Chamber Newsletter - November 2021
Chamber Chat with Amanda

Dear Chamber Members,

Each year the Chamber holds elections for individuals seeking a seat on the Black River Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. A ballot containing the candidates for the 2022 Board of Directors was recently mailed to you. If you need a new ballot, please let me know and I will email one to you.

I am pleased with the quality of our candidates – we have four candidates for three open seats. We have a diverse group which is essential for any board representing a wide variety of businesses. I thank them for their willingness to serve.

There is also a space for a write-in candidate. Please read the biography each candidate has provided and vote accordingly by marking your choices with an “X”. Also, be sure to list your company name at the top of the form. Please return the ballot to the Chamber office or send the form by mail, email or fax on or before December 3, 2021.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you to send in your 2022 membership dues if you have not already done so. The due date was November 12th. Late notices were recently mailed. We are happy to work out payment arrangements - just give us a call or send us an email and we can discuss that option. We are still working on the 2022 Visitor Guide so there is still time to purchase an ad in as well.

If you would like assistance reviewing your membership or ad information, please call our office.

Thank you, as always, for your continued support of the Chamber. Together we build business, create community and promote tourism.

Sincerely,

Amanda Gunn
Executive Director
Black River Area Chamber of Commerce
Chamber News
Small Business Saturday Drive Thru Chamber Bucks Giveaway Event - November 27

We will be hosting the Small Business Saturday drive thru giveaway event beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Small Business Saturday, November 27th, at the Jackson County Fairgrounds near the animal arena. We will be handing out envelopes containing random amounts of Chamber Bucks, Downtown Business Gift Cards, or other local gift cards donated by member businesses! We want to encourage shopping and eating locally on Small Business Saturday and throughout the Holiday Season. Each envelope will contain a minimum $10 value.

Thanks to all of our amazing sponsors, we will be giving away almost $5,000 in Chamber Bucks and local business gift cards!

Platinum Sponsors:
Anonymous, Black River Falls Downtown Association, Gross Motors of Black River Falls, Parkland Village Campground, Scholze Ace Home Center, Security Financial Bank, Wal-Mart

Gold Sponsors:
Courtesy Corporation, Edward Jones, Hoffman Construction, Kwik Trip, Moe Hardware, SureStay Plus, Union State Bank, WHTL Radio

Silver Sponsors:
Banner Journal/The Shopper, Derousseau Heating & Cooling, Falls Florist, Gaier Construction, Karen Koenigs Insurance Agency, Merrillan Café, R&R’s First & Last Chance, Waumandee State Bank
Black River Area Chamber of Commerce Holiday Open House
We will be hosting a Holiday Open House for Chamber Members on Wednesday, December 8th from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the Chamber office!

Stop in and visit with us about what's new with your business or organization, drop off new brochures and business cards for our racks and pick up visitor guides or other info you may need!

We will have sweet treats and beverages available. You can also register to win door prizes! Prizes include poinsettias, local wine & beer and Chamber Bucks!

Remember - any employee of a Chamber Member business or organization is welcome to attend!
Free Ad in the Weekly E-Newsletter for all Chamber Members in 2022

We are offering a free ad in the weekly e-newsletter to all Chamber Members in 2022. We would like to help promote your business as much as we can in 2022 with a free ad. We will insert the ad into the weekly e-newsletter and we will schedule a Facebook post on our page with your ad too. Just send your ad to: chamber@blackrivercountry.net and let us know when you'd like us to run it in the weekly e-newsletter. Ad sizes are 8.5x11. Please let us know if you have any questions!
Member Job Postings

If your business or organization is hiring, send us information and we will get it added to the member job postings section on our website.
Events and Press Releases to Share

Please send us information on any upcoming events your business or organization is hosting. We will get them posted to the calendar on our website and in the printed calendar we distribute at our office. We also share many different events on our Facebook page!

