March 2015
Janet Wiegel, right, talks with Nancy Schaper following the February Business Luncheon.

February Business Luncheon recap

Janet Wiegel of the Alzheimer's & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin spoke to about 30 Chamber members at the February Business Luncheon where she discussed an initiative to make Portage a Dementia Friendly Community (DFC). Janet explained that a dementia friendly community is one that recognizes challenges faced by those with dementia and enables them to live life to its full potential. 


A DFC is a place that understands and makes those with dementia feel welcome, respected, supported, included and involved. A DFC is a place where everyone can contribute to community life.


The Alliance offers community education to increase awareness, and reduce the stigma, myths and misconceptions about dementia. They work with local services and businesses to make their organizations friendlier and safer for people with dementia. Janet would like to see Portage as a pilot community for this project in Columbia County because our city is committed to its citizens, is forward thinking, has many resources, and is welcoming of additional resources outside our community.


For more information, call the Columbia/Sauk regional office, 2825 Hunters Trail, at 608-742-9055. 

March Chamber Business Luncheon

The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce is offering another way to network with your fellow Chamber members and make those important connections that can help you in your business or career. Bring your business cards, brochures, or anything you wish to share with other members.


Our next luncheon is scheduled for Tuesday, March 3 and will feature guest speaker Steve Sobiek, City of Portage Director of Business Development and Planning. Steve has now been working for the City of Portage for just over a year.  He will be talking about projects that he has been working on over the past year and his continued efforts toward development in the City of Portage.


When:  Tuesday, March 3

Where: B&B Hitching Post

Time:  Lunch at 11:30AM, Presentation at Noon


Register here.

Welcome New Chamber Members 

R. Condon Gallery & Studio

223 W. Cook St., Portage WI, 53901

Roberta Condon at 608-617-1733

Gallery and studio with hours on Thursdays from 10am to 6pm or by appointment. 


Badger Clean Janitorial Services, LLC
2864 Village Rd., Portage WI 53901

Kevin Shackett at 608-477-0970
Professional janitorial services "Your local trusted janitor."

Business Profile

Hamilton Park Place

Hamilton Park Place, where seniors don't have to act their age, is a 24 bed Community Based Residential Facility (CBRF). We moved in our first resident on December 16, 2014. We are licensed by the state of Wisconsin for Dementia and Alzheimer's. Our mission statement reads as follows: We are passionately committed to providing the highest quality of service to our residents to strengthen and encourage them to live a purpose filled life in a family oriented and therapeutic community.


Hamilton Park Place is owned by Barb Mueller, OTR and Laura Balcerak, COTA. Barb started Mueller Therapy in 2003 with one therapist, three clients, and two assisted living facilities. In 2008 Easy Living Home Health Care Agency was developed with the help of Laura Balcerak. This expanded services to include nursing, social work, and speech therapy. They now provide services in 120 facilities (and growing) throughout the state of Wisconsin.


Hamilton Park Place should be thought of as a soothing home like atmosphere where residents are encouraged to live an independent life for as long as physically and mentally possible. Our caregivers work under a licensed RN and provide medication administration and assistance for activities of daily living for the residents who need it. Hamilton Park Place is an all-inclusive Assisted Living Facility. We don't hide any fees, and we have amenities available to our residents that our competition doesn't.   


We currently have openings for those looking at Assisted Living. We have a resident centered focus meaning you as a resident are treated as an individual and we look to meet your individual needs. Dietary needs, activity needs, physical needs, psychological needs, emotional needs, cognitive needs, functional needs are all addressed as part of your individual service plan at Hamilton Park Place.


Please call us to set up a tour and ask questions about your needs for Assisted Living. Please visit our website and like our Facebook page!


Hamilton Park Place, 2525 Hamilton St. Portage, WI 53901

Phone: 608-742-7888      Fax: 608-745-5777

Business After 5
Our next Business After 5 event will be held at Portage Public Library, 253 W. Edgewater St., on Tuesday, March 10 from 5pm to 7pm. Join fellow members for conversation and refreshments. Remember to bring some business cards to pass around.

Portage Chamber March Meeting and Events 

3     Business Luncheon at B & B Hitching Post    11:30am lunch; presentation at Noon
4     Ambassador Meeting at Community Bank   8am
4     Ribbon Cutting at Chamber office for Badger Clean Janitorial Service   9am
10   Business After 5 at Portage Public Library   5pm-7pm
24   Tickets go on sale for the Spring Wine Walk 
Ribbon Cuttings

A ribbon cutting was held at Northwoods Cafe & Catering, N6510 US Highway 51 South, to 
celebrate the addition of a new seating area and delicious new menu items. 

Northwoods is open Monday through Friday and is located just 2 miles south of Portage. All proceeds from the cafe support Northwoods' mission of service.

For more information, call 608-742-7114.

Portage Shoppers at Pierce's Save with Fetch Rewards

Shoppers Fetching their groceries at Pierce's Marketplace are finding a new way to shop. Fetch Rewards, a mobile application, was launched at Pierce's Marketplace in Portage on January 23.


