November 2021 v2
Arcadia * Benzonia * Beulah * Copemish * Elberta * Empire * Frankfort * Honor
Interlochen * Lake Ann * Sleeping Bear Dune National Lakeshore * Thompsonville
Chamber Newsletter
Closing the digital divide is critical to the future of Benzie County. Having affordable and accessible internet service is not a luxury, but a necessity. Tele-heathcare, Education, & Emergency Services are just a few areas that desperately need an upgrade in speed and connectivity.

Benzie County Economic Development Corporation in partnership with Merit Networks is performing a survey to better portray the access in Benzie County as compared to the current FCC mapping. By identifying deficits in both accessibility and connectivity speeds, Benzie County would qualify for for State and Federal funding to improve our network.

Here is how you can help! Get the word out that EVERYONE (whether connected or not) needs to fill out the survey; think of this as a Broadband Census. If you have a friend or neighbor that is unable to access the online survey, help them fill it out. Early 2022, Merit Networks will be sending representatives out in to the field to survey those that have not yet completed the survey. There are millions of Federal dollars available, let's all work together to make sure some of it is designated to improving Benzie County.
Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

The Board of Directors next term start January 2022. If you are a part of a member organization and desire to contribute to the backbone of the Benzie Area Chamber of Commerce, please fill out an application.

Your Benzie Area Chamber of Commerce has many great committees working on our initiatives throughout the year. We would love some fresh faces and new ideas to join our great teams! Email the Director at with your passions.
Would your business or organization like to Host or Sponsor a Chamber Event in 2022? Fill out an application today!!
Chamber of Commerce and Community
Your Benzie Area Chamber of Commerce always has a full agenda. Economic development initiatives, legislative advocacy, workforce strategies, broadband and infrastructure, housing developments and more keeps your Chamber working for your business and the community.
Chamber Ambassadors
Want to help the Chamber with member service and events?

We are always looking for more volunteers to help the Chamber make a difference in the Benzie area.
* * * * Directories, Maps, & Visitor's Guides * * * *
We are happy to deliver Chamber literature to your business or organization.
Please let us know if you need any Chamber Directories or Chamber Maps
Email Michelle - or stop by the Chamber Office!!
On Saturday, November 20th the Benzie Area Chamber of Commerce and Benzonia Township welcomed DuneGrass to our community with a Ribbon Cutting!
Outstanding Business of the Year and Community Impact Award nominations are OPEN!!
Do you know of an amazing Chamber Member business or organization that has went above and beyond in 2020-2021? Please submit a nomination for review by our Awards Committee!!
Business Enrichment Programming
The Benzie Area Chamber of Commerce is preparing great Business Enrichment programs under the Making Benzie Better moniker. These will be quarterly programs designed for business owners and community leaders on topics that affect our area.

The Benzie Chamber knows it is important to get Business Owners and Community Leaders together to have an open dialogue about needs in our community. We look forward to bringing more leaders together to Make Benzie Better.

We are currently working on an event in January speaking to how to attract talent and develop your workforce. Stay tuned for a date.

Also, if you would like to host this or another "Making Benzie Better" event for about 30 attendees, please email Michelle at

We are currently working on an event in February regarding Workforce Housing Initiatives in the area. Stay tuned for a date.
In partnership with American Express, the Benzie Area Chamber of Commerce will be out in the community to distribute Swag Bags on Saturday, November 27th!

We will have 10 bags per location filled will all kinds of goodies from American Express and area merchants.
(*Limit 1 bag per household)

Come and see us at the following locations:

10:00am - Petals and Perks - Frankfort
11:00am - Benzonia Public Library - Benzonia
1:00pm - Iron Fish Distillery - Thompsonville
3:00pm - Lake Ann Brewing Company - Lake Ann
MI MLK Day Service Grant
To honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. the Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC) is offering MLK Day service grants to support volunteer projects that address community needs in response to the pandemic, food insecurity, Afghan evacuee resettlement, water quality, flooding in southeast Michigan and projects around climate change. These issues have challenged Michigan's residents to meet ongoing and emerging needs and the MCSC believes that volunteer involvement is key to overcoming and building thriving communities.

DEADLINE 12/17/21
MI New Economy
MI New Economy builds on Michigan's economic momentum by setting aggressive goals for state government and outlining the transformative proposals that take advantage of the once-in-a-generation opportunity to remake Michigan's future and grow the middle class, support small businesses, and invest in our communities. This plan will result in better jobs, better skills, more people re-entering the labor force and more people staying in Michigan and moving to Michigan. It will result in a new economy, a better economy, one that expands economic opportunity and prosperity for all.
Going PRO Talent Fund
Applications close October 28th!
The Going PRO Talent Fund (Talent Fund) makes awards to employers to assist in training, developing and retaining current and newly hired employees. Training funded by the Talent Fund must be short-term and fill a demonstrated talent need experienced by the employer. Training must lead to a credential for a skill that is transferable and recognized by industry.
Northwest Michigan Works is now utilizing the Chamber Conference room on Fridays for Path Advisor Programming until their regular room at the library is ready.

