Chamber Celebrates another Wonderful Year

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By By Executive Director Jo Schmeiser

It seems like every year at this time me and a million other people say we can’t believe another year has passed. We’re lucky at the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford because time flies when you’re having fun. That’s right, I said it, my job is fun. Don’t get me wrong, we have our frustrations, obstacles, objections and other issues during the course of the year; however overall the chamber is a great place to work.

Susie and I are the only employees of the chamber, and the rest of the work is done by an awesome group of volunteers. Our volunteers do everything from serve on the Board of Directors to cleaning up after events, and if I haven’t said it enough, “Thank you!” There are way too many names to mention, but you know who you are & please know that we are truly grateful for everything you do to make this chamber a very important part of the greater Milford area.

When I reflect over the past year it’s wonderful to see how much was accomplished.

Despite the economy over forty businesses joined the chamber in 2011. New CCGM events in 2011 were the Community Forum, a “10 of the Best” Awards Dinner, a “Green Mix-Po” and the first ever combined Business Mixer with the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce. The chamber, along with the Heritage at Milford, hosted the Annual Chili Cook-off and the Annual Holiday Stocking Stuffer again this year. The 18thAnnual Golf Classic and the 5thAnnual Holiday Auction & Tastes of Milford were held at the Shawnee Country Club and brought several hundred people out to enjoy a day on the course and an evening in the banquet rooms. In addition to the combined Business Mixer with the Georgetown Chamber, the chamber also held a combined Business Mixer with the Central Delaware Chamber and coordinated ten other After Hours Business Mixers with chamber members.

There were twelve Power Breakfasts, two luncheons, three evening workshops (with DMI) and the chamber even sponsored a bus trip to New York City and Washington DC. Over 500 informational emails were sent to members and colleagues of the chamber, and three newsletters were mailed during the year. The chamber was fortunate to have two interns volunteer their time this summer, helping with everything from designing logos to developing reports.

During the course of the year, the Chamber Ambassador Committee was reorganized and the Be Loyal Buy Local Program continued adding more members. As Executive Director I served on the Kent County and Southern Delaware Tourism Board of Directors, attended workshops hosted by the Delaware State Tourism office, attended forums/round tables with Bayhealth, the Delmarva Poultry Industry and the Greater Milford Boys and Girls Club, attended the Semi-Annual State Chambers Association Meeting, attended several meetings/forums concerning the Sports Complex in Frederica, attended the Legislative Luncheon in Dover, the MilCon Breakfast at Dover Air Force Base, lectured two class rooms through the Communities in Schools Program, acted as Principal for a Day and attended many other meetings, events, functions in Milford and every county in the state. The CCGM, along with several other southern Delaware chambers, sponsored a girls team from the Softball World Series, and our team (Puerto Rico) got to the finals, however lost to Laurel, Delaware in the final game.

The Riverwalk “Freedom” Festival was one of the best yet, with the 2ndAnnual “Smile for Freedom” 5K Walk/Run, the Party in the Park, the 10thAnniversary of 9/11 Patriotic Remembrance, the all-day festival and the largest fireworks display ever. We can’t forget to mention that the chamber published the Milford Quality Living Book in 2011 with much help from the Milford Chronicle & Delaware Printing Company.

It’s hard for us to grasp, however next year is going to be even busier. A General Membership Luncheon is set for Jan. 12that Mama Maria’s, with City Manager Richard Carmean as our guest speaker. Other luncheons are scheduled for July and October; however the chamber is waiting for confirmation of guest speakers. A Membership Drive is set for the beginning of the year, as is a Business Forum.

All of the monthly Business Mixers and Power Breakfasts are booked for 2012, and the committees are already working on the April Awards Dinner and May Golf Classic. There is one combined Business Mixer with the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce being held at i.g.Burton in August. The Milford Map will be published early next year, offering members an opportunity to advertise with a two-year shelf life.

The Ambassador Committee is hosting a “How to get the most out of your Chamber membership” Power Breakfast and a Member Appreciation Business Mixer. The Chili Cook-off and Holiday Stocking Stuffer dates are confirmed already and new ideas are being discussed, as they are for the Holiday Auction & Tastes of Milford. The “Mix-Po” is being changed to a Business Expo and will be held at the Milford Senior Center in March.

Big changes are taking place with the Riverwalk “Freedom” Festival next year. The Party in the Park Friday night will end with Fireworks. Saturday will be a full day of crafts, retail and food vendors, cars, motorcycles, tractors and Kids Korner. Details are being worked out concerning a new, really fun event next year, to be announced early January.

The last thing happening at the chamber next year is the building we are currently housed in, with Downtown Milford Inc., is supposed to be torn down after the Riverwalk “Freedom” Festival, so our address will be changing. Happy Holidays from all of us at the CCGM! We wish you a very prosperous new year and look forward to working with you in 2012.

If you would like more information concerning the chamber, or the CCGM Calendar of Events, please call 422.3344.