Davis has led business organization for last six years by BETH ALTENA The Rockford Chamber of Commerce will have a new director when the resignation of Brenda Davis becomes effective March 25. According to Chamber Board President Dr. Carl Stites, Davis told the board she was resigning at their most recent board meeting earlier this month. Jeanne Gregory will serve as interim executive director for a three month period. “We were very lucky to have had Brenda as executive director of the chamber this past six years,” said Stites. “She is a big part of why the Chamber has been so successful.” Stites said that the position is very time consuming, with many night and weekend events the director is expected to oversee. “This has taken a big chunk of time away from her family,” Stites stated. Davis was hired when former director Carl Shook retired after leading the organization for several years. In his tenure, and continued by Davis, the Chamber was reinvented, with every-other-month luncheons, afterhours networking events, an ambassador program and increased membership.
Rockford Chamber of Commerce
Community Expo draws 10,000-plus Plans for the seventh annual Community EXPO are in high gear. The popular event, sponsored by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce (RCC), has drawn thousands through the doors of Rockford High School each year. EXPO is scheduled from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. March 19. This year’s event will feature exhibitors, entertainment, music, raffles, a chance to win a car and emcees—sure to entertain. Educational Workshops, which made its debut in 2010, will also be available. “EXPO is a wonderful event for everyone,” RCC Executive Director Brenda Davis said. “It is a great vehicle for the area businesses to feature their merchandise and services. They gain a lot of exposure through the EXPO and the proof is that we sell out our available booth spaces and have a waiting list every year.” There will be 170 booths lined up in three different areas of the high school, with plenty of promotional material available. Although money is not allowed to exchange hands, exhibitors are allowed to network, take e-mail addresses, set up appointments and “talk shop” with those who attend the event. Lance Kohley, owner of Kohley’s Superior Water & Propane, will be enjoying his third year at EXPO. The company has stepped up their involvement even more by being a Silver Sponsor the past two years. “I am a firm believer that people have to see you to know what your business is all about,” Kohley said. “I think if they physically see you they can get to know you. It is an important part of owning a business, one-on-one contact is everything. EXPO not only offers one-on-one contact, it is a lot of fun. It is a great crowd.” The EXPO stage will be filled with talent all day long. Included will be bands and choirs from the area schools – the talents of the RHS Jazz Band from 2-3 p.m. will be a sure show-stopper. Emceeing the event will be Michele DeSelms, Juliet Dragos, Tom Rademacher and Andy Rent. There are still some booths available for the event. Go to www.rockfordmichchamber.com and click on the EXPO logo for information and registration brochure.
Sometime between Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 5:20 p.m. and Thursday, February 3 at 8:00 a.m. the offices of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, 598 Byrne Industrial Dr., Rockford, were broken into. Chamber Executive Director Brenda Davis reported that her laptop and a variety of other items were stolen. “It wasn’t the main office that was hit, it was my office,” Davis said. She said the Chamber has always been very security conscious, but will be even more so from now on. Officers believe the person or persons gained access to the building through the warehouse located in the southeast end of the property. Davis said a bolt was broken, but with the heavy snowfall there were no footprints or vehicle tracks by the time the break-in was discovered. “Police believe something spooked them and they stopped,” Davis said of the extent of the damage in the office. Davis said vandalism took place in addition to the thefts. She said her laptop was password-protected and files were secure and backed up. “I think the police are trying to be very kind and reassuring to us at this point.” Davis said the break-in is strange, given the Chamber office is not a place likely to have cash on hand. “I don’t have any idea why they would break in,” she said. Davis has not yet replaced her laptop and said those who need to communicate with the Chamber should call the office at (616) 866-2000. A desktop computer and other areas of the Chamber’s offices were left undamaged. Davis said the incident remains under investigation so she is limited to the information she can share. She did say officers gave her no reason to think any other thefts or break-ins occurred during the same time frame. “Unnerving is a good way to describe it,” Davis said. “It’s just creepy.” If anyone has information regarding the break-in, the investigating officer is Dave Robinson of the Rockford Police Department. Call (616) 866-9557.
