NEWS BREAK September 2016

Building Facade Improvements
The America's Best Communities (ABC) grant award that Portage received as a quarter-finalist has supported some nice programs and projects in our community. 

The latest product of the ABC grant award, a matching loans funds program, now exists for the purpose of upgrading and improving the exterior front, side and rear facades of existing privately owned businesses.The loan program will facilitate completions of many smaller scale exterior improvement projects. 

Funding for this program was made possible through the City of Portage and Portage Area Chamber of Commerce's participation in the America's Best Communities competition, sponsored by Frontier Communications.

Business After 5 - Portage Elks Lodge #675
Join us on Tuesday, September 13 from 5pm-7pm
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 featured speaker this month is Julie Wood, Education Program Manger at Small Business Development Center.
You are never too young to start a business. Julie just recently authored the book More Than a Lemonade Stand.  She will be talking with us about how we can help develop the next generation of young entrepreneurs and get kids involved in starting business.  As a Chamber we look to our future leaders to help create those strong and lasting businesses in our community.  Let's see what we can do to create a challenging and fulfilling experience for these leaders.

Business Luncheon Information:
Speaker: Julie Wood
Where: Dino's Restaurant   
When:  Tuesday, September 6   Lunch at 11:30AM, Presentation at Noon
Cost: pay for your lunch at the restaurant
Taste of Portage
A balloon umbrella created by Lochlan the Magician "to let the sunshine in" lifted the spirits of soggy visitors who came to the Taste of Portage last Saturday. Madison Mallards mascot, Maynard, always one to revel in the rain, teased and posed for pictures with visitors, who enjoyed the great traditions of the Taste event: food, music, car show and craft fair. 

The local bands Best Practice rocked a perfect Friday evening and Universal Sound, Dixie Sizzlers and Late 4 Dinner kept things cooking on Saturday. Local restaurants and organizations provided delicious samples of their food to hungry customers all weekend.

The Wisconsin Spudmobile, U.S. Cellular's Pokemon GO lures, the Summit Credit Union Money Machine and Karate America demonstration added terrific sidelights to this
25th installment of the Taste of Portage.

Thank You Sponsors!
Business Improvement District
City of Portage Tourism                                     
Arbor Green
Cardinal Glass
Don-Rick Insurance 
Hill Automotive
General Engineering Company
Divine Savior Healthcare
American Transmission Company
Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home
Wilz Drug
Johnson Chiropractic
HG Meigs
Blau Family Chiropractic
Wisconsin River Title Consultants
Weaver Auto Parts of Portage
Bindl Chiropractic
Frontier Communications
Community Bank of Portage
Miller, Brussell, Ebben and Glaeske, LLC
New Life Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine
Crawford Oil & Propane
Walsh's Ace Hardware
Napa Auto Parts
H&M Contracting
Larry's Trophies & Awards
The Flower Company

Welcome New Members

Jim Schernecker
402 E. Main St.  Reedsburg, WI
Rental property available.

