Chamber & Visitors Center News


Fox Products, Member of the Month for September 2017

A local company has been making music in South Whitley for decades… investing in people and the community along the way.

In September company leaders and Chamber Ambassadors gathered to celebrate the company’s contributions to the music world and the community. Fox Products is a global producer and internationally renowned maker of double reed instruments.

Employing more than 150 workers in highly skilled positions, they are also a major stakeholder in South Whitley and the surrounding area. Over the years, Fox Products has been integral in supporting local non-profits, encouraging employee involvement and volunteerism. The company is located at 6110 State Road 5 in South Whitley. For more information visit www.foxproducts.com


Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting for United Oil Corp Country Corner

Recently United Oil Corporation celebrated their newly remodeled Country Corner located at 6800 West State Road 14 in South Whitley. The newly renovated station is open seven days a week and offers a bright, well-stocked convenience store, dining area and great meal specials at great prices. Broaster chicken, fresh pizza, soups, a variety of sandwiches, and breakfast items are all on the menu. The newly opened location brightens a corner in South Whitley and is a welcoming to residents and visitors.


Walker & Associates, Member of the Month for August 2017

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center was pleased to announce Walker & Associates has the August 2017 Business of the Month!

Walker & Associates, located at 112 W. Van Buren Street in downtown Columbia City, is a land surveying, civil engineering and land planning firm.

The Chamber Ambassadors chose to honor the company for many reasons, including their excellent reputation and upstanding role in the business community. The staff of Walker & Associates make property changes and transactions a bit less stressful with their knowledgeable advice and attention to detail.

During the month of August, the company undertook impressive facade renovations that have enhanced their position on the Whitley County Courthouse Square in downtown Columbia City.

For more information about Walker & Associates, call (260) 244-3640.


Ribbon Cutting for Joy-Haul Professional Movers, LLC

Deciding to make a big move is one often wrought with worries, but choosing a moving company to take care of the details involving packing and transporting your belongings is now simple for those moving in and out of Whitley County – just call Joy-Haul!

On Tuesday, September 5, the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center staff and Ambassadors joined Christian Joy, owner of Joy-Haul, as well as company representatives, for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the launch of their business.

Dedicated to the moving and packing of household and business goods, Joy-Haul is a reliable service provider moving families and businesses across Whitley County and beyond. The business officially opened in April 2017, but on Tuesday, Christian joy announced the business has now expanded to offer moving services across the United States as well.

“When we decided to move the Chamber to our new office in downtown Columbia City, Joy-Haul was one of the first calls we made,” said Jennifer Romano, executive director of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center. “We were very impressed with Joy-Haul’s professionalism, attention to detail and ability to conduct our big move in an efficient, affordable way.”

Joy-Haul’s services are available seven days a week, moving entire homes and businesses – or simply moving a piano or piece of furniture.

For more information on Joy-Haul, call (260) 610-1945 or email joyhaul@gmail.com


 

Columbia City boutique A. Shively & Co. now offering expanded hours

What is one of the best kept retail secrets in Columbia City? Take a short drive to 1165 E Business 30, Columbia City and you’ll find A. Shively & Co. near what is locally known as ‘the silos’.
This sweet little retail store has quickly become the hot spot to shop where you’ll find the latest trends in home décor, candles, jewelry, hand-crafted wood pieces, friendly and personal service.
Though the shop has been open one day a week for the past year, shoppers couldn’t get enough and owners Annette and Adam Shively took a leap of faith and added additional hours. The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center held a ribbon cutting on June 13 to celebrate the business’ growth and expanded hours. They are now open Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Chamber event brought together a large turnout of family, friends, staff, elected officials and Chamber Ambassadors. Hosts Annette and Adam greeted guests with hugs all around, cookies and sweet tea. It was an event that held all the warmth and charm you’d expect from a small-town ‘mom and pop shop.’ Chamber Ambassadors in attendance included Cindy Doolittle of the Whitley County Clerk’s office, Don Clemens of Rabb Water Systems, Scott Nguyen of Coffee News, Mayor Ryan Daniel of the City of Columbia City, Tim Tower of Century 21 Bradley Realty, County Councilman Chad Banks and Emily Zeiger of Star Financial Bank.
If you are in the market for a large farmhouse table or custom bench, or wanting a small decorative item to go on a shelf or mantle, you are sure to find what you are looking for at this quaint shop. Stop by and see everything they have to offer, we think you’ll agree that this secret retail spot soon won’t be such a secret anymore.
For more information about A. Shively & Co., visit A. Shively & Co. on Facebook or (260) 503-5181.


