The Madison County Chamber of Commerce met Feb. 1 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Fredericktown.
It was announced the chamber added seven new members since the last meeting. They are The Gutter Man LLC, Matthews & Sons Equipment, World Finance, Heartland Images, Fredericktown Rotary Club and 72 West Motors & RV’s.
“Now we have a total of 85 members, which I am really excited about,” Chamber President Tessa Rehkop said. “I looked back, in 2014 whenever the old chamber was done, to see how many members they had back then and they had 80 members. So we are back to that number, plus some, so I am really excited.”
Vice President Allison Boyer let members know that when the chamber phone is called to request a roofer, insurance company, etc. whoever answers the phone directs the person to a chamber business in that area. It was then decided that when the chamber obtains insurance quotes for events they will reach out to all Madison County agents for bids but will only accept the bid if the insurers are members or decide to join.
The chamber was approached by Mineral Area College for a list of chamber members in order to solicit businesses regarding scholarships. It was decided that member contact information would be kept confidential and it would be more beneficial for groups to sponsor and speak at a meeting for their cause and obtain contacts in that fashion.
The bicentennial dinner held Jan. 11 had 130 attendees to kick-off the year-long event.
“The bicentennial dinner was a huge success,” Rehkop said. “Originally we were only going to have tables for 100 people but we ended up with 130 people who wanted to come. So we were really excited with the turnout and we have had a lot of great feedback. I think it is a great sign of participation from the community for the rest of the year.”
“I think we will make it an annual thing” Rehkop said. “Obviously next year it won’t be a bicentennial thing but just an annual banquet for the chamber.”
The chamber also discussed upcoming bicentennial events planned for the year.
The Missouri Whitewater Championships March 16-18 will feature a bicentennial theme. A Whitewater Specials list is being created by the chamber.
“It’s just a good way to draw in people to Madison County that are already going to be attending the whitewater races and it kind of gets people out into the community too,” Rehkop said. “We sort of did the same thing for Small Business Saturday and we had a really good turnout for that.”
Members interested in submitting a special deal can submit a form online at www.madisoncountycc.com/whitewater_special_form
A Window Decorating Contest sponsored by Parkland Health Mart Pharmacy will be held throughout April with judging to be at the end of the month.
“I encourage you, if you are a business with a window, to decorate it for the bicentennial,” Rehkop said. “You can do a theme around the bicentennial, you could do the history of your business, or the history of your building just anything you can think of.”
The chamber also discussed having Concerts in the Park every Saturday in June. Rehkop said she has contacted a few bands and will be attending the Fredericktown City Council meeting Feb. 12 with Boyer to request use of the park as well as the possibility of having a beer garden.
“I am trying to get bands that draw in some more people besides in Madison County,” Rehkop said. “That way we can get some outside people to come around and go to our restaurants and shops and stuff.”
Helping the Optimist Club with fireworks on July 4th was discussed. Ideas mentioned included a bounce house, face painting, selling glow sticks, horse shoes, photo booth and more.
“We want it to be a fun family event,” Boyer said. “There are a lot of opportunities for games for kids and adults.”
The chamber also discussed the design and production of a bicentennial coin to sell as a souvenir, and flags to hang on the light poles around town.
The chamber along with the Missouri Job Center will hold a hiring event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 25 at the Fredericktown Branch of the Ozark Regional Library. Each employer present will be required to have at least one job available at the time of the event.
“We have some interest from employers already,” Vickey Bonney from Missouri Job Center said. “It is a little early for employers to know if they will be hiring at the end of April.”
A ribbon cutting will be held Feb. 9 at The Depot Cafe. It will be the business' two-year anniversary and it will be offering free dessert with every purchase all day.
Rehkop said the giant ribbon cutting scissors are sharp and ready to go.
The chamber will be sponsoring a candy booth at the Feed the Families Bake Sale March 24. Anyone interested in helping to make the candy can meet at 5 p.m., March 22 at Trinity Lutheran Church. Any individual who would like to help but is not interested in cooking can contact the chamber at 573-783-2604 to donate candy making supplies.
The chamber will hold a Perk Before Work event from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., Feb. 20 at the Historic Madison County Museum (122 N. Main St.) with coffee and pastries provided by SMTS.
The next regular meeting of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce will be at 11:30 a.m., March 1. The location has not been determined.