Creston Chamber of Commerce happenings

Published: Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 10:51 a.m. CDT

It seems hard to believe November has passed and Christmas will soon be here, and then we welcome in 2014. As we approach the end of 2013, I would like to reflect on some of the accomplishments that have taken place at the chamber during the year.  The following is a partial list I hope you find informative and gives you an idea of all the areas the chamber is involved.

The chamber continued to promote the use of Creston Bucks, which were spent only at Creston Chamber businesses.

The chamber assisted and helped promote the various celebrations in Creston – 10,000 Crestonians Fourth of July, 36th annual Creston/Southwest Iowa Hot Air Balloon Days, lighted Christmas parade and “No Place Like Creston for the Holidays.”

We also created, updated and distributed several brochures to market and promote Creston throughout the area and state. We mailed out over 522 information packets on Creston and Union County and gave another 200-plus to area businesses to assist with their recruitment efforts. The chamber planned and promoted the Moonlite Madness Promotion, Citywide Garage Sale, Crazy Summer Sales Days and Sales Tax Holiday Promotion, Taste of Creston and Holiday 2013 GiveAway Promotion.

The chamber continued to collaborate, work with and promote partnerships with various organizations, governmental bodies and groups in Creston and the area to maintain and improve Creston’s quality of life and economics – a partial list would include the following: Creston/Union County Tourism, City of Creston, Union County Development Association, Union County, Union County Visitors Center, Creston Community Schools, Creston High School FFA, Union County Conservation, Green Valley State Park, Creston Park and Recreation Board, McKinley Lake/Hurley Creek Watershed Group, Creston Historical Preservation Commission, Western Iowa Tourism Region, Central Iowa Tourism Region, Southern Iowa Tourism and Iowa Tourism Department, Creston Volunteer Firefighters Easter event, Around the Town Committee, Local Foods Council, Uptown Creston Food Crawl, Creston:Arts Council, No Place Like Creston for the Holidays, Santa at the Depot, Quiet Zone Committee, Freedom Rock Group, High Lakes Leadership Initiative, Crestland Betterment Foundation, Friends of the Library and CARE.

The chamber also:

• Continued to work and assist in retail and commercial recruitment and expansion to strengthen and expand the economic base of Creston.

• Continued to focus on and assist current businesses, while at the same time continued seeking new business opportunities.

• Continued to assist industry members as requested.

• Continued to promote the Creston commercial property loan.

• Continued to work with and support South Central Iowa Small Business Development Center.

• Continued to assist and recognize local businesses and organizations.

• Continued entrepreneurial initiatives.

• Continued the Gold Star Honor for businesses who maintain their property.

• Continued the Hi-Five Honor for great customer service.

• Continued to market Creston to the area, state and beyond as a business and regional hub.

• Maintained the chamber web pages to promote Creston, as well as the chamber Facebook page and Twitter account, plus various brochures about the area.

• Continued to provided business referrals, relocation packets, student requests and prospect packets and newcomer packets.

• Continued to include CHS students on the Chamber Board of Directors as ex-officio members.

• Continued to hold legislative coffees and remain in contact with elected representatives.

• Continued to facilitate Around the Town Committee.

For the sixth straight year, the chamber co-sponsored the Veterans appreciation breakfasts.

As I said earlier, this is only a partial list of the Creston Chamber accomplishments and activities, and I understand there is always room for improvement, but I think we need to be proud of what the Creston Chamber of Commerce has accomplished in 2013 as we look forward to 2014.

Creston Bucks makes holiday shopping easier:

I would also like to pass along an idea to make your holiday shopping a little easier and less time consuming. The idea – purchase Creston Bucks at the chamber. They are similar to a gift certificate, except they can be spent at more than 245 chamber businesses.

Anyone can come into the Chamber of Commerce office to buy Creston Bucks. The Creston Bucks may be purchased in increments of $5, $10 and $20, and there is no fee for this service. Creston Bucks will be treated as cash with the exception that no change will be given back. Therefore, Creston Bucks users will not be able to cash their bucks without buying merchandise from businesses in Creston.

Creston Bucks can also be personalized such as, “Compliments of XYZ Company” or “Merry Christmas Todd from Joe and Rhonda.” If you would like your Creston Bucks personalized, we would appreciate knowing a day in advance in order to give us time to produce the custom-made Creston Bucks.

Remember, when you purchase Creston Bucks, you are keeping the money right here in Creston.

Creston Bucks are a great way for everyone to support Creston.

Hi-Five Honorees for December:

The following individuals and business received the Hi-Five Honor in December – Amy Snodgrass, U.S. Cellular, Brandon Utterback, Creston Walmart Super Center, and Java J’s. Congratulations.

The Hi-Five for service allows us to recognize those who make shopping and doing business in Creston a rewarding and positive experience.

Gold Star Business Honored:

The chamber honored Carter Agency, 208 N. Maple St., as the December Gold Star Business. They were nominated by a fellow Crestonian because of the appearance both inside and out of their building and property. Congratulations.

Please call the Chamber to honor a business or individual with a Hi-Five or to acknowledge a business property with the Gold Star.    

Holiday GiveAway 2013:

Just a reminder that many Creston businesses and industries are participating in the very popular Creston Holiday GiveAway which started the Friday after Thanksgiving, and runs through the close of business Dec. 11. The more shopping you do, the more tickets you will receive. The drawing for the eight winning tickets will be held Dec. 17. Three winners will receive $500 in Creston Bucks and five winners will win $100 in Creston Bucks. The winners must claim their prizes by 4:30 p.m. Jan. 3. If any prizes remain unclaimed, another drawing will be held Jan. 3.  If these new prizes are not claimed by Jan. 17, all remaining proceeds will be held over until the next Holiday GiveAway. Good luck to everyone who participates.

Last, but certainly not least, we at the chamber would like to extend our wishes to all of you for a safe and happy holiday season, and thank everyone for their support during 2013.

We are looking forward to working with you in 2014 as we continue to strive to make Creston a Great Place to Visit, Work and Call Home.

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