Hello Investors,

It has been one busy year at your Chamber! As we continue to advance our mission, together we are building a community of choice.

We are excited to share our annual report with you in the first quarter of the new year, which allows us all to reflect back and why investing in your Chamber is so important for the work we do for our community.

'Tis the season, and I want to take a moment to thank my staff for all their hard work, passion, and dedication to the Chamber and the community. We are truly fortunate to have all of them on the team. With that said, the team has earned so much-needed time off to celebrate and share in the joy of the holidays with their families. 

The Chamber office will be closed the following days:

December 23rd

December 26th

December 30th

January 2nd

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a wonderful New Year!

See you in 2023!


Stacie Bytwork, President & CEO

In this issue:

  • Note from the President & CEO
  • New Investors
  • Legislative Advocacy
  • ACTION NEEDED -Economic Development
  • Community Input
  • Leadership Program Update
  • Awards Gala
  • Manistee County Community Christmas
  • Shop Local


We encourage you to read and get to know a bit about your fellow Chamber Investors!

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Advocacy & Action: Housing Efforts

The Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce, working together with the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance (NMCA), Housing North, and other partners, recently celebrated the signing of legislation to incentivize the development of workforce housing. A huge thank you to Governor Gretchen WhitmerSen. Wayne Schmidt, and Rep. John Roth for sponsoring this legislation!

Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, Stacie Bytwork, and Henry Wolf, NMCA Director of Government Relations, joined Governor Gretchen Whitmer in Lansing on December 13 for the signing. Senate Bills 362, 364, 422, and 432 create tax incentives for developers looking to provide median-income housing in an area that first receives municipal, township, or county sign-off.

The Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce has worked hard to support economic development in our county, and our advocacy efforts have finally paid off! This legislature will make it easier to develop market-rate housing, attracting and retaining talent. By investing in the Chamber of Commerce, you are supporting the community's growth, advocacy efforts, and making business easier in Manistee County. To learn more about your Chamber's involvement, visit our website at

Press Release

Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance - Third Quarter Report

The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance, in which the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce is a partner, released its third quarterly report of the year. This covers the months of July-September (plus October), kicking off with the signing of the state budget, which included funding for the Office of Rural Development and concluded with multiple fundraising events by the Northern Michigan Policy Fund for state-level candidates.

Third Quarter Report




The Chamber has been working with a developer on a market-rate housing project in Manistee Township that will bring 288 apartment units in two phases to the site of the old Kennedy School. The Township has several decisions to make to advance this project. 

If anyone is interested in attending a Township Hearing on the project, you can attend the Township Meeting on Thursday, December 22, at 10 a.m.  The Township Hall is 410 Holden Street. For more information, contact Marc Miller at the Chamber.

The Chamber and the business community can weigh in on this project to express the need and support for housing. We ask you to review the letter and email the Chamber back with your permission to add your name, title, business name, and the number of employees to the letter.  


We will need your decision by 5 PM on Wednesday, December 21.  

Development Initiatives - Manistee DDA

The City of Manistee will consider a proposal, initiated by the Chamber of Commerce, to create two new development districts in our downtown area. The new districts could streamline development requests and shorten a new development's timeline, while signaling to potential projects that Manistee is "making business easier." 

The districts are the first step to filing an application for project assistance under the Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act and the Commercial Rehabilitation Act. These are tools that the Chamber has advocated and used on priority redevelopments like Fricano's Manistee River and the Hampton Inn and Suites. 

For more information, please contact Marc Miller. 


Recycling Access & Infrastructure Survey

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) help counties understand current material management deficiencies and highlight opportunities for improvement. Networks Northwest, a non-government organization facilitating various programs to build stronger communities in Northwest Michigan, is managing the survey effort.

“As the state pivots from ensuring landfill capacity and toward increasing sustainable materials management, it is important to gather feedback from residents,” said Mathew Cooke, Community Planner with Networks Northwest. “Understanding the current recycling situation will help to identify the gaps that need to be filled to increase recycling and material recovery in Northwest Michigan.”

The Northwest Michigan counties participating in the survey include Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee, and Wexford.

Residents are asked to complete the survey by December 22, 2022. Link to the survey via the QR code or click here.

West Shore Community College Strategic Planning Survey

The West Shore Community College strategic planning team is asking for 5-10 minutes of your time to participate in a short survey to gather data for our strategic plan. As WSCC is in the first year of a 5-year strategic plan cycle, they are gathering input from internal and external stakeholders. As our local community college, WSCC values your input regarding how they are currently fulfilling their mission and what more could they do to fulfill their mission.

Please access the survey and complete it by December 31, 2022, using this LINK.

Questions about the survey or the strategic planning process should be directed to Darby Johnsen, Dean of Arts & Sciences, at or 231-843-5866.


History Day

Manistee has a lot of unique history! The Leadership Class for History Day spent time learning about the Dempsy Manor, the City of Manistee Fire Department, and the newly created Origins Walk that is designed to be the "home" of our Historic Sites Series, enhancing the west end of the existing Riverwalk.

We want to thank our power hour sponsor, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and presenter Mike Winczewski, who performed the DISC Assessment around Conflict Management, and our lunch sponsor, Accident Fund Insurance Company, which we enjoyed lunch from Two Slices!

Thank you to our 2022/2023 Leadership Program Sponsors, including Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital, Filer Credit Union, and West Shore Community College.

SAVE THE DATE - 2023 Business Awards Gala

The Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce is celebrating the Manistee County businesses and leading professionals with the annual Business Awards Gala, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield, held at the Little River Casino Resort on March 10th, 2023 at 5:00 p.m.


VOTE - Manistee County Community Christmas

Which business this year will win the traveling trophy and get all the bragging rights for the best display? The winning resident will receive $100 in manistee county ca$h to spend locally, and the winning non-profit organization will receive $100 manistee county ca$h

Manistee County Community Christmas is presented by 4Front Credit Union, and sponsored by Boyer Agency, Jermaine Sullivan Realtor Dwelling Realty, Cape Air/Nantucket Airlines, Peterson McGregor Insurance, and The Vogue Theatre.


Remember to submit your votes before midnight on December 31st! Follow Manistee County Community Christmas on Facebook as we announce the winners in early January.


Don’t miss out on the magic of traditional Christmas shopping – and the small businesses across the county have you covered. Small businesses provide over 60% of all new jobs and they are the first people we call upon to support local initiatives, nonprofits, and youth activities.

"We are supporting our neighbors, our friends, and our community when you shop locally," said Jalie Mowry Lipa, owner of Revive and Refresh Aesthetics.

Ways you can help small businesses this holiday season:

  • Buy, dine, and visit small
  • Write reviews
  • Tell friends about your favorite places
  • Buy local gift certificates! manistee county ca$h is a county-wide certificate program available for purchase online 24/7 and accepted at 30+ locations. Interested in participating? Contact
  • Share posts about shopping locally and your favorite businesses on social media
  • Check-in on social media when shopping, dining, and visiting local shops!


These businesses have gone above and beyond to invest in the Chamber,

ultimately benefiting our community. Thank you!

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