Chamber Newsletter - April 2018
Volume 23 - Issue 4
Chamber Chat with Amanda

Spring is in the air (FINALLY)! Spring is a time of phenomenal renewal. The earth awakens from her slumber, and explodes with new life. In our own lives, spring can be symbolic of starting new projects, sewing new seeds and coming forth with new ideas. This year, spring has brought many new businesses to Black River Falls - especially Downtown. There are also some existing businesses that have changed locations. Here are all of the new businesses and businesses that have moved to new locations of which we are aware:

Mr Pita opened in March. It is located at 24 N. Water Street. Mr Pita is a great restaurant with many menu options including gyros, pitas, burgers and more. They are open Thursday through Tuesday 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

Karma New & Used opened this month in the old Memory Lane building at 224 Main Street. They are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. They have treasures to be found for everyone. Antiques, new and used items from furniture, home decor, jewelry and more. You never know what you will see there!

PriceLand Hemp also opened this month in the former Consignment Shop building at 118 Main Street. PriceLand Hemp is a farm-to-table company focused on growing quality CBD hemp for their state-of-the-art processing center to provide CBD oil and many other Hemp products at an affordable rate. It is the first store in Wisconsin to grow, process and sell hemp.

Millie J's Boutique will be officially opening in May but they are currently doing tuxedo rentals for prom season. It is located in the former Mary J's building at 34 Main Street. Millie J's Boutique offers a one-of-a-kind collection of misses and young women's clothing. Show off your personal style with brands you won't find in other stores!

Riverside Nutrition will be opening soon at 18 Main St. Riverside Nutrition is a health and wellness club for EVERY BODY! They will be serving healthy meal shakes, energy teas, and soothing aloe shots.

First Fruits Common Market will also be opening soon at 25 South 1st Street in the old Tomter Laundromat building. It will have bulk foods, local foods, specialty foods, local meats, jewelry, flavored popcorns, great coffees, sandwiches to go, great breads, some baked goods, and more!

124 Main Street Theater will be opening soon at 124 Main Street in part of the old Torgerson's Furniture building. It is a  new live theater venture for downtown Black River Falls, that will include Reader's Theater performances and Community special event programs.

Gathering Grounds will be opening soon at 437 N Water Street. It will be a cozy small town coffee shop serving coffee, soups, salads, sandwiches, baked goods and an assortment of unique gifts!

Courteous Canine LLC opened in February at 40 N. Roosevelt Rd. They offer dog grooming and dog training. 

Memory Lane has moved to 22 South 1st Street in the old Framing Etc. building. They offer a wide selection of antiques and collectibles.

Network For Youth has moved to 124 Main Street in part of the old Torgerson's Furniture building.  Network for Youth is an organization focused on meeting the needs of youth aging out of foster care, are homeless, or are without a family support system.

Cinco de Mayo has moved to 109 Main Street in the old Waarvik building. They hope to be open in the next month. They have been serving Black River Falls and surrounding areas since 2010. They specialize in authentic Mexican food, fresh ingredients, drinks, catering and much more.

It is great to see so many new businesses opening. Business is booming in our area! 

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

Amanda Gunn
Executive Director
Black River Area Chamber of Commerce
Chamber News

2018 Black River Country Visitor's Guides 

The 2018 Black River Country Visitor's Guides are printed and ready for distribution! We have cases available at our office.  You can also view it online on our website. Stop in our office anytime to pick some up. If you would like us to deliver them to you, please call our office at 715-284-4658 or send us an email.
Thanks to all who advertised in this year's Visitor's Guide. If you missed out and want to make sure you're a part of next year's Visitor's Guide, it's not too early to let us know!


Our New Website is Live!

The new website is done and looks fantastic! Vision Design Group did a wonderful job with the design. Please take a look at the new site and your listing and let us know if you would like any of your information updated. You can also email us multiple pictures to add to your listing. Please send pictures to

Events 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 that we distribute at our office. We also share many different events on our Facebook page. 

Brochures, Rack Cards and Business Cards Needed 

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 and we will gladly pick them up at your business.  