Chamber celebrates opening of Center Ice

On Tuesday, July 11, the skies were cloudy, but the rain subsided as we celebrated the opening of Columbia City’s ONLY Hawaiian Shave Ice treatery! Student workers, The Center staff, volunteers, family, friends, Chamber Ambassadors and Mayor Ryan Daniel all came out to support The Center for Whitley County Youth as they officially launched Center Ice.
According to program director, Tiffany Careins, the concept for the treatery came to be after it was discovered that many businesses are hesitant to hire youth due to their lack of work experience and busy school schedules. The idea of providing a place to build work-related skills was discussed among the staff and Center Ice was born.
The business is run by students of The Center and features over 70 different flavors of shaved ice, including sugar-free and clear choices. And if 70 flavors aren’t enough, you can create your own masterpiece by mixing your own combination of flavors!
Located across from City Hall at 201 W. Market Street in downtown Columbia City, you’ll find orders are taken through the side window and the venue features casual seating with an outdoor eating patio. This downtown hot spot not only provides a refreshing treat, but your purchase will also support a great cause – our local youth.
Hours are Wednesday and Thursday 4-7 p.m., Friday 4-9 p.m., ‪Saturday 1-9 p.m.‬ and ‪Sunday 1-7 p.m.‬ So come on down and beat the heat with a cool, refreshing Center Ice!


Annual Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center Golf Outing is August 24

The annual Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center Golf Outing is a great event for networking and promoting your business.

The 2017 Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center Golf Outing is scheduled for Thursday, August 24 at Eagle Glen Golf Course in Columbia City. Lunch and registration begin at 11 a.m. with play beginning at 12 p.m.

Team registration includes play for four, cart, lunch and a hole sponsorship for $400. Individuals can enjoy lunch and play for $100. Those interested in attending the luncheon only may do so for $15 per person. Cheats packages for the Florida Scramble style golf outing are $40 each. Sponsor a hole for $125, providing outstanding visibility for your business, organization or cause.

For information about sponsorship of the Chamber Golf Outing or to inquire about registration, call the Chamber office at 248-8131 or email office@whitleychamber.com

All proceeds from the event support the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce, a 501(c)6 non-profit member organization that aims to provide advocacy, resources and promotion of local businesses and non-profit organizations in Whitley County and beyond.


Chamber Lunch & Learn Seminar to feature information for employers about tuition reimbursement programs through Ivy Tech Community College Northeast

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center will host a Chamber Lunch & Learn Seminar featuring Ivy Tech Community College Northeast on Thursday, May 11 from 12 to 1 p.m. at the Whitley County Government Center, in downtown Columbia City. There is no charge to attend and Ivy Tech will pick up the cost of your lunch.
Representatives from Ivy Tech Community College Northeast will discuss the Achieve Your Degree program, an initiative for companies who offer tuition reimbursement to their employees which provides additional services to both the employer and employees.
Other questions that will be answered include:
Would you or your employees like to learn more about the academic programs at Ivy Tech?
Are you looking for some short-term training for your workers?
Do you have employees that would like to finish their 2-year degree, or are simply interested in seeing what the college has to offer?
Do you have trouble finding employees? If so, Ivy Tech has students trained and available for you to hire through its Career Development program.
If these are questions you’re asking, then Ivy Tech would like to meet you, and share the many different opportunities available to you and your employees.
If you would like to attend this free seminar, please email office@whitleychamber.com or call 248-8131 to leave a message.
There is limited space and only the first 25 attendees will be accepted.

Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center to present annual Whitley County Education Forum
Funding, enrollment numbers and student testing are often mentioned in the news as the hot topics in education. Hear from local districts about what they foresee in the future of education when the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center presents the annual Whitley County Education Forum. Each superintendent will have time to present their most pressing concerns and a questions and answer session will follow.  Moderator for the event will be attorney and Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center board chair Dawn Boyd.
School superintendents attending the forum will include Dr. Patricia O’Connor of Whitley County Consolidated Schools, Steve Clason of Whitko Community Schools and Galen Mast of Smith-Green Community Schools. The event will be held at noon on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, at The Center for Whitley County Youth, located at 201 W. Market Street in Columbia City.
Cost for the event is $15 per person and includes lunch.
To register, contact the Chamber office at 248-8131 or email: office@whitleychamber.com. The deadline to register is Monday, May 15.

