HOUGHTON — The Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce Monday unveiled a new brand and service direction as well as a new Web site.

Chamber officials said the organization’s board has spent the past six months re-evaluating the chamber’s services to the community. Through research, community collaboration and a strategic planning process, the Keweenaw Chamber has created a vision to be the community resource for small business, with a strong focus on support, attraction and development.

“We listened to the community, community leaders and our membership to develop a new brand and in three focused service areas, which all essentially provide information, referrals and networking opportunities for small business,” board secretary Karyn Olsson said. “There are a lot of great resources in the community for small business to access help. However, the general consensus from the research we did told us there is a lot of confusion about the purpose of organizations in our area and who does what. Through the strategic planning process, it was obvious the critical role we needed to play.”

Olsson added: “The Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce is a starting point for the community and small businesses with just about any need. Through our partnerships and community connectivity, we can help anyone get to the organization to meet their specific needs.”

The Chamber’s first mission is to work closer with partner organizations like the Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau and Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance to provide them better support. For example, in years past the chamber served area tourists by handling tens of thousands of phone calls, emails, information requests and drop-ins at the Downtown Houghton office. Olsson said that “While we continue to welcome tourists into the Houghton office, all phone calls and other tourist inquiries will be directed and handled by the Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau.”

The Chamber will also continue to support KEDA by referring them appropriate small business inquires, helping promote their events and collaborating on economic activities so the Chamber can keep the area informed.

Over the next year, members and the business community can also look forward to many new networking and promotional opportunities sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, such as InBusiness Magazine, customer service clinics, and a fresh line-up for the monthly “Eggs and Issues” seminar and networking event.

The purpose of the Chamber’s new Web site is to provide community members, tourists and businesses a road map to area organizations and Chamber members. It also unveils the new brand. Anyone who visits the site and doesn’t find the information they need is encouraged to call the Chamber office for further assistance.

Currently the board is also analyzing its business model and membership dues and will continually try to understand our place in the future of the Keweenaw.

The chamber supports businesses by providing information and referring inquiries to artners like KEDA, SBTSC, MTEC SmartZone, Entrepreneur Support Center, Jutila Business Incubator or whichever organization is best able to assist that business. In addition, the chamber is working toward building a business calendar.

The chamber also provides information and referrals to people who want to visit or relocate to the Keweenaw. If someone inquires about tourism, they will be sent directly to the Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau.

More at www.keweenaw.org.


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