Chamber Newsletter - July 2018
Volume 23 - Issue 7
Chamber Chat with Amanda

It has been a busy year for equipment upgrades in our office! We purchased new computers in January replacing the old computers we had for eight years. In February, we upgraded our phone system. We had the old phone system for more than 10 years. This month, we had a new copier installed. This spring, we were notified that our old copier had reached "end of life" status which meant replacement parts were no longer being manufactured. All of these upgrades were necessary. We shouldn't have to make any equipment upgrades again for a long time!

We will also be making a change with our 2019 Visitor's Guide. For the past three years, we have worked with Lunar Cow Publishing on the guide. They did the ad sales, design and layout and then the guide was printed locally at The Print Shop. We appreciate the work Lunar Cow did on our guide but we've decided to take a different direction for 2019.

After receiving bids from both The Print Shop and Lunar Cow Publishing, the Chamber Board voted to have the 2019 Visitor's Guide design, layout and printing be done by The Print Shop. My staff and I will be doing all of the ad sales this year and we will begin calling members in late August to discuss ads. There will be no price increase on ads in the 2019 guide! We are looking forward to working directly with The Print Shop and plan to have the Visitor's Guide completed and ready for distribution in January of 2019.

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 Menu Guides are Now Available!

The 2018 Black River Area Menu Guides are now available! If you would like some for your business or lodging facility, stop in our office and pick them up or give us a call and we can drop them off for you!

Photo Contest

Calling all photographers! We need new photos for the 2019 Black River Country Visitor's Guide and for our website! We are looking for all types of photos - scenery, wildlife, ATVing, snowmobiling, skiing, paddling, fishing, etc.
We will pick one photo to be used as the main cover shot for the 2019 Visitor's Guide. The person who submits the winning cover shot will receive $50 in Chamber Bucks and will receive photo credit in the guide. Any photos used on our website or inside the guide will also be given photo credit. Please submit photos no later than August 31st to:
Photos MUST be sent in high resolution. Contact us with any questions. The photo below is this year's cover shot by Heidi Tubbs.

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.  
Ribbon Cuttings

PriceLand Hemp

Photo courtesy of JoDee Brooke/Banner Journal

Black River  Area Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) members welcomed Priceland Hemp to the city in a ribbon cutting ceremony July 20. Guests attending were, from left, Keith Brown, Scott Johnson, Deanna Lisota, Chamber Director Amanda Gunn, Sharon Trujillo, Wisconsin Representative Treig Pronschinkse, Joel Peterson, Danyal Durman, Peyton, Darren Durman and Chamber Office Manager Kathy Kopp. 

Gross Motors of Black River Falls

Photo courtesy of JoDee Brooke/Banner Journal

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Gross Motors of Black River Falls Saturday, July 21 during their grand opening celebration for their new Jeep-Dodge-Chrysler-Ram dealership. Pictured from left, Paul Klein, Tom Glassbrenner, Mike Gross, Wayne Gross and Jerry Gross. 

Riverside Nutrition

Photo courtesy of JoDee Brooke/Banner Journal

The Black River Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday, July 21 at Riverside Nutrition in Downtown Black River Falls. Riverside Nutrition serves delicious healthy meal shakes, energizing teas and soothing aloe shots. Pictured from left, Amanda Gunn, Kathy Kopp, Kristin Franks, Brad Chown, Scott Johnson, Jennifer Johnson, Kyle Kirby and Wisconsin Representative Treig Pronschinske.

Network for Youth
Photo courtesy of JoDee Brooke/Banner Journal

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Saturday, July 21 at Network for Youth to celebrate their new location on Main Street in Downtown Black River Falls.  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. Pictured l-r: Amanda Gunn, Kathy Kopp, Scott Johnson, Donna Sigler and Wisconsin Representative Treig Pronschinske.

Member Business Briefs

Rotary President Passes the Torch

The Rotary Club of Black River Falls celebrated the end of the Rotary year with the Passing of the Torch Party, Monday, June 26. Current club president Kathy Laudon handed over the reins to the president-elect, Kristin Franks. Laudon expressed her thanks to the club and shared some of the highlights during her term. Laudon stated, "Rotary continues to provide financial support for needs in the area such as the Western Technical Impact Scholarship program, Badger Boys and Badger Girls and this year supporting an outbound student traveling to Finland." Not only does the club provide financial support, the club assists other organizations in the area such as the Karner Blue Garden Club with mulching the area gardens, and assisting each month at the food pantry. Rotary once again sponsored the high school athletic banquet and has done so since 1929.
Incoming President, Kristin Franks, has been a very active club member, helping with events and community projects. Franks is also organizing an Interact Club with the assistance of high school principal Tom Chambers at the Black River Falls High School. Interact Clubs bring students together to develop leadership skills while discovering the power of Service Above Self, Rotary's international moto.
The club thanked Kathy for her year of service and welcomed Kristin who will lead the club into the future.
A t the recent Rotary Passing of the Torch party, incoming President, Kristin Franks (right) honored outgoing President, Kathy Laudon with a plaque and past-president pin.


