Today, November 1, marks one month since Denice Hooth began her duties as president of the Milbank Area Chamber of Commerce. She took a break from her busy schedule to comment on the way things are progressing and how she hopes to lead the business group. “I’m excited about the board members and am pleased this diverse group is serving the Milbank area,” she said. “We have some new faces and that brings new ideas. We have people who are willing to speak up, take charge, and put themselves out there. That is nice.”
Hooth has been working closely with the new chamber directors. She said, “We split the chamber director position into two separate jobs and it is working out well.” She coordinates with both Laura Kelly, Event Director, and Chelcie Eischens, Membership/Finance Director. “I try to be as hands-on as possible and be there to answer questions.”
She said Eischens has been visiting the local businesses. “We have received a lot of good feedback about that. Hooth added, “Eischens also visited with former chamber members and some decided to renew their memberships because of the recent connection.”
The Milbank Chamber puts on dozens of events, but has three main committees – retail, events, and the ag committee. “We are always looking to add new people to these committees,” Kelly said. “It helps to get a fresh perspective and people can join the fun of planning the events.” Kelly also noted the committees generally do not meet monthly, but as needed or during specific times of the year.
“One thing I want to change,” Hooth said, “is to have our board members more involved and better informed about all the happenings of the Chamber. I also want to improve communication with everyone to help spread the word about volunteering at the events. That is an area in need of improvement – volunteers. We need more volunteers. The more volunteers we have, the more events we can put on. I think people want to help, but don’t know how to get involved or who to ask. You don’t have to be a chamber member to volunteer. Please help! It’s vital for the betterment of our community.”
Hooth said the Chamber decided to continue the Summer Event Series. “Some things worked and some didn’t,” she said. “It was a learning year. There are other ideas being kicked around and we will continue to make improvements.” She said the kids fishing tournament was a huge success and will be staged again next summer. Q-Fest will also continue, but with changes on the horizon. “We have new people involved in Q-Fest, so hopefully we can bring more excitement to that event.
She also said bids are currently being accepted for flags to hang on the street poles on Main Street and along Highways 12 and 15. “We plan to change the flags three times a year to beautify the community. It’s also a way for the chamber to give back to all businesses, especially non-retail businesses, who might not reap the benefits of other promotions.”
Hooth, a native of the Milbank area, finds herself asking lots of questions about events that took place in the past and why they ended. “I’m trying to discover why some things stopped and see if we can bring those events back to life.” Nonetheless, she said there is always something happening in Milbank and at the Milbank Chamber. “The annual holiday promotion begins soon and before you know it, it will be time for the Farm and Home Show.”
To become a member of any chamber committee or to volunteer for an event, contact the Milbank Chamber office at 605-432-6656