Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May Okemo Valley Chamber of Commerce News

Welcome to Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce

After a year and one month we received our Scenic Route 100 Byway designation! Our byway runs 38 miles from Andover to Pittsfield.

Scenic Route 100 Byway passes through several scenic, natural, historic, cultural, and recreational opportunities. Along this route people can enjoy Vermont mountains and valleys, rivers and streams, ponds and lakes, and historic village centers.

Having a byway pass through several towns in and around the Okemo Valley will not only create more recreational activities, but will also help promote business for our local economy. Byway maps will be presented at trade shows and welcome centers for both locals and visitors to enjoy.

Our next step is to obtain a grant to help create a logo, marketing materials, brochures, website and signage. Our phase 2 goal is to continue it north to hook up with the Mad River Byway and south to connect with the Molly Stark Byway.
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Village designations - Both Ludlow and Chester are finalizing their applications for Village Center designation. Our next step would be to make them wireless zones. Ludlow is being done as part of the e-vermont grant and we're working with the SWCRPC to help our other communities, in developing a broadband plan, identifying needs, and strategies to address those needs.
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We are creating an economic development video for the Okemo Valley. The goal is to interview existing businesses to identify why it's fun to live and work here. We want to attract like-minded businesses to our area. We will run this video loop on our website, at trade shows and fairs, and have on hand to send to interested parties.
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Chester Bridge update: The Chamber has been working with our legislators over the last two years, the State of Vermont, the Town of Chester, the business community, other Chambers, and ChesterUnited, to coordinate signage, brochure, and map distribution, so we have a coordinated marketing effort for when the bridges close.

The State, along with the Town of Chester are having signs and maps made for the Interstate and exit ramps of Exits 6 and 7.

The Chamber will push the information out on our mobile app, website, and other Chamber sites. We secured a display case for Chester businesses at the Guilford Welcome Center for the month of July.

The Vermont Country Store is handling press releases and will be building and staffing a Visitor Information Center at their Rockingham location for dissemination of information.

ChesterUnited is having maps, posters and flags made. Businesses and residents can display them to give the town a visual unity. ChesterUnited is asking for a $10 donation towards the costs.

Gallery 103 is forming a committee to plan a bridge reopening party. We have all been working really hard to minimize the effects of the bridge closings.
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Coffee with the Chamber. We are hosting free continental breakfasts in each town, to share with the community what the Chamber is doing, and how we might be able to help in each community that we serve. Please join us at 8am.

May 19th - Crows Bakery and Opera House Cafe -Proctorsville
June tbd - Mount Holly Community Center- Belmont
July 12 - Fullerton Inn - Chester
August 15 - Java Baba - Ludlow
September 15 - Wilder House Restaurant at President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth
October 24 - Bryant House - Weston

SHOWS & FAIRS the Chamber will be attending:
May 26, VT Business & Industry Conference in Burlington.
June 25, Fair Haven Welcome Center
Sept 9 - 11, Made in Vermont Festival in Burlington
Sept 22 & 23, Big E in Agawam Mass.

The Chamber took tables at these events so our members can showcase their products and services at no charge. We will be handing out our new Summer/Fall Regional Guidebooks at these events.
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Other member benefits include:

1. LaValley Building Supply invites Chamber members to become an Okemo Valley/LaValley Retail Member. Show your M2M card and fill out a LaValley/Middleton member form. Currently this program is to provide a standard 5% discount, however, if you also sign up for the e-member program, you will receive additional savings and the latest specials on products and services. Yard items are not included in this program. Call Ron Godfrey for details 228-4665 or stop in today!!

2. Staples invites Chamber members to join our group discount. We have a master account offering a core list of product savings. Every member will have the opportunity to customize their products for their specific business needs. Call AnnMarie Conklin at 877-482-8027 or email annmarie.conklin@staples.com to sign up for the program.
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See us in the News:

Okemo Valley advertising includes:
May issue of Yankee Magazine (print, online, email)
May - August issue of Connecticut Magazine (print, online)
May-July Travelhost of Vermont Magazine (in state hotel rooms)
Summer Southern VT Arts & Living Magazine (highlighting festivals, music)
Winter & Summer Vermont Vacation Guides (inside front and inside back covers)
December/January 2012 USA Travel Guide

Okemo Valley Summer/Fall Regional Guidebook Will be out by May 24th

New this year: We are doing a Google Ad Campaign around events in our Valley. Beginning June 21 - July 4 highlighting our July events & end of August - September highlighting our September/October events.

