The Chamber of Commerce-not just for Main Street

The Chamber of Commerce has many purposes, and the majority of those involved, as members are “downtown businesses.”

Hettinger Chamber President Liz Hallen and Secretary-Treasurer Earleen Friez.
Hettinger Chamber President Liz Hallen and Secretary-Treasurer Earleen Friez.

Posted Feb. 14, 2013

By JAMIE SPAINHOWER

Adams County Record Editor

The Chamber of Commerce has many purposes, and the majority of those involved, as members are “downtown businesses.”

However, individuals as well as organizations are a big part of the Hettinger Area Chamber.

“We are an area chamber,” said president Liz Hallen. “We have members in Reeder and Lodgepole as well as Hettinger. Farms and ranches are also members.”

Home-based businesses, large and small, churches, schools, and the like are also members. Currently there are approximately 150 members.

“The chamber works on economic development, community promotion and tourism,” said secretary and treasurer Earleen Friez.

Whether people are looking to relocate –go on vacation or just passing through town the chamber is the place to go for information on everything from available housing to where the park is located.

The chamber is also involved in many of the events during the year – the biggest being the Fourth of July Celebration and the rodeo.

“They bring in a lot, but they cost a lot too,” said Hallen. “We couldn’t do it without all the great volunteers we have, and rotating them around doing different things gives us fresh and new ideas.”

The Street Fest is an example of this.

“We hadn’t done it for many years,” said Hallen. “Then someone new suggested we revive it, and it was very successful.”

Events such as the Fourth of July are full of days of activities and events for people of all ages and interests, and the planning for the next year starts the day after everything is over.

“Booking the entertainment is first,” said Friez. “Right behind that is the rodeo.”

Youth are encouraged to participate in chamber events and do a lot of the volunteer work, such as concessions, and as there are many committees and events to choose from, huge projects turn into manageable enterprises. Not only are there events geared toward youth, such as the 3-on-3-hoop shoot, it gives groups such as FFA and FBLA to get in their Renaissance [community service] hours.

From taking tickets at one event to being on the rodeo committee, every little bit helps, said Hallen. But sometimes it takes a nudge.

“I probably would never have been on the chamber if someone hadn’t asked me to,” she said. Hallen filled a vacancy of a board member who had moved away mid-term.

Chamber Bucks are a way to help keep money circulating through local businesses. The chamber doesn’t make any money off of them, but last year alone more than $12,000 in gift certificates were sold and used in Hettinger.

“I love being on the board,” said Hallen. “It gives me a chance to meet new people in and out of the community. I feel the chamber makes a difference in Hettinger.”

Friez loves the diversity of her job, as she is usually the first face people see.

“It’s never the same and there’s no time to get bored!” she said.

The office opens at 10 a.m., and the website is www.hettingernd.com