Chamber & Visitors Center News

Chamber’s Whitley County Outdoor EXPO is planned for May 21

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center has announced that the Whitley County Outdoor EXPO will be held Friday, May 21, 2021, from 6 to 9 p.m. in downtown Columbia City, providing a venue for residents to gather and businesses and organizations to be in the community spotlight.

Sponsors include Morsches Builders Mart as well as Teghtmeyer ACE Hardware, City Automall, Journey Fitness 333 and Easterseals Passages.

“We are looking forward to a festive atmosphere highlighting the best in local businesses and organizations,” said Jennifer Romano, executive director of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center. “People have been cooped up for a long time now and we know that everyone is ready to get outside, see their friends and get involved in the community once again.”

Live music and entertainment is also planned for the event, as well as a classic car showcase.

“Traditionally, our EXPO has always been held in March, but we simply could not do that in 2020 or 2021,” Romano continued. “Last fall we had our first outdoor EXPO and had a lot of support from our members and the community saying it was something they enjoyed being outside and hoped we’d do again. So, going forward we are planning a spring and fall outdoor EXPO.”

Booth spaces for the spring EXPO event are currently available. For further information, contact the Chamber at (260) 248-8131 or email office@whitleychamber.com

Proceeds from the event will support the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center, a non-profit organization founded in 1919 to serve the needs of businesses and non-profit organizations in the community through advocacy, as a resource for information and a champion for community interests.


Chamber announces change of date for annual South Whitley Community Garage Sales

For 20 years, the South Whitley Community Garages Sales have been a tradition in South Whitley, bringing scores of visitors to town and providing an influx of cash to the town’s residents and businesses.

Traditionally, the event has been in late April, but now it’s time for a change.

“There have been numerous observations that the last weekend in April is either too cold or rainy, said Tribune-News editor Teresa Carrano. “With the cancellation of the event last year because of the pandemic, we figured it was time to take another look at the calendar for this year’s event.

This year’s garage sales will be Friday and Saturday, June 18 and 19, 2021.

“Within the past year especially, we received a lot of phone calls from residents and shoppers alike about changing the date for the garage sales,” said Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center executive director Jennifer Romano. “Usually, we see about one day rained out each year. With the amount of time and money invested in the event each year, wasted days aren’t helpful.”

The committee sent about considering options for a new date, and felt early summer would be ideal.

“While June isn’t going to work for absolutely everyone, we are optimistic that it will increase the likelihood for better weather, which is something everyone can appreciate,” Romano added.

Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center and the Tribune-News, co-sponsor and organize the garage sales each year.

Once again, there will be booth rentals available on Mulberry Street for $20 for one day or $25.

“We enjoy working with the Tribune-News each year to plan this event in South Whitley. There is a significant economic impact from this event each year. From the dollars spent at local businesses to the dollars spent at the garage sales themselves, visitors to the community are spending money that stays in the community and benefits the community,” Romano said.

The Chamber also is offering business sponsorships for the event for $100. To become a sponsor or to request a booth space registration, contact the Chamber at 260-248-8131 or email jennifer@whitleychamber.com.

“Anyone planning a garage sale is encouraged to advertise their location and items,” Carrano said. “This will be the 20th annual garage sale and a map filled with listings will help the many treasure-hunters know where to shop while they visit the town.”


Great ways to get involved in 2021…

We will be launching some new roundtable groups in 2020, aimed at helping members better network with other members, targeted educational opportunities and get the most out of their membership. Some of the new topic areas will include:

To be added to a mailing list about upcoming meetings for these groups, email office@whitleychamber.com. Please provide your name and an email address.


Got a great program idea?

We’re planning an exciting lineup of programs and events for Chamber members in 2021. Do you have a great program idea or a subject you’d like to know more about? Would you like to present a program for members in 2021?

Contact Jennifer at jennifer@whitleychamber.com to share your ideas!