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Chamber looks forward to year ahead

Katie Magozzi

The Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce welcomes you to join us in creating a prosperous 2012.

Throughout 2011, the Chamber has focused on building and sustaining partnerships, staying ahead of changing technology and anticipating changes in the economy to benefit our retail, service and lodging member businesses.

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

The Chamber continues to foster an active group of Chamber Ambassadors, participate in Grow Minnesota and organize Business After Hours and similar events to promote networking among business owners.

The Chamber also serves members with personal and professional development opportunities, most recently classes on doing business in the digital age.

The Chamber organizes and promotes successful community events in partnership with other organizations and harnessing community volunteers in the effort.

Some of these are the 4th of July Parade, Legends & Logging Days, the Light Up a Life tree lighting ceremony in partnership with St. Joseph's Hospice, Jingle Bells Sweepstakes and Gala Celebration and a fun annual Chamber Beach Party fundraiser.

It is noteworthy that Legends & Logging moved to the Antique Tractor Club Grounds (the East 40) in 2011. The change from Red Bridge Park gives the event an opportunity to grow in a more accessible venue.

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.

This past year, the Chamber demonstrated leadership in the following areas:

n In a bid for Park Rapids to host the Governor's Fishing Opener in 2013.

n On behalf of Itasca State Park in acquiring the 980-acre LaSalle Lake area, thereby protecting property adjacent to the Upper Mississippi River and Minnesota's second deepest lake.

n Testified on behalf of businesses located in Itasca State Park during the state government shutdown last summer.

n In reinvigorating the Heartland Trail Association and efforts including extension of the Heartland Trail from Park Rapids to Moorhead.

n In the Lake Country Scenic Byway Association as another avenue to attract visitors to the region and to make the significance of state byway designation known to the communities it serves.

n In the successful application for Park Rapids to be selected as one of 12 cities in the state for a Legacy Destination Weekend (September 2011).

The Chamber's resources are stretched through reaching out to other organizations, particularly working to develop marketing plans in conjunction with the City Lodging Association. This partnership works to the advantage of CLA members and extends to all Chamber members in the lodging, retail and service sectors.

In addition to the Chamber's website and monthly newsletter, the Chamber uses e-mail "blasts" to deliver timely notices to its members.

The Chamber also posts a weekly listing of community events, including member activities (such as open houses or special promotions) called the Every Friday News that is e-mailed to all members.

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 any way it can to make the greater Park Rapids area a better place to live, work, play and do business.

We welcome you to join us in creating the exciting year ahead. For membership information, go to