For Service Companies, we are renewing ChamberMail which is a year-long direct mail and internet marketing program targeting new residents in all cities and towns in both Rutland and Windsor counties. Ad pricing starts at $199/year. This monthly mailer is a professionally printed, full-color, digital 9 x 12 inch bi-fold publication emblazoned with our Chamber's logo. New residents are greeted with pictures of local attractions and historic sites from our area, and a warm welcome letter from me, encouraging our new neighbors to take advantage of the member offers inside. With your Okemo Valley ChamberMail ad space, you also receive: Quality New Resident Database, a 94% Guaranteed Deliverable USPS, Free Online Advertising.

For more information, or to save time and buy online, visit Chamber Mail or call Jen Maxwell at 888-531-6775 x6 This will be a May - May program.
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August 10 Okemo Valley Business Expo at Green Mountain Banquet & Conference Center in Chester from 5:30-7:30pm. Call the chamber to reserve your booth. The expo will highlight dining, shopping, services, health and wellness and green technologies. This will be a retail event where people can "shop the Valley" under one roof.
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Our next mixer is May 11 at Outback Pizza in Ludlow at 5:30p. Please join us. Great door prizes!!
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Be sure to watch our show on LPC-TV or online. Our guests include Tisha & Paul Chevalier of Mountain Leather Design in Chester and Shannon Porter of Aromatherapy Designs of Ludlow.
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Chamber Golf Tournament is Thursday, September 15 at Okemo Valley Golf Club. Please call Mary Knight of Knight Tubs to be on the committee.
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China trip - SAVE THE DATE - We have an orientation scheduled on May 16 at 5:30pm with Citslink, the tour operator, in the Cornerstone room at the Jackson Gore Inn in Ludlow. Everyone is welcome; chamber members and non-members alike. It's a 9-day all inclusive trip for $2200 leaving on March 26, 2012. This is the trip of a lifetime that I took in March and I highly recommend.
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Thank you to Bonnie's Bundles for hosting our April mixer. The food was great and was much fun!
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Chamber Mixers
Join us for our monthly Chamber Mixers on the 2nd Wednesday of each month. Bring a door prize if you can.

All Mixers are from 5:30-7:30pm
2011 MIXER LINE UP

May 11- Outback Pizza - Ludlow

May 16 - Citslink orientation to China-Jackson Gore Inn-Ludlow

June 8- Canvasworks Floor Cloths - Weathersfield

July 13 - Fletcher Farm School for the Arts & Crafts - Ludlow

August 10- 3rd Annual Okemo Valley Business Expo at Green Mountain Banquet and Conference Center - Chester
Music by Adam Rosenberg. Call now to secure your $99 8' table.

September 14- The Village Green Gallery - Weston

October 12- Berkshire Bank - Ludlow

November 9- Jackson Gore Inn - Ludlow

December 14- Annual Meeting at Stone Hearth Inn & Tavern - Chester

Membership Committee News
The membership committee met on April 22 at 9:00am at Java Babas. Please contact Laura Williams if you want to join our committee.

We welcomed Deanna Wilbur of Grafton, as the new membership assistant. Deanna can be reached at dwilbur@yourplaceinvermont.com. Please send her a welcoming email. She replaced Denise Cote as of 4/20.

We reviewed all 24 new member applications this month. We're thrilled our seven communities (and beyond) appreciate all the efforts and accomplishments the Chamber is making.

We're happy to offer you new member benefit savings at LaValley's and Staples.

We discussed the upcoming August 10 Business Expo and will have sections: Health & Wellness; Services; Dining/Food; Shopping and Green Efficiency sections. Call the Chamber to reserve your $99 table.
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Please remember to add "Proud Member" button to your website and add the link back to us for greater search engine optimization.
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Free coupon offer on www.yourplaceinvermont.com
Call 228-7664 Spring River Marketing to get set up. One time $20 set up fee. We can add your coupon to our app as well as website.
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Be sure to check all Member Benefits on our website. Please call or email Deanna to add or update your M2M Benefit. Let's all do business with each other at a discount. Keep it local and support one another.

