking lot. There will be hot chocolate and a bonfire to roast marshmallows. Brought to you by the Fox Wisconsin Heritage Parkway and the City of Portage.


big bundle upThe Big Bundle Up

The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce participated once again with other Chambers and tourism entities for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Big Bundle Up campaign.


This year's campaign collected more than 11,000 warm winter items for those in need this season. Thank you to those who donated items!

Riley's Mural

A mural by local artist Chris Dreyer, his second in the series and the third mural completed overall, is now visible on Riley's Bar & Grill, 1314 W. Wisconsin St. 


The mural, a tribute to Sgt. Daniel Thompson, the military and their families, was made possible with donations from City of Portage Tourism, Eleanor Drury, Riley's patrons, paint from Portage Lumber and installation by Tyler Hoel of H & M Contracting. 


Stay tuned for upcoming murals in future newsletters.

Got News?

What is your business up to? Pass along information and corresponding photos to graphics@portagewi.com and let us help spread the word about the great things your business or organization is doing. The deadline is the 20th of each month. 



Don rick web



Portage Elks Lodge pool tournament

The Portage Elks Lodge announces an eight-ball, two person team pool tournament in honor of Dean Gibbs, an avid player who has pancreatic cancer. The tournament is scheduled for February 8 with registration beginning at 10am and play starting at 11am. There is a $20 fee to play. Contact the Lodge at 742-6040 for more information. 

Chamber seeking 2014 events

Are you organizing an event you would like others to know about in 2014? The Portage Chamber is encouraging you to submit your 2014 events. Place your event on the Chamber website calendar of events. You may enter your event by clicking here. Please note: Your event submission will take a while to appear as the Chamber office first reviews the submissions before approving them to appear on the web calendar. For more information, please call our office 608-742-6242.


Get out and enjoy winter at the HIAH grounds!
snowshoe-couple.jpg The Historic Indian Agency House invites the public to explore the Historic Indian Agency House Nature Trail by cross-country skis or snowshoes during our Snow Shoe Days. If you wish to take advantage of this opportunity, you must stop by the Visitor's Center to sign in before you hit the trail. (This will helps keep track of visitation and help ensures safety!)  
Event dates include the second and fourth Saturdays of February and March 2014. Hours are 9am to 3pm, with event dates dependent upon weather and snow cover. Call 608-742-6362 or email historicindianagencyhouse@gmail.com to make reservations for your family, Scout troop, or yourself.
Due to the generosity of the Great Circle Foundation, HIAH has acquired several sets of beginner's snow shoes--in a range of sizes (including adult, young adult, and children's, ranging from a weight limit of 25 to 250 pounds). Borrowing will be treated on a first-come, first-serve basis--but we will do the best we can to accommodate you!  Snow Shoe Borrowers must report to our Visitor's Center (20 minutes before your reservation time is suggested) for check-in, and for a brief tutorial before heading out.
This opportunity is FREE--whether you utilize our snow shoes or have your own.
Help available to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace
Portage has a couple places offering assistance to those who want to enroll for health insurance. The Madison Enrollment Assistance office is providing assistance at the Portage Public Library from 10am to 3pm on Wednesdays through March 26. Stop in at the front desk or call to make an appointment at 608-826-7309.
205 Vino Wine Bus Tour and more!!
205 Vino's 3rd Wine Bus tour takes off on March 8. This is a full day of fun. The bus leaves at 1pm and returns at 8pm. Seats are $40, cash or checks only please. Stops along the route include Fawn Creek Winery in the dells, LaGrotto Wine Bar in Lodi, Plate & Barrel Wine Bar in Sun Prairie, Johnson Sausage in Rio, and 205 Vino for fun and appetizers.
Don't forget that 205 Vino, 205 DeWitt St., is a great place to host your next event. Rent our semi-private room or talk to us about gatherings outside our normal operating hours. 
Check out our February entertainment and daily drink specials here! For more information, call 608-742-2058.
summit credit union

Summit Credit Union offering continuing education scholarships

High school and college students are invited to apply for Summit Credit Union's continuing education scholarships. Three $1,500 tuition scholarships will be awarded this April. To apply for the Summit Board of Directors scholarships, students must: Be members of Summit for one year as of Jan. 1, 2014; have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher; 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 Feb. 28, 2014.  Students should visit: https://www.summitcreditunion.com/scholarships to review the full eligibility requirements and complete the application.


