Friday, February 26, 2010

Did you miss this month's Women in Business?

Not just for women, these events are hosted January-April. Topics are selected and themed to be of particular interest to women business owners but all members are welcome to attend. Events are the last Thursday of each month January-April. 10:45-1:00 p.m. (though sometimes these times vary, based on presentation/activity) Events include a keynote speaker or workshop component.


A strong network of member-to-member support, camaraderie, inspiration and motivation, helping women business leaders to be successful in meeting their personal and professional goals.

The Chamber's Women in Business events are can't miss events. With superior speakers, prizes and surprises, we deliver more than you're expecting.

In February, our guest speaker Dr. Linda Lawrence from McLaren Breast Center gave an informative presentation on breast health in keeping with our theme: Celebrating Birthdays, because every birthday is a victory over cancer. The theme is from the American Cancer Society and became the jumping off point for a really memorable WiB event.

As you entered Red Knapps, you were greeted with colorful helium balloon bouquets at every table. There were sequined pink maribo trimmed tiaras at every place setting. Lisa's Confection Connection brought a stunning display of birthday cakes and cupcakes. Waterfall Jewelers displayed a gorgeous Pandora bracelet which we gave away later in the event.

PNC (National City), Comcast and LaFontaine Automotive Group also had displays and added raffle prizes to give away. LaFontaine also gave each attendee a birthday present. (The gift bags included a serenity stone bracelet--in a variety of colors)

As our VIPs addressed the crowd (each sponsor for the event gets up to 5 minutes in front of the group) we learned of their business services, but also their commitment to helping others, particularly those with cancer.

Waterfall Jewelers' Chris Strong, shared that watch battery replacements are free at their store, though a charitable donation is appreciated. Their donation jar identifies where the funds are going that month and include Lighthouse, SCAMP and individuals battling expensive health treatments.

LaFontaine's Kelley Hinsperger invited attendees to join them Thursday March 4 at Lafontaine for an evening networking event which will also launch a fundraising campaign spearheaded by Ryan LaFontaine to benefit the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. Ryan is a cancer survivor and this cause is personal for the entire LaFontaine family. With our help Ryan can be the Leukemia Lymphoma Society's Man of the Year. I know that all of us will want to help make that happen.

I am still amazed by Ryan's courage and fortitude while undergoing chemo-therapy. The Chamber was invited out to a tour of the new LaFontaine Green dealership and Ryan gave us an energized, informative one hour tour. . . . and he had just come from Chemo. We had no idea until Kelley shared that with us later.

EVERY birthday is a victory over cancer.

Even the "Oh!" birthdays . . . (Birthdays' ending in an 0, that make us go "OH!")

Our February WiB event was very memorable. From watching our gentlemen guests put on their tiara's too, to learning how Cancer has touched the lives of our peers. Learning how Cancer motivates us to do more and give more. And learning ways that we can participate in daily choices that may help prevent cancer.

Only a small percentage of breast cancer can be linked to a genetic cause that was there from birth.

80% of people (and yes, men get it too) who get breast cancer have no history of it in their 1st degree relatives.

Which brings us back to the Tiaras. Placing this Tiara in a place where you will see it every day--on your dresser, a shelf in the bathroom, on top of the refrigerator--is a memory tool. When you see the Tiara--smile . . . and remember that all of the choices you make today include ones that can help you prevent cancer--and have more birthdays!

Have no more than the recommended 1 glass of wine or 1 drink per day.
Do monthly self-exams.
Get your regularly scheduled mammograms.

And if you would like extra credit--urge your friends, sisters, mothers and daughters to do the same.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chamber survey for community input on Grocery Stores

Click here to take survey

Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting an online survey this Spring to gather information from the community on grocery stores for the White Lake Commons Plaza.

In 2007 Farmer Jack announced the closing of many stores in SE Michigan, two of the stores were in the Clarkston Area, leaving vacant anchor stores in two shopping plazas in our community. For those businesses in the plazas, retail dropped dramatically. Some businesses closed their doors and others are hanging on, hoping for a new tenant to take the anchor spot and spur commerce once again.

This winter, we saw the addition of the Salavation Army Family Store, take the spot at Waldon and Sashabaw and immediately, dramatically increase the foot traffic for storefronts nearby.

The former Farmer Jack location continues to sit vacant. In a prime location at White Lake and Dixie Hwy., White Lake Commons is an ideal location for a grocery store anchor.

