At the heart of the business community, the Munster Chamber of Commerce has been a dynamic part of Northwest Indiana since 1955. Located in The Center for Visual & Performing Arts at 1040 Ridge Road, the chamber has 273 members, ranging from large regional corporations and universities to sole proprietorships, and membership continues to grow.
During those nearly 60 years, the Munster Chamber has focused "on the betterment of our organization and our community," says Wendy Mis, executive director.
“The Munster Chamber of Commerce utilizes the strength of volunteer business and civic leaders to build the success of our business community and promote economic growth,” Mis says. “The Munster Chamber of Commerce is a united group of local business leaders who volunteer their time and resources to advance the wealth and stability of the business community through active networking, mentorship and entrepreneurial education.”
The Munster Chamber of Commerce provides a way for businesses to network and to sponsor special events for town and area residents. The group's mission continues to be to preserve the free enterprise system of business and to promote the growth and development of the business and industrial community.
"The Chamber's role is vital to the business community. The Chamber speaks for all businesses and is in business to help you. Our programs and activities are developed with your firm's profitability in mind. We can accomplish collectively what no one business can do alone,” Mis says.
“We are excited about the many opportunities for our members to prosper within the organization and community,” she says.
The Munster Chamber also plays host for many exciting events. Administrative Professional Luncheon on Wednesday, April 24 11:45 – 1:00 with a Dance Party featuring instructors from Fitness Pointe; Schmooze Cruise, Wednesday, July 31 – aboard the “Summer of George” on Lake Michigan; Annual Golf outing on Wednesday, Sept. 18 – at Centennial Park and Breakfast with Santa – Saturday, Dec. 7 at Wilbur Wright Middle School.
Each year the since 1972, the Munster Chamber has presented an outstanding member of the business community with the Citizen of the Year Award. On Feb. 4, Alice Cannon with the Community Healthcare System was honored as Citizen of the Year for 2012.
Cannon has served on the Board of Directors for the past 4 years and co-chairs the annual dinner and Breakfast with Santa, Mis says. She also serves on the board of the Munster Education Foundation.
"I enjoy Alice's enthusiasm and her hold no punches approach," says Mis. "She is not afraid to ask the challenging questions that are relevant. She gives 100% and makes sure things are done, done right and done well."
The chamber applauds the businesses that improve their appearance and beautify the community.
“We host monthly membership meetings on the second Thursday of each month at various locations throughout town and feature a variety of speakers and have been featured including Rich Sopko, School Town of Munster, Dr. Paul Stanish, Community Hospital, Keith Kirkpatrick, Leadership Northwest Indiana, Tricia Hernandez, South Shore Arts,” says Mis.
“Our largest monthly meeting is with the Highland, Griffith and Dyer Chambers – our annual Love Your Business Vendor Fair and Networking luncheon. This is held annually in February. The vendor space has always sold out while the luncheon seats are to capacity,” she says.
Numerous Business After Hours are on the calendar. James and Sons Jewelers – Thursday, April 18, 5 – 7 p.m.; Gailmard Eye Center – Friday, May 3, 5 – 7 p.m.; Club NOW – Thursday, May 16 – Business Before Hours 8 – 10 a.m. and Horizon Bank – Wednesday, June 5 – Business Before Hours 7:30 – 10 a.m.
In 2012, the Munster Chamber of Commerce adopted a new mission and vision statement and are currently working on a 5-year plan.
The VISION: The Munster Chamber of Commerce utilizes the strength of volunteer business and civic leaders to build success of our business community and promote economic growth.
The MISSION: The Munster Chamber of Commerce is a united group of local business and civic leaders who volunteer their time and resources to advance the wealth and stability of the business community through active networking, mentorship and entrepreneurial education.
This year's Munster Chamber of Commerce officers include newly-elected Chairman Don Erminger, district manager for SVT LLC; Vice Chairman Pastor Steven Conger of Ridge United Methodist Church; Secretary Dr. Nancy Trimboli of Trimboli Chiropractic; and Treasurer Karen Shutters of Priority Fitness. Elizabeth Chenore of Citizens Financial Bank is the past-chairman
The Chamber's board of directors also includes Bill Bach of Strack and Van Til’s Supermarket; Niall McShane of McShanes, Inc.; Alice Cannon, Community Hospital; Martie Rivas-Ramos, First Midwest Bank; Maryann McCauley of Crist, Sears & Zic, LLP; Toni Lozano, SpaPointe; Ed Salata, Crossroads YMCA/Hammond; David Shafer, Clerk-Treasurer, Town of Munster; Pat Popa of Popa Heating and Cooling; JoAnn Colins of Montage Interiors; Kevin Orze of Hartsfield Village and Candice Logue, Peoples Bank.
For more information, call the Munster Chamber of Commerce at (219) 836-5549 or visit online at www.chambermunster.org/.