Goody Bag Items Needed

Throughout the year, we put together goody bags for our Karner Blue race, new teachers, hockey tournaments and other events. We are asking businesses to donate goody bag items. If you have items such as pens, magnets, key chains, coupons, etc that you would like to donate, give us a call. It is a great opportunity to advertise and promote your business!
Community-Wide Job Fair 

Community-Wide Job Fair will be held Friday, May 4, 2018!

The Black River Area Chamber of Commerce, the Department of Workforce Development and the Black River Falls Middle School are planning a Community-Wide Job Fair at the Black River Falls Middle School. The job fair will be from 1:00 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. There are 30 businesses registered so far. 

Fern Helbling Scholarship

Black River Area Chamber of Commerce seeks Scholarship Applicants

Each year, the Black River Area Chamber of Commerce (BRACC) awards two Fern Helbling Scholarships. Fern Helbling was a local registered nurse who passed away Dec. 21, 1999. It was her wish that the interest earned from part of her estate be used to benefit local scholars.
The Fern Helbling Business Scholarship is awarded to a male or female student enrolled in a four-year college. The student must be at least a college sophomore in good standing. Students must currently be taking at least six credits and enrolled in a business curriculum.
A second scholarship is the Fern Helbling Women's Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to women 25 years of age or older, and enrolled in a two or four-year college and currently taking at least six credits.
Both scholarship applications require a current degree audit or class schedule and an un-official transcript that reflects GPA. Requirements for both scholarships state the student must be a Jackson County resident.
Applicants must have good moral standards, an unquestionable reputation and be able to provide three character references. The students will be required to submit an essay on their goals and plans for achieving those goals.
The applicants may apply and receive more than one scholarship during undergraduate years. In 2018, the maximum scholarship amount in each category will be $500.

Application forms are available on the website Look for the link under the "Chamber" tab. Applications are also available at the BRACC office located at 120 North Water Street, Black River Falls, or can be emailed to the applicant. The application and attachments must be returned to the BRACC no later than May 18, 2018.
Business After 5 

Thank you to Black River Memorial Hospital for hosting the April Business After 5 event that took place on Wednesday, April 11.  Everyone had a wonderful time!  Guests enjoyed food from the hospital's Food Service Department , root  beer from   Sand Creek Brewery , and water donated by   Ripp Distributing

Members enjoyed delicious food made by the hospital's Food Service Department

Past President Steve Meyer, left, and Board Secretary Justin Dougherty catching up at the event.

Please join us for Business After 5 in May!

Karner Blue Race

Registration is underway for the 14th Annual Karner Blue 5K-10K-Half Marathon which is Saturday, June 30. The event will take place the same day as Festival in the Park. An estimated 200 runners are expected to compete in the races, which are sponsored by the Black River Area Chamber of Commerce. The half marathon begins at 7 a.m., the 5K and 10K at 8 a.m. and a free kids' race sponsored by Jackson In Action for youth 10 and under starts at 9 a.m.
Registration is $45 for the half marathon until June 22 and will increase to $50 for late registrants. Cost is $25 for the 5K and 10K races which will increase to $30 after June 22. Teams of five runners can sign up for the Corporate Challenge. Corporate registration is $100 and $125 after June 22.

Food and refreshments will follow the races. The awards ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. near the finish line at the Chamber of Commerce building. Medals will be awarded to the top three finishers in each age division. There will also be trophies for the male and female winners in each race.

For more information on the Karner Blue 5K-10K-Half Marathon, please visit To register on-line, visit

You can also register at the Chamber office or on the day of the race.
Anyone interested in volunteering to help with the races can contact the chamber at 715-284-4658.

2018 New Members

Mr. Pita
24 North Water Street
Black River Falls, WI 54615
Phone: 715-670-1300
Mr. Pita serves pitas, wraps, burgers, breakfast and more. Open Thursday-Tuesday from 11 AM-8 PM. Closed on Wednesdays. Stop in and give them a try!
PriceLand Hemp LLC
118 Main Street
Black River Falls, WI 54615
Phone: 715-299-5200
PriceLand Hemp, LLC is Wisconsin's First Legal Retail Online CBD Products Apparel& More (Licensed) Retail & Online Store. At PriceLand we employ our knowledge of medicinal, natural plants like hemp that have healing, protective, antioxidative effects.  We would love to crush a special botanical blend for you today, please stop by our all-in-one grow, process, and sell hemp shop. These unique substances work in synergy, to control chronic inflammation and high pH.   The leading drivers for cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and even obesity. Though we know, based on many studies, these effects HAVE NOT been evaluated by the FDA.  PriceLand makes NO claims: to cure, prevent, replace medications, or recommend you rely on our products. You have to make those determinations on your own.

