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Chamber gears up for year-end events

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Preparations for year-end activities and new looks at old strategies took the forefront for members of the Monett Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors at their October meeting.

Board members received tickets to sell for the annual Festival of Flavors, slated for Thursday, Nov. 12 at the St. Lawrence Catholic School gymnasium. Nineteen vendors have signed up to share their holiday cuisine and daily specialties with those attending. Tickets are $12 for adults and available at the chamber office at 200 E. Broadway or from a number of businesses in town.

The Festival of Lights, the chamber's holiday light show in South Park, will open on Wednesday, Nov. 25. Danny Vaughn reported new displays have arrived, Electric Department crews for the city will begin installation this week. Suzy McElmurry, executive director for the chamber, said candy canes to hand out to visitors would arrive this week as well.

Sign-ups have been underway for volunteers to help at the Elf Hut, where visitors are greeted coming through the Festival of Lights. McElmurry said many openings remain available.

Entries are already coming in for the Christmas parade on Saturday, Dec. 5. For the second year, the parade will be held on the first Saturday of the month to limit scheduling conflicts and to increase participation.

Anyone wanting to enter a float, band, marching unit, classic vehicle or equestrian unit should call the chamber office at 235-7919. "Christmas on Broadway" will be the theme of this year's parade, according to chairman Leonard Witt.

Preparations were made to continue the Chamber Checks program for a fifth year. Commitment letters have been mailed to sign up participating businesses. Chamber Checks can be redeemed like cash at businesses accepting them. Over the history of the program, more than 14,000 checks have been redeemed, keeping $140,000 earned in money circulating in the community's economy.

This year's launch of the Chamber Checks program will take place on Nov. 20. Chamber Checks from 2008 can be redeemed through Dec. 31.

Turning to membership, Regina Bowsher briefed board members on the membership mingle held at the City Park Casino, which was attended by 50 people. Eight new members present took the opportunity to award door prizes from what they offer. Aire Serv, Camp Barnabas, Curves, First Christian Church, Denali Dreams, HR Professional Solutions, KidsXcape, Mocha Jo's and the chamber all gave out door prizes.

For fun, members introduced themselves and shared a tag line for their business, providing many novel phrases describing well-known operations. A business card exchange was also undertaken, with the winner gathering 16 cards.

KidsXscape, the daycare center on Second Street, was announced as a new member in October.

McElmurry briefed board members on the meeting about combating the flu, hosted by the Barry County Health Department and Barry County Emergency Management and held at the chamber community room. Posters and handouts shared during the session were made available. McElmurry pointed out the license office has posted a stop sign in its lobby, urging patrons to go home if they are experiencing flu symptoms.

"We're really trying to educate people," McElmurry said.

Board members expressed disappointment when City Administrator Dennis Pyle, attending as an ex officio member, reported the city's application to the Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri (DREAM) Initiative had been turned down.

"Board members thought the city had put together a good proposal and had good basis to be considered," McElmurry said. "The decision did not deter the board's commitment to the Vision 2030 process."

At the license office, all of the additions needed to comply with the chamber's bid to keep the service have been installed, McElmurry said. Security cameras are in place and a new firewall has been installed on the office computer to protect it from hackers.

"The technology person from the state said Monett had one of the best arranged and cleanest offices he'd been to," McElmurry said, "and it was probably on second in the state in having technology like fiber optics."

The next chamber board meeting will be on Nov. 18.

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