Over the past twelve years, Summit has helped 36 area students pursue quality higher education.  The Board of Director Scholarship program supports Summit's ongoing educational outreach efforts and its commitment to the communities it serves.


Established in 1935, Summit Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative open to anyone in Wisconsin.  Summit holds $1.9 billion in assets and has more than 130,000 members with a total of 26 locations throughout the Madison and Milwaukee areas.   For more information, visit www.summitcreditunion.com or call (608) 243-5000 or (800) 236-5560.

shelly cibulka ad sept 2013

Dear Portage Area Business Owner/Manager,


Why would your business want to team up with fundraising with and for The Portage Family Skate Park Project? Why indeed would your business want to Team Up with The Portage Family Skate Park Fundraising Efforts?


1.  Did you know that Restaurant Business is shown to increase by anywhere from 4% to 8% in communities where Skate Parks exist?   What is your daily, weekly, monthly, annual income?

2.  Did you know that Retail Business is also shown to increase?

3.  It stands to reason that Gas Stations would also experience an increase in sales.

4. Since Skate Park Moms travel together like Soccer Moms it stands to reason that some businesses catering to women such as hair, nail and spa salons also have a potential for increased business.

5.  A Skate Park enhances the physical and mental health of youth by offering another option for sports minded people and families.


You can team up with the Portage Family Skate Park right now! We are have two fundraising events in the month of February. All month long we have the I Love Skateboarding option. Your customers can donate $1.00 to $5.00 sign a card and hang it up in your place of business. February 18th we are holding a Chicken Soup Fundraiser from Noon to 6:30pm at St. John the Baptist Church - Couper Hall.

Your Restaurant can donate soup, crackers, rolls, milk, butter, bowls, dessert, napkins, to - go containers. And/or you can attend! Get out of your business and meet and mingle with new people - learn more about the City of Portage and attract more customers to your own restaurant. $5.00 for a bowl of soup, roll, crackers and beverage and for an additional $2.00 you can add a dessert! 


Thank you for your support!


June Paul, Secretary of Portage Family Skate Park Project


February Community Events
Spread the word about your event by posting them on our website!! 
6   Business Day in Madison, contact Jane Algiers at 608-661-6925
8   Oakwood Chamber Players at Portage Center for the Arts, 7:30pm
15  4th Annual Josh Halverson Memorial Fisheree, 6am-3pm, John Halverson at 608-697-5209
16  Youth Fishing Day   Contact Portage Park & Rec at 608-742-2178
18   Chicken Soup Fundraiser for Skatepark, Noon-6:30pm, at St. John the Baptist Church
21-23   18th Annual Portage Alumni Basketball Tournament, Sean Malone at 608-742-6754
For more information about these events and more, click here.
February Chamber Meeting & Event Dates 

5th       Ambassador meeting at Community Bank  8am

12th     Business After 5 at Portage Elks Lodge    5pm-7pm

20th     Youth Leadership session at Culver's Headquarters   8:30am

Ribbon Cuttings
A ribbon cutting was held at The Ball Room, 112 E. Cook St., to welcome this new business to Portage. The Ball Room - Billiards - Banquets - Bar & Grill is open 7 days a week at 11:00AM for Lunch and Dinner. Daily Specials, Friday Fish Fry, and Weekly Pool Tournaments on Friday and Sundays!

For more information, call 608-566-1454.



Give Portage Green Gift Certificates As A Gift
Portage Green Gift Certificates make an excellent gift. Used just like cash, the certificates can be purchased from the Portage Chamber in $5, $10 and $25 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 graphics@portagewi.com.