ALBION — Kay Craig, executive director of the Arc Noble County Foundations, watched the crowd of business leaders gathered Thursday for the Albion Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting and began pointing out the connections.
There was Kerry and Jocelyn Clouse, owners of Country Roads Coffee in Green Township. The Arc sells Clouse’s coffee brands Thursday at the Community Learning Center in Kendallville.
There was Lori Gagen of Noble County Economic Development Corp., who operates her own web design company – Catchy Creations LLC. Gagen designed the Arc’s website.
And there was Amy Leedy, the owner of The Fox Den cafe in Albion. Several Arc employees are regular customers of the Fox Den.
“That’s what’s really good about Albion,” Craig said. “Connections are still happening.”
According to President Chris Magnuson, these kinds of relationships are the essence of the Chamber of Commerce.
“We’re here for you,” Magnuson said. “We are companies serving companies.
Thursday’s event drew around 50 people to the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Albion. The evening included a meal hosted by the church’s Soldalité du Rosaire as well as the election of members of the chamber council.
Board members will be Magnuson, Craig, Sandy Petrie, Carla Fiandt, Pattie Gatman, Dr. Ken Cripe, Mariah Keirn, Sharon Leitch and Steve Hook.
The event also allowed companies to announce new events at their workplace. And there was some catching up to do – COVID had canceled the annual meeting in 2020 and 2021.
Magnuson opened the ball by talking about the chamber itself, encouraging participation.
“Everyone gets a slice of the pie,” Magnuson said. “No one is overwhelmed.”
One of the chamber’s big events will be the unveiling of a new Gagen-designed website.
“We’re getting a whole new look, and we need it,” Magnuson said.
Other updates included:
• Chain O’ Lakes property manager Sam Boggs reports that the coronavirus had actually been good for business at the state park. Park revenue for 2020 set a record and 2021 numbers were nearly as strong.
About 500,000 people have visited the park each of the past two years, Boggs said.
New this year will be eight additional pedal boats available for rent, an RV water refill station near the park entrance, and a recently completed waterworks project. The park also added 3 1/2 miles of new trails.
• Gatman announced that its online business was going to have a brick-and-mortar location.
The company is currently operating on the web after obtaining articles from real estate sales.
“We buy all personal property and sell it online,” Gatman said.
In the coming weeks, Gatman’s business will expand to an actual storefront at the former Baseline Outfitters location at 320 S. Orange St.
• Leedy announced that the Fox Den is celebrating its first anniversary in downtown Albion.
“I just want to thank everyone for your support,” Leedy said.
• Crossroads United Way Representative Denise Landers reminded chamber members that all money raised for the organization in Noble County stays in Noble County, and that the popular Power of the Purse will take place next November. Crossroads United Way serves Elkhart, LaGrange and Noble counties.
• Don Merriman of Doc’s Hardware announced that the location had opened its greenhouse for the spring.
Magnuson also highlighted some of the chamber’s activities, including its participation in Halloween activities and the annual Christmas in the village. The chamber also donated $2,000 last year to the annual flag program, helped purchase Christmas decorations and flowers. He also orchestrates the city’s garage sales every year.
The chamber also donated to fireworks, Junior Achievement, the Chain O’ Lakes Festival and the Relay for Life and Cancer Services.
Albion City Council President Vicki Jellison was in attendance and expressed her gratitude for the good done by the city’s business community.
“I would like to thank you all for what you do for the community,” Jellison said.
Members were also encouraged to continue making these connections.
“Help you market yourself,” Petrie said. “Help each other. »