NEWS BREAK November 2016
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. Two $100 Portage Green drawings and one $500 Portage Green drawings will be held this year.

Holiday Parade & Tree Decorating 
The Portage Holiday Parade is scheduled for Friday, November 25 at 6pm. The parade will proceed down Conant St., right on Wisconsin St, left on to Cook St. to Adams St. where it ends.

Santa will light the Community Tree after the parade at Commerce Plaza with caroling and music of the season. Compliments of Downtown Portage Inc.: hot, steamy beverages and cookies will be available on the streets along the parade route and the Portage Presbyterian Church will hold their Chili Dump at Commerce Plaza.
You are welcome to be a part of the parade. Entries are encouraged to be lighted and have a theme. Click here  for a parade entry form.
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.

Looking to learn more about the digital advertising world?  Can these types of ads benefit your business? Join us and become familiar with how digital advertising can help your business. Kevin Streetar of  'Amplified' will be joining us to give you some insight into digital advertising.
You will learn: what a responsive website is; about search engine marketing (paid search); about search engine optimization (organic search); how programmatic display advertising works; ways to market your business by using targeted mobile ads; about online video platforms.
Kevin Streetar, Digital Marketing Consultant with Amplified Digital, has over 25 years of consulting with direct clients and advertising agencies. He helps clients to connect with their customers and potential customers using proven digital marketing techniques. Kevin has developed campaigns that coordinate digital marketing with traditional marketing media for specific categories such as auto and agriculture - as well as other small, medium and large retail businesses. He has also worked on statewide campaigns for clients such as Wisconsin DNR, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Ho Chunk Nation.
Location:  Dino's Restaurant
Date: Tuesday, December 6
Time:  Lunch at 11:30AM, Presentation at Noon
Cost: pay for your lunch at the restaurant

Welcome New Members

BonBon and Bordeaux
201 DeWitt St.  Portage, WI 53901
Tracy Cooper at 608-617-0936
Chocolates and wine
Business Profile - BonBon and Bordeaux
The mother daughter team of Tracy and Olivia Fuqua are pleased to announce the opening of BonBon and Bordeaux! With the entrepreneurial spirit of 10 people and a passion for wine they are bringing a whole new store to the wonderful people of Portage.

The dynamic duo has always dreamed of opening a shop of their own and, when the opportunity arrived, they jumped at the chance. Though neither are Wisconsin natives they have always felt like it was home. They first became residents back in 1993, and sadly had to move away. The stars aligned, the chance to come back came around, and it was by fate that they returned.

Tracy and Olivia arrived in July of 2014 and took the first two years to redecorate and re-landscape their home. When those projects where finished, they pondered as to what was next. Thus the idea of BonBon and Bordeaux came about. It seemed like it was meant to be with the location, the timing, and the support they have received from the community.
BonBon and Bordeaux is so gracious to be a part of Portage. This town is home for Tracy and Olivia. They wanted to do their part to bring something new and unique to the community. Portage means so much to them and this business will reflect their appreciation. 

BonBon and Bordeaux will be more than just another wine shop. They will carry items that can be a wonderful gift on their own and can also be incorporated into custom gift baskets that make wonderful presents for any occasion. So come on by, visit with the owners, try some samples, and find something just for you.
Olivia Fuqua, Co-Owner, BonBon and Bordeaux     
201 DeWitt St.    608-617-0936
Career Fair
Portage High School, Columbia County Economic Development and the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce partnered to hold its bi-annual Career Fair highlighting manufacturing businesses and industries at the Portage High School gymnasium last week.

More than 35 businesses were on hand to talk to more than 900 students from Portage and four other area school districts about the variety of career opportunities available the skills and education needed for each career. 

Thanks to the businesses who supported this event and spent time answering students' questions. 

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.

Snowflake Sale at ReStore
The yearly Snowflake Sale starts Tuesday, November 15 at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, 1450 E. Wisconsin St. on the south side of Portage.  Anything with a snowflake is 50% off! 