Chamber, City police partner for Active Shooter Training workshop
The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center joins the Columbia City Police Department in offering another Active Shooter Training Workshop for local business owners, managers, human resource professionals or safety officers to provide an overview of how to respond if a tragic situation were to unfold within their business or non-profit organization.
The workshop will be held May 30 from 8 to 10 a.m. in the City Hall Fire Training Room on the second floor of City Hall in Columbia City.
Led by Columbia City Police Department staff, the training will educate attendees from across the county on the methods of response that could be effective in counteracting a violent episode in the office or workplace.
The training is provided free of charge and handouts will be provided. Light refreshments will be available.
Seating is limited.
RSVP by calling the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center at 248-8131 or email office@whitleychamber.com

 


Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center moves to downtown Columbia City, launches new services

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center and the United Way of Whitley County are pleased to announce the opening of a spacious new welcoming center in downtown Columbia City.
Since 1919, the Chamber has served as a point of welcome for visitors to this community and has also served as a point of answers and information for residents. After several years’ absence from the downtown, the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center will soon move to 128 West Van Buren Street, on the Whitley County Courthouse Square. The new facility will feature a visitors center with a high-tech interactive kiosk with virtual mapping, a curated collection of Whitley County-made items, art prints of local landmarks, community-centric work of local artists, gifts, marketing materials and more. Additionally, the facility will include co-working space available for rent as well as a large and small conference room. Future plans include a bi-monthly public art exhibition and new programs to market the community within and beyond Whitley County’s borders.
“For decades, the Chamber has served as a resource for those visiting our community and for those planning to relocate here,” said Jennifer Romano, executive director of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center. “Now, with the support of many community partners, we are building up our efforts in a major way to actively promote and sell our community.”
The opening of the facility is the realization of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center’s long-term plans to actively promote the community and to address the informational needs of residents, visitors and new residents to the community. “The chamber has been working toward this goal for many years.  And now as we open the doors to our new building and launch our expanded programming, we are taking the lead on promoting everything that is great about our community — locally and beyond,” added Mike DeFreeuw, a board member of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center.
“The new Visitor’s Center will show residents what wonderful amenities and experiences our community has to offer,” said Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel. “We know our community is great, but this new Visitors Center will show the rest of the world what we already know.”
Excited by recent development in downtown Columbia City spearheaded by several entities, the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, the United Way of Whitley County and Pathfinder Services are eager to support their efforts by investing in the heart of the downtown.
“We applaud the efforts of many local individuals and volunteers who are working hard to make our downtown an attractive, busy place and we look forward to growing as a non-profit organization in this new location,” added Romano, citing the work of the Downtown Business Alliance, City of Columbia City, Whitley County EDC, Columbia City Main Street and others. “We look forward to collaborating with each of these groups to highlight our wonderful community and to being a part of the excitement that is building throughout our community.”
“We are thrilled to be moving downtown, to the very heart of our community, and having a much more visible presence,” said Cindy Baker, executive director of the United Way of Whitley County.
“We are excited to open the doors to a new facility where we can serve our clients,” said employment specialist Connie Marsh of Pathfinder Services, an area non-profit organization that assists people facing physical, developmental, or economic challenges as they achieve independence, inclusion, and stability.
“The Downtown Business Alliance welcomes the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center as well as the United Way to the downtown area,” said Ann Fahl, a representative of the Downtown Business Alliance. “We look forward to the Chamber and the United Way coming into the downtown area and becoming part of the growth and vitality happening there,” added Sharon Geiger, also of the Downtown Business Alliance.
The organizations anticipate moving into the space by the end of April and hosting an open house during the summer once renovations are complete.

Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center prepares to welcome visitors from far and wide for annual South Whitley Community Garage Sales

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center is once again preparing for the annual South Whitley Community Garage Sales on Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29, 2017. The annual event is co-sponsored by the Tribune-News.
In addition to supporting the effort to regionally promote the event, the Chamber is offering opportunities to businesses and individuals across Whitley County to participate.
“We look forward to this annual spring event in South Whitley each year,” said Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center executive director Jennifer Romano. “This one weekend event is incredibly important to our community in South Whitley because of the scores of visitors it brings to town — people who bring dollars that are spent buying meals in local restaurants, with local merchants, at fundraising booths and in the cash they spend with South Whitley area residents. The economic impact of this event is substantial.”
“We are excited to partner with the Tribune-News and the community each year to promote and support this event,” Romano added. “The more people we can draw to South Whitley through this event means a bigger financial for businesses, non-profits and residents.”
A limited number of prime booth rental spaces along Mulberry Street will be available on a first come, first served basis for $20 for one day or $25 for both days. The spaces are 10×10 foot and can be used for fundraisers, food vendors, craft vendors, personal garage sales and more. Located in a desirable, high traffic area, the booths are ideal for anyone wanting to participate in the annual South Whitley Community Garage sales. To reserve a booth space or request a booth form, contact the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center at 248-8131 or email office@whitleychamber.com.
Event sponsorships are also available for $75. For information about the limited sponsorship opportunities, contact the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center at 248-8131 or email office@whitleychamber.com.


Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center hosts Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for The Impact Center food pantry

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center was pleased to host a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony recently for The Impact Center, Inc.
The Impact Center, Inc. recently opened doors to a newly renovated space to house their food pantry at 500 West Van Buren Street in Columbia City.
Originally founded in 1999, The Impact Center, Inc. provides an assortment of donated perishable and non-perishable food items for local men, women and children in need. Solely supported by individual and corporate donations, the food pantry is a ministry to serve all in need — in all walks of life. A donation of just $20 to the pantry is enough to purchase 100 pounds of food to feed local residents.
For more information about The Impact Center, Inc., contact Paula Kauffmann at (260) 229-2525.
Among those celebrating the opening of The Impact Center, Inc.’s food pantry, above, from left, is Jill Lane of Orizon Real Estate, Randy Holler of Crossroads Bank, Kris Kosteck, Amanda Kosteck, Shelby Longenbaugh of Star Insurance, Kathy Plew, Jennifer Romano of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor’s Center, Jim Scott, Paula Kauffman (president), Pete Allen of Star Financial Bank, Mike Meyers, Craig Lock and Charles Ridley (coordinator). Not shown is Leta Perry (vice president), Loren Kauffman and Vicki Anderson.



Urban Station named Member of the Month by the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center Ambassadors recently selected Urban Station as the February 2017 Chamber Member of the Month. The honor was presented at a lunchtime ceremony at the local restaurant.
Urban Station is located at 127 North Main Street in downtown Columbia City in a unique building that was converted from an oil change business to a busy eatery. They offer a great variety of gourmet sandwiches, wraps, soups, salads and more. All food is made fresh while you wait. Recently, they announced a delivery service to share Urban Station’s offerings around the community — making it the only non-pizza food delivery service in Whitley County.
Urban Station’s patrons enjoy the fresh, frequently changing menu, excellent food, friendly staff and convenient delivery — citing these reasons for the Member of the Month award.
For more information about Urban Station, visit www.theurbanskillet.net or call (260) 244-5976.
Above, from left, are Chamber Ambassadors Mayor Ryan Daniel, Jill Lane of Orizon Real Estate, Bryan Graham of Ruoff Mortgage, Kristen Spangle of Urban Station, Jo Robertson of Midwest America Federal Credit Union, Pete Allen of Star Financial Bank, Jennifer Romano of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor’s Center, Lee Aumsbaugh of Aumsbaugh Flooring, Randy Holler of Crossroads Bank and Tim Tower of Century 21 Bradley.


Chamber, Police present program for parents about social media & the youth of Whitley County

Teens spend a lot of time interacting and learning on social media — unfortunately, dangers lurk there too. Immaturity, naivety and a lack of life experience leave young people vulnerable to a wide variety of pitfalls.
This Saturday, March 11, at 10 a.m. at Indian Springs Middle School, the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor’s Center will welcome Detective Chip Stephenson of the Columbia City Police Department as he presents an informative and interactive presentation for parents and youths on dangers and consequences of online interaction. The presentation is planned in conjunction with the 2017 Whitley County EXPO and will be held on the main stage in the Carver Center.
“Over 90% of our youth today are involved in some sort of online/social media interaction,” cautions Detective Chip Stephenson of the Columbia City Police Department. “Parents should know the dangers out there awaiting them and how to prevent both short and long term consequences of such interactions.”
“We are pleased to partner with the Columbia City Police Department in presenting this helpful, informative presentation in hopes that it helps our residents, young and old, develop a more positive online presence,” said Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center executive director Jennifer Romano. “Interacting online is something more and more of us engage in. We need to arm our young people with the skills to handle the responsibility that comes with using social media.”
Following the presentation, there will be time for questions and answers.
There is no need to RSVP and the presentation is free.
For more information, contact the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor’s Center at 248-8131 or visit online at www.whitleychamber.com


Truly a taste of Whitley County:
2017 EXPO to highlight more than 70 businesses, non-profits and local artists