We will also share press releases in the Member News section of the monthly e-newsletter! Please send any press releases to amandagunn@blackrivercountry.net.
Brochures, Rack Cards and Business Cards

Make sure to drop off a supply of your brochures, rack cards and business cards at the Chamber office. Help us help your business by passing along information to both our out-of-town visitors and to local residents who come to the Chamber. If you can't make it to the office, give us a call at 715-284-4658 and we will gladly pick them up at your business!
Business After 5 will return in 2022!
Business After 5 will be held every other month starting in February on the second Wednesday from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Business After 5 events are held at Chamber member businesses. Any employee of a Chamber member business is invited to attend Business After 5. There is no cost to attend! Join fellow Chamber members for drinks, food, door prizes and great networking opportunities! 

2022 Schedule

February 9 - Norgaard Agency Inc
April 13 - North Point Advisor Group
June 8 - Jackson County Republican Party Office
August 10 - Northern Family Farms
October 12 - Co-op Credit Union
*December 7 - Black River Area Chamber of Commerce Holiday Party

* the holiday party will take place the first Wednesday of the month

If you would like to get your business on the calendar to host in 2023, give us a call to reserve your date!
New Members
You Bake Me Crazy
942 Forrest Street
Black River Falls, WI 54615

Cupcake Shop in Black River Falls. My parents owned a small, from scratch bakery for 20+ years. I worked beside them baking and decorating cakes & cupcakes. Using my dad’s bakery recipe I can’t wait to bake delicious & unique cupcakes for you!

Black River Falls Public Transit
Black River Falls, WI 54615

Black River Falls Public Transit offers safe, courteous, and reliable transportation for area residents and visitors alike. We are open to the general public, and we are proud to provide service without regard to race, color or national origin! We are also an Equal Opportunity Employer. We need drivers! We lost drivers during the pandemic, and now we have an urgent need for new safe, courteous, reliable workers! Just helping out with one or two shift(s) per week will help your neighbors and local businesses! Whether you need a ride, or want to offer your services as a driver, call: 715-284-4511. (A new management company will take over in January, but don’t wait until then. This valuable community service needs your help now!)
 
Nothwoods Therapy Associates
9 Main Street
Black River Falls, WI 54615

We are an outpatient orthopedic physical therapy clinic new to the Black River Falls area! At Northwoods Therapy we are taking physical therapy to the next level by providing health, wellness and performance instruction for you and your family. You have a choice when it comes to physical therapy and we want you to come see how we can keep you in the game of life.
 
Creekside Kennels LLC
N3522 Dodge Road
Black River Falls, WI 54615

Dog Boarding - fenced indoor/outdoor kennels, XL elevated dog cots, open year round, a/c & heat, very flexible drop off & pickup times (8am to 8pm), dogs have 24/7 access to go outside whenever they want to, clean, fun, safe, in a very unique creekside & wooded location. Interactive toys like kongs, snuffle mats, lick mats available to keep your pup entertained. Biscuits, Extra love, belly rubs & ear scratches are free! 

Retail - High quality & affordable: pet food, antlers, treats, chews, supplements, supplies & toys - for dogs, cats, rabbits, small birds, chickens, small mammals & More.  Special order available on many items, most dry food brands are buy 12 bags get a bag free, price match guarantee with most items. Discounts on boarding given to regular food customers.
 
Rozario’s Pizza
42 N 1st Street
Black River Falls, WI 54615
715-284-0006 - www.rozariospizza.com

A Taste of Sicily! Cozy Italian Restaurant in the small town of Black River Falls. We serve pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, and tons more! Not only do we have a full menu, but also a full bar too. Great for a quiet dinner with the family, or a night out with some friends. We love to see new faces, young & old, families, or just a group of friends.
 
Lashing Impressions
25 S. 2nd Street, Suite 1
Black River Falls, WI 54615
Lashing impressions is a beauty boutique located at 25 S. 2nd Street, Suite 1. We offer eyelash extensions and professional teeth whitening. Going into 2022 we plan on bringing on new services such as lash lifting and tinting, eyebrow lamination and other eyebrow needs.
 