Portage Library Foundation
PO Box 858    Portage, WI
Jon Crawford
We handle donations and fundraisers for the Portage Public Library.
Business Profile - Petro Celebrates 30th Anniversary
Petro of Portage Wisconsin will be celebrating our 30th year Anniversary on Thursday, September 22. Please come and join us as the Portage Chamber will be hosting an Anniversary Ribbon Cutting at 11am. 
There will be cake to follow, food samples from local vendors (Country Kettle Corn, DuPont Cheese, Wisconsin River Brand and Sysco). Spin the Wheel to win a prize or a chance to win a larger prize; prizes provided by Petro and our local vendors (Trecek Automotive, Portage Lumber Do It Best, Modern Specialty, Martin Brothers Distributing, Design 1 Apparel, The O'Brion Agency, Rhyme, Minuteman Press, and Associated Bank.)
Petro has been providing great services and products for 30 years. We have provided service for over 20 million customers.  In addition, our entire Petro team believes it's important to be good corporate citizens.  We're proud of the many charitable events we have supported which help make our community a better place to live for all of us.
If you're not familiar with us:
Our Travel Store offers fuel, deli foods, milk, soda, alcohol, beer, candy, electronics, entertainment item, hygiene products, health needs, clothing, Wisconsin products, and many unique items.
The Iron Skillet Restaurant provides a well-stocked buffet as well as full-course meals from our menu and salads, appetizers, and desserts. The Iron Skillet Restaurant also has Catering for your business needs.  Simply call the restaurant (608-742-6901) and they can help design food catering needs for your business event.
At the Fuel Island you will find diesel fuel for Semi-trucks, bulk and packaged DEF for Semi- trucks, Cat Scale (truck drivers weigh their load) as well as ready to eat foods and beverages.
Our Service Center provide services for Semi-trucks ranging from oil and filter changes to diagnostics, alignments, DOT Annual Inspections, and new tires.
If you're looking for a quicker meal or desert you will enjoy our Dairy Queen and Subway foods.
DQ has hot dogs/chili dogs, blizzards, cones, ice coffee, and smoothies. Subway offers a large variety of sub sandwiches made with fresh baked breads. You can choose a favorite from the menu or build your own. They also offer personal pizza, breakfast sandwiches, cookies, soft drinks, and chips.
Take a virtual tour on our website and/or see what we have to offer at
Please come out and join us for some fun on Thursday, September 22.

Caregiver Job Fair
The Caregiver Job Fair will be held in Room 101 of the Enterprise Center, 1800 Kutzke Road, from Noon to 2pm on Friday September 2. Employers present will be Arc of Columbia County, REM Wisconsin, AmericanWay Assisted Living, Dungarvin, and Our House.

Most are hiring for full- and part-time positions with competitive wages in a variety of locations in the region (Portage, Pardeeville, Reedsburg, Baraboo, Merrimac, and others). Attendees should come prepared for on-site interviews and bring extra copies of their resumes. They will be able to apply at the job fair, but it is preferred interested applicants apply online in advance of the job fair.

Kaylee Griffin, Skills Instructor, Forward Service Corporation, 608-745-9044
kgriff[email protected]    

Save the Date for the Threaded Streams Fiber Arts Trail event!
Are you looking for inspiration or looking for that perfect handmade gift? You will find both when you visit artists' studios, shops, galleries and see very special historical textile exhibits. Trail members exhibit their work, participate in regional art fairs, teach workshops and classes, hold
memberships in local and state-wide arts organizations and are very active in their communities. They are professional makers. For more info:
More variety at St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry 
Thanks to Second Harvest - Madison and Feeding America - Walmart, the food pantry at St. Vincent de Paul - Portage is now able to provide fresh produce, dairy products and a larger variety of healthier food options to families here in the Columbia County area. A new commercial cooler, provided through a grant, allows the capacity to store perishable items. 

This has become more helpful with those that struggle with dietary restrictions. New inventory now includes, but not limited to: milk, eggs, muffins, salad bags, romaine lettuce, spinach, iceberg lettuce, salad kits, vegetable platters, fresh fruit, and sweet corn.

They are looking for volunteers who can reach out to our retired community. For more information, call Tricia Pionke, St. Vincent de Paul, 1311 W. Wisconsin St., at 608-742-5513.
K-9 plush toy available
The Plush Portage Police Department K-9 Puppys are now available for sale. They feature great attention to detail on the department's badge and shoulder patch. 

The toys are selling for $20 a piece at the department's counter from 8am to 4:30pm or by contacting Sgt. Ben Neumann at [email protected]. All proceeds go to support the continuation of the K-9 fund.

The Portage Police Department is reminding you to slow down and watch for pedestrians with the new school season ahead.  
new agency house Historic Indian Agency House Living History Weekend 
Reenactors bring the Historic Indian Agency House and grounds to life on Saturday, September 10 from 9am to 5pm. See
Summer Speaker Series
Professor James Leary discusses his book "Folksongs of Another America" as part of the Summer Speaker Series at Historic Indian Agency House at Fort Winnebago on Tuesday, September 27 at 6:30pm. 

The speaker series is free to the public. For more information, call the Historic Indian Agency House, 1490 Agency House Road, at 608-742-6362.