They also received a large anonymous donation of silestone countertops with endless colors and sizes! For more information, call 608-356-0332.

pride of america web logo Weekend Wish
The Weekend Wish is a fundraising effort that holds several events throughout the year to raise money to provide deserving families a chance to spend 4 days & 3 nights weekend at Pride of America Camping Resort that includes a fully furnished cabin, golf cart rental, $50 gas card, all amenities of the resort, and spending money during their stay at the resort.

Do you know an amazing local family who could use a weekend away? Maybe it's a family with a special needs child, a caregiver who always puts others needs before their own, or a special family who has changed your community. Does this family deserve a vacation? Weekend Wish is now accepting nominations for deserving families. Nominees will be reviewed and narrowed down to finalists.

For more information, contact [email protected] or visit Weekend Wish thanks its supporters and their generous donations.
Chamber Member Open House at Costco
Members, families and friends of the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce are invited to an Open House through November 13. Shopping passes are available at the Portage Chamber office, 104 W. Cook St.  Exclusive offers during this event include: Join as a new Executive Member and get a $20 Costco Cash Card or join as a new Gold Star Member and get a $10 Costco Cash Card.

For more information, call Heather at 608-825-4020.
Be a Salvation Army Bell Ringer
The Salvation Army depends solely on the generosity of individuals who are willing to volunteer their time and efforts. Would you consider joining us as we prepare for the 2016 Christmas Kettle Campaign? We ask that your group consider taking a block of time to ring this upcoming Christmas season. Money raised during this campaign helps local families and individuals throughout the year. It is an enjoyable experience for families to volunteer together and also a good opportunity for the youth groups that need to complete community service projects too.
Over 1,645 People Helped in 2015
The Salvation Army has been serving Columbia County for many years helping our neighbors who find themselves in emergency situations. The work is carried out by volunteers living and working in our communities.  Last year we helped 645 people with emergency situations and over 1,000 people through the special projects we support. Some highlights of they are doing locally: Utility Assistance;  Emergency Lodging; Rental Assistance; Transportation Emergencies; Special Projects such as Hygiene kits; Bike helmets; Back to School, Annual Coat Drive.
Your time will be well spent and appreciated!  Please contact Kathryn at 608-617-3237 or [email protected] for more information and to schedule a spot!
Joseph Project comes to Madison
Where incarceration, poverty and unemployment are a way of life in some districts in Milwaukee, the Joseph Project has provided an opportunity. That opportunity has now come to Madison. The Sen. Ron Johnson-backed Joseph Project tackles inner city unemployment and helps manufacturers that are struggling to fill jobs.
According to the Wisconsin Business Voice magazine, the Jospeph Project involves "a curriculum of workshops focusing on interview skills, work ethic, time and financial management and conflict resolution." The classes are taught by church members connected to the creators of the Joseph Project and Sen. Johnson's senate staff. Upon completion of the process, a candidate receives an interview from a company working with the Joseph Project.
 "Almost all these individuals are in a position where they've got to put their pasts behind them and move forward," Sen. Johnson explained to the Wisconsin Business Voice. "Probably for the first time in their lives, not only do they have the dignity of earning their own success, but they have that added dignity and joy of doing something that's going to benefit somebody they don't even know."
If your business is interested in finding out more about the Joseph Project, please contact Tawsif Anam, southwest Regional Director U.S. Senator Ron Johnson office at [email protected].
Public Involvement Meetings scheduled for I-39/90/94 Study
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is studying potential corridor improvements for I-39/90/94, from US 12/18 in Madison to I-39/WIS 78 near Portage.
Initially, 25 corridor improvement concepts were developed. These 25 were evaluated in a traffic screening analysis. The analysis screened the concepts to see whether they had the potential to reduce future congestion on I-39/90/94 and improve safety. Following the screening, six corridor improvement alternatives are recommended for further evaluation.

