NEWS BREAK October 2016
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 Mindy McConnell of Miller Brussell Ebben & Glaeske, LLC. The Department of Labor has unveiled the new overtime regulations that can affect your business. Employers will have until December 1, 2016 to come into compliance with the new requirements, and Mindy will be talking with us about those requirements.

Business Luncheon Information:
Speaker: Mindy McConnell
Date:  Tuesday, October 4
Where:   B & B Hitching Post  
When:     Lunch at 11:30AM, Presentation at Noon
Cost: pay for your lunch at the restaurant

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.

Holiday Shopping Giveaway 
The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce along with Downtown Portage Inc. and the Business Improvement District are again organizing the Portage Holiday Shopping Giveaway contest to encourage shopping at participating businesses this holiday season between November 25 and December 16.

The contest is simple: Shoppers who purchase goods and services at participating Holiday Shopping Giveaway businesses can bring their receipts to the Portage Chamber during the contest time frame. Based upon the amount of a receipt, the shopper will be awarded chances to win prize drawings held on various days during the contest. 

Last year, more than 40 of our Chamber member businesses participated in the contest. If you are a business interested in participating this year, please call the Portage Chamber at 608-742-6242.
Welcome New Members

Creek Bed Country Farmacy
N2767 Mountford Rd., Poynette
Julie Schoeneberg at 608-635-8798
Family farm offering acres of family fun--corn maze, hay rides, and more.
Career Fair
Portage High School, Columbia County Economic Development and the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce are partnering to hold a Career Fair highlighting manufacturing businesses and industries at the Portage High School gymnasium on Wednesday, October 26.

Businesses are welcome to participate free; this is a win-win for the business and the students. The purpose of the fair is to highlight the variety of career opportunities in your business and inform the students of the skills and education needed for each career. Students will be exposed to all the possible careers within your business and those careers that support manufacturing.

What could be included in your display and discussions with students? Hands-on opportunities to demonstrate skills needed; the variety of career opportunities; explain what steps, experiences and education needed to do the variety of jobs; working conditions-demystify the stereotypes of manufacturing careers; pay rate of various jobs; benefits; soft skills and expectations; experiences they need to prepare themselves for particular jobs; what you look for in a resume; technology skills needed.

For more information, please call the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce at 608-742-6242.
2017 Community Guide & Member Directory   
The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce is planning the 2017 Community Guide & Membership Directory. Your opportunity to advertise in the guide is now. Our advertising representative, Jacklyn Ewerdt, has been contacting businesses to advertise.The guide could be the first exposure your business receives from those relocating or visiting our community. The number of guides printed next year will be 20,000.

The new guides should be out in March 2017. For more information, call the Portage Chamber office at 608-742-6242. Thanks to the following businesses that are already committing to support this 2017 publication.

Ridge Hotel & Ridge Health & Fitness CenterTrans Works Transmissions, LLCMiller, Brussell, Ebben  & Glaeske, LLC
Cardinal FGHead 2 Toe SalonFort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters
Petro Travel Plaza and Iron Skillet RestaurantTerrytown Plumbing Heating and CoolingBlau Family Chiropractic & Integrated Wellness
Kratz Funeral HomeCascade MountainPortage Pizza Ranch
Culver's RestaurantSchultz Small EngineThe Artisan Foodie
First Weber GroupB&B Hitching PostGeneral Engineering Co.
Indian Trails CampgroundWisconsin River Title Consultants, Inc.
Fenske & Associates, LLC

Pride of America Camping Resort
Museum at the PortagePointon Heating and Air Conditioning
Portage Lumber Do-It Best & Premier Rental CenterPortage Center for the Arts
Walsh's Ace Hardware, LLCHaareway Laser and Skin Rejuvenation Center
Community Bank of PortagePortage Community Schools
Portage National BankDavis & Page, LLP
Duck Creek Campground
ho-chunk gaming logo Business Profile - Ho-Chunk Nation
The Ho-Chunk Nation's new expansion project or "Project Forward" is slated to begin in September 2016. Three Ho-Chunk Gaming (HGC) casinos are set to undergo major renovations and expansions. HGC-Wisconsin Dells, HCG-Black River Falls and HCG-Wittenberg will simultaneously see major upgrades that will add to the gaming experience.

"Project Forward" includes gaming floor expansions with additional slots, brand new hotels, new restaurants and bars, smoke free gaming areas along with major cosmetic enhancements. As a result of the expansions, 100 new jobs will be created that will add to the existing 3,400 employee Ho-Chunk Nation workforce.