We have some great ideas for furthering Workforce Development opportunities using the Chamber building...stay tuned.
Job Seeker Services
Networks Northwest and Northwest Michigan Works have great programming for those re-entering the workforce or even changing careers. Most programs are available via Zoom. Check out their websites for programs available.
USDA Rural Development Business Loans and Grants
Business Programs provide financial backing and technical assistance to stimulate business creation and growth. The programs work through partnerships with public and private community based organizations and financial institutions to provide financial assistance, business development, and technical assistance to rural businesses. These programs help to provide capital, equipment, space, job training, and entrepreneurial skills that can help to start and/or grow a business. Business Programs also support the creation and preservation of quality jobs in rural areas.

Michigan was recently awarded a part of a $7.5M grant for the 2022 TEFAP Farm to Food Bank Program
There is still time to apply for a COVID-19 EIDL!

Applications deadline is December 31, 2021!
All eligible applicants should file their applications as soon as possible.

Do you qualify for PPP Forgiveness?
On September 9, 2021, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced the following major enhancements to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.
  • Increasing the COVID EIDL Cap. The SBA will lift the COVID EIDL cap from $500,000 to $2 million. Loan funds can be used for any normal operating expenses and working capital, including payroll, purchasing equipment, and paying debt.
  • Implementation of a Deferred Payment Period. The SBA will ensure small business owners will not have to begin COVID EIDL repayment until two years after loan origination so that they can get through the pandemic without having to worry about making ends meet.
  • Establishment of a 30-Day Exclusivity Window. To ensure main street businesses have additional time to access these funds, the SBA will implement a 30-day exclusivity window of approving and disbursing funds for loans of $500,000 or less. Approval and disbursement of loans over $500,000 will begin after the 30-day period.
  • Expansion of Eligible Use of Funds. COVID EIDL funds will now be eligible to prepay commercial debt and make payments on federal business debt.
  • Simplification of affiliation requirements. To ease the COVID EIDL application process for small businesses, the SBA has established more simplified affiliation requirements to model those of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
Applications are now open for the Michigan Department of Education Childcare Stabilization Grant.

The Child Care Stabilization Grant is a $700 million investment in child care providers across Michigan. The Stabilization Grant is a non-competitive grant for child care providers to help stabilize operations and support the health and safety of children and staff.
With our partnership with the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance representing 16 Chambers across Northern Michigan gives us a fair and equal voice in Lansing and Washington DC.

For example, measures were taken last summer to ease COVID restrictions in our Region ahead of the remainder of the State. The combined resources help us monitor State and Federal legislation that would affect our Northern Michigan economy and lifestyle.

Michigan's 35th District
PO Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
(517) 373-1725


Michigan's 101st District
PO Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909
(517) 373-1825
HB 4052 & SB 0231- Daylight Savings Time Participation

HB 4060 - Microenterprise Development

HB 4081/4641/4646 & SB 0198/ 0364/ 0459- Neighborhood Enterprise Zoning

HB 4136 /4137/ 4139 & SB 0210/ 0211 - Snowmobile, Watercraft & ORV Safety requirements

HB 4162/ 4544 - Michigan Strategic Fund designations

HB 4289 & SB 0145/ 0146- First-time homebuyers savings account program

HB 4413 - Minimum Wage update

HB 4722 & SB 0446- Land Use - Short-Term Rental Zoning

HB 4835/4836 & SB 0433/0434- Drivers License / State ID allowance for undocumented individuals

HB 4842 & SB 0444- Spirit Tax & Reform

SB 0432 - Rural Workforce Housing Project compensation amended

SB 0501 - Individuals collecting unemployment benefits will be required to seek work
Autumn Activities in Benzie
As the days get shorter and the nights become cooler, nature begins to change into a spectacular show of color. Benzie County is a great place to enjoy the stunning gold and oranges cast against the gorgeous blue Lake Michigan background. Whether you live here or are just visiting for a time, there are plenty of Autumn Activities for you to enjoy.
New Workplace Took Kit
The Benzie-Leelanau Distric Health Department has put together a new COVID-19 Workplace Toolkit. As always, you are within your rights to require additional safety and health measures at your discretion to protect your staff.

Vaccines are now available for ages 5-11. Check out the Chamber Resource page for info.
Premier Investor Sponsors
Benzie Area Chamber of Commerce - 826 Michigan Ave. / PO Box 204, Benzonia, MI 49616
(231) 882-5801 /