new-year-header.jpg   NEWSBREAK   January 2016  
Portage Chamber Executive Director Marianne Hanson presented Sharon and Dennis Trecek of Trecek Automotive with the First Impression Award at last year's Chamber Awards Banquet. 
Chamber Annual Awards Banquet 
With a brand new year upon us soon, it's time to recognize businesses and individuals for outstanding contributions. We invite you to join us at the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Banquet and be part of the Business Event of the Year.
This year's banquet will be held at the The Ball Room, 112 E. Cook St., on Wednesday, January 27, 2016. The featured speaker will be Kurt Bauer, President/CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC). Kurt will be talking with us about the State of the Wisconsin Business Climate.
Network and get to know your fellow Chamber members while we recognize some of the activities of exceptional businesses and people whose service or performance positively contributes to the quality of life in the Portage community. This year we will be recognizing nominees in seven categories: Business Excellence Award (20 or more employees); Rising Business Star Award; Community Service Award; Educator Commitment Award; First Impression Award; Tourism Award; and the Susan Weyh Business Excellence Award (less than 20 employees).
The Chamber board renamed the latter Business Excellence Award in memory of Susan Weyh, former Chamber board member and past president who passed away in February 2015.    

Please nominate a business or person(s) you feel deserves some recognition for their dedication to the Portage Community by completing and returning the nomination form to our office. Click here for a form. From all the applications submitted, a finalist in each category will be selected and awards given out.

We are also selling tickets for a chance to win a cruise for two (value $1000) courtesy of Free Spirit Travel. Tickets are one for $10 or three for $20 available at the Portage Chamber office, 104 W. Cook St. The drawing will be held during the awards banquet.

Thank you to our Dinner Sponsors!

culvers logo arbor green logo
don rick new logo
Holiday Shopping Giveaway 
The Portage Holiday Shopping Giveaway contest was another success. Shoppers brought their sales receipts from participating businesses to the Chamber office for chances to win Portage Green Gift Certificates in three prize drawings! 

Winners (pictured below left to right) of the two $100 Portage Green Gift Certificates drawings were Jason, accepting for the Pardeeville EMS team, and Scott Seaman, accepting for Divine Savior Healthcare Materials Department team.  
The $500 Grand Prize drawing winner was Sue Jones of Endeavor.
Thanks to all who participated in generating receipts nearing $27,000 during the contest. The Portage Chamber collaborated for the second year on this event with Business Improvement District and Downtown Portage Inc. 
snowflake-cookies.jpgCookie Walk
The Cookie Walk was possibly the busiest its been as the warm weather contributed to the cookie boxes selling out in just 20 minutes! 

Cookie walkers had the opportunity to collect cookies from 24 different Chamber member businesses this year. Thank you to all who participated. Proceeds from the event were added to community contributions toward the new fountain at Pauquette Park. 
Culver's Breakfast with Santa
Thank you to the staff of Culver's for getting up early on a Saturday morning to put on another great Santa breakfast event, serving 200 people. 

Not only did little ones benefit from letting Santa know what is on their list from Christmas, but the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry also benefited from the food and cash raised from the generous folks attending the event.  

A reminder that tickets are available well in advance of the event date- the second weekend of December. Get yours ahead of time!
Holiday Lights Decorating Contest
The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce recognized local homeowners and business owners for the hard work and time they spent rigging up lights and decorations for the holiday season.

The winner of the residential category was 846 Parkview Ct. and recipient of $100 in Portage Green Gift Certificates. Honorable mention went to the home at 532 W. Wisconsin St. 

The winner of the business category went to Portage Theatres, 322 W. Wisconsin St.
The complete list of address entries is listed on our webpage.
Business After 5
The Portage Center for the Arts is the next location for our Business After 5 event. Join fellow members for an evening of networking and friendly conversation on Tuesday, January 12 from 5pm to 7pm. Bring along business cards to share. 
Business Profile - 
If you're looking for an out-of-the-box recruiting solution, look no further than Forward Service Corporation. We are a Wisconsin non-profit employment and training firm that provides services in Portage and across Columbia County.

