“Advance Business Interest & Community Growth”
With its highly visible location on Belknap Street in Superior’s East End, the Chamber of Commerce would seem to be the first place prospective businesses would stop in at when contemplating opening or expanding a business in our community.
With a mission focused on advancing the business interests and community growth of our area, the Chamber is a great resource for networking the community and meeting the people who may help a new business succeed.
The Chamber provides a directory of its membership on its website. It currently has more than 400 members throughout its area of influence. The staff and board of directors of the Chamber seek to achieve their goals through networking events, legislative involvement, educational programs, and other marketing channels.
As a member-funded organization, the Chamber encourages its members to “Always Buy Chamber” by patronizing other chamber members. Their goal is to be supportive of local chamber members whenever possible.
The Chamber is perennial and active participant at Superior Days each year in February. Superior Days is a grassroots community-based effort in existence since 1986, that raises issues of importance to Northwest Wisconsin with state legislators and agencies in Madison, Wisconsin.
Departing Chamber President Dave Minor believed that this organization is the “premier advocacy organization for business in Douglas County…protecting and advancing the interests of our members and the community as a whole.”
Programs & Networking Opportunities
The Chamber hosts over fifty programs and events each year. Their goal is to provide a platform for all members to learn from other business leaders and state and local government representatives. Making contacts throughout the business community can be very empowering for new players to our city.
Here is a list of some of the many events sponsored by the Chamber:
|New Member Orientation||Candidates Forums||Chamber Restaurant Week|
|Play Day Golf Outing||Business After Five||Small Business Saturday|
|Manufacturers Revealed||Leadership Roundtable||Holiday Open House|
|Membership 101||Lunch & Learn||Excellence in Education|
|Annual Meeting||Chamber Business Awards||Senior Project Evaluations|
|Good Morning Superior||Chamber University Events||Welcome Back Week: UWS/WITC|
|Lunch Mob||State of the City Address|
For the thirteen years, the Chamber has sponsored the Youth Leadership Program. This is a two-year leadership development program for 11th and 12th grade students with the goal of developing young leaders to model behavior and lead their peers in changing the prevailing student culture.
In the process, the Chamber has worked with over 400 students from all high schools within Douglas County. Student participants have the opportunity to earn a college credit by taking part in this program. The Chamber also takes students to the Walt Disney World Resort to the Disney Youth Education Series.
The Chamber also promotes the Senior Project & Community Mentorship program offered at Superior High School. Graduation students are required to research, design and present a project that reflects their interests, knowledge and skills gained in school and their vision for the future. The Chamber recruits members from the business community to serve on review committees that evaluate each student’s project.
While the Chamber’s involvement with youth leadership provides wonderful opportunities for young people to learn about leadership at an early age, there are some in the business community who question the focus of the Chamber in this regard. Few would criticize the Chamber’s efforts in this regard, but some dues paying members would prefer the Chamber spend more time focused on business. Time will tell if this focus changes under new leadership.
Leadership Change – Change in Direction?
Dave Minor, leaves his role with the Superior Chamber effective July 1st to take over the Eau Claire Chamber. Having served over twenty years in the role of President and CEO of the Superior Chamber, Minor’s departure will leave big shoes to fill.
His interim replacement is Taylor Pedersen who has been with the Chamber for three years.
When quizzed about the Chamber’s dedication to the goals of the Better City Superior initiative, Mr. Pedersen asserted that:
“The Chamber is in full support of the Better Cities initiative, we have been involved since it’s infancy. It is supported by an overwhelming majority of our membership, approximately 80%, and we feel it is truly the best option to move our community forward.
In the pivotal times ahead, we need the community to speak up in support of it, in order to send a very clear and concise message that we support Better Cities.”
Better City Superior has brought economic development to the forefront in a way that hasn’t been experienced since the redevelopment of Barker’s Island back in the 1970’s and 80’s. While the lion’s share of development work has been traditionally done by the City’s Office of Planning and Development with assistance from the Development Association, the Chamber plays a role through its outreach activities within the Superior business community.
According to Mr. Pedersen, the Chamber serves as “somewhat of a cayalyst” in that the organization strives to make new businesses feel welcome to the community. Be also asserts that the various types of networking events, marketing and educational programs offered by the Chamber offer critical resources that inspire not only budding entrepreneurs but seasoned business people as well.
When quizzed about his goals as he takes the reins at the Chamber, he stated:
“I really look forward to the opportunity ahead of me. I appreciate the trust the Board of Directors has placed in me, and look forward to serving our community! Although, I have some ideas of where I’d like to steer the Chamber, I’m not setting goals just yet.
I want to have many discussions, I need to listen, and I ask for patience as I reevaluate the needs of the community, it’s businesses and non-profits. We have a wonderful staff at the Chamber and I couldn’t ask to have the support of a better team. There is no doubt that we have some challenges in the future, but I also think we have some exciting and fun times ahead!”
While the Chamber takes a leadership role in promoting business in Superior, and has a high degree of knowledge of business opportunities available within its realm, actual development is usually referred on to organizations such as the Development Association and the Superior Business Improvement District.
For more information:
Superior/Douglas County Chamber of Commerce
205 Belknap Street
Superior, Wisconsin 54880
Taylor Pedersen, Interim President/CEO
Phone: (715) 394-7716
Explore Superior Economic Development Series
Business Incubator Hatches Superior Opportunities, August 21st
Why Develop In Superior? – August 18th
Earth Rider Brewery Construction – August 16th
What’s Happening at The Cedar Lounge? – August 14th
Important Economic Development Concepts – August 8th
Video Tour of Empire Block, August 7th
Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce, July 1st
Superior Business Improvement District, June 30th
The Development Association “Grows Biz!”, June 29th
City Planning & Economic Development, June 27th
Small Business Development Center, June 26th
How Development Happens in Superior, June 23rd
Youth Movement Changing Superior, June 22nd