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Stories Added - June 2009
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Onalaska Chamber awakens after 3-year hiatus
Polk County Enterprise - June 2009
ONALASKA – Onalaska City Hall was the meeting place for almost a hundred merchants Wednesday afternoon. The Greater Onalaska Chamber of Commerce (GOCC) called a meeting of prospective members, interested parties and current members to openly discuss the future of the chamber. The Chamber has been idle about three years. Chamber president, Greg Smith, opened with remarks concerning the chamber’s recent inactivity. Mayor Lew Vail asked those in attendance to introduce themselves so everyone present would know whose ideas were being aired. Merchants, realtors, shop and businesses owners, developers, bankers and organizational representatives were present at the meeting. Representatives from Riverside, Waterwood and the Livingston Polk County Chamber of Commerce also attended the meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to decide whether to revitalize the GOCC to actively promote the city, lake and surrounding areas. An overwhelming show of hands by those present indicated preferences are to revitalize the chamber. The meeting moved forward to how revitalization might take place. One area developer shared positive results from billboards in the Houston area. Another developer suggested the need for a greater variety of restaurants and lodging from market research conducted recently by his company. The suggestion for a municipal management district was also aired. Some area merchants attend trade shows in large cities to promote area attractions while other businesses have web sites for their specific trade. Business owners such as realtors link their information with other web sites to expand the opportunities for property information. The consensus from the meeting was to join forces with ideas and dollars to explore promotions that will showcase the lake and established businesses while providing for growth in the area. Ideas for discussion at future meetings may be e-mailed to Lew Vail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Onalaska City Hall will be the location for the next noon meeting scheduled for the third Wednesday in June.