Our goal is to help customers get ready for rewarding careers by learning new skills and getting the support to show up to work every day. 
We also provide customized training programs for local businesses so you can be sure your new employees have the knowledge your need. 

Put our team to work for you and get the motivated, dedicated, and resourceful employees to keep your business competitive. Check us out at or call us at 608-742-1089.
Welcome New Chamber Members 
ADRC of Columbia County
2652 Murphy Rd.  Portage, WI
Becky Mulhern at 608-742-9233
The Aging & Disability Resource Center of Columbia County is the place to turn when you don't know where to start. We provide services over the age of 18 to developmentally disabled, physically disabled and elderly.   

Realty Executives Forward
309 DeWitt St.   Portage, WI
Cory Otto at 608-697-4098
 We provide the best service to home buyers and sellers who can expect the same level of expertise Realty Executives has long been known for.

Grean Carpet Care
PO Box 221    Portage, WI
Cory Otto at 608-697-4098
We help your carpet and upholstery looking great for years with regular maintenance cleanings and removing spots and spills. We use only "green" cleaning products, so it is safe for children and pets.
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A new Child Care Center in Portage!
Divine Savior Healthcare is opening a new Child Care Center for children, ages 6 weeks - 5 years old (or entering Kindergarten). Registration for full-time child care began December 1, 2015.
The Child Care Center will have 3 classrooms and an outside barrier-free playground for children to explore and play. The Center will offer a new kind of care to help your child grow by using Creative Curriculum and Assessment Tools. This curriculum will be used to teach, evaluate and assist in establishing environments. The environment is a foundation of the early childhood curriculum. Each classroom environment is aesthetically pleasing and rich in opportunities for children to notice, wonder, explore and discover.
Learn more about the Divine Savior Healthcare Child Care Center at
or contact the Child Care Center Coordinator:
Jenn Bilderback
Phone: (608) 745-5935
Email: [email protected] 
Providing a safe learning environment for your child as they explore life's new adventures!

Looking for a Hot Deal? See our list!   

Check out our Hot Deals webpage for deals our Chamber members are offering. Have a Hot Deal of your own you want others to know about? Post your deals on our webpage and join the Hot Deal brigade! There is no charge for posting a Hot Deal, so post away!  If you have questions, call the Chamber office at 608-742-6242 to get started.

Click here to see the specials that are currently running!

Save the Date  

Save the date for the Sue Weyh Memorial Bonspiel on February 6 & 7, 2016 at the Portage Curling Club, 107 W. Albert St. 

For more information, call 608-742-3237.
goodwill logo
Goodwill Industries appoints New President and CEO
The board of directors of Goodwill Industries of South Central Wisconsin, the organization operating the Goodwill store and donation center at 2902 American Legion Drive in Portage, has appointed Vicki Holschuh to serve as the organization's president and CEO. Holschuh replaces Barbara Leslie who served Goodwill for nearly 45 years, including 22 years as the organization's top executive.
Holschuh worked for Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin for 18 years. She held a variety of executive positions during her tenure, including her final position as senior vice president and chief retail officer.
According to Gary Johnson, chair of Goodwill Industries of South Central Wisconsin's board of directors, "Vicki is an individual with incredibly strong credentials who has helped the Milwaukee Goodwill organization grow into one of the largest in the nation. While helping to develop its strong retail program, Vicki has also never lost sight of the mission and values of Goodwill."
"As we look forward to Vicki's leadership, we know that Barb Leslie will be missed and long remembered for her tremendous contribution to the growth of Goodwill in this area of the state. She and her team have built a strong reputation and foundation for our organization that will serve us well in the future," Johnson said.
Goodwill Industries of South Central Wisconsin's mission is to strengthen our community by providing supportive housing, employment services and other assistance to local residents with disabilities or other challenges. It, among other things, helps individuals with significant disabilities find and maintain employment in the community, provides temporary and permanent housing to individuals with chronic mental illness and operates a career center and work training program that are available to individuals with or without disabilities.
With 81 percent of Goodwill Industries of South Central Wisconsin's revenue generated through the sale of donated goods, its donation and retail operations are vital to the organization's success. It operates 10 donation centers and nine stores in the region.