Kids Day at Culvers
This Health, Safety & Environmental Awareness Day is scheduled for Saturday, September 17 from 10am to 1pm at Culvers, 2733 New Pinery Road. Some of the events for the day include: spinal, dental and eye screenings, a photographed ID kit, bouncy house, tours of a fire truck, ambulance, school bus and police car.


Bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Portage Food Pantry and you will be entered to win a prize! For more information, call Rachel at 608-742-1300.

portage center for the arts Happenings at Portage Center for the Arts
Shilly:  A Musical! - Join us for the World Premiere of Shilly, an original musical by local playwright and theatre education professional Dr. Tom McEvilly, with music by Dan Evans, coming to PCA this September as part of our Zona Gale Young People's Theatre (ZGYPT) program.  Show runs Fridays and Saturdays, September 9, 10, 16, and 17, 2016 at 7pm and Sundays, September 11 and 18, 2016 at 2pm.  Tickets on sale at the PCA office and online, or at the door:  Adults $15  |  12 & Under $8.  Family Night $35  (two parents and up to 5 of their children, Saturdays only). Theatre by children, for children, and for the young at heart!
Brown Bag Lunch Series - Join us for our first Brown Bag of the season in PCA's Zona Gale Theatre on Thursday, September 22!  The Writers at the Portage will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary with readings from their recent Writing Contest, along with a presentation of awards! 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.
Dinner & Auction - Join us for our annual AutumnArts dinner and auction on Wednesday, September 28 at The Ball Room in Portage, honoring the Arts and local artists! This year we will be honoring the Gale Singers Community Choir! Pre-Sale Tickets Only - $25 available online or at the office by Sept 14.   Watch for our oprtional online pre-bid auction opening Sept. 21 and get a sneak peak on what's available.

For more information, call 608-742-5655 or go to
ATV Raffle Drawing
The Columbia County Tavern League is holding an ATV Raffle to benefit the league's charities on Saturday, September 24. Tickets are 1 for $10 or 3 for $25 and are available at Cottonwood Bar, 312 DeWitt St.  The raffle will be held at Remi's Thirsty Moose in Poynette on Sept. 24 at 4pm.

The Grand Prize is a 2016 570L Outlander Can-Am and Trailer, second prize is $1000, third prize is $250, and the fourth prize is $150.
Internet Service Survey
Is everyone in your community satisfied with the speed of their internet? What internet service will you need in the future? The State Broadband Office at the Wisconsin Public Service Commission has announced the release of its High Speed Internet Access Demand Survey. 

Used as a tool to allow residents and businesses the opportunity to voice their need for improved Internet access or service, the goal of the survey is to help state planners and policy makers better understand consumer demand for Internet access in Wisconsin.

Please share with residents, leaders, business, and organizations within your communities. 
For more information, contact Kathleen Haas, Community Development Educator and Associate Professor, Columbia County UW-Extension, at 608-742-9683 or          [email protected].
Partners of Divine Savior Mum Sale
The Partners of Divine Savior Mum Sale will feature mums, asters, perennial hibiscus, winter-hardy grasses, Russian sage, herb gardens, hanging baskets and more. Colorful fall decorations are guaranteed by Link's Greenhouse and Farm. The Sale is located at Divine Savior Healthcare's Northeast Entrance, just off of Eastridge Road on the back side of the building

Sale hours: Thursday, September 1, 9am - 4pm  &  Friday, September 2  9am - 4pm
pierces logo Pierce's wins community award
The Wisconsin Grocers Association awarded Pierce's Markets the group's 2016 Community Service Award. Pierce's was recognized for their contributions to communities where they live and operate their businesses. 

Donating a significant amount of money to food pantries in each community of their stores' locations over the years, Pierce's is noted for giving back. The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce awarded Pierce's the 2016 Business Excellence Award (more than 20 employees) earlier this year. 

Pierce's Marketplace is located at 2915 New Pinery Road in Portage. For more information, call 608-742-2386.
Paint Nite at FWSQ
Grab your friends and join us for this incredible night out on Saturday, September 17 from 3pm to 5pm.  At this painting party we will be popping open some of our favorite beverages and introducing you to a local artist, Sarah Hill, who will guide you step-by-step through the painting of a view from fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters.

