Chamber of Commerce holds AGM

The Meadow Lake and District Chamber of Commerce held its annual general meeting April 19 at the Lion’s Den. Pictured here, Wayne Marsh (left) of Home Hardware Building Centre chats with Corey Bowers, director of economic development at 55 West Enterprise Region. Marsh was acclaimed as chamber vice-president during the meeting.

by Phil Ambroziak

With another year behind them, members of the Meadow Lake and District Chamber of Commerce are anticipating even more excitement in the weeks and months that lie ahead.

The chamber held its annual general meeting April 19 at the Lions Den. Well represented by members of the business community, the meeting featured a series of reports from chamber officials including president Cliff McKay.

“One of the major things we looked at last year and got started on was our strategic plan,” McKay said. “Last year, we started to objectively look at what we should be doing and the direction we should be taking.”

McKay went on to explain how efforts are underway to develop a survey, which will be completed in the near future, to determine what direction members want to see the chamber take.

“We want to complete that strategic plan and get a proper vision of how and where we want to move forward,” McKay continued.

The president also touched on a few of the functions the chamber has been involved in throughout the city including the upcoming Cultural Fair on April 28.

Treasurer Gerry Pohl presented the financial statements, which he said are in terrific shape heading into the 2012 fiscal year.

“The big highlight is the cash we currently have in the bank is up by about $18,000 from last year,” Pohl said. “A big reason for this is Lori’s (administrator Lori Thompson) ability to collect more of our receivables than last year, making our financial position stronger than ever. We should also congratulate Lori on continuing to grow our membership. This means our revenue was able to grow without increasing rates.”

Thompson subsequently commented on the recent Meadow Lake Business Excellence Awards, which traditionally serves as a major fundraiser for the chamber.

“We’re still waiting for all the bills to come in, then we will have to sit down as a committee to see what sort of profit we made, see if any changes need to be made and to tie up any loose ends,” Thompson remarked. “We had 230 guests attend, as well as great sponsorship.”

Reporting on behalf of the promotions committee, Evan Haubrich highlighted some upcoming events organized by the chamber.

“We have some exciting things coming up including a sidewalk sale this July, Canada Day and a late night shopping event, most likely in August,” he said. “We’ve decided to scrap our Spring into Summer event because there’s too much going on with the Summer Games, but we have started to work on a home-based business fair for September.”

Thompson went on to comment on her experience with the chamber, stating membership has grown from 83 members when she started in 2009 to 128 members.

“It is a job that has been both challenging and rewarding in so many ways,” she said. “The growth in members, projects and community partnerships have been phenomenal. I know as one staff person and a very busy volunteer board, we are close to reaching our capacity for growth. It is evident to me that to go beyond sustaining what we have already accomplished, it will take more than one staff member.”

Before wrapping up the meeting, elections were held to determine who would form the chamber executive heading into the next fiscal year. McKay, of Innovation Credit Union, was returned as president, as was Pohl from Cogent Business Consulting, who retains the position of treasurer. Meanwhile, Wayne Marsh of Home Hardware replaced Robwel’s Ty Rutzki as vice-president.

A vote was also held to determine who would sit on the board of directors. Successful candidates included Layne Shkopich of Shkopich Enviro Ltd., Trevor Reid of NorSask Forest Products, Greg Ashauer of PineRidge Ford and Bernie Vollman of Investor’s Group for two-year terms while Haubrich, who manages Extra Foods, will take on a one-year role.

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