CEO Wes Schroll, a 21 year-old former UW-Madison student, launched Fetch Rewards to "revolutionize grocery shopping." Fetch was founded in early 2013. What started as an experience unique to one store has spread across 4 states.


"It's a more engaging and fun way to do grocery shopping." Schroll said. "I had a single father come up and tell me that his little six-year-old daughter actually wants to go grocery shopping with him every week now. That's very powerful."


Shoppers with smartphones or tablets can use Fetch Rewards to scan groceries as they shop. The application automatically applies all available coupons and deals, negating the need to cut coupons and carry weekly ads. Shoppers also earn points for each dollar spent, which they can redeem on most items in the store. It is guaranteed that customers get the most savings possible at the store when using Fetch.


Fetch reduces checkout to one barcode, reducing checkout time by 40%. Users can load their Pierce's Reward's Card to the app as well, automatically applying Rewards Card deals and points at checkout without using a phone number or physical card. Users can also make shopping lists, and track their running totals while they shop.


The mobile app is available for free in both the Apple Store and the Google Play Store. Residents who don't have a smartphone can also borrow a courtesy tablet at the Customer Service counter when they come in.


Paul Frey, General Manager of Pierce's Supermarkets, said, "Fetch is the most exciting program that I have seen or been a part of in over 30 years in the Grocery business. The initial response from our customers has been overwhelming, as one customer says she 'just loves it'!"



madison college Madison College Spring Leadership Conference
Sign up now for the April 2015 Leadership Conference hosted by Madison College at their West Campus, 302 S. Gammon Rd., in Madison on Thursday, April 23.

Find out more details and for registration, click here for the brochure.

Request for 2015 events 

We are looking for your events. Help get the word out about your event!! Submit your 2015 event details and contact information for inclusion on our community calendar and possible inclusion on various media produced throughout the year. Email to or call our office at 608-742-6242.



dreyer design web Enjoying Watercolor with Chris Dreyer

Do you want to learn how to paint in Watercolor? Watercolor classes will be starting Tuesday, March 10 and meet Tuesday afternoons from 3pm to 5:30pm or evenings from 6pm to 8:30pm at the United Methodist Church of Portage. The dates are March 10, 17, 24 & 31. Cost for the 4 classes is only $60.


Chris will provide supplies for the first class and hand out a materials list then. If interested call or email soon to reserve your place 608-742-1453. If you have taken the class before, he does change the demonstrations to keep things fresh. With a goal of teaching the basics to beginners and expanding the talent of experienced artists as well, Chris 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! For more about Chris and his art visit  

portage center for the arts

Happenings at Portage Center for the Arts 

Words | Images
- Don't forget to start planning for your entry in our March exhibit: Planes, Trains & Automobiles; photo and/or poem entries are due by Wednesday, March 4, 2015.

West Wind Celtic Group - PCA's Performing Arts Concert Series continues on Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 7:30pm with a celebration of Irish traditions, new and old!  Join West Wind as this quartet balances lilting jigs and driving reels with exuberant dance tunes and humorous songs!  Sponsored, in part, by Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative!  Reserved tickets now on sale online, over the phone, or at the office:  $15 adults, $5 students.  Tickets will also be available at the door.


Brown Bag Lunch Series - Join us for our Brown Bag in PCA's Zona Gale Theatre Thursday, March 26, 2015, for a presentation on the legacy of Aldo Leopold by a representative of the Aldo Leopold Foundation.   Brown Bags are generally held the fourth Thursday of each month at noon, $5 at the door. Bring a friend and add a splash of color to your lunch!  Student groups welcome; please call for group pricing. Sponsored by Ellen Schieber.


For more information on these events and more, call Portage Center for the Arts, 301 E. Cook St., 608-742-5655 or visit

Portage Lumber Ladies' Night Out
Portage Lumber would like to invite all of you ladies out there to the 2nd Annual Ladies' Night Out on Thursday, March 19. The event will be held at Portage Lumber, 1009 E. Wisconsin St, and will run from 6:30pm until 8:30pm. The event is FREE, but you must register at Portage Lumber by March 11. 

Stop in, give us a call, 608-742-7186 or send us an email,, to RSVP. This event will include free appetizers & refreshments, free massages, grand prize giveaways, a photo booth to capture portage lumber
your memories, local vendors showcasing their latest products, DIY
 classes/workshops for around the home projects, a hands on power tool station, the latest painting tips, and much more fun for all! The first 75 ladies in line will receive a gift bag filled with goodies. Be sure to take advantage of our 20% OFF storewide sale during this event.
Come join us for food, fun & some useful tips! Don't forget to RSVP by March 11.

Planning for $uccess

If you are in business and need to update or create a Business Plan the Madison SCORE Chapter will be offering a Business Plan writing seminar for on-going businesses. The seminar will be held on March 18 from 8am to 11am at the MG&E Innovation Center, 510 Charmany Dr., Room 50 in Madison. Registration fee is $20 per attendee and refreshments will be available.


The business plan is not just for business startups. Business acquisitions, franchise purchases and newly developed products are some of the events that might prompt an existing business to create a business plan. Existing businesses use the business plan to monitor their expenses, define their strategies and benchmark their progress. Unlike new business startups, the business plan creation process is often simpler for the established business because the business' operation information is more readily available.


