Victoria Kemper, Democrat News
The Madison County Chamber of Commerce held its monthly luncheon, Oct. 5, at the recently completed Bill Banks Event Center located in the back of the Madison County Service Coordination building.
MCCC Executive Director Tessa Rehkop started things off by welcoming all the members and giving a brief overview of some resources available.
“I just kind of wanted to go through a few of the resources that we have for chamber members to help promote your business, learn different things and just any kind of resources you need for your business,” Rehkop said. “ These are things you can come to the chamber for and we can help you.”
Rehkop discussed promotion of job openings, marketing events, credibility, sponsorships, city/county liaison, and training opportunities.
“I have a community calendar on the website and anyone in the public can see it,” Rehkop said. “It isn’t specifically for Chamber members so if you have an event coming up, let me know and I’ll put that on the community calendar.”
Rehkop said, the community calendar is a great resource especially when multiple organizations are planning things around the same time. She then went on to talk about training.
The chamber is part of Google workspace and they have different trainings which you can take advantage of through us,” Rehkop said. “Also, I majored in marketing and I have experience in human resources, different things like that. If you struggle with social media, I can help you with posts, using the meta business suite.”
Rehkop said, she can help with Excel, Google Docs, Weebly, SEO, Canva, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. and if you have a question she does not know the answer to, she will find someone who does.
“Also, the chamber is really good at being a city/county liaison,” Rehkop said. “Our community doesn’t have much funding and so the best way to get things done is to get volunteers and get everyone on the same page. I spoke at the extension dinner earlier this year, and we talked about how it’s important to be a community and to work together. So I see the chamber as kind of being a bridge between different organizations.”
Rehkop said, whether it is city or county we can work together and make it happen.
“We may not know how to do something but we can figure it out or we can help you figure it out,” Rehkop said. “For instance I knew nothing about grant writing before, and we just figured it out. Now we’re trying to figure out how to get a 501c3 going. So anything you’re confused about, we’ll either figure it out with you or we’ll help you find someone to figure it out.”
Senate Bill 40 Board Chairman Dennis Siders then took a turn to tell those in attendance a little about The Bill Banks Event Center.
Siders said, seven years ago the State of Missouri required the Madison County Service Coordination to split out from Madison County Center for the Developmentally Disabled. When this occurred MCSC was in need of office space but did not have a lot of money to work with.
“Trying to find good office space and cheap enough that we could afford it was tough,” Siders said. “But one day I was talking to Bill (Banks) and he said, ‘you know I’ve got this old dealership downtown.’”
Siders said, he asked what he was selling it for and with renovations it was out of the budget. He said after only about a minute Banks told Siders, MCSC runs some pretty good programs and he would sell them the building for whatever they could afford.
“So that’s why we’re here,” Siders said. “We did the offices up first. It’s changed a little bit, if you haven’t been in there, since Barrett-Jenson had the Chevrolet dealership here.”
Siders said the Senate Bill 40 board took a look at what its clients needed and one of the things was socialization.
“They tend to stay in their houses and not not communicate with anybody,” Siders said. “So we needed a place where they could come and we could do a lot of different things. We could show movies, we could do karaoke, we could do stuff like that.”
Siders said the area will also be rented out to the community and used for community-wide events where clients of MCSC can meet new people and build relationships.