Final details are now in place for the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center’s 2017 EXPO this Saturday, March 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Indian Springs Middle School in Columbia City.
In addition to more than 70 booths, featuring great local businesses, services, non-profit organizations and local artisans, a great schedule of entertainment has been planned as well, including:
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Art in the Alley at the Whitley County EXPO: peruse an assortment of artisan booths featuring handmade jewelry, artwork, pottery and more.
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Artist Michael Lude will be drawing portraits at his booth throughout the day.
9 to 10 a.m. – Emil Harris with jazz piano.
10 to 11 a.m. – Detective Chip Stephenson of the Columbia City Police Department will provide an informative discussion for parents and adolescents about social media.
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Get ready for some high energy dance performances with Dance Til U Drop!
1 p.m. – Visit and learn with Louie the Lightning Bug, sponsored by Northeastern REMC
1 to 3 p.m. – Keith Roman with acoustic guitar.
Business and non-profit vendors include:
Rabb Water Systems, DeMoney-Grimes Funeral Home, Andy’s Car Wash, Miller’s Health Systems, United Way of Whitley County, Blue River Digital, Passages, Inc., The Post & Mail, Agnes & Dora Clothing by Heather and Tracy, Western & Southern Life, Caliber Home Loans-James Prentice, Bowen Center, Purdue Extension – Whitley County, Mayor Ryan Daniel, Indiana Physical Therapy, Everdry of Northern Indiana, Columbia City Police Department, Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, Northeastern REMC, Renaissance Village, Century 21 Bradley-Tim Tower, Ruoff Home Mortgage, Peabody Public Library, Parkview Health, Orizon Real Estate, Daniel Menu & Party Consulting, Bruno’s BBQ & Catering, Humane Society of Whitley County, The Impact Center Food Pantry, The Center for Whitley County Youth, Indiana Tech-College of Professional Studies, South Whitley Community Public Library, Camp Whitley, Whitley County Literacy Council, Whitley County Family YMCA, Youth for Christ of Northern Indiana, Huntington University, Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana, Right to Life of Central Indiana, MD Wise, Whitley County Farmer’s Market, Brightpoint, Artist Michael Lude,  Old World Fudge, Purdue Extension – Master Gardeners, Whitley County 4-H, Thrivent Financial-Erick Keirn, Summit Hearing Solutions, Key Exteriors and Minear Real Estate.
Admission is free and convenient, free parking is available.
For more information about the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center, visit www.whitleychamber.com


The Whitley County EXPO is coming!

Need a new roof? Would you like to taste some great, locally made food? Looking for some new items for your wardrobe? Want to adopt a furry friend? Wondering where to send the kids for camp this summer? Considering a move in your future?  You’ll be able to find information about these things and more when you make community connections at the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center 2017 EXPO.
Join us for this popular annual event that will be held at Indiana Springs Middle School on Saturday, March 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. You will get to meet and speak with over 50 great businesses and non-profit organizations doing business right here in Whitley County.
“There are many hidden gems in our community and this is a great place to learn about them,” said Jennifer Romano, Chamber executive director. “Each year, more than 2000 people attend this amazing event to learn what Whitley County has to offer.”
Participants will be treated to live entertainment, activities and lunch and snacks for sale — all while learning about products and services from a wide-variety of vendors. Visitors will have a chance to enter to win some outstanding door prizes.
“Whether you are a life-long resident of Whitley County or new to the area, you are bound to meet new people and learn something new about the products and services offered right here in our community,” said Romano. “There isn’t another event like this in Whitley County and I know visitors won’t be disappointed.”
Admission and parking are free and no RSVP is required.
For more information, contact the Chamber at 260-248-8131 or email office@whitleychamber.com


Chamber, CCPD to partner for Civilian Response to an Active Shooter Training Workshop in March

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce joins the Columbia City Police Department in providing a Civilian Response to an Active Shooter Training Workshop for local business owners, managers, human resource professionals or safety officers to provide an overview of how to respond if a tragic situation were to unfold at your business or non-profit organization.
The workshop will be held March 1 from 8 to 10 a.m. in the City Hall Fire Training Room on the second floor of City Hall in Columbia City.
Led by Columbia City Police Chief Tony Hively, the training will educate attendees from across the county on the methods of response that could be effective in counteracting a violent episode in the office or workplace.
The training is provided free of charge and handouts will be provided. Light refreshments will be available.
Seating is limited.
RSVP by calling the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce at 248-8131 or email office@whitleychamber.com


