Page 2 - Upper Peninsula Business Today - October 2018
P. 2

The Dickinson County Area Has Gone Back To Having A Separate Chamber Of Commerce
County area has gone back to having a separate Chamber of Commerce, rather than a chamber alliance, officials said.
The change, approved this summer, reflects the decision in 2016 to form the Dickinson Area Economic Development Alliance. That organi- zation in December hired a full-time director, Lois Ellis, to focus on retaining and enhancing existing businesses in the greater Dickinson County area.
Then in June, Lynda Zanon retired after being involved with the chamber organization for more than three decades and its director since 2005.
Her successor, Suzanne Larson, said the name switch at this time makes sense. “The EDA,” she said, “is going in its own direction.”
And it will leave the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce better able to focus on member services and benefits, such as the monthly Busi- ness After Hours gatherings to network - 100 to 150 have been known to attend - and Business Roundtable luncheons on the first Thursday of the month, she said.
The chamber also can provide space for meet-
ings and seminars or other training sessions, some of which it arranges, and sponsors special events such as The Casino
Royale at the Ritz fundraiser
with the chamber, including a second term on the board of directors and acting as chairwoman for a number of com-
Larson was born and raised in Carney, attend- ing Northern Michigan University. She did ad sales for The Daily News and radio sales in Iron Mountain before joining the IMK Credit Union in Kingsford, which she described as her “dream job” until the chamber position became available, she said.
She had been Suzanne Anderson before mar- rying Richard Larson on April 4 in a beachfront ceremony in Maui, Hawaii. They make their home on Moon Lake, with her 15-year-old daughter, Madeline. She also has a 24-year-old son, Aaron, who lives in Kansas.
The organization has undergone a few shifts in name and roles since it first was founded in 1923. It started as the Iron Mountain-Kingsford Chamber of Commerce, was the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce from 1961 to 2000, then the Dickinson Area Partnership - a combination of the chamber, tourism and eco- nomic development - before becoming the Dickinson Area Chamber Alliance in 2015.
While the chamber is now separate from the DAEDA, they still share many common goals, Larson said.
“We’re all working together,” she said. “It’s all about the greater good, what benefits this com- munity and our members.”
and the annual Golf Scram- ble outing in June.
In return for the $225 annual dues, members get space in three area publica- tions, including a member- ship and resource guide that goes out to almost 2,000 locations throughout the area.
The chamber has an arrangement as well with local radio stations for 10 free 30-second ads to intro- duce a new business and explain what it does.
Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director
Suzanne Larson
“My hands are all
over the chamber any- way ... it’s kind of a log- ical progression for me,” Larson said.
As director, she plans to pay special attention on “how things are done and make them more efficient, more user-friendly.”
“I’m looking for- ward,” Larson said, “to modernizing things.”
Such as building more of a presence on social media, including establishing a Twitter
“We’re always looking for
ways that members can find
their membership useful,” Larson said, adding the chamber has about 350 members and has been growing.
The former marketing director at the Iron Mountain Kingsford Community Federal Credit Union said she has years of involvement
account, she said.
And finding more members - which means
making sure members have a reason to be part of the chamber, Larson said. “Members are the backbone,” she noted. “Without members, there is no chamber.”

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