Falls Meat Service, Inc.
13212 Main Street
Pigeon Falls, WI 54760

Falls Meat Service is a family-owned and operated business that first opened the doors in 1974. We are located in Pigeon Falls, Wisconsin just minutes from I-94. We strive to bring you the best quality meats and customer service that you should expect from your local butcher.
Falls Meat Service offers full service of butchering and processing of beef, pork, and lamb. We offer full processing of venison as well as offering a full-line of cured and naturally smoked sausages. We also provide special event services with our convenient, ready-to-eat products for your family and business get-together. Also, Falls Meat Service owns and operates Sow Belly's BBQ Food Trailer that can be found at a variety of events and venues and can also be booked for your personal events. Additionally, we are a local dealer for Green Mountain Pellet Smoker/Grills and pellets. Lastly, Falls Meat Service products can be found in over 45 local stores and restaurants, as well as, our retail store in Pigeon Falls. 
 
#WillPProject

#WillPProject * Stop.Think.Live. In the shadow of tragedy, we focus on the light...

The #WillPProject hopes to help those in our community (within 30 miles of Alma Center, WI) by providing messages of hope, help, and light in suicide prevention and cancer support through the #WillPProject Cancer Warrior Service.

People can apply for assistance through the #WillPProject Cancer Warrior Service by filling out this Google form: https://forms.gle/BkhA6WMsTTURKjNx6

The #WillPProject hopes to help brighten the day of someone battling cancer.

We are all battling something tough - or seemingly impossible - on some days. Together, we can be stronger. Go for a walk and talk with a pal - these moments of connection, support, and activity can take a mind from a dark spiral, up and out into a rainbow of hope and light. The #WillPProject will be placing benches in our community to help spark conversations of help and support. It also hopes to place some special signs in the community and to help pay for some counseling/mental health sessions for those who need help. When the darkest of days come, please Stop.Think.Live. Do these 3 things when doubt and despair enter your mind. Stop any further action. Think about choices and what they mean. Seek some support in that moment of doubt to help get you out of your own head and find some clarity. Think about all those who love you (they DO!), and choose to Live.
 
 
Generations Wealth Strategies
304 Main Street
Black River Falls, WI 54615

When you’ve spent your life pouring your heart and soul into your crops, the last thing you want is for your livelihood to be the thing that drives your family apart. You built your legacy to provide for the people you love, and your life’s work should be a blessing not just financially, but relationally. That’s why your financial strategy requires so much more than insurance strategies and tax considerations—you need someone to help you protect the heart of your business while you create a legacy that will support your family for years to come.

At Generations Wealth Strategies, we specialize in helping cranberry growers and other agriculture professionals protect their marshes, farms, and families for generations. We like to say that we’re in the business of preserving comfortable Thanksgiving dinners because our goal is to not only prepare your marsh or farm financially, but to make sure your kids and grandkids keep loving each other—and the marsh—long after you’re gone. We help you think through the future of your family business so you can make sure everyone is on the same page and prepared to make wise decisions, no matter who’s running the business. As your partner, we want to put you in the financial position to take advantage of opportunities as you grow so your estate can sustain multiple generations of your family—not just when you retire, but while you’re still around to show them the ropes.

We’ve been serving agricultural families for more than 20 years, and we know how personal the growing business can be. We love helping hardworking, dedicated people establish financially sound estates in a way that reminds them why they decided to be part of a family business in the first place. After all, a legacy should be about more than money—it’s a way to bring your family together year after year, no matter how many years have passed, no matter who’s running the business. And that’s something to get excited about.
Member News
Interfaith is growing!

To meet the expanding needs of our community, Interfaith is building a NEW HOME, on a donated lot at the corner of Tyler Street and Rye Bluff road in Black River Falls!!

To help make this dream a reality, Interfaith has received an extremely generous gift from the Lunda Charitable Fund of a matching grant, up to $800,000 for all local donations! This makes your donation worth twice as much!