To register, visit

shelly cibulka ad sept 2013
welcome home sew logo
Upcoming Classes at The Welcome Home Sew N Vac

The Welcome Home Sew-N-Vac, 118 E. Cook St., has many classes available for those looking to keep busy during the remainder of winter.   

March 3rd Sewing Club w/Diane

March 10th Set Your Easter Table w/Patti

March 11th Machine Embroidered Mug Rugs w/Diane

March 14th Table Pleasers Appliqué Runner w/Wanda

March 18th Machine Embroidered Cuties w/Diane

March 19th Beginning Free Motion w/Kathy Paddack

March 21st Beginning Locker Hooking w/Kathy

March 24th & 25th Embroidered Snowman/Penguin w/Diane

March 25th Bunny Woolies Appliqué w/Wanda

March 26th Let's Make Toasty Mittens w/Diane

March 28th Begin-2-Sew: Level 1 w/Patti


Please call the store for details and pricing at 608-566-1663 or visit their website

Portage Lions Radio Auction
The Portage Lions 39th Annual Radio Auction is scheduled for Saturday, March 21. Proceeds from this annual fund-raiser are used to support many Lions service projects on the local, state and international levels. Some of the local activities include pre-school vision testing, eye exams, glasses for those in need, and transportation of eye tissue to and from the Eye Bank in Madison. Other projects include scholarships, annual Easter Egg hunt, the High School athletic fund, Santa's
Workshop, and many others.

To participate in Lions Radio Auction: Listen to 1350 AM WPDR starting 12:30 P.M. on March 21.
Call 745-5864 to find out the latest bids on any item; Make your bid by giving name and phone number along with your desired bid. Bidding may also be done from St. Mary's Cafeteria (St. Mary's School - corner of West Conant St. & MacFarlane Rd., Portage WI) and where all items will be on display. Bids from the auction location will stop at 3:30 p.m. thus allowing the radio listeners the final half hour of phone bids.

Winners will be announced from 4pm to 4:30pm. Pick up winning items 5pm to 6pm from St. Mary's Cafeteria. Cash or check only.

Click here for the list of this year's auction items.

Business Day in Madison

Business Day in Madison is a premier event that brings politics and business together. Join the more than 1,000 attendees in Madison this March.


The event is scheduled for Wednesday, March 4 from 7:30am to 4pm at the Monona Terrace. Register here.  

Got News?

What is your business up to? Pass along information and corresponding photos to 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. 

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, $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.

Learn How to Host An Appetizer Party

With Mila Stahl at The Artisan Foodie
During our three hour class, you will learn how to prepare new & exciting appetizers, taste them, visit with family or friends and feel confident to host your next party. You will enjoy delicious food and beverages plus receive a hostess gift and copies of all the recipes that were presented and learn how to calculate the right amount of appetizers for your next party. The cost is $40. Class sizes are limited to ten.  Call The Mercantile to register at 745-5768.

summit credit union

7th Annual 'Project Money' Applicants Sought

March 14 is the application deadline for $10,000 reality-based financial challenge, so throw your hat into the ring to compete in the next Summit Credit Union Project Money. You do not need to be a member of Summit Credit Union to apply. 

From May through December, each participant will work one-on-one with a Summit financial coach to reduce their debt and increase their savings. Their ongoing progress and unique stories will be accessible on Summit's web site, as well as in various media outlets, serving as a learning tool for the entire community. 

In Feb. 2016, a winner will be determined based on percent increase in savings, percent decrease in debt and participation in program events. The winner will receive a grand prize of $10,000, and runners up will each receive $2,500.


For more information, visit or call 608-243-5000 or 1-800-236-5560. For an application, visit

February Community Events
Spread the word about your event by posting them on our website!

1       Bingo at the VFW
2       Portage Area Community Theatre Informational Meeting
3       Chamber Business Luncheon
4       Business Day in Madison
5       Hand Dyeing of Wool Yarn at The Mercantile
6       Opening Reception for Portage Elementary & Middle School at Drury Gallery 
7       West Wind - Performing Arts Concert Series
7 & 8   Flanagan's Wake at Northwoods Dinner Theater
9       Adult Education Opportunity at St. Mary School & Parish
10     Business After 5 at Portage Public Library
12     Handbuilt Pottery Class at The Mercantile
13-15   Flanagan's Wake at Northwoods Dinner Theater
14     The ARC Greater Columbia County to Benefit Special Olymics Bowl-A-Thon
14     Hosting an Appetizer Party Class by the Artisan Foodie at The Mercantile
15     Bingo at VFW
19     Ladies Night at Portage Lumber
21     Portage Lions Club Radio Auction
24     Tickets go on sale for the Spring Wine Walk 
26     Portage Center for the Arts Brown Bag Lunch Series 

For more information about these and other events, go to 

Organizing an event or having a sale?

Submit your event or sale to us and have it appear on the Chamber website calendar of events.You may enter your event by clicking here. Please note: Your 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.

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