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Chamber open house is Thursday

The Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce will host an open house “to meet and greet fellow members” from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, March 21 at the Chamber office, 1204 Park Ave. South.

Participants will have the opportunity to meet with Chamber board members and staff, enjoy complimentary appetizers, beverages and wine and review the 2013 Chamber budget, marketing plan and plan of work.

Also, enter to win a free booth for a business at Legends and Logging Days this summer.

“If you’re not a Chamber member yet, now is a great time to join. An investment in the Chamber is like buying stock in the community,” Chamber director Katie Magozzi reminds. “Your dollars go to work for making the Park Rapids Lakes Area a better place to live, work, play and do business.”

New this year, the Chamber is rewarding members who bring in a new member. Members get $25 in Chamber Bucks as does the new member recruit.

  The Chamber provides members with unique business development programs, valuable resources, effective marketing and visibility, networking opportunities and business advocacy at all levels, Magozzi said.

  Throughout 2012, the Chamber focused on building and sustaining partnerships, staying ahead of changing technology and anticipating changes in the economy to benefit our lodging, retail, service and organizational member businesses.

The Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce has created partnerships with government agencies, neighboring communities, other nonprofits and community organizations.

The goal of these efforts is to help position Park Rapids as a regional trade center and tourism/visitor destination, Magozzi said.  “Our strong marketing plan is made possible through volunteer efforts and the partnership of the Park Rapids City Lodging Association, voluntary surcharge contributions from member resorts and partnership grants from Explore Minnesota Tourism,” she said.

The Chamber also leverages and leads the ongoing development and promotion of the Lake Country Scenic Byway and Heartland Trail as well as supporting the promotion of Itasca State Park, arts and culture, shopping, parks and trails and of course our quality lodging industry. “These are priceless tourism drivers and important quality of life assets for our area.”

  The Chamber organizes and promotes successful community events in partnership with other organizations and harnessing community volunteers in the effort, Magozzi said. “The upcoming 2013 Governor’s Fishing Opener is a great example.”

Other events include the 4th of July parade, Legends and Logging Days, the Light Up a Life Tree Lighting Ceremony in partnership with St. Joseph’s Hospice, the Jingle Bells Sweepstakes and working closely with the Downtown Business Association on the 2nd Street Stage Events.

  Last summer, the Chamber hosted the MS Tram bike ride and Bicycling Around Minnesota with overnight stays in Park Rapids.

  The Chamber’s in-house accomplishments include publishing a Discovery Guide that surpasses the quality and content of similar promotional guides from much larger communities.

The Chamber continues to upgrade its website to one that is comprehensive yet user friendly. The Chamber also uses e-mail “blasts” to deliver timely notices to its members and e-mails all members a weekly listing of community events, including member activities (such as open houses or special promotions) called the Every Friday News. “Our cutting edge tourism marketing and use of social media are keys to bringing visitors to our area,” Magozzi said.

  “Community members and organizations frequently turn to the Chamber for problem solving, insight and information and with the understanding the Chamber is willing to rise to a challenge and offer its services. We welcome you to join us in creating the exciting year ahead.”

To learn more about the return on the Chamber investment, go to parkrapids. com or stop by during the open house.