Wagner Accepts Statewide UW-Extension Position
Sara Walling, Agriculture Institute Director for UW-Extension has announced that Trisha Wagner is the new Farm Management Outreach Program Manager. Wagner will begin her new position on July 1, 2018. While she will serve the entire state, her office will be located in the Black River Falls area.
Wagner served as the agriculture educator for over 10 years in Jackson County. She worked on a wide range of topics from agricultural plastic recycling, fruit production, dairy and livestock production, and farm management. Karen Thayer, county board supervisor and chair of the Extension Committee noted that Wagner did an excellent job of building positive relationships with farmers and delivering high quality programs. "We will miss her on our local UW-Extension team," said Thayer.
Walling highlighted the work that Wagner has done for the last several years related to farm management that made her an ideal candidate. "She worked with specialists, educators, and partners to develop programs on records analysis, budgeting, marketing, farm succession, and on-farm human resource management. Most recently she served as a co-author, facilitator, and instructor for the UW-Extension Human Resources Management curriculum."
Pat Malone, Area Extension Director for Jackson County, described this as a priority position in the new UW-Extension model. "Agriculture is a critical part of Wisconsin's economy, and it is hurting. Farmers need access to education and research on strategies to manage their operations effectively during these challenging times."

In Wagner's new role as the Farm Management Program Area Manager, she will be a resource for our educators by coordinating and supporting farm management education designed to meet the needs of producer groups, including Wisconsin's beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers. Wagner will work with colleagues to develop programming designed to help our agricultural producers meet the challenges they face today and those they will be facing in the future. Her role will also devote time to strengthening our relationships with association, industry and educational partners by listening to their needs, communicating the research and educational programs generated by UW-Extension, and leveraging outside resources.  
Wagner can currently be contacted at 715-284- 4257 or via e-mail at

Trisha Wagner has been named the new farm management area program manager for UW-Extension. Wagner will continue to be located in the Black River Falls area. Wagner has served as Jackson County UW-Extension's agriculture educator for the past 10 years. She will be a resource for agriculture educators.

Business After 5 

Our next Business After 5 event will be the FIRST Wednesday of August (August 1st) at the Jackson County Fair!

Karner Blue Race

A total of 156 runners competed Saturday, June 30th in the Karner Blue 5K-10K-Half Marathon Races sponsored by the Black River Area Chamber of Commerce.

The number of entrants was down slightly from 2017 due to the high temperatures that day. About 20 youngsters competed in the Kids' Races hosted by Jackson In Action, said Amanda Gunn, executive director of the Black River Area Chamber of Commerce. "We're very pleased by the turnout considering how hot it was and by the support of our running community. Overall it was a great event." Gunn said.

A new record was set in the Men's Half Marathon Race. Tristan Coughlin of Davenport Iowa finished in 1 hour 22 minutes and 49 seconds, topping the previous record of 1 hour 24 minutes set in 2009.

Gunn credited all of the volunteers who helped make the races run smoothly. "We couldn't hold this race without all of the volunteers. They do an outstanding job." She said donations from area businesses are also important.

Plans are already underway for the 15th Annual Karner Blue Race. Gunn said comments or feedback on the race are welcome.

Complete race results and photos can be found under the "Community" tab on and also on the Karner Blue Race Facebook page.