"We are extremely excited to grow and offer new amenities that will only enhance one of the best entertainment experiences in the region," said Wilfrid Cleveland, Ho-Chunk Nation President. "It's a win-win for everyone when we can create more jobs throughout Wisconsin and add more value to our guest's experience."
The project specifics for Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells includes: New hotel main entrance and lobby; New hotel bar; New poker room; New Off-track betting area; Redesigned casino floor layout; Expanded non-smoking casino area; Renovated bingo area; Renovated and expanded buffet.
ds healthcare
DSH seeking archives & anecdotes spanning its 100 years 
Divine Savior Healthcare is celebrating 100 years in May 2017. They are actively compiling personal anecdotes, artifacts and archives to tell the story of Divine Savior. 

If you or someone you know could serve as a great resource to this project, please contact Haley Gilman at 745-5165 or [email protected].

30% off at Giggles for Kids
Giggles for Kids, a merchant located inside The Mercantile at 117 W. Cook St., will be offering 30% off all merchandise, including toys and books, during The Mercantile's Customer Appreciation Day on Saturday, October 8 from 9am-4pm.

For more information, call 608-745-5768.

General Engineering donates to Food Pantry
General Engineering, represented in the photo by Brad Boettcher, presented the Portage Food Pantry with a check totaling $9000. 

Accepting the check on behalf of the pantry were Pat Halasz, left, and Charles Bradley, pictured right.

Photo courtesy Creek Bed Country Farmacy

 Corn Maze
Our newest Chamber member, Creek Bed Country Farmacy, offers visitors 18 acres and more than 6 miles of trails, as well as interactive elements like QR code checkpoints, through its 2016 corn maze, 'Barn Dance'.

The farm, located at N2767 Mountford Rd., Poynette, offers several activities during its fall celebration, including pumpkin bowling and hay rides. Call 608-635-8798 for info.   

Fine Vine Wine Walk
Get your tickets now for the Fine Vine Wine Walk in downtown Portage happening Friday, October 28. Spend time with your friends enjoying great wine inside various businesses and walking from place to place to shop. Enjoy a night out in downtown!

Tickets are sold by cash or check at: 
Douglas' Big Dog Saloon, 218 W. Cook St., Prairie Flower Beads, 210 W. Cook St., and Smart Woman/Fancy Pants, 124 W. Cook St.

Tickets are $30 each in advance. Admission includes one glass per person, tasting map and wristband. Participants must be 21 or over and ID is required. Tickets are limited.
All ticket sales are final and lost tickets will not be replaced.  No refunds, rain or shine event.

Bring your ticket with you on October 28 to Douglas' Big Dog Saloon at 218 W. Cook St. to receive your glass, tasting map & wristband. Each individual must be present to redeem their own ticket for their own glass anytime after 3pm on October 28. Participants must be 21 or over and ID is required. The event is organized by Downtown Portage Inc.
Mercantile Customer Appreciation Day
The Mercantile, 117 W. Cook St., will be holding a Customer Appreciation Day on Saturday, October 8 from 9am to 4pm. There will be specials throughout the store...and treats! For more information, call 608-745-5768.
Halloween at the Portage Theatres
Portage Theatres is planning a great Halloween themed event for the kids on Saturday, October 29. Just bring a non-perishable food item for the Food Pantry to participate. There will be a costume contest and sidewalk parade leaving from St. Mary parking lot (next to the Theatre along Conant St.). 

The costume contest registration begins at St. Mary's Parking Lot at 10am. Kids will receive a goodie bag at the costume contest to take with during the parade, which follows the costume contest. Downtown businesses are encouraged to be out on the sidewalk and pass out promotional items, brochures and goodies to the kids during the downtown parade of costumes.  

Following the parade, enjoy a free movie with non-perishable food item donation. For more details call 608-742-6678 or visit

Ribbon Cuttings, Anniversaries, and Dedications
A ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of the new Portage Family Skate Park was held at the Gary O'Hearn Recreational Complex at Goodyear Park. 

A ribbon cutting was held at the Portage Food Pantry to celebrate a new location at Lincoln Park at 405 E. Howard St.  

Community members gathered for the unveiling of the sign noting the Gary O'Hearn Recreational Complex at Goodyear Park. Gary, who has touched many lives as a a longtime educator in the Portage school district and who served as a major catalyst behind the Splash Pad, and his family were on hand for the unveiling ceremony. 
A "Hammers to the Wall" ceremony was held at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells to kick off the beginning of an expansion project that will add an enclosed non-smoking gaming area, a renovated and expanded buffet, an update of the entire exterior fa´┐Żade, and a new hotel main entrance and lobby.

