April 2015

March Business Luncheon recap

Steve Sobiek, Business Development City of Portage spoke to about 30 Chamber members at the March Business Luncheon held at the B & B Hitching Post. 


Sobiek, who just marked one year in his position, said the city is heading in a positive direction, noting the 22 ribbon cuttings the Chamber held last year for new or expanding businesses and stating the Portage Enterprise Center was near full capacity.

Despite the recent closings of Staples and Kmart leaving empty storefronts, Sobiek expressed optimism for the future, noting many reasons for hope. According to Sobiek, there has been interest shown in the former Kmart and south side Pick N' Save buildings. Other good news: Sobiek said a business inside the city's incubator, the Portage Enterprise Center, was readying to leave and start in a new facility.   


The county building project is moving ahead as agreements with current property owners near completion. Sobiek said the county's project, located along both sides of the canal between DeWitt St. and Adams St., will eliminate blight while pushing the Portage canal refurbishment further along.   


Sobiek said the city PATHS program is moving forward, linking the city through a system of designated trails and routes for walking and biking, and Divine Savior Healthcare's expansion, La Vita at the Wellness Center, is underway and expected to be completed late this year. Both projects aim to promote and facilitate the well-being of residents while serving as great lures to those looking to relocate. 


As the summer tourism season looms, Sobiek said the two of the city's historical treasures, Fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters and Historic Indian Agency House, are high on the city's radar. Representatives from both locations recently met with city officials and are looking forward to working together in 2015.

portage community schools April Chamber Business Luncheon

Join fellow Chamber members as Charles Poches, Portage Community Schools District Administrator, gives us an inside look at the programs and technology that the students are using today. How much has school changed since you were a student? Kids today use tablets and laptops more than #2 pencils. 

The luncheon is scheduled for Tuesday, April 7 at Dino's Restaurant with lunch at 11:30am and presentation at Noon. Pay for your lunch at the restaurant. Call the Chamber at 608-742-6242 to reserve your spot.


Welcome New Chamber Members 


Portage United Methodist Church

 1804 New Pinery Road, Portage 53901

Shar Kuhl at 608-745-4542

Our Spiritual environment includes expressions of invitation and 

welcome, opportunities for education and plans for preparation.


Portage CrossFit Cooperative
201 E. Albert St., Portage, 53901

Ben Brindley at 608-345-7109  

As a CrossFit affiliate, our goal is to create a community revolving around fitness.   

shelly cibulka ad sept 2013

Portage Chamber April Meeting and Events 

1     Ambassador Meeting at Community Bank   8am
3     Chamber office closed for Easter Holiday
7     Golf Committee Meeting  8am
7     Chamber Business Luncheon at Dino's
16   Business After 5 at Portage Insurance Center
24   Wine Walk  

Business Profile - 205 Vino

205 Vino is locally owned by husband and wife team Matthew and Jessica Asch. We are a wine lounge with a full bar, that offers many different wines, craft and domestic beers, and specialty cocktails. Our dining menu offers tapas to share and dinner options as well to pair with your drink of choice. We offer dining options that you won't find anywhere else in town.

Being a new business in Portage we have strived to offer menu items to appeal to everyone. We are on our third round of changing our menus to keep things new and fresh while making sure to include a nice variety to appeal to all tastes. We are not just a bar; however, our normal business hours during the week offer specials that are not offered anywhere else in this area. From drink specials that include $4 Martinis, $2 Craft Tappers, and $3 glasses of wine, paired up with food specials that are out of this world!   We have a fun and entertaining Open Mic every Wednesday night hosted by Dan Robson. Open mic gives local artists an opportunity to get their music, poetry, etc. out to the public or practice for their next event. We have live Trivia night the last Tuesday of every month hosted by Nathan Russell. Each month is a different category to keep things interesting.


We try to support our local artists as much as possible by hosting live music a couple times a month and showcasing local artist work for sale on our walls. We team up with our local Portage Area Community Theater to host some of their live performances. From musical acts to comedy shorts, their performances never disappoint. Vino also has teamed up with local artist Fey Martin to offer paint classes on a regular basis. Painting and wine, what a great combo!