Race results

Men's Overall

1.      Jacob Bryhn: 18:47

2.      Colton Sime: 19:24

3.      Anthony Stelter: 19:53



1.      Erik Deetz: 45:49

2.      Daniel Deetz: 47:07

3.      Nicholas Kitowski: 48:23



1.      Tristan Coughlin: 1:22:49

2.      Zachary Doll: 1:41:45

3.      Michael Dobson: 1:43:37


Women's Overall

1.      Nikki Bowe: 21:40

2.      Susan Thoma:  21:52

3.      Trisha Wagner: 23:43



1.      Gina Kohnert: 57:44

2.      Jeanne Pollack: 59:06

3.      Erin Hora: 1:01:22



1.      Alyssa Shurbert-Hetzel: 1:43:20

2.      Dawn Jacobson: 2:04:42

3.      Melissa Thomas: 2:09:28


Corporate 5K

1.      American Family Insurance (Brady Palmer, Jeff Polzin, Gabriella Recob, Dalton Shaw, and Trisha Wagner): 1:59:02

2.      Tomah Memorial Hospital (Stefany Johnson, Carrie Lord, Miranda Path, Joseph Zeps and Natalie Zeps): 2:43:41

3.      Co-op Credit Union (Ashley Derus, Ali Dunneisen, Megan Ellingson, Dave Overlien and Brandon Simmons): 2:55:48


Tristan Coughlin set a new course record in the Men's Half-Marathon Race.

Participants getting ready for the start of the 5K and 10K Races.

The American Family Insurance corporate team won the 5K Corporate Challenge for the fourth year in a row. Team members from left were Jeff Polzin, Brady Palmer, Dalton Shaw, Gabriella Recob and Trisha Wagner.
Thank You Karner Blue Race Sponsors and Volunteers!

2018 New Members

First Fruits Common Market
25 S. 1st Street
Black River Falls, WI 54615
Phone: 715-284-5000
First Fruits Common Market is a bulk, local and specialty foods store offering a variety of foods including bulk foods (baking items, spices, candy, nuts, etc.), local foods (including dairy, meats, cheeses, syrup, kombucha and more) and specialty foods including locally roasted coffee, tea and olive oil. Try our fudge, specialty popcorn, frosted nuts, freshly brewed coffee, or for a meal, grab a wrap to go. We also carry natural health and beauty products and food making products such as Mason Tops home fermenting kits, candy making kits, tea-ware and coffee equipment. We have a variety of Black River Falls souvenirs including t-shirts, insulated coffee cups (refillable for a discount), magnets and more! You're sure to find something unique at First Fruits Common Market!

BJ's Airport Bar and Grill
W9944 Airport Road
Black River Falls, WI 54615
Phone: 715-284-4080
Friendly faces, new attitudes, and new people! New owners: Gary & BJ Jansen. Daily food and drink specials. ATV access. Come enjoy our new adventure with us!

Northwood Vet Service
310 County Highway A
Black River Falls, WI 54615
Phone: 844-284-8387
  Facebook: Northwood Vet Service
We are a mixed animal veterinary practice. We have one veterinarian who focuses only on companion animal care and two veterinarians who provide both companion and livestock animal care. We offer variety of services including preventative care, wellness exam, diagnostic and care for sick animals and veterinary spinal manipulative therapy. We are proud to be your hometown veterinary clinic and pride ourselves with personal care that we continue to expand on. We are available as needed for after hour emergencies.

2018 Theisen's More for Your Community Grants
Theisen's Home-Farm-Auto announced the launch of the 2018 Theisen's More for Your Community Grants Program.

Supported by Theisen's charitable fund and through a partnership with the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, grants will be made available in all Theisen's store communities. This year, more than $250K in total grants will be distributed to the region served by Theisen's, with each store having at least $5,000 available. The maximum request per project application is $5,000.

Applications are currently available at and directions to access the application are also available at each store. The deadline to apply is August 15.

The More for Your Community Program will make direct grants to agencies to jump-start and/or sustain projects that most effectively and directly serve the basic needs of families and children, which include food, shelter, education, safety and health. Applicants must be 501(c)(3) nonprofits, government-sponsored organizations directly serving children and families within a 60-mile radius of a Theisen's store.

Theisen's Home-Farm-Auto has donated nearly $1.8 million through the More for Your Community Grant program since its inception and supports many other community events and organizations directly.

Jackson County Fair

The Jackson County Fair is August 1st through August 5th! 

Admission Prices
Adult Season Button - $8.00
Adult Dairy Admission - $3.00
Children 8-13 Daily Admission - $2.00
Children 7 and under - FREE
  Wenzel Amusements
Wristbands - $20.00
Wristband Schedule:
Wednesday, August 1st - 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Thursday, August 2nd - 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Friday, August 3rd - 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 4th - 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 5th - Noon - 4:00 p.m.

7 Rivers Alliance Updates

2018 Executive Business Survey

Please take some time to help the 7 Rivers Alliance identify key challenges and strengths of our region by taking the 2018 Executive Survey! Included in this year's survey are timely questions on tariffs and tax reform. The information collected will be used to plan programs and services that help companies address challenges and barriers to growth.


