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Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Board Minutes
255 South State Street, Unit B, Manhattan, IL 60442
December 11, 2018 

Present: Donna Bateman, Mary Kay Cooper, Shari Fiocca, Joe Regan, Kevin Sing, and Administrative Assistant Peggy Kraatz
Absent: Patel Krupesh, Erin McDonough and Laura Umphrey

Shari called the meeting to order at 3:33 pm. Joe moved and Kevin seconded a motion to accept the secretary’s report. Motion carried. Donna and Peggy will compare reindeer sponsorships to see if all those who promised, ended up paying their $50. Mary Kay moved and Joe seconded a motion to accept the treasurer’s report. Motion carried.

Christmas on State:
The two girls who won the Scavenger Hunt gift cards were in attendance when their numbers were drawn. While there was some criticism about gift cards, which support local businesses, the group felt that there were no local businesses, which catered to children. Cards were purchased from members-the newly joined PTO and Berkot’s.

Due to pouring rain when the reindeer display was to be setup and no barricades on Gustafson Street, the display was moved to Central Park Pavilion. The Park District was unhappy that they were not notified in advance. With the offices closed on Saturday, this was not possible. Future events in the early planning stages need to involve all necessary parties-village, park, fire department, library etc. and include what to do in case of bad weather.

At least 70 children participated in the Scavenger Hunt. It was suggested and well received to make next year’s hunt more of a scavenger event with clues like, “Where would you find a treadmill?” Answers to the clues could be on the backside of the sheet. The children liked that the businesses gave them treats and generally liked the idea of an Amazon gift card.

Due to the limited number of available reindeer display companies in Illinois and the high cost and demand on the first two weekends in December, an email vote decided not to have reindeer for 2019. Alternatives included appearances by a Disney princess or Mickey or Minnie Mouse played by a drama student from a local college. An indoor synthetic ice rink was discussed. The cost is between $5,000-6000. Only hockey skates are allowed since the toe stop on figure skates nicks the rink. A frozen water outdoor rink has the issue of keeping the surface smooth to avoid falls. Liability is a big issue.

Next year the Chamber may partner with the Park District to do a tree display on Wabash Street.

Although the Chamber did not sponsor a Gingerbread House contest, HomeStar bank sold the kits for $5. Girl Scout members who made the houses displayed them at the library. Only about five to seven scouts participated. Maybe it is an activity for a business to sponsor.

While no candy throwing from floats at the parade was requested, one group still threw candy. An alternative is to have walkers pass out the candy or pass it out at the tree lighting as the Village did. Next year the parade entries could be turned into a contest with a gift card to a local member business. Voting could be done on line and limed to two days after the parade with photos taken before the entries starts in the parade.

Since there are no planned activities between 5:00 PM and parade time, it would be a good time to encourage the town to “eat locally.”

Lunch and Learns:
The topic of how do you sell items on Amazon and become an Amazon merchant was considered a good possibility.

Member Spotlights: 
Peggy will start 2019 spotlights with the four newest members. The group wanted spotlights linked to the membership list. The first digital page should have a rotating spotlight changed every two weeks. Occasionally a notice could appear in the spotlight box to say, “Have your membership spotlight here.” Then give contact information.

They have been printed. They will be put up about the second week in January when the Christmas decorations are taking down. Because of slight difference in colors, old and new banners should not be put next to each other.  Betsy’s so far is the only one that has requested that their banner be hung downtown. A group will meet the first week in January to make a plan so that rivals are not next to each other or in front of each other’s business.

Date Stickers:
Stickers are no longer made with a clear backing. Companies now have a black background but do not fit into the indented spot. The choices are go with a new plaque even though we have an amply supply or go with clinging door stickers with the year on them.

Membership fees:
The group discussed next year’s fees by number of employees as a fairer structure. The employee count would be based on local full-time equivalent employees not total in businesses, which have locations. Peggy will research other local Chamber membership fees especially with smaller towns. Suggested categories were 1-3 employees, 4-10, 11-20 and 20 plus. Non-profits might be raised to $75. A multi-chamber discussion might be useful. Each step could be increased between $25 and $50. The home business category would be eliminated. Government would fit on the employee scale.

The next meeting will be the retreat meeting on January 8, 2019 from 3:30 to 6:00 PM. It will include planning for the year as well as yearly organizing, filing, cleaning and putting items away. Surveys, event insurance, by-laws and Business after Hours will also be part of the agenda.

Respectfully submitted,
Mary Kay Cooper, secretary

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