Visit their updated website https://www.jcivc.org/capital-campaign for more exciting information on our plans and how you can help too!
City of Black River Falls COVID-19 Recovery Microloan Program

The City of Black River Falls Recovery Microloan (CRM) Program has been expanded to include businesses within 2 miles of the city limits and home based businesses with annual gross revenues of $50,000 or more.

Individual businesses may apply for loans up to $10,000. The City of Black River Falls will utilize up to $650,000 from the Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund. The microloans will be 0% Interest with no application fee and no penalty for early payment. Payments will be deferred for 6 months or more with repayment terms of up to 5 Years (60 months).

Eligible businesses must:

- Be located in the City of Black River Falls or within a 2-mile radius of the City limits.
- Have suffered measurable financial losses.
- Intend and have the ability to resume business operations in the City of Black River Falls as soon as possible.

The following businesses are not eligible for microloans: businesses with more than 50 employees, residential rental/lease companies, non-profits, financial institutions, liquor stores, home based businesses with annual gross revenue under $50,000, payday loan and title companies, and telemarketing businesses other than inbound call centers.

CRM funds may be used for the following activities:

- Payroll – including FFCRA mandated paid emergency leave
- Rent / Mortgage payments
- Operating supplies and expenses
- Other Debt Payments
- Inventory
- Utilities

The CRM is considered a short-term source of funding to assist impacted businesses with immediate and short-term needs during and following the COVID-19 outbreak. Additional local, state, and federal financial assistance programs available through local lenders, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the Small Business Administration (SBA), and others will play an important role in the business recovery process. Business owners should contact their lender and visit the WEDC website for more information on these resources.
CRM funds will be administered by the City of Black River Falls.

Applications are available on the City’s website at: https://blackriverfalls.us/econ-development/or by emailing the City Administrator at city.admin@blackriverfalls.us
Dementia Friendly Community Initiatives of
Jackson County
Dear Community Member,

As the number of people living with dementia continues to rise, and is projected to grow exponentially over the next thirty years, the Department of Health Services (DHS) has developed a statewide initiative to make Wisconsin as Dementia Friendly as possible. A Dementia friendly community is one that builds infrastructure to support and take responsibility for enhancing the beneficial effect of services for those living with dementia and their caregivers. This can be accomplished through promoting the awareness that a dementia diagnosis does not mean the person affected can no longer continue with their daily activities. In fact, studies have shown that people with dementia want to continue to be a part of their community, enjoy their regular daily lives and maneuver around their community safely and conveniently.

Community members in Jackson County have joined forces to provide this education, support and outreach to area businesses to enhance the support of those with Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in our community. For the convenience and efficiency of your business, training takes approximately thirty minutes. The trainer will travel to the location of your choosing, provide all materials, conduct a verbal presentation and answer questions. The information provided will outline what Dementia is, how to recognize it, why being a dementia-friendly business fits into the larger picture of a dementia-friendly community and how to better serve a person who may be suffering a symptom associated with the disease. Our program can enhance your company’s policies and procedures.
 
We recommend that at least 50% of the staff are trained, which includes managers. Going forward, we request that new employees receive the training as part of their orientation process. After completion of initial training, you will receive the “Purple Angel” window cling (pictured above) and the Dementia Friendly Toolkit for use in the orientation process. The toolkit is provided by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and can be viewed at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/dementia/communities.htm. We recommend applying the symbol to all entrances so that customers can identify the business as a safe and supportive environment.
 
Training is always FREE. There will be no cost to you or your business at any time. We also will not ask for money at any time. Please contact Emily Reitz, the Jackson County Dementia Specialist, to set up your training. She can be reached by phone at 715-284-3978. You can also email ADRCJC@co.jackson.wi.us.
 
dementia friendly community is a place where it is possible for the greatest number of people with Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease to live a good, enriching life. Together we can make Jackson County that community!
 
We look forward to working with you in the future! 

