Chamber Director's Blog

Community Business: Working Together

Welcome to St. Patrick's Day, 17 March 2017.   Welcome also a new Ironwood enterprise, the Cold Iron Brewing Company, located at 104 North Lowell (right south of the Historic Ironwood Depot).   Occupying a wonderful old building originally constructed by the U.S. Forest Service as the local office, CIB has been many years in the planning and making.  Created out of a partnership of local businesspersons, CIB represents the very best of "shop local" and "build local" initiatives.  No franchise operation, no Wall Street encumbrances, just a locally created entity producing a locally created product in a locally redesigned and rebuilt space.   TODAY is the Grand Opening!!  Come down at 4:00 pm to celebrate the years of planning, investment, and physcial reconstruction of this building as it begins its new life as a center for refreshment and a large open-space gathering room for meetings, weddings, parties, post-trail hike hydration, and all-around neato spot.  Looking forward to seeing the entire town there tonight!   Best wishes to all the partners, and THANK YOU for investing in the Ironwood Community.

Inspiring Livelihood

When did you first decide to follow the career you now pursue?  Was it that first time of taking something apart and putting it back together?  First time doing art work that others praised?   First school trip to the local firehouse?   Being in the doctor's office and actually looking around at all the different types of activity there?   On Thursday, 23 February, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, 8th and 11th grade students from all the Gogebic County schools (and Hurley, WI) will arrive at Gogebic Community College for a combination Career Exploration Day and College Preview Day.  Over 45 area businesses, illustrating careers from motor mechanics, plumbing, nursing, public safety, and technology to writing/photography and forestry, will meet one-on-one with 8th and 11th grade students.   Organized by the Ironwood Chamber of Commerce, Gogebic Community College, and MichiganWORKS, this event partners with all county school districts in offering a very comprehensive look at the variety of careers that can be embarked upon right here in Ironwood and the Gogebic Range.  Many of these means of earning a livelihood do not require a four-year university degree, and in some cases, not even a two-year degree.   Additionally, the range of careers being showcased also represent area economic needs that need filliing in the days ahead.   Starting your own business, developing your own trade expertise, and entering into a business transitional relationship with an enterprise whose principals are looking to retire--these represent actual Gogebic Range economic opportunities that presently exist, and hopefully will be taken advantage of by some of the youngsters who will be attending.   The Ironwood Chamber of Commerce especially thanks all the individual contributions given by area businesses to help make this event a success, from individual student gifts and prizes, to monetary and in-kind donations to assist with the full range of activities involved.   The Chamber would especially like to thank all those area residents who purchased Jack Frost Raffle tickets this year, as the proceeds of that sale are playing a big part in defraying the food costs involved in this event.  BIG thank-you's as well to the GCC staff who crafted the scheduling, arranged the volunteers, prepared all the space arrangements, and offered direct leadership on the event day.  And lastly, a big thank-you to Brian Haanpaa, MichiganWORKS, who contacted and scheduled all of the participating businesses.   

Going Forward

The first month of 2017 is almost over, meaning that 1/12 of 2017 is almost done!  For most of us, January is a time of taking stock of the year past and making plans for what is yet to unfold.  To that end, the Ironwood and Bessemer Chambers of Commerce held their joint annual awards dinner on 18 January at the Bessemer VFW hall.  Over 80 Chamber members and guests attended, with Jerry Wuorenmaa of the Western U.P. Planning and Development region giving the evening presentation.  Bessemer gave out the following awards:  Dustin Filippini-Rising Star; Gogebic Range Master Gardeners-Organization of the Year; Bessemer-Stempiar BP--Business of the Year; and Grace Maki--Volunteer of the Year.  Ironwood gave the following awards:  Peter Sturgul--Volunteer of the Year; Lindquist Electric--Business of the Year;  DOVE Inc.--Organization of the Year;  Gus Swanson Education/Community Award--WatchD.O.G.S.    In just a few short weeks, the Ironwood Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with Michigan WORKS and Gogebic Community College will be hosting a Carrer Exploration and College Preview day for high school students grades 8 and 11.   The Ironwood Chamber of Commerce is making this year of 2017 one in which much greater cooperation between businesses and schools can be developed.  Awakening in the minds of the young all the many ways of earning a successfuly livelihood here in the U.P. is crucial to not only replacing retiring folks, but fostering innovative development and the opening of brand new enterprises.   

Welcome to 2017!

Today is the last Friday of 2016--not a moment too soon!  Saturday brings the end of a truly historic year.  It is quite possible that 2017 will be equally historic as well, and if so, we all hope that it is in the postive rather than the negative way.  Your Ironwood Chamber of Commerce has some very useful events coming up in January:  5 January, join us for a "Morning Brew" at Contrast Coffee, downtown Ironwood, from 8:00-9:00 am--meet other chamber members and Contrast Coffee Co. owner Adam Holroyd; 18 January is the annual Ironwood/Bessemer Chambers of Commerce Awards Banquet, which will be held at the Bessemer VFW, starting with a social hour at 5:00pm [get your registration form from the Ironwood Chamber or the Bessemer Chamber offices]; and the very next day, 19 January, will see the gathering of the Western U.P. Chamber Alliance at the new Cold Iron Brewing Co., corner of Lowell and Ayer Street, downtown Ironwood.  Chamber members are welcome to attend this meeting and enjoy the operational tour and special samples while meeting other Chamber members from around the Western Upper Peninsula.  

2016 Jack Frost Festival Has Begun

The tree has been plugged in (go to the Ironwood Chamber of Commerce Facebook page to see!) and the 2016 Jack Frost Festival of Lights has now begun the countdown to the Festival of Lights Parade, Friday, 2 December, at 6:00 in downtown Ironwood.   If you go to the top of our home page here, you can click on "events" and then click on "Jack Frost."   There you will find the full calendar of events plus registration forms for the parade.   CHAMBER RAFFLE TICKETS are available now.  The Chamber office will be open Saturday, November 17 and 24th from 9 until 2pm.  Stop by and get your ticket!  Only 200 tickets printed.  Nine cash prizes 5K, 2K, 1K, 2 for $500, and 4 for $250.   Each ticket costs $100 and GROUP PURCHASES ARE WELCOME (last year we had 3 group winners!).  This raffle is the main fundraiser for the Chamber's community organizational support program.  Let's see if this year we can actually sell ALL the tickets!    Tickets also available at Jon Parker State Farm, Hitt's Fine Furniture, Brookside Insurance, Stem's Flower Shop.