A presentation on a program called Village Key began the Sept. 5 meeting of the board of directors of the Syracuse-Wawasee Chamber of Commerce.
Todd McLaughlin of Village Key presented the program that is now in place in South Bend, Mishawaka and Nappanee. The holder of the key or plastic swipe tag from the company receives special deals from participating merchants. Keys may be purchased for $20 with a portion of that fee going to the chamber.
There is no cost to participate for the businesses except the specials they offer. It does have to be an exclusive offer for Village Key holders. Village Key maintains a website where various deals can be checked by the customer. The decision whether to participate or not was tabled.
In membership news is was noted membership is growing, in part because of the restructuring of dues and, in part, because the economy is improving, although slowly. It currently stands at 150 members.
It was decided by the board that members who joined after July 1, would only pay 50 percent of that year’s dues. Membership chairman Allison Robie presented some ideas about how to keep in contact with new and old members.
She and ambassador committee chairman Chip Erwin agreed to work together and Father Larry Biller, board member, offered his services as an ambassador. “We need four or five more. This is very similar to retaining church membership,” he noted.
It was announced by the event task force chairman Chad Jonsson that Oct. 13 is the Fall Harvest Festival at the Artisans and Farmers Market and Holiday Magic is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 17. If the weather cooperates, the Winter Carnival will be Jan. 26. Wawasee Kiwanis is its sponsor but the chamber will assist.
The annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet will be held Tuesday, Jan. 29. Seventeen requests for bids have been sent out to members who do catering. The speaker will be Goshen Mayor Allan J. Kauffman and the theme is “Syracuse, 175 Years, Past, Present and Future.” Donations for the silent auction are welcomed. Contact Biller or Sylvia Gargett.
Schwartz agreed to be the head of the finance committee while Cirello will be the legislative chairman.
Due to the length of the meeting, the rest of the agenda was tabled until the next board of directors meeting, noon, Wednesday, Oct. 3, at the chamber office.