In addition to catering to the public during our evening open hours we also use our large comfortable space to host special events from class reunions, wedding receptions, bridal/baby showers, funeral/memorial services, Holiday parties, fund raisers, etc. We also offer rental of our side room for smaller events like monthly book clubs, committee meetings, direct sales parties, painting canvasses classes, painting wine glasses classes, etc.


In the attempt to set us apart from potential competition we also are always searching for that something different to do. We schedule bus tours to take our patrons to vineyards, breweries, and other wine bars in the area. We have even had live music entertainment on the bus to keep the party going. We have hosted wine/beer/food pairings featuring different regions and including local vineyards and breweries. We hosted murder mystery party where our patrons chose a character and dressed and acted the part to solve the mystery.


We strive to always change and evolve with what our customers are looking for and offer different and fun activities to our community that have not been offered here in town before. For more information, call 608-742-2058 or visit 205Vino.com


Business After 5
Our next Business After 5 event will be held at Portage Insurance Center, 201 E. Wisconsin St., on Thursday, April 16 from 5pm to 7pm. Join fellow members for conversation and refreshments. Remember to bring some business cards to pass around.
Congratulations to Barb Knight 
The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce congratulates Barb Knight on her retirement from Community Bank. Barb, shown here holding the ribbon during one of the many ribbon cutting ceremonys she attended, served as a long time Ambassador of the Portage Chamber and helped coordinate the Chamber Annual Dinner and other Chamber functions. 

We will miss her and appreciate all she did for the Chamber. Enjoy a long and happy retirement, Barb!!!
golf5.jpg Local golf courses now open!!
The Portage Country Club and Pine Trail at Saddle Ridge Golf Club are now open for business, so swing a club and grab a bite to eat at NorthShore and the Pine Trail restaurant

Click on the links--for more information about upcoming events and daily specials--then get on the links!   

UW-Madison SBDC Social Media Marketing Series 

The Small Business Development Center is offering a Social Media Marketing Series - 3 Programs: April 9, 16 & 23, from 8:30am to Noon. Develop social media marketing strategies to generate leads and sales for your company. Explore detailed tactics for different social media options, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and investigate which tactics are best for your business. Take all 3 programs and save 10%; $297


Social Media Marketing Strategies and Tactics

Thursday, April 9, 2015; 8:30 am - Noon; $110

Before you begin tweeting, poking, and pinning, we recommend you start with the end in mind. What's your overall social media strategy? How will you know if you're being successful? Find out how to craft an effective strategy that will bring you more customer awareness, business, and credibility by reviewing today's most popular sites.


Using Facebook to attract customers

Thursday, April 16, 2015; 8:30 - Noon; $110

Gain a comprehensive understanding of Facebook's full suite of advertising tools, including who you can reach on Facebook, what creative direction you should be aiming for, and how to test and monitor ad performance using Facebook's advanced reporting tools.


Using LinkedIn to Generate Leads  

Thursday, April 23, 2015; 8:30 - Noon; $110

LinkedIn is much more than a place to post your resume online. Discover the potential that LinkedIn holds, and develop your own personal strategy for using it as a tool to grow your business.

Click here to register and for more information. 

Ribbon Cuttings
A ribbon cutting was held at the Chamber office to welcome Badger Clean Janitorial Services LLC to the Portage business community.

One toilet at a time Badger Clean is
ready to serve your janitorial needs in
Portage! Call 608-477-0970 for a free
evaluation of your janitorial needs.


2015 Street and Utility Project Schedule Update:

New Pinery Rd. Intersection at Wal-Mart - The Contractor intends to start on the New Pinery Rd. intersection near Wal-Mart, the week of March 30. The project is anticipated to be complete around May 11. Traffic will be maintained at all times on New Pinery Rd. for the Northbound and Southbound traffic. The Easterly and Westerly traffic movements at this intersection will be closed for the duration of the project.    

Hamilton St. and E. Slifer St. - The Contractor will be starting on Hamilton St., the week of March 23. E. Slifer St. will be starting on or around the week of April 6. All of Hamilton St. and E. Slifer St. is anticipated to be complete by May 15.


W. Marion St. - The Contractor intends to start the week of August 3. The project is anticipated to be complete around September 28. There will be a follow up in the next couple of months to confirm these dates or if there is a change in these dates.