With easy to follow techniques and delicious wine for liquid courage, even novice artists will astonish themselves with their creations.  Don't worry, no skills needed.  This is an all-inclusive event at $60 per person and includes wine or soda, cheese, art supplies and a professional canvas for you to paint and take home. The event will last approximately two hours. Click here for a registration form.

4th Annual Levee Cruise
The City of Portage is cruising together for a better future on Saturday, September 10 at 10am! Cruise together during this skateboarding event on the scenic levee trail, enjoying local musicians, engaging with keynote speakers, and picnicking at Riverside Park. 

This event is for skateboard and longboards only. Helmets are required. The cost to register is $20; free T-shirt with pre-registration. For more information, visit 

Ribbon Cuttings

A ribbon cutting was held at Portage Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 2100 E. State Rd. 33, to welcome this new member to the Portage Chamber. 

The Portage SDA Church is excited to collaborate with the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce on serving and enriching our local community. 

For more information, please call 608-742-4695.

Dementia Friendly Alliance held a ribbon cutting in recognition of Portage businesses completing training to identify and help those who have dementia.

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!
Chamber September meetings & events
6     Business Luncheon at Dino's Restaurant  11:30 lunch; speaker at Noon
7     Ambassador Meeting at Community Bank    8am
13   Business After 5 at Portage Elks Lodge #675    5pm-7pm
September Ribbon Cuttings & Dedications  
9     Ribbon Cutting at the Portage Family Skate Park  6:30pm
14   Ribbon Cutting at Portage Food Pantry   5pm
16   Dedication of Gary O'Hearn Recreational Complex at Goodyear Park  1pm
22   Ribbon Cutting at Petro - 30th Anniversary    11am
27   Dedication of POW/MIA Memorial at Blue Star Park  5:30pm

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. 

September Community Events
Spread the word about your events by posting them on our website!
1-2  Partners of Divine Savior Mum Sale
2    Brat Sale Fundraiser for Alzheimer's & Dementia Alliance at Pierce's Marketplace
2    Caregiver Job Fair at Portage Enterprise Center
3    Portage Presbyterian Church Brat/Hot Dog Sale at Pierce's Marketplace
6    Chamber Business Luncheon at Dino's
8    Heart Health presentation & CPR demo at Divine Savior Healthcare
9    Portage Skate Park Grand Opening
9-11  Shilly: A Musical! at Portage Center for the Arts
10  Portage Family Skateboard Levee Cruise
10  Living History Weekend at Historic Indian Agency House
10  Portage City Flea Market
11  Alzheimer's and Dementia Alliance Walk
11  9-11 15th Anniversary Remembrance at Pauquette Park
13  Business After 5 at Elks Lodge #675
13  CarFit at Columbia County Law Enforcement Center
14  Portage Food Pantry Ribbon Cutting & Open House
14  Healthy Cooking Classes at Seventh-Day Adventist Church
15  Portage Library Foundation Golf Tournament
15  Portage Fire Department Fire Truck Pizza Delivery from Pizza Hut
16-18  Shilly: A Musical! at Portage Center for the Arts
16  Bingo at Our House Senior Living
16  Gary O'Hearn Recreational Complex Sign Dedication at Goodyear Park
17  Portage Color Run Family Course & 5k
17  Kids Day at Culver's
17  Paint Nite at Fort Winnebago Surgeon Quarters
18  Kratz Funeral Home Open House
21  Healthy Cooking Classes at Seventh-Day Adventist Church
22  Petro Travel Plaza 30th Anniversary
22  Portage Center for the Arts Brown Bag Lunch Series
23  Downtown Beer Hop
24  ATV Raffle Drawing for Columbia County Tavern League Charities (tickets at Cottonwood Bar)
24  Walk for Hope benefiting Prevent Suicide Columbia County
27  Dedication of KIA Memorial at Blue Star Park
27  Summer Speaker Series at Historic Indian Agency House
28  Healthy Cooking Classes at Seventh-Day Adventist Church
28  Portage Center for the Arts Dinner and Auction at the Ball Room

Monthly September Recurring Events:
Thursdays: Portage Farmer's Market
Saturdays: Downtown Market
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].