The Phelps, Land O’Lakes and Conover Chambers of Commerce are pleased to announce that the 2015 series of multi-chamber networking events are off to a strong start. In addition to local business owners, the August 19th Business After 5 was attended by Senator Tom Tiffany, Vilas County Board member Chuck Hayes, and Vilas County UW Extension Community Resource Development Agent Chris Stark.
The three Chambers started planning this networking series in the spring, with one in each respective town. The first was held at Big Sand Lake Club in Phelps, with Rural Small Business Consultant Beth Kost sharing information and insight into competitive advantage. Representatives from all three Chambers were present, as well as owners of a variety of local businesses. Attendees enjoyed the chance to tour the historic Big Sand Lake Club, which many had never before visited. Big Sand Lake Club provided an array of snacks for the evening, as well as raffle prizes including two rounds of golf and a Club t-shirt.
LOLA Hosts Evening of Networking & Learning
This second networking event on August 19th was hosted by Land O’Lakes Area Artisans (LOLA) at the Land O’Lakes Center for the Arts. LOLA provided an array of refreshments with an artistic twist, that were pleasing to both the taste buds and the eyes. Raffles included a gift certificate to a LOLA arts class and a discounted Phelps Chamber membership.
Cheryl Pytlarz, Land O’Lakes Chamber President, started off the evening by thanking our guests for joining us. She introduced LOLA, sharing her feeling that the arts “are contributing to the vibrancy and uniqueness that make our area so special”. LOLA board president Lynn Richie filled attendees in on the huge progress that the organization has been making. This summer alone, over 30 art classes were held with over 190 participants. “Not every child is an athlete; the arts are especially important for our youth”, Richie said.
The Role of Arts in Wisconsin
Guest Speaker Anne Katz, from Arts Wisconsin, then shared information about the economic impact of the arts, both around the state and in smaller communities like Land O’Lakes. She explained that arts are a crucial part of Wisconsin’s economy, especially so in areas like ours. “In Wisconsin, the nonprofit arts industry alone generates $535 million in economic activity annually,” Katz said. She explained that Arts Wisconsin is vitally concerned with the idea that the arts are for everyone. There is no limitation to who can be involved in creativity, and arts play an immense role in healthy communities and engaged residents.
“The fundamental reason that the arts are important is that it is what makes us human”, she said. Not only do they help the economy and encourage education, but arts impact quality of life and aid work force development. Creativity helps to teach individuals to think outside the box and be solution-orientated.
Following Anne’s presentation, Senator Tiffany and the other guests were able to take a tour of LOLA’s facilities and browse work by local artisans in the Artistree Gallery. LOLA board members were pleased to be able to show off the new apartment space above the gallery, which allows them to provide housing for traveling artisans and presenters like Anne. A good time was had by all, and the Chambers were pleased with the turnout of nearly 30 guests.
September Business After 5
The next Business After 5 will be held at Jensen-Akins in Conover on September 16th. The guest speaker for the evening will be Neil Roberts, who will share his expertise and insight regarding marketing in the Northwoods. The event is open to members of the Phelps, Land O’Lakes, and Conover chambers and local business owners are encouraged to attend. For more information, please contact the Phelps Chamber office at 715-545-3800 or find Business After 5 online.