Welcome New Members
The Chamber welcomes the following new members:

Springfield Area Adult Day Service - Springfield
Skygate Financial Group - Chester
The Richards Group - Ludlow
Ludlow Dental Center - Ludlow
The Odd Indian -Cavendish
Mount Holly Farmers Market - 259-2386 - Mount Holly
Wilderness Taxidermy - 226-7542 - Cavendish
Mountain Leather Designs - Chester
New England Deck & Patio - Ludlow
Adventure Trek USA, Inc. - Bellows Falls
Crows Bakery & Opera House Cafe - Proctorsville
Celebration Rentals - Brandon
Rose Arbour Tea Room, Gift Shop & B&B - Chester
Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation - Plymouth
Promo Focus - Proctorsville
Peace Positive Yoga - Ludlow
Made In Vermont USA - Barre
Mount Holly Community Association - 259-2562 -Mount Holly
Chester Farmer's Market - Chester/Rockingham
Marion's Floral Shoppe - Ludlow
The Inn at Glimmerstone Mansion - Cavendish
Willow Farm Pet Services - No. Springfield & Chester
Ludlow Rotary Club - Ludlow
Aubuchon Hardware - Ludlow

Marketing Committee News
The marketing committee met April 29 at Java Babas.

We reviewed the Calendar of Events, Coupon Offers and Special Package buttons on our website homepage. Please make sure you email Danielle with your specials and coupons. She will add them to our website and our mobile app for you.
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We are having an online contest for our mobile app.

People that download our app are put in a monthly drawing to win prizes from the Okemo Valley.
Can you offer us gift certificates and/or prizes that we can send to our monthly winners?
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It's not too late to get on our app. Take advantage of the special pricing ($100/year) and the opportunity to communicate directly with your customers. Restaurants, be sure to list your menus.

Please make sure to send us your events at least 2 weeks in advance. We can upload them onto the app for you as well as post on our website.

We need to keep the website fresh. Make sure your pictures and text are changed out for the season.

News from our Members

Please join LPCTV in kicking off the LPCTV Capital Campaign!

LPCTV is hosting a Kentucky Derby Gala event on Saturday, May 7th, from 5PM- 11PM at the Pot Belly Restaurant and Pub in Ludlow. Enjoy Mint Juleps, Southern Fare and Kentucky Derby Pie! It will be a great night at the races with an interactive wagering experience, raffles and music for dancing by Union Street (featuring Mark Huntley). Derby attire is encouraged. Tickets are $25 in advance/ $30 at the door. For a $50 donation you have the opportunity to sponsor and name a race horse. Your name or business name will appear on the program and be announced by the MC. If you are interested please respond right away to mstinson750@yahoo.com

LPCTV strives to be a primary source for exchanging information in our region. Keeping people informed, preserving our heritage and building community are what LPCTV is all about! Please consider contributing to the LPCTV Capital Campaign. or 228-8808.
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Congratulations to our very own, Jim Remy, Okemo Valley Golf Club Vice President, who will be inducted into the PGA Golf Pro Hall of Fame!!!
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Congratulations Cota & Cota on their 70th Anniversary!
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Upcoming Events:

Please submit your events to us 2 weeks in advance. If you don't see your event in the calendar, please call us.

Legislative Update
Health Care Passes Senate

Sen. Vince Illuzzi (R-Essex/Orleans) led the charge on Wednesday to amend the health care reform bill, H.202, to allow greater choice of carriers and plans for small businesses starting in 2014 when the new health benefit exchange is implemented. Sens. Hinda Miller (D-Chittenden) and Randy Brock (R-Franklin) also sponsored the amendment that would have specifically allowed HSA-type plans to be sold outside the exchange as long as they were compliant with federal law.

Sens. Illuzzi and Brock also offered an amendment to define small employers as businesses with 50 or fewer employees until 2016 when federal law states that the exchange would be open to businesses with 100 or fewer employees for health care coverage.

Unfortunately, neither amendment passed with the first amendment to expand choice being defeated on a roll call vote of 11-19 and the second amendment limiting the exchange to companies with 50 or fewer employees being defeated 10-20.

In the end, the final vote on the bill was 21-9 in favor.

The bill now moves to a conference committee appointed from members of both the House and the Senate in order to resolve the differences in the two versions of H.202 as passed by the House and the Senate. It is likely this will be done quickly so it can move to the Governor for his signature.

1 comment:

sranney1 said...

This legislation will be be another reason for folks to not want to locate business here in our state. They are planning to cover folks that are illegal Aliens as well. Do you folks agree with this new health care bill? If so why?

Scott Ranney
802-770-8916