By Scott Sullivan
The former Fennville Area Chamber of Commerce has a new name and aim, to be shared at its annual Taste of the Lakeshore fundraising gala Saturday, Jan. 19.
It will be in the A Cut Above Event Center, 6080 Blue Star Hwy, Saugatuck, from 6 to 10:30 p.m.
The rebranded West Michigan Blue Star Chamber of Commerce is working to foster a vibrant and prosperous community in not only Fennville, but Saugatuck, Douglas and surrounding areas as well. It boasts between 80 and 90 business and residential members.
President Jodi Welscott and board member Glenn McNeil outlined the chamber’s planned 2019 offerings and activities to Saugatuck-Douglas Rotary Club members at their Jan. 4 meeting.
The chamber, she said, has a different mission than the Saugatuck-Douglas Convention & Visitors Bureau, which works to attract tourists, and the Saugatuck-Douglas Area Business Association, “which is more events-oriented,” Welscott said.
In addition to next week’s banquet — which will feature a meal of local establishments’ favorite foods and area-crafted beverages, live entertainment and silent auction — the WMBSCC this year plans to:
- Present four $500 scholarships, two each to Saugatuck and Fennville high school students;
- Publish and circulate 12,000 community guides.
- Partnering with Lakeshore Networking, offer 11 networking events;
- Offer a National Night Out in conjunction with first-response agencies; plus support Fourth of July, Venetian Festival, Christmas and Easter events, local parades and more;
- Partner with local schools, governments, downtown development authorities, the CVB and businesses, to promote the area; and
- Publicize community events via Instagram, Facebook and the chamber’s website.
New in 2019 will be printing and circulating 1,000 calendars, offering partnerships between 21 businesses and Fennville Public Schools, a March 9 business expo at the Fennville Community Athletic Center, and spring job fair.
Joining Welscott as chamber officers are vice president Jeff Mathieu, treasurer Barb Burmeister, secretaries Linda Barnes and Angela Holmes, plus marketing director Martia Metcalf.
McNeil, Fennville Downtown Development Authority liaison Erica Ramos, Kate Kraus, Curtis Day and Larry Fuerst are board members.
Taste of the Lakeshore tickets, at $60, can be reserved at eventbrite.com. For more information about the chamber, visit westmichiganbluestarchamber.com or call (616) 836-9979.