Chamber Director's Blog

Gogebic County Fair

August 25-28 marks the annual Gogebic County Fair--the grande culmination of summer produce, energy, and all-around good times!  TO FIND THE FAIR SCHEDULE, click on this link:


End of week Ironwood

Friday is almost upon us.  Don't wait!  Plan ahead:  Ironwood Depot Farmers and Artisan's Market is tomorrow from 3:30 to 6:30 at the Depot Park Pavilion.  Lots of great eating items as well as decorative arts that will brighten and enlighten any house or northwood's cabin.  Need spirit uplifting?  Stop by the downtown Art Park (across from the Historic Ironwood Theatre) for a music concert on Friday from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm.  Then walk across to the Downtown Art Place to see the "Water For Flint" exhibition.   Downtown Ironwood is the place to be on Friday! See you there.   

August 4th, 2016

Museum is open and busy today.  Lots of visitors. 


August--the time of ENJOYMENT!  Don't forget to come enjoy the Gogebic Country Fair August 25-28 in Ironwood.  Stop by the Chamber booth and buy a Summer Raffle ticket ($5) to support the Chamber!   A big Ironwood Chamber welcome to Tractor Supply Co., who officially opened their Ironwood store on Saturday--thanks for being a Chamber member and thanks for locating here in Michigan's Gateway City.   Coming up:  24 August (Wed) at Bessemer City Hall:  Ironwood/Bessemer Chambers of Commerce joint Business Box Lunch on the topic of Digital Media--New Ways of Doing Business.  

Festival Ironwood and Before

Saturday at Festival Ironwood and the SUN is out.  Stop on by:  huge craft show today, car show, golf tournament at Gogebic Country Club; pool tournament here at the Depot, + food and music.  The PERFECT SATURDAY FOR ENJOYMENT.  Schedule is on ths website (events > Festival Ironwood).

Thursday (and not raining!).  Today is kids day at Festival Ironwood.  HOPE Animal Shelter is now (8:00am) arranging the temporary homes of those who will be HOPE to be selected for adoption.  Lots of kid's games and activities.  Farmer's Market is from 3:30 to 6:30 at the East end of the Depot.  Come on down--enjoy dry! (we hope).  

Wednesday, 13 July!  Opening day of Festival Ironwood!  WUPM live radio broadcast from the Ironwood Depot from 9am to 12 noon this morning.  Checkout our Chamber webcam to see the tents!  Weather is great!  Tonight:  "An evening of bluegrass music" from 5-10 pm under the bigtop + beer and brats!  Stop at the Chamber table, where we have our Summer Raffle fundraiser underway.  6:00pm = Fat Tire Bike Club ride begins here at Depot Park!  Tomorrow:  Festival Grande Opening Official ceremonies at 4:00pm.   Full schedule on this website under "events > festival ironwood."

Monday, 11 July:  Festival Ironwood Week is HERE!!   See the schedule of events on this webpage under "events-Festival Ironwood."  NO Saturday Shop event this year, but plenty of other activities, performances, tournaments, and FOOD to occupy these great summer days in Ironwood.  Come on down to Depot Park--the heart of Ironwood!   Stop at the Chamber of Commerce table, right outside our Depot office and say hi to the folks.  Our Chamber of Commerce Summer Raffle Tickets ($5 each, $1,000 grand prize!) will be on sale--and the opportunity to learn about and contribute to the Hiawatha Statue Restoration Fund is also part of our table as well.  See you ALL at Festival Ironwood!

Tuesday, 5 July:

     We hope everyone had a wonderful and meaningful 4th of July weekend.   This week brings two important events:  a) Thursday, 7 July, from 3:00 - 5:00 pm in room B21 of the Solin Center for Business Building at Gobegic Community College, the Ironwood Chamber and WUPPDR present Dr. Leo Murembya and Eric Guthrie in a presentation and discussion of Gogebic County Area's Labor, Business, and Demographic trends.  There is no charge.  All are welcome to attend and learn about the underlying population/business structures of our area as revealed by current statistics. b) Friday, 8 July, at 3:30 in Depot Park, downtown Ironwood, will be the unveiling of the new Ironwood "brand"--developed for the city as a means to better market the area's image.  This event concides with the Ironwood Farmer's market, also at Depot Park.  Stop on out while the iron is hot!   Celebrate the new Ironwood logo and pick up some home grown (and made) goodies as well.   