As part of this process, WisDOT is hosting two Public Involvement Meetings to receive feedback and input on six corridor improvement alternatives. For more information, call 608-246-5444.

Get your gourmet food basket
The holidays are around the corner and the elves are compiling baskets of goodies over at The Artisan Foodie.

Let The Artisan Foodie prepare a lasting impression this holiday season with a custom-designed, guaranteed-to-delight gourmet food basket. Our baskets are perfect for family, friends and business colleagues.

The Artisan Foodie, 117 W. Cook St., inside The Mercantile, has gift baskets for all occasions that provide lasting impressions every time with uncompromising quality. For more information, call 608-745-5768.
basketball_closeup.jpgPortage Boys Hoops Club Gala & Fundraiser 
Meet keynote speaker Coach Dick Bennett, Head Coach of the University of Wisconsin Badgers 2000 Final Four Team, on Saturday, November 12 at Portage High School during the Portage Boys Hoops Club Gala & Fundraiser.  

Register in advance to be added to the Gate Admissions List, by Nov. 12 & mail your check to: Portage Boys Hoops Club, PO Box 201, Portage, WI 53901
Cost: $20 for Adults; $10 for students; PHS BB and PBHC Youth Players Grades 3-8, Admitted Free. Tickets are also available at the door. 

6:15pm-7:15pm  Social Hour   Meet Coach Dick Bennett, and PHS Coaching staff. Raffle prizes, silent auction items, appetizers.
7:15pm-7:30pm   PBHC Comments - Prizes awarded
7:30pm-8:00pm   Keynote Speaker, Dick Bennett, Head Coach of the University of Wisconsin Badgers 2000 Final Four Team. 

For More Information:
Email Questions to the PBHC: [email protected] 

Connecting with Jesus
Has the power in your relationship with God fizzled? Are you running on empty? Connect with Jesus may be just what you need! You are invited to a series of 20 compelling, powerful presentations beginning on Friday, November 4 at 6:30pm at the Portage Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 2100 E. State Road 33.

Leading out will be James Fox, Ministerial Director of the Wisconsin Conference. Plan to attend as many meetings as possible. Meetings begin at 6:30pm on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday, concluding November 19. Feel free to invite others to come along. For more information, call 608-742-4695.
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].

Insite: The Work Connection
Employment has a brand new name. For over 20 years VARC, Inc. has developed job opportunities for individuals with exceptional abilities, and has now launched its new venture-Insite: The Work Connection. 

Insite is an innovative combination of this experience and new creative approaches to job placement. Insite focuses on matching business needs with individuals who are ready to work-and to be productive, contributing members of society. Insite works with individuals in achieving their long term employment goals through supported employment and job development. Presently, Insite is seeking area businesses that would be open to working with Insite and these exceptional individuals while carving and creating internships to assist with area business needs, as well as give our clients the ability to gain valuable work skills and experience in an area of occupational interest to the consumer with no cost to the employer hosting the worksite.

What is an unpaid internship and how long does it last? An unpaid internship allows individuals to gain valuable work skills and experience free of charge to the employer hosting the worksite. An unpaid internship usually lasts one to three months. We also do seek employer assessment sites which are shorter in duration. As for potential training costs, any necessary on-the-job training above and beyond what is required to train any other new employee will be supported and organized by the Employment Specialist in conjunction with Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) services. The Employment Specialist will work with the employer to determine the job skills needed and provide support to both the employer and the participant via on site visits, skilled job coaching and telephone contacts. 

What are the benefits to the employer hosting the work site? An employer hosting a worksite is not required to pay wages, FICA or Worker's Compensation Insurance to the individual. VARC, Inc. will take care of those expenses and match the wages being paid to other employees performing the job. The employer also has the opportunity to hire a trained individual at the end of the Unpaid Internship. When the employer hires the individual, tax credits and accommodation incentives are available through the DVR and Internal Revenue Service for hiring workers with disabilities. 