Ribbon Cutting Ceremony held for Little Caesars

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce was pleased to host a Chamber Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in January for the newly opened Little Caesars restaurant located at 531 North Line Street in Columbia City.
Little Caesars president Dan Hancock was joined by his staff and representatives of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to Chamber staff members Jennifer Romano and Carol Flowers, Chamber Ambassadors in attendance included: Mayor Ryan Daniel, Chamber executive director Jennifer Romano, Jeff Slater of Fort Wayne Metals, Dawn Boyd of Dawn Boyd Law, Scott Tyree of Blue River Digial, Brandon Ferrell of Minear Real Estate, Tim Tower of Century 21 Bradley, Jeff Walker of the City of Columbia City, Jo Robertson of Midwest America Federal Credit Union, Dennis Norris of Merritt Norris Insurance, Cindy Baker of United Way, Shelby Longenbaugh of Star Insurance, Cindy Doolittle of the Whitley County Clerk’s Office.
To place an order for Little Caesars, call 244-2900 or for more information, visit their website at www.LittleCaesars.com


Ambassadors name City of Columbia City as Member of the Month

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors recently selected the City of Columbia City as the January 2017 Chamber Member of the Month. The honor was presented at a ceremony in January, recognizing the many ways the city serves the community.
The City of Columbia City employs 85 area residents and serves an estimated 4800 customers each year with a $33 million budget.
Some of the many services provided to city and local residents include: police protection, fire protection, dispatch services, street repairs, curbs and sidewalks, limb and leaf pickup, parking, street lighting, Christmas decorations, snow removal, river greenway and trails, housing authority programs, redevelopment programs, animal control, fireworks, cemetery maintenance and mowing, sewer works, water works, electric works, stormwater works, drainage fee coverage, planning and zoning, economic development and more.
For more information about the City of Columbia City, visit www.columbiacity.net


Limited booth spaces available for 2016 Whitley County Chamber EXPO

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce will host the Whitley County Chamber EXPO on Saturday, March 11, 2017. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Indian Springs Middle School. The popular, well-attended annual event highlights great businesses and non-profits in Whitley County and the surrounding area.
“Our annual Whitley County Expo provides an outstanding opportunity to see and sample the great things our local businesses and non-profits have to offer,” said Chamber executive director Jennifer Romano. “From the perspective of someone considering becoming a vendor, it’s an incredible way to market yourself and to reach out to hundreds of people in one place in a matter of hours. There are few opportunities to do that this easily or affordably.”
Admission and parking are free for the annual event that draws a sizeable, enthusiastic crowd representing a great cross-section of Whitley County.
Under one roof, attendees will enjoy live entertainment, sample delicious food, shop local booths and learn more about products and services offered in and around Whitley County. Activities will be changing and ongoing throughout the day.
A limited number of booths are still available. Booths are $215 for Chamber members, $280 for non-members, $75 for a member food booth and $30 for member non-profits.
For more information about an EXPO booth or Chamber membership, contact the Chamber at 248-8131 or via email at office@whitleychamber.com


The Chamber presents Community Conversations: The Arts in Whitley County

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce welcomes local artist and volunteer Jennifer Beezley as the featured presenter for the Chamber’s upcoming Community Conversations: The Arts in Whitley County. The informal discussion will begin at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, February 21, at Stir Crazy in downtown Columbia City.
Beezley, the director of Art in the Alley, will lead a Community Conversation about the importance of the arts in Whitley County and how we might partner as a community to offer arts, music and cultural initiatives in new and different ways.
The Chamber presents Community Conversations monthly, initiating dialog about topics of interest to our growing, dynamic community. The purpose of the casual monthly topic discussions is to inspire creative thinking, problem solving and partnerships among local businesses, non-profit organizations and residents.
Art in the Alley, a member of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce, presents monthly opportunities for a growing number of local artists to showcase their work and make it available to the community for purchase and enjoyment. Art in the Alley events are currently planned in Columbia City and South Whitley.
To be part of the discussion at Community Conversations: The Arts in Whitley County, RSVP by noon on Friday, February 17 to the Chamber by calling 248-8131 or email office@whitleychamber.com


Chamber hosting annual State of the City luncheon

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the annual State of the City luncheon. The luncheon will be held Friday, February 10 from 12 to 1 p.m. in the Robert Brittain Auditorium at Peabody Public Library. Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel will speak.
The lunch is $15 for Chamber members.
Sponsors of this year’s State of the City luncheon include NIPSCO and United Consulting.
To RSVP for the luncheon, call the Chamber office at 248-8131 or email Carol Flowers at  office@whitleychamber.com by 12 p.m. on Wednesday, February 8.