Wednesday, 22 June:

   Wonderful weather days now!  Summer in the North has arrived.   NEWS:  Ironwood Depot Park Farmer's and Artisan's Market will open for the 2016 season on Friday, July 1, at 3:30.  An opening BBQ hosted by Whitney Creek Farm will start off this year's market, which will celebrate local artists as well as locally grown produce, meats, and baked, canned, and pickled goods.  The market is at the Ironwood Depot park on Fridays from 3:30 to 6:30.   IMPORTANT CHAMBER EVENT:  Thursday, 7 July, from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. in B21 at the Solin Center for Business Building at Gogebic Community College, the Ironwood Chamber and WUPPDR present Dr. Leo Murembya from Michigan State University and Eric Guthrie, Michigan State Demographer in a program detailing current Western U.P. trends in population, labor market changes, and business sector alignments.  This event will provide a comprehensive overview of the underlying structure of our economy as well as its probable future trending.  Vital information for school teachers/administrators, government folks, and business owners.  There is no charge and the presentation is open to the public.  Come learn about what is really happening in this part of the U.P.   

Friday, 3 June:

    Summer trying to appear amidst the rain.  Lots of Ironwood and U.P. things to do this weekend, starting out with the FREE weekend at Copper Peak Adventure Ride.  In their FB post of the morning, they announced that they will be running the ride in the rain, so don't let a few melted snow flakes stand in your way to a great vista of U.P. forest green from the top of Copper Peak.  Here at the Chamber headquarters in the Historic Ironwood Depot, this week saw the cleaning and repainting of the big back wall of the Chamber office space.  A new display of historic Ironwood business pictures will adorn this now most attractive space.   Coming up next week, Ironwood will be host to the Upper Peninsula Michigan Municipal League on 9 Thursday and 10 Friday.  The League will have official workshops of course, but will also get a walking tour of Downtown Ironwood including a stop in here at the Depot and Chamber offices.  Great to have municipal officals from the other parts of the U.P. in town.  For other Ironwood Events, check out our events page & also, like us on Facebook!

Wednesday, 25 May:

     TODAY is Ironwood & Bessemer's Business Box Lunch at the Ironwood Memorial Building Auditorium foyer.  Our topic is "Business Transitions:  Managing Change" with Peter Tacconelli, Gina Thorsen, and Jerrianne Ovaska.  Time is noon to one p.m., and a box lunch is provided!   Each of our presenters has guided their own businesses through important transitions, and will have lots of words of wisdom to impart.   Our Ironwood Chamber of Commerce Ironwood Visitor Guide is off the presses and in distribution.   Your director traveled yesterday to Ashland, Manitowish Waters, and Woodruff-Minoqua to distribute our guide down two of the principal tourist/visitor routes into Ironwood.  I had the chance to meet with othe Chamber of Commerce folks, all of whom were rapidly gearing up for the summer recreation season.   Stop by the Depot!  The new Depot Park playground is going in!

Wednesday, 18 May:

     Spring is finally here!  And that means Spring Cleaning can begin.  This Saturday (21 May) is the Ironwood City Wide Rummage Sale, sponsored this year by the Ironwood Chamber of Commerce.  Maps of registered participant sellers can be picked up here at the Chamber office (Depot, 150 North Lowell Street) starting at NOON on Friday, 20 May, as well as at Maplewood Steak House 156 East Cloverland Drive, and Super One grocery, 1480 Cloverland Drive.  Maps will be available also at the same locations on Saturday.   The official registered seller ad will appear in the Daily Globe newspaper on Friday, 20 May.  Each seller site will be marked by an offical Ironwood City Wide Garage Sale yard sign.   Weather forecast looks OUTSTANDING!  (of course, I can say that on Wednesday!).  A big spring clean-up sale welecome to all Ironwood visitors!