Gathering Grounds
437 N. Water Street
Black River Falls, WI 54615
Phone: 715-284-2800
Cozy small town coffee shop located in Black River Falls, Wisconsin that serves soups, salads, sandwiches, baked goods and an assortment of unique gifts!

109 Main Street
Black River Falls, WI 54615
Phone 715-284-5001
The area's leading restaurant serving Black River Falls and surrounding area since 2010. We specialize in authentic Mexican food, fresh ingredients, drinks, catering and much more. For your next Mexican meal, visit Cinco De Mayo in Black River Falls.
7 Rivers Alliance Updates

Inspire Program

The 7 Rivers Inspire program that launched in the Black River Falls school district is now up to 75 employers and 50 coaches. The successful program has continued to build momentum. The team is now looking to focus on getting employers from Juneau County involved.
Our determination to increase employers involved with the program has not slowed down. Our team continues to communicate about the benefits of the program to local organizations. If you or any employer is interested in learning more please email Jeff at or visit the website.


2018 Workforce Summit

The 2018 Workforce Summit will be May 23rd from 9:00 a.m. -2:00 p.m. at the Radisson Center in La Crosse. Lunch will be included

This year's workforce summit goal is finding workers in a tight labor market. The event will begin with an update on the plans to execute the WISE plan's goals and strategies.The rest of the event will be focused on having productive panel discussions on employing those with disablitites, veterans, and individuals coming from correctional facilities. We will have an agency, a company that has had success hiring these groups of people, and an employee who has participated in the workforce transition. Lunch will be served halfway through the event.

Tourism and hospitality are important sectors of the 7 Rivers Region economy and the industry is in need of additional workers. In response to this, Western Technical College now offers hospitality degrees. Please share this information as you see fit so they can take advantage of this opportunity. 

Employer of Choice Workshops
We all have a stake in making every business within our area to be better, stronger, and more profitable.  One of the biggest challenges businesses of all types and sizes seem to be having these days, is attracting and retaining quality employees. 
The 7 Rivers Alliance is sponsoring a series of workshops in six cities that will help businesses to become Employers of Choice, which will help them to attract and retain employees.

Western Dairyland Women's Business Conference


Attend this one-day event May 22 featuring respected Wisconsin speakers, entrepreneurs, and visionaries.

Designed to inspire and connect you with other empowering women, this event will provide you with the resources you are looking for to start, improve, or expand your business. At this full-day conference, you'll learn from established members of the business community in Western Wisconsin, talk to business assistance providers, and network with other women in business.
  • 100+ businesses display their services and products in the exhibitor hall
  • 20 educational sessions and roundtables cover a wide range of topics
  • One-on-one counseling available to discuss specific business questions
Join 500+ women in business at this popular annual event hosted by the Women's Business Center, a program of the Western Dairyland Community Action Agency.

Register using code BRF Chamber to receive a discount! For more information or to register visit their website.

Are you looking to increase your skilled talent pipeline?  An internship program is a fantastic way to begin that process. We want to introduce you to WisConnect - Your Source for Wisconsin Internships.
At, Wisconsin employers can:
·          Create a profile/marketing page for their business
·          Post their internships for free
·          Search for interns
·          Access resources on creating or improving an internship program
Use WisConnect to develop a robust internship program and recruit interns to enhance your skilled talent pipeline.
Create a free WisConnect account to start your search for interns today. Once registered, you can build your employer profile to showcase and attract interns, post internships and search for qualified interns who meet your talent needs.
College students are joining WisConnect regularly.  Visit the site frequently to make new talent connections.
Note: If you have a or Unemployment Insurance login, you can use your existing Username and Password when signing in on WisConnect.
Supply Chain Marketplace

Register your business for FREE on the Supply Chain Marketplace!