Eight businesses honored for 2010 contributions The Rockford Chamber of Commerce (RCC) celebrated its 50th anniversary as it hosted the annual Meeting of the Membership on Friday, Jan. 28. The premier event took place at the headquarters of Wolverine World Wide Inc. in the Geoffrey B. Bloom Auditorium, with more than 100 RCC members in attendance. Eight RCC businesses were honored during the evening for their contributions in the business arena, along with volunteerism and contributions within the community during 2010. The winners in each category for the Business of Distinction merit awards were: • Dining/Entertainment: The Corner Bar • Manufacturing: Wolverine World Wide, Inc. • New Business: Institute for Neuromuscular Medicine and Rehabilitation • Quality of Life: Rockford Area Arts Commission • Retail: Double Take Resale, LLC • Service: Nance-Martin Accounting Service There was a tie in the Business of the Year category, with Herman’s Boy Inc. and Fluis Inc. sharing the honor. Both companies attributed their success to the unwavering support of the Rockford community. Tom Rademacher, author and columnist for The Grand Rapids Press, addressed the attendees as keynote speaker. He entertained the crowd by spinning tales from his vast experience as a writer, earning laughs and sharing lessons. “This was an incredible way to celebrate our 50th year,” said RCC Executive Director Brenda Davis. “We have a strong chamber due to our membership and the people who contribute so much of their time to make it a success. This includes the board of directors, our staff and the many volunteers who selflessly give their talents to strengthen the commerce of the Rockford area. It is the vision that our founders had in 1961 and we still carry that same dedication to helping area businesses today.”
Rockford Chamber of Commerce to celebrate 50-year anniversary The Rockford Chamber of Commerce (RCC) is preparing to host its annual Meeting of the Membership on Friday, Jan. 28. The premier event will be the launch for the chamber’s 50th year in existence and will feature a special evening of excellent food, lively entertainment and good company. “This is a very exciting time for the chamber,” said RCC Executive Director Brenda Davis. “We are not only celebrating our past and the wonderful loyalty of our membership and volunteers, but are also looking forward to a very promising future filled with change and progressive thinking. We look at the upcoming annual meeting as an important way to note our past history and to show what the chamber’s board and staff have planned for the upcoming year. This includes an interactive website, networking opportunities, an impressive event schedule, and a revamped newsletter, to name just a few.” The event will take place at the Geoffrey B. Bloom Auditorium, housed in the corporate headquarters of Wolverine World Wide Inc., 9341 Courtland Drive, Rockford. The evening will feature keynote speaker Tom Rademacher, author and talented columnist of the Grand Rapids Press. Through the years, Rademacher has provided a voice for those both struggling and soaring in the area. Two other highlights of the annual event will be the announcement of the Business of Distinction awards and the Year in Review. The awards honor area businesses for going above and beyond the call of duty. Award nominees are as follows: • Business of the Year: Fluis, Inc.; Great Northern Trading Co.; Herman’s Boy, Inc.; United Bank of Michigan • Dining/Entertainment: Rogue River Tavern; The Corner Bar; The Dam Dogs; Timbers Inn & Restaurant • Manufacturing: Alloy Exchange, Inc.; ITW Dahti Seating; Wolverine World Wide, Inc. • Retail: A Charmed Life…Nail Salon; Double Take Resale, LLC; WAR Chest Boutique • Service: Creative Concepts; Innovative Sound Solutions; Macatawa Bank; Nance-Martin Accounting Service; Principal Financial Group • Quality of Life: Rockford Area Arts Commission; Rockford Education Foundation • New Business: AIC Insurance Services; Institute for Neuro Muscular Medicine & Rehabilitation; The Dam Taxi For the Year in Review, Jeff Lewis, RCC board member and owner of Fluis Inc., will take the audience on a […]