Thursday, 5 May:

     Lots of sun today!  And--this Saturday, come join us in beautiful Ironwood for a host of indoor & outdoor happenings--from Iron Belle Trail & Miners Memorial Heritage Park activities, through the annual Carnegie Library booksale, to the opening of a new Ironwood business, Yooper Delights Fudge & Sweets.  Check out our events page for full details on each of these and MORE events that are taking place this Saturday.   Spring has come to the North at last!  REMEMBER, you can pick up your registration for for the Ironwood City Wide Rummage Sale at the Ironwood Chamber Office during regular hours OR just grab one out of the the plastic form holder, hanging just to the right of our Chamber entrance door.  Deadline for registration is 14 May.

Monday, 25 April:

     No sun, but no snow either!  Join us for the Ironwood/Bessemer Business Box Lunch this Wednesday (April 27) at noon.  Location is the Bessemer City Hall Auditorium.  Topic:  Humans ARE Our Resources--focus is on the attraction and retention of good employees.  Presenters from Michigan WORKS!, Nicolet Staffing, and Ironwood Plastics Human Resources.  Should be an excellent hour of knowledge and discussion!   One other very important gathering this week:  Thursday, April 28, 1:00 pm, in room B32, Solin Center For Business, Gogebic Community College--Michigan DNR, Michigan Snowmobile Association, and the Western U.P. Snowshakers.  Snowmobiling is a very important part of our Ironwood economy, and its continued health and well-being are in danger unless individuals and organizations step up and come together to help it.  Lastly--Ironwood City Wide Rummage Sale is set for Saturday, May 21, with deadline for completed registration forms due in here at the Chamber on Saturday, May 15.  You can pick up forms on line at,  the Ironwood City Clerk's office, and at the Chamber office.   

Friday, 15 April:

     The sun is out!  The snow is fast disappearing!  Life is good--in Ironwood!   Don't forget to stop out to the Copper Peak Trails fundraiser at Maplewood Steak House, 156 E. Cloverland (U.S. 2) this Saturday (April 16).  $10 pasta, salad, & bread meal + silent auction.  Help support the folks building the bike trails out at Copper Peak.   Thanks to all who attended the Business After Five in Bessemer last night--great food and meet-&-greet time.  

Tuesday, 11 April:

     Come join with the Ironwood Area Chamber of Commerce and the Bessemer Chamber of Commerce for a Business After Five event at the Bessemer American Legion hall (across from the Gogebic County Court House) on Thursday, 14 April,  at 5:00.  There will be snacks, pasta, cash bar, and a great opportunity to meet & greet your friends and neighbors in the world of commerce.   Looking ahead to next week, remember the Gogebic Community College Entrepreneurial Center for Innovation and Development will be sponsoring an appearance by Green Bay Packer's Director of Player Development, Rob Davis.  The Business Community Lunch ($40) will be from 11:30-1:30 at the college, and the free Community Event, with Rob Davis hosting a discussioin on community teamwork, will be at 6:00--free and open to the public (also at the college).

Thursday, 7 April:

     We're baaack!   Of course, its still snowing (sigh).  Anyways, the website is at last being updated and improvements started in ernest.  Please view the new EVENT SECTION, which is now easier to interact with.  Things which will be added within a few days include a downloadable version of the new Ironwood Chamber of Commerce tri-fold brochure, new 2016 Chamber of Commerce application form, and continued development of the webpage informational structure.  If you get a chance, stop by the Depot to get your new 2016 Michigan Campground booklets & Michigan road maps.  The Chamber office also has registration forms for the Ironwood City Wide Rummage Sale (May 21st, from 8 to 4). 

Wednesday, 9 March:

     Snow melting and wind blowing bring Spring to mind!  Ironwood Chamber of Commerce & selected members placed ads in the Northern Highland WIDNR State Forrest 2016 Visitor's Guide that is now out.  Some of the 17,000 copy press run were at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Sports Show March 2-6 where it was observed that folks were grabbing them up.  Copies this week will be at the Madison, WI Canoecopia (March 11-13 at the Alliant Energy Center).   There is an entire Ironwood, MI page with ads by:  the Ironwood Chamber of Commerce, Copper Peak, Fabric Patch, DAP, Little Critter's Historic Ironwood Theater, Gogebic Community College, Creative Spirits, Dancing Raven Artworks, IronInk Tattoo, and Festival Ironwood.  