The Jackson County Dementia Friendly Coalition
Explore Jackson County Series
Check out the latest episode of the Explore Jackson County Series with Jack Taylor, from Taylor Media LLC! This episode highlights Hatfield and Lake Arbutus.
Wisconsin Monthly Tourism Spending Tops Record-Setting Year for First Time Since 2019
Wisconsin is first state in competitor-set to exceed pre-pandemic monthly tourist spending.

Gov. Tony Evers and Wisconsin Department of Tourism Secretary-designee Anne Sayers celebrated news in Wisconsin's tourism industry as national travel spending data for September reveals Wisconsin's first growth in monthly year-over-year tourism spending compared to 2019, while the national average continues to lag at a 9 percent drop. The growth signals a strong economic rebound for the industry as overtaking tourism spending in Wisconsin’s record-setting 2019 has long been the Department of Tourism’s goal for the industry’s recovery, which was one of the industries hit first and hardest by the pandemic. Wisconsin was one of only 13 states to post positive growth over 2019, according to the United States Travel Association’s monthly tourism spending data.

“The tourism industry is an essential part of our state and our economy. We've put more than $200 million in federal recovery funds toward helping our tourism and hospitality industries get through this pandemic and bounce back, and I'm proud of our work to help support our economic recovery,” said Gov. Evers.

According to the report, both Illinois and Minnesota lagged the national average at 21 percent and 20 percent spending declines while Iowa and Michigan exceeded the national average, losing five percent and three percent traveler spending compared to 2019. Wisconsin at one percent growth was the only state in our Midwest competitive set to exceed spending for any month compared to 2019 since the beginning of the pandemic.

“We expect to see more bumps in the long road to recovery, but we are on the right path and we want to celebrate this moment for the tourism industry workers whose livelihoods depend on this rebound,” said Tourism Secretary-designee Anne Sayers. “While meetings and conventions and other large group gatherings are slow to return, leisure travelers are making up for it by spending their time and their dollars in Wisconsin to experience the unexpected and when that happens, Wisconsin wins.”

In 2020, Wisconsin tourism’s $17.3 billion industry saw a 22 percent decline compared to 2019, the state's best year on record. While September is just a snapshot of one month and the Department of Tourism anticipates 2021 to still be down compared to 2019, the shift to increased spending is another indicator of Wisconsin tourism’s strong recovery. 
Wisconsin Fast Forward Grant Program
The Department of Workforce Development's Office of Skills Development (OSD) is again accepting applications!

We have redesigned our grant offerings into a single grant opportunity, "Industry Sectors Worker Training Grants." This grant program is designed to help fund the development of innovative and collaborative customized worker training programs.

Key features of this grant program:
  • Grants are available to all industry sectors and companies of any size;
  • Grant award amounts may range from $5,000 to $400,000;
  • Cash or in-kind match equal to 50% of the grant award amount is required;
  • Grantee must complete training of at least 85% of the contracted number of trainees; and
  • At least 65% of trainees must be placed in positions with the placement partner(s) identified in the grant application that require the skills taught in the provided training.

For more information and to apply, please see the grant program announcement summarizing program requirements.
Main Street Bounceback Grants
PROGRAM GOAL:
The goal of the Main Street Bounceback Grants program is to provide financial support to businesses that move into existing vacant commercial properties, helping to create a foundation for long-term success for themselves and their communities.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION:
The Main Street Bounceback Grants program provides $10,000 to new or existing businesses and non-profit organizations moving into vacant properties in Wisconsin’s downtowns and commercial corridors. Funds can be used to pay leases or mortgages, operational expenses and other business costs related to the newly opened location. The program is open to new or existing businesses opening a new location or expanding operations in a vacant commercial space as of January 1, 2021. Grant funds are available as part of the American Recovery Plan Act and will be distributed by WEDC’s regional partners. Businesses must apply through the partner organization for the region in which they are located.
TAP Program Announcement
Grant Applications Now Open -
Bike and Pedestrian Infrastructure Projects
WisDOT is pleased to announce the application materials for the 2022-2026 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) program cycle are now available on the WisDOT TAP webpage. TAP provides eligible sponsors with up to 80% matching funds for projects that improve non-motorized transportation connectivity and enhance safety for non-drivers. Eligible sponsors and project activities are described in the guidance document found on the TAP webpage.
 