If your business is interested in coordinating with Insite to host an internship or work assessment please contact the Columbia County Insite office at 608-742-2552 or via email at [email protected].

Ribbon Cuttings & Groundbreakings

A ribbon cutting was held at Fastenal, 2800 New Pinery Rd., to welcome this new business to Portage. 

Founded in 1967 in Winona, MN, Fastenal Company went from being a small-town fastener shop to world
class growth company of industrial supplies and the largest fastener company in North America.

 For more information, call 608-745-0112.

A ribbon cutting was held at J & J Fireball Lanes, 817 E. Wisconsin St., to welcome Jim Bender and Jim Baures as new owners of the business formerly known as Tolly's Alleys. 

We offer pizza, subs, burgers and more! Specials during Packers, Badgers and Brewers games!
Specials for birthday parties and other events.

For more info, call 608-742-6638.

A groundbreaking was held at the Columbia Energy Center to mark the installation of a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system, expected to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. The total investment in the SCR project is approximately $110 million should be complete by the end of 2018. This work follows the completion of the scrubber and baghouse systems to reduce mercury and sulfur dioxide emissions in 2014. Portage Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marianne Hanson, fourth from left, is pictured with other community representatives in the groundbreaking event.
Chamber November meetings & events
9     Ribbon Cutting at World Finance  10:30am
16   Planning Meeting at 11:30am at Jack's Tap for the Holiday Train
24 & 25   Chamber office is closed for Thanksgiving

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!

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. 

November Community Events
Spread the word about your events by posting them on our website!
4   Mrs. Pemmett's Whimsy & Amusements - Opening Reception at PCA Drury Gallery
4   Portage Rotary Draw-Down Hoe Down at North Shore Restaurant
4   One Day Baking Sale at Pierce's Marketplace 
5   Habitat for Humanity Paint Night at Baraboo Arts Center
5   Columbia County Humane Society fundraiser night at Pizza Ranch 
6   Portage Bridal Show & Event Extravaganza
6   Karissa Kindred Benefit at Northern Exposure
10  Painting Land, Sea & Sky class at The Mercantile
10-12   Divine Savior Healthcare Gift Shop Sale
10-13  PACT Musical "Anything Goes" at Portage Center for the Arts
11  Chili Dine and Dash at Our House Senior Living
11  One Day Meat Sale at Pierce's Marketplace
12  November BLING Jewelry & Open House at Columbia County Humane Society
12  Harvest Dinner at Portage Presbyterian Church
12  2nd Annual Portage Boys Hoops Season Tip Off Gala & Fundraiser
12  Zor Funsters Benefit at The Ball Room
14  Portage Pizza Ranch Fundraiser for Portage Lions
15  Soup Supper Haiti Fundraiser at KC Hall
15-30  Snowflake Sale at ReStore 
17-20  PACT Musical "Anything Goes" at Portage Center for the Arts
17  Women's Night Out at Divine Savior Healthcare
17  Hand Dyeing of Wool Yarn class at The Mercantile
17  Native American Gardening at Portage Center for the Arts
18  Bingo at Our House Senior Living 
19  Sauk Columbia SHRM Meeting at Monk's at the Wilderness
20  Paint Night at Jack's Tap
24  Free Community Dinner at St. Mary's for Thanksgiving
25  Portage Presbyterian Church Chili Dump at Holiday Parade
25-26  Mid-Day Madness at Forever Yours Jewelry
25-26   Portage Theatres Free Kid's Movie
25  Santa Fly-in at the Portage Airport
25  Holiday Lighted Parade & Tree Lighting
25-Dec.16  Portage Holiday Shopping Giveaway
26  Santa's Real Live Reindeer
28  Portage Sharing Supper at Wayne Bartles Middle School
30  We've Got Your Back wellness program at Divine Savior Healthcare
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].