Traverse Chamber Bulletin
Top Talk
March 2, 2016
A Great Prime Time Show
Thanks everyone who helped roll out the welcome mat to dozens of new members of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce at Tuesday's Prime Time event held at the Hagerty Center.

Nearly 50 recently-joined Chamber businesses were featured including service companies, health care providers, financiers, retailers, food specialists, professional firms and others. Thanks to our Chamber members, board directors and everyone who came out to welcome these companies to the Chamber.

Do you know of an area business that could benefit by being part of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce? Pass on their contact information to our Membership Sales Representative Sheila Peek at and she will reach out to them. 
Small Business Celebration Ramps Up
The nominations have been made and the applications are in - now it's time to kick the Traverse City Area Chamber's 2016 Small Business Celebration in to high gear!

March is the month where the rubber meets the road in the Small Business Celebration. We'll announce the candidates and feature them in the SBC Candidates Showcase on Wednesday, March 16 from 5 - 7 p.m. at NMC's Hagerty Center. We'll also unveil the Top 10 SBC finalists later this month, and the SBC judges will conduct site visits to those companies in early April.

Make plans for these other Small Business Celebration events coming up at Hagerty Center:
  • Meet the Top 10 Breakfast - April 19
  • SBC Awards Ceremony - May 4
The 2016 Small Business Celebration is sponsored by:

IMPACT |  Advocacy for Business
Presidential Primary Vote on Tuesday
The opening round of an important election year in Michigan begins next week. Michigan's presidential primary is this Tuesday, March 8. The remaining presidential candidates will increase their presence in the state in the coming days, including a scheduled appearance by Ohio Gov. John Kasich in Traverse City on Saturday while GOP front-runner Donald Trump will visit Cadillac on Friday.

There are no local ballot proposals in Grand Traverse County, election officials said. Only the presidential candidates will be on the ballot - including several candidates no longer in the race. Remember Michigan has closed primary voting, and voters must request either a Republican or Democratic party ballot. Polls are open from 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. on election day.

You can also get information on your local polling location, municipal clerk, sample ballots and related election information at the Michigan Voter Information Center.

Overtime Pay Changes Loom
As the Traverse City Area Chamber alerted its members last year, the U.S. Department of Labor published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to update the regulations defining and delimiting the exemptions for "white collar" employees. This has the potential to have a significant impact on your business, especially with low to mid-level salaried employees.

The proposed rule seeks to raise the salary threshold for employees exempt from required overtime pay from $23,660 per year ($455 per week) to $50,440 per year ($970 per week).

On February 1 the U.S. Chamber hosted a symposium focused on how the U.S. Department of Labor's proposed overtime regulation will impact vulnerable employers: small businesses, state and local governments, nonprofit welfare and service organizations, and academic institutions. You can link to the video session.  

You can also access a questionnaire that may help you to think through and calculate the costs and potential solutions to your business. 

The Chamber will provide more information and opportunities for its members to learn and take action in the coming days and weeks. 
CONNECT |  Events and Programs
Presenter Anne Bonney
Leadership at the Movies: The Sequel
We'd like to thank the Academy - of Chamber members - for making Leadership at the Movies a box-office success! This unique leadership development program that conveys leadership lessons and techniques through memorable movies scenes returns next Thursday, March 10, starting at 7:30 a.m. at the Bijou by the Bay Theater. And it's free to Chamber members! Register here

"Outstanding program", "great value" and "exactly what I love about being a part of our community" are some of the comments from past participants in Leadership at the Movies. Come and see what all the rave reviews are about. Certified leadership instructor Anne Bonney's program "The Importance of Creating a Genuine, Honest Connection in Leadership" will help you become a better leader in your personal and professional life. There's hot coffee, and a delicious continental breakfast from our co-sponsors at Morsels - what's a more-inspiring way to start your business day?

Chamber Leadership programming is supported by:

INSPIRE |  Leadership Development
Join the Growing Ranks of the Chamber YPs
Attention Chamber members! Does your business employ young people who are looking for professional development and social opportunities in the Grand Traverse region? Have them check out the Chamber's Young Professionals program.

2016 YP Chair Lauren Harris and the YP team have launched several new initiatives this year including the new Morning Brew monthly speaker series and a mentoring effort with the local Junior Achievement program. The YPs also offer informative Lunch & Learn programs, volunteer at various events and conduct social events at local hot spots. See why the YPs have attracted several hundred members and are growing strong. Contact Harris for more information at
Tune in to Entrepreneur Focus
Each week the Chamber's Weekly Entrepreneur Focus on NewsTalk 580/WTCM-AM features an inspiring story of business success established right here in Northern Michigan. Chamber Executive Director Laura Oblinger joins co-host Ron Jolly each Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m. to sit down with a local entrepreneur to talk about their companies and what's made them thrive.

If you miss an episode, visit the Chamber website for an archive of shows.

The Chamber's Weekly Entrepreneur Focus is presented by:

Partner News
SCORE Program on Digital Marketing
How can you utilize digital marketing tools including your website, blogs, emails or social media to grow your business? Find out at the free SCORE workshop entitled "Digital Media Marketing for Business Growth" coming up this Tuesday, March 8, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at the Traverse Area District Library.

You'll get an overview of digital marketing basics, learn how to identify and reach your audience, and how to quantify your success through analytics. Get registered
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