WisDOT encourages you to review the application materials provided on the webpage linked below and consider applying for project funding. 
 
WisDOT TAP Webpage:
 
Applications for the TAP program must be submitted to WisDOT by 5:00 P.M. on Friday January 28, 2022.
 
If you have questions about the TAP program or application materials, please contact a Regional Local Program Contact or Travis Houle (travis.houle@dot.wi.gov)
Restaurant Revitalization Fund
The American Rescue Plan Act established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) to provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open. This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.
Western Wisconsin Women's Business Center
Are you thinking about starting your own child care business? Apply for our $2,500 start-up grant.

Right now, there are three children for every available child care opening in our communities. With uncertain school schedules and closures this academic year, families of essential workers are struggling to secure safe care for their children. You can help by opening your home to children in need and becoming a part-time or full-time child care provider today! 

If you have any questions, please contact the Western Wisconsin Women's Business Center at 715-836-7511 or info@successfulbusiness.org for more information. 
Starting a new business in Trempealeau, Buffalo, Jackson, or Eau Claire County?

Click the link below to apply for FREE business counseling and create your own job. Qualify for up to $2,500 to cover start-up expenses, while funds exist. Eligible businesses must have launched prior to March 31, 2021.

Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission
Revolving Loan Funds
The Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission with $1,050,00 in CARES Act Recovery Assistance Revolving Loan Funds (RLF). The RLF is designed to assist small businesses (under 10 employees) most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with short-term, fixed rate, low-interest working capital loans.
7 Rivers Alliance Updates
U.S. Small Business Administration
Created in 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) helps small business owners and entrepreneurs pursue the American dream. The SBA is the only cabinet-level federal agency fully dedicated to small business and provides counseling, capital, and contracting expertise as the nation’s only go-to resource and voice for small businesses.

The SCORE chapter that services the western and north central region of WI has a number of different mentors that have expertise in certain areas of business (marketing, social media, bookkeeping, etc). Additionally, SCORE mentors can help a business owner update or create a business plan. Learn more at https://centralwisconsin.score.org/.

For information on the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) that services Jackson County visit: https://wisconsinsbdc.org/centers/lacrosse/.

For detailed information on SBA programs for the coronavirus, visit www.sba.gov/coronavirus and for information on all federal programs, visit www.usa.gov/coronavirus.

Area Contact - 
Lisa Taylor
Outreach and Marketing Specialist
Wisconsin District Office
U.S. Small Business Administration
Cell: (202) 407-3299  
Vision Design Group
Miller's Antiques & Auction Co
2021 Chamber Board of Directors
President - Robert Crampes, Cell.Plus/US Cellular
Vice President - Dana Olson, Black River Country Bank
Treasurer - Jordan Nortman, Coldwell Banker River Valley, Realtors®
Secretary - Joe Williams, Theisen's Home-Farm-Auto
 
Board Members
Keith Brown, Clearview Realty
Miranda Chandler, Co-op Credit Union
Kathleen Clemons, Ho-Chunk Nation Rep
Michelle Kapfer, North Point Advisor Group
Bill Laurent, Jackson County Republican Office
Laura Lindow, Reflections on Water
Brianne Massman, Lunda Community Center
Veronica (Vee) Price, Norgaard Agency
Ray Ransom, Jackson County Board Rep
Nichole Sullivan, School District of Black River Falls
Jack Taylor, Taylor Media
Chamber Staff
Amanda Gunn - Executive Director
Kathy Kopp - Office Manager
Nicole Knight - Office Assistant
Black River Area Chamber of Commerce
120 N Water St
Black River Falls, WI 54615
715-284-4658
www.blackrivercountry.net