The Winnebago Area Chamber of Commerce decided to add something new to their annual meeting – food and entertainment.
Last Tuesday night the Chamber celebrated their past year with a banquet, and looked ahead to even more success in 2009.
“Some towns have a ‘ghostly’ look,” Chamber President Scott Robertson told the audience during his remarks. “Winnebago does not — we have filled storefronts and have an active downtown.”
He specifically mentioned several new businesses which came to town in the past year, and pointed to the new MarketPlace Foods building and Casey’s as great examples of progress in Winnebago.
“Casey’s will be opening on March 12,” Robertson said. “They have already joined our Chamber and we are happy about that.”
Robertson and all of the other officers were unanimously re-elected to another term during the annual meeting. They include Don Selvig as vice president, Cheryl Gunzenhauser as secretary-treasurer, and Shery Hanson and Norma Schmidt as directors.
New City Councilman Bob Weerts is the city council liaison to the Chamber, and David Frundt is an ex-officio member of the board.
It was noted that Marlyse Oswald had resigned as director during the year, and the position was not being replaced. Robertson said that was mainly due to finances.
The Winnebago Area Chamber had expenses during the year of $16,426 and had to take $1,342 out of their savings account to cover the total.
“We spent over $12,000 on advertising and promotions during the year, and that is how it should be,” Robertson said. “We are trying to promote Winnebago.”
Robertson pointed out the new slogan, radio jingle and Chamber logo as items that have helped promote the town.
Under new business, Robertson reported on plans for Moto Fest in 2009. New items may include an expanded family day on Friday, a rodeo on Saturday and a larger car parade.
He also said it looks like the bathtub races will return, despite some problems last year.
“We got some criticism for not having a parade, but parades cost a lot of money,” he said. “We will try to just expand the car parade with some local entries.”
Robertson also said the fireworks cost between $7,500 and $8,000 and he is unsure if they will be able to continue them.
“That is a lot of money for something that is shot up in a half hour,” he commented.
The Chamber members voted to keep the dues at the same amounts for 2009. Currently those are $75 for a single membership, $125 for businesses up to 10 employees, and $250 for those with more than 10 employees.
The 40 chamber members present at the meeting and banquet enjoyed a magic show, complete with music, from magician Troy Levenhagen of Mason City, Iowa.