Whitley County Chamber team prepares to participate in the Anytime Fitness Chamber Challenge

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce is excited to support our members in a unique opportunity offered by Chamber member Anytime Fitness called the Chamber Challenge.
The Chamber Challenge is an 8-week fitness challenge sponsored by Anytime Fitness for teams from the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce and the Churubusco Chamber of Commerce. Each team will have seven members and one alternate. Over the eight week period, the teams will enjoy unlimited use of the Anytime Fitness facilities in Columbia City and Churubusco as well as  fitness and nutrition consultations, group training sessions twice each week and individual support.
“Anytime Fitness is excited to bring the Chamber Challenge to Whitley County,” said Amy Carpenter of Anytime Fitness. “We are teaming up with the Churubusco Chamber and the Whitley County Chamber to be healthy examples for the entire community.  Healthy employees help create healthy work forces and healthy families. It’s so important to make our health a priority.”
The teams are competing for the greatest percentage of weight lost through exercise and healthy eating under the guidance of Anytime Fitness owners Patrick and Amy Carpenter who operate facilities in Columbia City and Churubusco.
“The challenge will start January 30 and continue for 8 weeks,” she said. “During this time, participants on both teams will train with our personal trainers, will be coached through virtual coaching apps, and will focus on nutrition. The goal is for the teams to discover healthy habits that will encourage lifelong health and fitness due to positive results to body weight, body fat percentage and inches lost.”
The overall goal of the challenge is to bring awareness to the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and setting healthy examples for citizens and children, according to the Carpenters.
“From our perspective, we are excited to support this unique challenge created by Chamber member business Anytime Fitness and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to invite our members to make positive health choices right now that can have long-term, life changing results,” said Whitley County Chamber of Commerce executive director Jennifer Romano. “Bigger than the Chamber versus Chamber  competitive aspect of this — which is fun — we are pleased to support the personal challenges our members are willing to take on in order to reach the health goals they’ll be setting through this.”
Romano will be among the seven individuals participating on the Whitley County Chamber’s member team, which also includes: Brooke Hoeppner of Bell Tower Auctions, Drew Zartman of Wings Etc., Drew Wilks of Coldwell Banker, Tiffany Careins of The Center for Whitley County Youth, Paula Kauffman of Passages Inc., Pete Allen of Star Bank and team alternate Joe Gomori of Star Bank.
The Whitley County Chamber’s Facebook page will feature updates about the challenge during the next 8 weeks.


Whitley Chamber bring GROW Network meetings to South Whitley
On Friday morning, the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce hosted it’s first regularly scheduled GROW Network community networking meeting at the South Whitley Community Public Library. In all, 14 individuals were present representing business and non-profit sectors of the community and initiating what will become a monthly opportunity to share and connect regarding community interests and to grow participant’s personal networks.
“We are excited to experience the great potential that is created when we come together to share ideas and perspectives,” said Whitley County Chamber of Commerce executive director Jennifer Romano. “The Chamber’s GROW Network meetings have been in place in Columbia City for many years and a lot of neat things have happened because of them — new programs have launched, partnerships have been created, people have decided to get involved and exciting things have happened because people who didn’t necessarily already know each other came together, shared what they’re passionate about and made new connections. I think expanding the reach of this Chamber program is beneficial to the entire county.”
At Friday’s meeting, entrepreneur Nate Lowen of By Belle Haven talked about the business he operates with partners Cat Crance and Brandon Davis, including details about the opening of their restaurant, pub and catering facility in the former Brownstone on State building in downtown South Whitley. Lowen’s excitement was palpable and attendees were delighted to learn more about the business’s direction as it is slated to open fully in February. By Belle Haven brought a delicious sampling of breakfast items for attendees to enjoy during the discussion as well.
In February, GROW Network meetings will be held on the first Friday from 8-9 a.m. at Brew’ha in Columbia City, the second Friday from 8-9 a.m. at Brevin’s in Churubusco and the third Friday of each month from 8-9 a.m. at the South Whitley Community Public Library. You do not need to be a Chamber member to attend and participate. The meetings are casual. Anyone from any part of the county may attend any meeting.
For more information about future GROW Network meetings, visit the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page or their website at www.WhitleyChamber.com