E. Franklin St. - The Contractor intends to start on E. Franklin St. the week of August 3 with pulverizing the road and starting the underground work the week of August 31. The project is anticipated to be complete around October 5. There will be a follow up in the next couple of months to confirm these dates or if there is a change in these dates. 


The E. Albert St. project from E. Haertel St. to Hamilton St. - Will begin in mid-April with minor storm sewer work at E. Albert St., near Dorothy Drive. In addition, there are some concrete repairs for spot curb and gutter, sidewalks and driveways. This work should only take the contractor a couple of weeks. After the site is cleaned up from this work, they will be off site until the beginning of September. Once back on site, the contractor will mill the existing pavement and install new asphalt with bike lanes.


The portion of E. Albert St. from Hamilton St. to HWY 33 will not be constructed this year but may be considered as a 2016 project.

Donations to PATHS
Portage Mayor Bill Tierney, center, recently accepted combined donations totaling nearly $20,000 toward the PATHS project from Rob Walz, left, of Cascade Mountain, and Michael Decker of Divine Savior Healthcare.

Discover whether becoming an entrepreneur is right for you

Learn the personal considerations to starting a business and determine whether your ideas are feasible. Learn how to create and write a business plan, an important step often skipped by entrepreneurs.


The first class, "Exploring Entrepreneurship" will be held on Wednesday, April 1 from 6pm-8pm at the Portage Public Library. The second class, "Building the Perfect Business Plan" will be held April 8 from 6pm-8pm at the Portage Public Library, 253 W. Edgewater St. You must have attended the Exploring Entrepreneurship class in order to attend the Building the Perfect Business Plan class.


Both classes are free, but you must register ahead of time by calling 608-257-5450. The classes are being sponsored by the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC).


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 pacc@portagewi.com or call our office at 608-742-6242.
portage center for the arts

Happenings at Portage Center for the Arts 


Photography Interest Group - Meet with fellow photographers at a new location: Northwoods on Hwy 51 South on Tuesday, April 7. Call Fred at 608-742-4691.

Meet the artist at Tivoli - At Home Wishing Hill is an exhibit by watercolor artist Ellen McGaughey and photographer Jim Kinder. Meet the artists at Tivoli on Friday, April 17 from 4pm to 6pm. Exhibit runs through June 2015.

For more information on these events and other performances, go to portagecenterforthearts.com.    
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.

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. 

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

1       Exploring Entrepreneurship at Portage Public Library
2-4    Museum at the Portage opening for the season
2       Maundy Thursday Service at Portage Presbyterian Church
3       Good Friday Service at Portage Presbyterian Church 
4       Maple Syrup Festival at MacKenzie Center
4       Portage Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt
4       Easter Bash at Pierce's Market Place
4       Easter Fun at Tivoli
4       Easter Egg Hunt at Culver's
5       Easter Sunday Service at Portage Presbyterian Church
5       Bingo at VFW
6-8    tickets on sale for Laura's School of Dance Recital
7       Portage Chamber Business Luncheon
8       Lake Delton Regional Job Fair
8       Building the Perfect Business Plan at Portage Public Library
10     Opening Reception of artwork of Pardeeville and Portage High Schools at PCA
11     Krause Family Band - Performing Arts Concert Series
11     AmericanWay 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament and 3 Point Contest
11     Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo at Corner Pocket
13     Adult and Teen Education Opportunity presentation at St. Mary's School
15     Pine Needle Basketry Class at Portage Center for the Arts
16     Business After 5 at Portage Insurance Center
18     United Way Spaghetti Dinner with Late 4 Dinner at Northwoods
18     How to Host an Appetizer Party at the Mercantile
19     Bingo at the VFW
19     Yahara River Chorus at Portage Center for the Arts
22      Earth Day Clean-Up
23-26   Portage Area Community Theatre presents 'Stitch, Bitch 'n Die'
23     Portage Center for the Arts Brown Bag Lunch Series
24     JD Power Tour at Walsh's ACE Hardware
24     Portage Chamber Wine Walk
24     Wayne Bartels Senior Citizen Euchre Party
25     Late 4 Dinner at the Corner Pocket
26     Pancake Breakfast for River Haven Homeless Shelter
27     Portage Blood Drive at AmericanWay University
27     Portage Sharing Supper at Rusch Elementary
For more information about these and other events, go to www.portagewi.com. 






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 graphics@portagewi.com.