Rumors of possible interest in the building have had some truth to them. There are grocery chains interested in the Clarkston Area and in that property. Yet recent negotiations that seemed close to success, have not yet panned out.

Talk to 5 different people and they will give you 5 different reasons for why there isn't a grocery store in that complex yet.

For our businesses on Dixie Hwy. , and particularly for those in White Lake Commons, it matters a lot that there isn't a store anchoring the plaza, providing additional foot traffic and commerce. For residents, who frequently call the Chamber, it matters that they must drive to surrounding communities, sometimes 30 minutes or more to shop at grocery stores they wish were in the Clarkston area.

Kroger does offer three stores in our area. These stores are newer builds or are currently in renovation. As one resident explained when calling the Chamber, "I'm glad Kroger is here, but they don't carry the variety and specialty items I can find at VG's, Papa Joes, Nino Salvaggio, Trader Joe's or Whole Foods."

So the Chamber is asking for your input.

Survey results will be posted on the Chamber's website and presented to the Independence Township Board later this Spring.

Click here to take survey

Monday, February 8, 2010

Try this networking tip at the next Chamber event

Chamber Board members and Ambassadors donned eye patchs and played pirate at a recent BOB to help you find networking treasure!
Kevin Tompkins, McLaren Health Center; Tammy Ullyart, Four Seasons ChemDry and Jason T. Ryan, Vision Fuel Media.

Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce offers several well-attended networking events throughout the year like Business Over Breakfast, Luncheon Mixers, Women in Business, Oakland Chamber Network After Hours, Chamber Golf Classic and the Annual Business EXPO.

Networking can sometimes be a commonly awkward experience, so check out this networking tip from etiquette expert Cynthia Lett. (via Tulsa Chamber of Commerce).

If two people are deep in conversation, rather than interrupting, wait for one of them to turn toward the room. Then make eye contact and introduce yourself. He should introduce you to the other person, but if not, do it yourself. Repeat your full name which the other person may not have caught. Later, if you’re stuck in a conversation you’d like to end, try: “I know you want to meet others, and I’m glad we had the chance to speak. I wish you well with your project.”

Put Lett’s tip to the test by inviting clients, co-workers, customers and clients to a Chamber networking event.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Who's on your board of advisors?

PHOTO: Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard and Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce President Johnna Struck at a recent Chamber luncheon mixer.

Who do you go to when looking for business, professional or even personal advice?
For many Chamber members, it's a circle of friends they've cultivated over time that are people whose opinions they value and expertise they trust. Friends who have expertise and knowledge that compliments your own.

Today's marketing buzz is focused on Social Media and how through Social Media you can develop relationships with peers around the world who can help mentor, advise and entertain you.

That cornerstone relationship building art has its roots in face to face meetings long before the advent of email, Twitter, Facebook and Linked In.

Many people still go "old school" with social marketing. There are many networking events available where you can meet real people, in real time. These luncheons, breakfasts and after hour events are hosted by Chambers of Commerce, service clubs, (eg: Rotary, Optimist, Lions etc.) and networking groups. These are comfortable events where you meet new people, get to know them and begin to trust the areas of their expertise.

I've been with Clarkston Area Chamber for over 13 years. During that time I've seen many members go to each other for referrals, information, inspiration, tips and tactics. When looking for ways to reduce overhead, hire better staff, reinvent marketing tactics--our members turn to each other for advice. When purchasing a new home, thinking about a motorcycle, planning a vacation--you'll see members seek out information, input, tips, and suggestions from other Chamber members.

Think about your Go-to Rolodex of support. Your I.T. team, banker, marketing advisors, your CPA, financial planner, attorney, physician, chiropractor, dentist, vet, massage therapist, plumber, electrician, gym, rehabilitation therapist--are most of them Chamber members? Are they people you met through the Chamber? Where they referred to you by another Chamber member?

Your go-to team is a board of advisors--YOUR personal board of advisors.

The Chamber can help you find just the right people to help you manage, grow, promote and build your business. The Chamber can also provide you with, fun, social and effective opportunities to stay in touch.

With over three networking events a month at our Chamber there's plenty of opportunity to connect and keep in touch. While we also participate heavily in Twitter, Linked In and Facebook--we know that nothing really quite beats good old fashioned face to face networking.