Chamber hosted third event in winter Legislative Forum series

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce hosted the third event of it’s winter series of Chamber Legislative Forums on Saturday.
State Representative Christopher Judy spoke about the proposed gas tax, seeking input from attendees about the potential 10 cent per gallon gas hike that will soon be considered. Additionally, Judy and State Senator Andy Zay talked about educational matters.
“Through our Chamber Legislative Forums, we believe it is important to provide the environment for meaningful dialog between our Chamber members, the community and our legislative representatives,” said Whitley County Chamber of Commerce executive director Jennifer Romano. “There is value in facilitating opportunities for open discussion for all involved. This enables everyone to discuss, face to face, issues they’re concerned about. These discussions are also important to our legislators because it allows them to gather immediate, timely feedback from Whitley County’s businesses, non-profits and residents.”
Additional, Chamber Legislative Update events will be planned for the months ahead. Watch the Chamber’s events calendar for further details as the events are planned at www.WhitleyChamber.com
A newly formed, non-partisan Chamber Legislative Committee has been created and any Chamber  member is welcome to join. For additional information, contact Jennifer Romano at jennifer@whitleychamber.com


Whitley County Chamber of Commerce celebrates Stir Crazy’s opening with ribbon cutting ceremony

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce and Ambassadors gathered in celebration of the recent opening of Stir Crazy in downtown Columbia City.
Stir Crazy is located at 207 West Van Buren Street in downtown Columbia City.
Owned by Kathy Hays, the shop offers Blue Lion Coffee, a great collection of teas, delicious baked goods and a frequently changing daily menu of homemade sandwiches, wraps, soups and salads made with fresh, often locally sourced ingredients. On Saturday mornings, Stir Crazy features homemade biscuits and gravy as well as comforting egg casserole.
Stir Crazy is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Prior to opening the Columbia City location, Hays had operated Stir Crazy in Churubusco for three years.
For more information about Stir Crazy’s daily lunch specials, visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/stircrazyinbusco/ or call (260) 213-1819.

Joining in the ribbon cutting ceremony is, from left, Chamber executive director Jennifer Romano, Chamber Ambassador Cindy Doolittle of Whitley County Government, Chamber Ambassador Deb Fairchild of Whitley County Government, Chamber Ambassador Jill Lane of Orizon Real Estate, Chamber Ambassador Scott Tyree of Blue River Digital, Chamber Ambassador Cari Wells of 1st Source Bank, Janet Shroyer, Ted Hays, Kathy Hays, Madison Ritter, Alissa Edsall, Brooke Hays, Shelby Widmer,  Chamber Ambassador Jo Robertson of Midwest America Federal Credit Union,  Chamber Ambassador Scott Nguyen of Coffee News and Chamber Ambassador Tim Tower of Century 21 Bradley.


Chamber Ambassadors select Reelcraft for Member of the Month honors

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors recently selected Reelcraft as the December 2016 Member of the Month, celebrating the news with a ceremony in December at the facility.
Located on the west side of Columbia City, Reelcraft is the leading global manufacturer of the widest range of hose reels, cord reels and cable reels for industrial, commercial and professional applications.
Reelcraft’s nomination for Memer of the Month, as presented by the Ambassadors, outlined some of the many contributions the company has made to their employees and the community. For example, in October, they sent 22 pounds of candy to the soldiers. Reelcraft recently donated to the Vietnam Memorial fund, working with Ty Murphy to work toward a goal of putting a Vietnam War memorial on the Whitley County Courthouse lawn. At Christmas, Reelcraft employees adopted three families, providing gifts and more for nine children.
Employees and the company joined resources to ensure that the families’ needs were met. Additionally, Reelcraft served as a Toys for Tots collection site.
Reelcraft consistently gives back to the community by supporting a unique project where they sell damaged or returned reels at a reduced rate to employees. The funds raised from the sale of the reels is collected and given to several local non-profits over the course of the year.
For more information about Reelcraft, visit their website at www.Reelcraft.com

From in from left in front is, Chamber Ambassador Scott Tyree of Blue River Digital, Reelcraft director of organizational development Robin Longenbaugh, Reelcraft director of sales and marketing Rex Larkin, Whitley County Chamber of Commerce executive director Jennifer Romano, Reelcraft general manager Eric Huston, Reelcraft controller Donna Dafforn and Chamber Ambassador State Senator Andy Zay. Row two, from left, includes Chamber Ambassador Shelby Longenbaugh of Star Insurance, Reelcraft director of operations James Davis and Reelcraft director of engineering Ed Walter, Chamber Ambassador and County Councilman Chad Banks, Reelcraft director of technical sales and service Mark Bedwell, Chamber Ambassador Jo Robertson of Midwest America Federal Credit Union and Reelcraft director of quality and logistics Todd Bredice.