Mayoral Forum 

Save the date for the 2016 City of Portage Mayoral Forum on Wednesday, February 10 at 6:30pm at Portage Center for the Arts, 301 E. Cook St. 

The public is invited to submit questions for the candidates ahead of the forum to the Portage Chamber at 608-742-6242 or [email protected]    

Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

On a morning that saw Portage Police Officer Jason Stenberg promoted to detective, yesterday Portage Mayor Bill Tierney declared Saturday, January 8 Law Enforcement Appreciation Day in Portage. At a large gathering at Common Council chambers that featured the Color Guard, Tierney encouraged residents to wear blue on Saturday in recognition of law enforcement.  

Thank you to the Portage Police Department and the Columbia County Sheriff's Department and staff.   
American Red Cross Bake Sale 
HealthSource Chiropractic is holding a bake sale to raise funds for the American Red Cross beginning January 18 through the 22nd. Donations will also be accepted. New patients can receive a free exam and X-rays with a $10 donation.

For more information, contact Jessica at 608-742-2225.
Bridal Pond fountain update 
Funding for a new fountain at Pauquette Park is past the $6000 mark with a recent donation from Sandy & Dave Gunderson, Robert Roth of Roth Professional Solutions and BMO Harris Bank.

Pictured above are members of the Portage Service Club Association (PSCA), representing the local Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis, Optimists, General Engineering Company and the Chamber of Commerce during a check presentation for $3000.  The PSCA pledged to match the $3000 that the Chamber of Commerce has already raised by donations.  You may make a donation to help with the cost of replacing the fountain and new lighting by sending a check to the Portage Chamber of Commerce.
The Portage Parks & Recreation Department offered installation and maintenance. Contributions can be sent payable to the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce (memo: fountain) and mailed to 104 W. Cook St., Portage, WI 53901. Call the Portage Chamber at 608-742-6242 for info. 
Ribbon Cuttings 
A ribbon cutting was held at Portage Furniture Store, 126 E. Cook St., to welcome the new owner partners, Aaron and 
Austin Ayers to Portage.

Located in downtown Portage Furniture Store carries top quality name brands in furniture today such as Flexsteel, Serta, La-Z-Boy, England, Smith Brothers, Lane, Winners Only, Best Home Furnishings, Wolfcraft and many more.
You can browse our 20,000 square foot showroom from room to room, where we have a large in-stock inventory of some of the most beautiful furniture made.


For more information, please call 608-742-4106 or visit

Visual Arts Scholarship available
The Portage Center for the Arts wants to let you know there is a scholarship made possible by a generous gift from Eleanor Drury. The VA Scholarship is dedicated to a visual arts student pursuing an art degree or equivalent after high school. 

Currently enrolled college students and high school seniors from the greater Portage area are eligible and encouraged to apply for this scholarship. An application is required. The deadline is April 15, 2016.
Portage Chamber January Meeting and Events 
5    Chamber Business Luncheon at Pizza Ranch
6    Ambassador Meeting at Community Bank    8am
12  Business After 5 at Pizza Ranch     5pm-7pm
27  Annual Chamber Meeting & Awards Banquet    
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 [email protected] 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. 

January Community Events
Spread the word about your events by posting them on our website!
5    Chamber Business Lunch at the Pizza Ranch
8    Opening Reception of Impacted Abstractions by Ray Zovar at Portage Center for the Arts
9    Yid Vicious-Performing Arts Concert Series at Portage Center for the Arts
12   Business After 5 at Portage Center for the Arts
15   Bingo at Our House Senior Living
17   Bingo at the VFW
18-22  American Red Cross Bake Sale at HealthSource Chiropractic of Portage
27   Annual Chamber Meeting & Awards Banquet

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 [email protected].