      THURSDAY, 10 March is the Western U.P. Chamber Regional Roundtable at the Pit Stop Bar and Grill in Bessemer.  Starting at 4pm, see previous blog posts for the full schedule of activities.  This is open to anyone with an interest in business development and regional economic growth.  Meal is $10, and closing speaker will be on "Mobile Apps" and their role in community promotion.    

Monday, March 7:th

       Over the weekend the breezes blowing in from Lake Superior brought some disturbance to the Hiawatha statue's peace of mind when a 4-foot long section of his peace pipe blew off.  This was recovered and is now in storage.  This was another indication that the time has arrived for a full structural restoration of this iconic Ironwood attaction.  As of today, the fundraising amount has move upward to $7,525.

       Chamber members will be receving the March newsletter today and tomorrow.  Amongst various news items, you will also find short articles on the joint Ironwood/Bessemer Chamber of Commerce Business Box Lunch events.   The next event is scheduled for Wednesday, 23 March, 12:00 noon at the Ironwood Township Hall on North Lake Street.  Topic:  "Customer Friendly Retail Payment Options."   This promises to be highly informative, and a much needed topic to be addressed.


Friday, 4 March:

       As you start your weekend, don't forget to visit  and make your donation to the Hiawatha statue restoration fund.  You can also mail your contribution check to the Ironwood Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 45, Ironwood, MI 49938.  This week we were able to bring the campaign up to the $7,100 level on our way to the complete goal of $25,000.  

       Looking ahead to next week, there is a Festival Ironwood organizing committee meeting on Monday at 7:00p.m. at the American Legion (in the basement of the Memorial Building).  It is not too soon to be thinking of Ironwood in July!   As the days grow longer and the sun warmer, Chamber member thoughts turn to outside activities that do not require coats and mittens!!  

       Lastly, don't forget to renew your membership!  Our goal this year is to exceed last year's Chamber total membership by 30 new businesses!  We already have new folks who have joined, especially new that we have a new category--the sole proprietorship.   We look forward to receiving your 2016 renewal or new application.    

Thursday, 3 March:

       Great attendance at the Business After Five yesterday afternoon.  Excellent treats and informative tour of the individual "makers" in their "spaces."  Discussion was on how developing a central location where artisans can make their products, sell their products, conduct classes, centralize their marketing outreach, and offer a large-space meeting can be an important incubator for economic development, both with regard to individuals as well as community.   906BOOM organizer Nancy Korpela (Member, Ironwood Economic Development Corporation) gave a short history of the historic old Ironwood Elks lodge that has now become the 906BOOM home as well as descriptions of the makers currently renting business space within the structure.

       Coming up:  Western U.P. Regional Chamber Alliance Regional Roundtable.  This event is hosted on Thursday, March 10, by the Bessemer Chamber of Commerce and will be held at the Pit Stop Bar & Grill, 120 S. Sophie St., Bessemer, MI.  Activities start with the opening workshop "Creating Successful Chamber Fundraising" at 4:00 pm.  Networking amongst attending folks is scheduled from 5:00-5:30, with the dinner at 5:30-6:00 ($10).  The Speaker Program, "Utilizing Mobile Apps in Your Community" will then run until 7:00pm.   This should be an excellent opportunity to both meet folks from other parts of the Western U.P. as well as discuss issues of immediate importance to the entire business community.

Wednesday, 2 March:  

      Today the Ironwood Chamber of Commerce and the Bessemer Chamber of Commerce are hosting a joint "Business After Five" event at 906BOOM!, a creative MakerSpace, located at 320 East Aurora, Ironwood.   Nancy Korpela will lead a discussion about Business Incubators and describe the concept of the MakerSpace.   Those attending will have a chance to tour the building and meet some of the creative inhabitants.  Come and join us!  Should be a very positive learning experience that opens our awareness to new paths of developing economic activity and new-business start-ups.