Inspire Program

The Inspire 7 Rivers initiative links education and industry to help students and job seekers achieve their goals and address communities' workforce development needs. The Inspire 7 Rivers platform is a safe way for students to connect with potential employers and career coaches. Inspire 7 Rivers is launched in school districts within Black River Falls, Holmen, Tomah, Hillsboro and Blair-Taylor, and over the next three years the program will expand to include school districts throughout the entire 7 Rivers Region.
The Inspire program is now up to  93  employers and  67  coaches that collaborate with over  1,000  active students. 

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 click on the picture below.


 Internship and Apprenticeship Event - September 19

The next 7 Rivers Alliance event will focus on the importance of internships and apprenticeships in today's labor markets. These critical experiences allow young adults to gain exposure in a variety of career paths that lead to skilled workers entering our workforce. 

Save the date and stay tuned for more information on speakers, registration, and more!


Save the Date - State of the Region - November 14th

State of the Region will be held on November 14th.  Come see the presentation of our Executive Business survey of local leaders, keynote speaker, & much more!

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation News

Launches Campaign to bring Alumni Back to Wisconsin

Wisconsin has some of the lowest unemployment numbers the state has seen in decades.
But despite those numbers, there is also a low numbers of workers in the workforce says the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
"We realized we needed to start attracting more workers to Wisconsin and the workforce shortage is real and it's what we hear as the number one concern from businesses across the state. So we really needed to be more aggressive and talking about Wisconsin's stories and the opportunities that are here," said WEDC Deputy Secretary and COO Tricia Braun.
The WEDC is launching a $6.8 million campaign, in part, to encourage alumni to stay in Wisconsin after school.
Carl Klemp is one of nine alumni telling their stories for the campaign.
Klemp lived in Virginia for a year after college before moving back to the area in 2012.
"I grew up in Caledonia, I pictured La Crosse as a big city right, and then I went to a big city and realized that La Crosse is actually a better spot. It's a good mix of big and small. It's got enough amenities, it's got art, it's got all the things we enjoy to do, concerts, festivals," said Klemp.
Western Technical College is one of nine institutions across Wisconsin, including UW-Eau Claire, partnering with the campaign.
"We're doing our part as a college to help train that workforce, but we've trained so many that have chosen to cross the short border over to Minnesota. Maybe travel down to Iowa, maybe they thought Minneapolis was the right thing. And if we can connect with alumni and show them what their roots were and remind them how great it was where they grew up I think it's the perfect place," said Western Technical College President Roger Stanford.
The campaign will run through June 2019, and hopes to bring workers back to what Braun calls the best kept secret in the country.


Made in Wisconsin
  High-Quality Products from Hard-Working People

When something is produced in Wisconsin, it is a point of pride for those who had a hand in its creation. WEDC created a cost-free logo for businesses to use to proclaim their products' Wisconsin origin. The Made In Wisconsin logo can be adapted to reflect a company's production process.

Join the hundreds of companies who are already participating in the Made In Wisconsin program by filling out an application here!


Wisconsin Park and Recreation Association Discounted Tickets

Have you started making summer plans yet?  If you are you are thinking about going to the Dells, Six Flags or the Milwaukee Zoo, check out the list of discounted tickets to help you save money on admission!  City Hall will be selling tickets until the Friday before Labor Day weekend (August 31 st ). 

Stop in to City Hall to purchase tickets between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.


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.
Youth Apprenticeship Program

Youth Apprenticeship (YA) is a school-to-work program designed to help employers identify and employ young workers interested in their field. In turn, those juniors and seniors in high school continue toward graduation, gain valuable work experience and specific job skills, earn a wage, and upon completion are awarded a Certificate of Occupational Proficiency by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Youth Apprenticeships are possible in a wide range of occupations, from Marketing, Construction and IT to Health Sciences and Manufacturing. Between 75 and 85 percent of YA employers offer youth apprentices permanent positions at the completion of the program, the best testimonial possible of the program's value. See the info sheets below for information. Feel free to contact YA staff at the Department of Workforce Development with any questions by calling 608-267-6705 or emailing

Coulee Region Job Fair

Find the talent your business needs!  The second annual Coulee Region Job Fair will be held September 20, 2018 at the Omni Center in Onalaska.  Register today for this premier hiring event, sponsored by the Workforce Development Board and partners:

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

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 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 | |