PHOTOS BY // MICHAEL GLEASON PHOTOGRAPHY
“Call the chamber. They’ll know,” seems to be the word on the street in Fenton. Five hundred members strong and still growing, the Fenton Regional Chamber of Commerce serves businesses and residents in Fenton, Lake Fenton and Linden.
The chamber connects business to community by promoting resources, events and economic growth. Closing in on its 100th year of service, the for-profit organization has upheld its mission to improve the quality of life for residents and businesses by strongly advocating for each individual’s needs and fostering economic vitality and prosperity for the region. In other words, “Call the chamber. They’ll know…and they will help you.”
Shelly Day, executive director of the chamber, reports, “We are dedicated to understanding the needs of all members and serving as a voice for each one.”
The biggest misconception about the chamber, Day is quick to note, is that they are event planners. “Our primary focus is to help local businesses grow and prosper.”
Day agrees the chamber sponsors plenty of events throughout the year that keep the three-person staff busy – the Fenton Expo, Taste in Fenton, Fenton Freedom Festival, Gus Macker basketball tournament and Jinglefest. Add to the list a business networking meeting each month.
And then, there are the ambassadors, a group of chamber members who volunteer their time and talents by reaching out weekly to new and potential chamber members through “We Care Wednesdays” outreach efforts.
NOT ONLY DOES THE CHAMBER REPRESENT
THE BEST INTEREST OF OUR BUSINESSES THROUGH
COMMUNICATION WITH THE CITY ON ORDINANCES
AND ISSUES THAT HAVE HAD SUCH A PRODUCTIVE IMPACT
ON GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT, BUT THEY ALSO ARE
AT THE TABLE MEETING THE NEEDS OF RESIDENTS
THROUGH THEIR LEADERSHIP. THE CITY OF FENTON
IS VERY GRATEFUL FOR THE POSITIVE IMPACT OUR CHAMBER
HAS HAD ON THE QUALITY OF LIFE HERE IN FENTON.
—Pat Lockwood, mayor pro tem of Fenton and
chair of the Fenton Freedom Festival and Jinglefest
Day also reveals one of the chamber’s best-kept secrets: the Boys & Business and Girls & Business groups comprising high school juniors and seniors who explore career opportunities. Of course, every year, the chamber awards a $2,000 scholarship to one senior at each of the three high schools.
The newly established Young Professionals Network, another chamber endeavor, is designed for professionals living and working in the Fenton area who want to grow professionally, expand their social network and work to enrich the community.
“And, I’m happy to say our Grown Linden Committee recently held the 3rd Annual Linden Ice Fishing Tournament followed by the chili cook-off.”
And there’s more! For the first time, the chamber is partnering with Fenton Area Resources and Referral, an agency that helps Fenton, Lake Fenton and Linden residents who need assistance and resources for housing, bills, medical care and other services. The chamber and Fenton Area Resources and Referral will help raise funds for community members in need.
Taking a moment to step back and reflect on 2018, Day smiles with pride when she says Taste in Fenton had the highest turnout ever, the Fenton Expo – in its 35th year – drew a crowd of 5,000 shoppers and the annual golf outing sold out, again.
She catches her breath and thinks forward: “We are celebrating our 100th anniversary in 2020. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. We are planning an activity every single month to celebrate our anniversary.” That means one thing: Day won’t catch her breath again until 2021.