March 2018 - Issue #68
Dear Members,

Thanks to all who came out to make the Keweenaw Community SparkPlug Awards a roaring success. We honored six individuals and organizations who accomplished inspiring things in 2017, and we could have given out dozens more awards. We received more nominations than ever before, which shows that our community has a lot to celebrate!

Our keynote speaker Edward “Bud” Cole, President of Fender Guitars Asia, flew in from Tokyo to give an inspiring and heartfelt talk on how our corner of the world relates to the world stage. He gave us a lot of things to think about, but one topic he spoke on stood out to me: Community Branding. 

What is our Community Brand? What do people from out of the area think about when they hear about the Keweenaw? What do people envision when they think about our economy? What do you and your employees say to visitors about the Keweenaw?

We as a community own our brand, and we shape it through the way we behave and the things we say. The Keweenaw has a rich history, and a dynamic future. We offer a great place to live and a blossoming economy. Don’t be afraid to brag about our little corner of the world, there are a lot of reasons for us all to be proud!

Thank you for your support,

Brian Donnelly
Board President
Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce
Top Chamber Supporters
Welcome New Members
Associate - Shawn Rathbun
Thank you for renewing your membership
Alison Spencer
Baraga Telephone
Copper Country Ford
Credit Services, Inc.
Festival Foods
Great Lakes Mineral Works
Isle Royale Resorts
Keweenaw Chevrolet
King Copper Motel
Magnuson Hotel Franklin Square Inn
McGann Building Supply
Memorial Chapel Funeral Home & Plowe Funeral Home
Nicholas Insurance Agency
Northern Lights Clubhouse
Range Lounge
Rukkila, Negro & Associates, CPAs, PC
Sand Hills Lighthouse Inn, Inc.
Steve Zutter, Edward Jones - Hancock Superior Tax and Accounting Services
The Isle Royale Line, Inc.
The Tervo Agency
The Wickley Agency, Inc.
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Keweenaw Community SparkPlug Awards
The Keweenaw Community SparkPlug Awards is a celebration that recognizes local businesses, community projects, and individuals for their efforts in the 2017 calendar year. The event is organized and hosted by the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce, Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA), MTEC SmartZone and Keweenaw Young Professionals (KYP). 

The Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce would like to thank everyone involved. There were over 80 well deserved nominations. 

Awards were given as follows:

Community Development  - Lieutenant Nicholas Roberts
Customer Service  - KC Bonkers
Growth  - Calumet Electronics
Innovation / Transformation  - Orbion Space Technology
Project of the Year  - Copper Harbor Trails Club
Young Person of the Year  - Anders Hill

The award ceremony took place at the Bonfire Grill. The keynote speaker Edward ‘Bud’ Cole, President of Fender Guitar Asia gave a moving and inspirational talk, which ended with him generously donating $25,000 to both the Copper Country Humane Society and the Omega House.
Business After Hours
Lunch and Learn
Member Spotlight:
This month we talked to Carol Freeman of Northwoods Sporting Goods , below she answers some questions to share with the community.
Give us some background on yourself/your business.
We bought Northwoods Trading Post in June of 1986. Rick was on the Houghton County Sheriff's Department at that time and in May he had come into the shoe repair shop to get a belt fixed. At that time, Rick was asked if we wanted to buy the business, a very well established resale/consignment store. We had a young family with 5 boys ranging from 10 years old to 3 weeks.  

What are some interesting facts about your business most people don’t know?
Our business has changed over the years. We did shoe repair and the consignment for 19 years, the whole time Rick had a small firearms shop in the back for our hunting customers. In 2005, we officially changed the whole store into a hunting, archery and fishing retail store, offering live bait . We do skate and knife sharpening and are the proud owner and manufacturer of the Bob Maki Snowshoe Binding. We are an official agent to sell Michigan DNR licenses. 

Do you have any advice for new business owners?
Customer service is very important to us and we strive to make our customers feel welcome and at ease. We have a certified gunsmith and bowtech on sight. Our staff is knowledgeable on all facets of our business. These are important goals to us. 

What brought you to the area?
This area makes a person/business owner proud to be a part of our community. We strive on honesty and people's handshakes to be successful. As part of owning a business in historic Hancock, our entire family makes their home in the City.  

Do you have any business updates you would like to share with the Community?
We are happy to announce that Northwoods Sporting Goods will be opening a retail hunting and fishing store in Marquette sometime in April. It is located across from Frei Chevrolet. We hope to increase our customer base and keep our current clientele proud to shop at our store. 
Are you interested in being featured in our Member Spotlight? Please email us at
Member Job Postings
If you have a job posting please email them to, in addition to our newsletter your job posting would be listed on our website and Facebook page.
Member Announcements
Board of Directors
Brian Donnelly, President
Financial Services Representative
Superior National Bank

Mary Myers - Vice President
Account Executive

Matthew Maise - Treasurer

Karin Van Dyke, Secretary
Vice President for University Relations
Finlandia University

Matt Thyer
Up and Running Technology Solutions

Morgan Impola
Regional Engineer
Carrie Richards
Partner Engagement Program Manager
Michigan Technological University

Angela Luskin
Health and Fitness Manager
UP Health System-Portage

Jan Cole
Managing Partner
Edochi, LLC

Marilyn Clark
MTEC SmartZone

James Desrochers
Associate Director, Industry Relations
Michigan Technological University

Our roots run deep in the Keweenaw
Upper Peninsula Power Company was created in 1947 through a merger of three utilities. One of them, the Houghton County Electric Light Company, earlier acquired the interests of Peninsula Electric Light and Power, which began operating in the Keweenaw in 1884 – just five years after Edison invented the light bulb.
From the Edison bulb to high-tech electronics of today, you might say UPPCO has been providing “ U.P. Power ” for more than 130 years. 
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Learn more at
Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce
902 College Ave, Houghton, MI 49931