Wisconsin Supply Chain Marketplace directory provides companies with a convenient avenue to find Wisconsin suppliers in a simple to use system that delivers results and supplier solutions.
The Marketplace offers suppliers a dynamic platform to get their information out to a broader customer base. Suppliers in the Marketplace get access to RFPs, RFQs, and CFIs with an opportunity to respond to the requests and access new markets.

Supply Chain Marketplace is designed to:
Highlight company capabilities
Be searchable via keywords and categories
Be a connecting interface for business-to-business transactions
Organize suppliers for new go-to-market opportunities
Make locating suppliers as easy as entering a few key strokes

Visit the website for more information.
Department of Workforce Development
Grant Opportunities

The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) - Office of Skills Development (OSD) released a new Advanced Manufacturing Technical Education Equipment Grant Program Announcement (GPA), making up to $500,000 in grants available to Wisconsin school districts to train students for careers in advanced manufacturing under Governor Walker's recently expanded  Wisconsin Fast Forward  (WFF) program.

The purpose of the grant is to reimburse school districts for the purchase and installation costs of technical education equipment used in vocational training and technical education in advanced manufacturing fields, including costs for equipment operation software and instructional materials to train students. Funds also may be used to pay for technical education building modifications to accommodate the equipment and to support advanced manufacturing technical education programs.

Details follow:
Advanced Manufacturing Technical Education Equipment GPA:
Applicants: Wisconsin School Districts
Deadline to Apply: May 15, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. 
Award Amount:  $5,000 to $50,000
Awarded school districts must provide matching funds equal to 200 percent of the awarded grant amount in the form of money or the monetary value of equipment that is contributed from private sources, the school district or both.
Visit the WFF website to access  this grant opportunity.
Please  contact OSD  with questions.
Union Pacific Grant Opportunity

The Union Pacific Foundation's mission is to improve the quality of life in the communities  served by Union Pacific Railroad, primarily in the midwestern and western United States. Through the Community Ties Giving Program, the Foundation provides grants to nonprofit organizations that address the following categories: Safety, Workforce Development, Community Spaces, and Local Needs. Grants generally range from $2,500 to $25,000. Organizations interested in receiving a grant must complete a survey to determine eligibility by June 1, 2018, which is also the last day that eligible organizations may submit an online application. Visit the Foundation's website for detailed information about the funding priorities and application process.
Miller's Antiques & Auction Company

Ho-Chunk Gaming Black River Falls

Scholze Ace Home Center

Gross Motors of Black River Falls
Upcoming Events

If you have events or activities at your business or organization, please let us know and we'll add them to our calendar. To view the calendar of events, click here

2018 Business after 5 Calendar

June 13: 
Theisen's Home-Farm-Auto
July: No Business After 5 in July
August 1: Jackson County Fair (Please note this will be the FIRST Wednesday of August)
September 12: JC Financial Partners
October 10: Brambleberry Winery
November 7: 
Comfort Inn & Suites  (Please note this will be the FIRST Wednesday of November)
December 5: Black River Area Chamber of Commerce

We have multiple openings for Business After 5 in 2019. Give us a call today to reserve your spot. 
2018 Chamber Board of Directors 

President                 Robert Crampes, Land O'Lakes
Vice President        Dave Meyer, WWIS Radio
Treasurer                 Sue Miller, Co-op Credit Union
Secretary                Justin Dougherty, Dynamic Audio & Video LLC        
Board Members     C harles Betthauser, Sherman Law
                                 Karman Briggs, Western Dairyland   
                                 Brad Chown, City of Black River Falls
                                 Candy Christianson, D&S Manufacturing
                                  Kristin Franks, Edward Jones
                                 Grady Gutknecht, Jackson County Board Rep
                                 Tris Harris, Ho-Chunk Gaming-Black River Falls
                                 Scott Johnson, Aptiv
                                 Tamra Soto, Comfort Inn & Suites
                                 Matt Streeter, Black River Memorial Hospital
                                 Carrie Timp, Revolution BRF
Executive Director             
Office Manager                    Kathy Kopp
Marketing Office Assistant   Leila Selke
Office Assistant                     Samantha Windsor
Black River Area Chamber of Commerce | 715-284-4658 | |