Two other Ho-Chunk Nation casinos, Black River Falls and Wittenberg, are scheduled to undergo renovations simultaneous to the Wisconsin Dells project.

The three projects total $153 million and will create 100 new jobs.  

A ribbon cutting was held at Loggerhead Deco, 1640 LaDawn Dr., to celebrate the opening of this new business in Portage.

They provide glass bottle decorating to distilleries, wineries, breweries and niche markets that require custom screen printing and spray/frost bottles. Our bottle printing and spray processes are eco-friendly and lead-free.

For more information, call 630-206-3747.

A ribbon cutting was held at Petro Travel Plaza to celebrate their 30th Anniversary.

Jim and Greg Goetz, co-owners of Petro Travel Plaza, cut the Chamber ribbon to start the celebration on Sept. 22.

The Goetz's are grateful to their family and great team players who have contributed to this successful business.

For more information, call 608-742-9094.

The new KIA Memorial was unveiled during a dedication ceremony held at Blue Star Park. The memorial lists the names of local soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

The memorial was made possible through a Veterans committee, the Portage Parks and Recreation Department and donations from local businesses.    

A ribbon cutting was held at Creek Bed Country Farmacy, N2767 Mountford Rd., Poynette, to welcome this new Chamber member.

Check out the corn maze and more fall fun on their farm! For more information, call 608-635-8798. 

Chamber October meetings & events
4     Business Luncheon at B & B Hitching Post   Lunch at 11:30; Speaker at Noon
5     Ambassador Meeting at Community Bank     8am
5     Ribbon Cutting at Fastenal    9am
6     Ribbon Cutting at J & J Fireball Lanes     5pm
20   Holiday Train Planning Meeting at Jack's Tap 11:30am
26   Career Fair at Portage High School  8am-2pm

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!
coat_drive_man.jpg 12th Annual Coat Drive Collection
Coats are now being accepted for the 12th Coats of Many Colors Coat Drive collection. Gently used, clean winter coats, infant to adult sizes, with workable button, zippers and snaps and snow boots of all sizes are accepted.

Drop off coats through October 21 at Portage Churches, Portage Police Department, or Portage Cleaners. Coat distribution will begin Friday, October 28 from 2pm to 6pm and Saturday, October 29 from 9am to 1pm at Portage Fairgrounds Building #8 (Superior Street Entrance). Please bring your children with you to try on coats.

Contact Nancy Schaper for more information at 608-742-7242.

pride of america web logo
Pride of America Camping Resort thanks contributors
The fundraiser Rally in the Alley was held on August 27 at Pride of America Camping Resort (POA). This year $15,021.05 was raised benefiting The Badger Honor Flight Wisconsin. This annual charity event would not be possible without the support and donation from the local community and the active participation of the POA campers. POA would like to thank all the businesses for their most generous contributions.
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. 

October Community Events
Spread the word about your events by posting them on our website!

3-16  Salvation Army Coat Drive Collection 
3       Walk with ease program at LaVita
4       Biggest Sale of the Year at Anytime Fitness
4       Chamber Business Luncheon
5       Arthritis Seminar at LaVita 
6       Painting Land, Sea, and Sky class at Mercantile
7       Opening Reception for Nancy Peidelstein at Portage Center for the Arts
8       Rendezvous at Fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters
8       Portage Fire and Police Department Open House
8       The Mercantile Customer Appreciation Day
10     Cupcake Cook-off for a Cure & Dance Fitness Party at Divine Savior Healthcare
15     Fall Festival at Indian Agency House
15     River Haven Bowl-A-Thon
20     Madison College Northern Region Celebrates Manufacturing Breakfast
20     Mosaic Garden Stone Class at The Mercantile
21     Bingo at Our House Senior Living
22     Meat Raffle at Jack's Tap for the Portage Rotary
26     Career Fair at Portage High School
27     Blood Drive at Divine Savior Healthcare
27     Kratz Funeral Home Advanced Planning Seminar
28-29   Salvation Army Coat Drive Distribution
28     Fine Vine Wine Walk
29     Halloween at the Portage Theatres
29     Chamber of Horrors Columbia County Humane Society Night
29     Hirt-Alpert Brass Band at Portage Center for the Arts
31     Citywide Trick or Treating
31     Portage Sharing Supper
31     Portage Family Trick or Treat Night 

Monthly October Recurring Events:
Thursdays: Portage Farmer's Market
Saturdays: Downtown Market through October 15
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].