What an amazing year in Cheboygan
Scott A Herceg, CAE
At this time of year there are always a lot of articles about the year in review. So, I thought I would take a minute and do our own year in review from the Cheboygan Area Chamber. As I said at Good Morning Cheboygan this year, I took a moment the other day to just stop and say thank you. This has been an amazing year in Cheboygan. Here are a few of the highlights that we are thankful for…
Invest Cheboygan County – Over 400 people packed the Opera House on November 1st to hear ten entrepreneurs pitch their ideas for businesses in Cheboygan County. Out of the four counties in Northern Michigan that held entrepreneurial pitch competitions this year, Cheboygan had the most applicants, the most attendance and gave away the most money to the entrepreneurs! At the regional “Grand Event”, Cheboygan County Entrepreneurs took home two of the top four prizes including People’s Choice and the Grand Prize. But I am most thankful for the coalition that we have built to produce this event over the last two years. This is truly a county wide event with all the supporting entities acting in concert to produce the event. The City of Cheboygan, Chambers of Commerce from Indian River, Cheboygan and Mackinaw City, the Small Business Development Center of Michigan, the Opera House and Northern Lakes Economic Alliance all shared the responsibilities along with twenty three donors and sponsors this year. It is events like this that has inspired us to continue to call Cheboygan the “Entrepreneurial Capital of Northern Michigan!”
Michigan Main Street Program Application for Select Level – Every community deserves a thriving downtown district that can be the focal point of the community. Cheboygan is no different. A strong downtown district will have a positive economic impact on the community as a whole. For the past two and a half years there has been a group of private citizens and business owners that have been working to get Cheboygan accepted to the Select Level of this state wide program. The application was 400 pages and was hand delivered by some of the team members earlier this month. This program has been hugely transformative to many communities in Michigan. If accepted, Cheboygan is next!
Community for a Lifetime Designation – As Michigan’s population ages it is important for communities to maintain an aging friendly environment. Cheboygan is a community that naturally attracts many retirees to our area. With this designation, Cheboygan has been recognized for our continued efforts to provide a quality environment that will continue to attract new residents for years to come. This is a great designation for us to be proud of because there is so much competition between communities about who offers the best services and amenities. This designation says that we enthusiastically care for our seniors and strive to offer the best services and amenities that are available.
The Meijer’s Project – We know that there are many different perspectives on this issue and we were saddened by the way that it appeared to divide our community over the last couple years. We have members on all sides of this issue but we are thankful that progress in the discussion is now being made again and are excited to see what future developments may be coming to the US 27 corridor, not just Meijer’s but all the possibilities for positive growth and development that a new water and sewer agreement might bring to the area.
Michigan Chamber of the Year – Being rated as the 2018 Michigan Small Size Chamber of the Year has been a great honor for us. Our Board of Directors decided two years ago that they wanted to pursue this designation and set plans in motion for us to have an opportunity to do just that. This was quite the process that involved a lot of evaluation, introspection, enthusiasm, action and a strong sense of commitment to do what is right for our members and the economy of the Cheboygan Area. Over this year we have seen over 50 new members join the Chamber and a better than 91% retention rate of current members. We have had record attendances at our Annual Awards Dinner and the Waterways Festival. Our program and event budgets have all either been right where they need to be or have exceeded expectations. Numbers and statistics are great and help make a point but it is the intangible but overwhelmingly positive energy that we feel from the community that makes it fun to come to work every day.
Cheboygan is a great community and it is many things to many people. Whether you see it as the Gateway to the Waterway, Your Up North Trails Headquarters, a Community for a Lifetime, A Place to Shop, Dine and Unwind, The Entrepreneurial Capital of Northern Michigan, Home Port to the mighty Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw or the Home of the 2018 Michigan Chamber of the Year it is also a great place to call home for the holidays and take a moment to say “Thank You” for everything that makes Cheboygan great…today, tomorrow or yesterday. Now, That’s Cheboygan!!
Merry Christmas Everybody and have a Happy New Year Cheboygan! H