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Portage Area Chamber of Commerce
February 2021
It's a new year, update your professional headshot
If you find yourself in need of a headshot or would really like to update your current one, photographer Gretchen Willis is offering on-site headshots for businesses of 4+ employees for $100 per hour, plus $25 per headshot photo.

Chamber member businesses can get that for $50 per hour (half price). Check out her other services for businesses, such as personal branding, product photography, and location photography.

Call to find out more information and to schedule a photography consultation at 608-566-9070 or visit
St. John's Open House
St. John’s Lutheran School is currently enrolling students for the upcoming 2021–2022 school year. Schedule an appointment to attend their Open House on Thursday, February 4 from 3:30pm to 7pm. Private tours are available; call to schedule appointment.

For more information about St. John’s Lutheran School, please contact Ministries School Coordinator, Amanda Kohn, at, 608-742-9000 x108 or visit their website. Please schedule your appointment by Tuesday, February 2.

St. John’s Lutheran School, 430 W. Emmett Street, exists to prepare children for a life of faith and service to Jesus Christ. We value every child as a gift from God. Students at St. John’s Lutheran School are taught by dedicated, Lutheran-Trained, and State-Certified teachers. We participate in a variety of academic assessments in all subject areas to ensure the continued development and progress of every child.
Welcome New Chamber Members

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of WI
3330 University Avenue, Suite 300 Portage, WI 53705
Becky Mulhern at 608-232-3400
We help guide people through the complex maze of issues that can arise by
offering personal consultations, education, access to resources and advocacy.

February Chamber Meeting & Events
9 Virtual Member Lunch Meeting featuring Steve Sobiek, City of Portage Director of Business Development & Planning 11:30am. Contact the Chamber at 742-6242 to register.
Submit your 2021 Events!
Are you planning an event this year? Get it posted on our web community calendar at One of the most popular viewed of the Chamber website pages, the calendar allows you to submit your own events.

Simply click this link and submit your events. If you have questions, please call the Chamber office at 608-742-6242.
Portage Center for the Arts news
Virtual exhibit "Whimsical Art" opens February 5. The onsite exhibit runs February 5 through February 26. Please note that opening receptions have been temporarily suspended and both gallery hours and capacity limits are reduced until further notice.

Click Here for the 2021 Portage Center for the Arts Art that Blooms entry form.
Become a substitute teacher
The Portage Community School District continues to experience a high demand for substitute teachers and paraprofessionals. As you may know, substituting can have a huge impact on a community.

It provides flexible employment options, it provides valuable work experience to add to resumes, and it provides K-12 district students with a substantial learning experience when their teacher or paraprofessional is gone for the day. Substitutes offer the chance to continue learning in the classroom and can make a difference in hundreds of students lives. The minimum requirement in most districts is a high school diploma for paraprofessionals, an Associate’s degree for substitute teachers. Interested candidates can find more information and our application at

Teachers on Call is hosting a virtual job fair on February 2. Interested candidates can sign up The Job Fair will incorporate an informational presentation as well as time for attendee questions. We would love to meet any community members at this event.
Free Yoga Session
Sign-up for a free yoga session at the Portage Public Library! Join Madleen Alsabbah from Bee Alive Yoga Studio at the Portage Public Library on Tuesday, February 2 from 6-7 pm for a yoga session! Space is limited.

Must register in advance. Beginners welcome. Bring a yoga mat if you have one. To register, email or call the library at 608-742-4959.
Hot Deal from Spark & Sparkle LLC
For the month of February we will be offering our handmade 1ounce hand sanitizers for $1.25 each, or a case of 49 for $61.25, while supplies last.

This item is pick up only; shipping is not an option. To place an order, simply send an email or stop in to the store at 126B West Cook Street. For more information, call 608-617-4002.
Fort Winnebago Virtual Tours continue
Fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters continues to offer virtual tours of their site, which will still be available even after the site opens on May 15 this year.

Information is available at
Portage Area Community Fund
Portage Area Community Fund (PACF) recognized both Columbia County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and Sleep in Heavenly Peace each with a $500 contribution for the work and service they are doing with children in our community. 

Sleep in Heavenly Peace is an organization of volunteers dedicated to building, assembling and delivering top-notch bunk beds to children and families in need. CASA is a non-profit organization that provides a voice for abused and neglected children who are under the legal protection of the court system

PACF was established in 2016 with the goal to bring awareness to philanthropy in the community. Annually the advisory committee will award grants to qualified organizations in the Portage area. PACF is a regional giving partner of Madison Community Foundation (MCF), which provides access to field expertise, administrative and investment services, marketing opportunities and legal status in an efficient and effective manner.

PACF is dedicated to enhancing the lives of all citizens in the Portage area through raising private and community funds, awarding grants, and developing partnerships to strengthen and enrich our community for present and future generations. All contributions to PACF are tax deductible.

For more information, call 608-692-4629 or click here.
Enhance your business listing on Chamber website
As a Chamber member, you have a listing and searchable visibility within our online business directory at our website We want to invite you to make sure your information is complete, accurate and searchable and introduce you to some new options. 

Michelle Bursch, our new Internet Marketing Consultant, will be helping us and will be available to answer any questions and guide you in the process. 
We are offering a new opportunity for you to:
  • Utilize the Chamber website features
  • Expand your visibility on the Chamber website and be a featured business within your industry/category
  • Have banner ad placements on high-traffic pages
  • List your business information online that is included in your membership and review listing upgrade features

If you are interested in finding out more about this new opportunity, reach out to Michelle directly at 1-800-825-1785 x320,, or the Portage Chamber with questions at 608-742-6242 or
Giggles for Kids Puzzles & Games
Giggles for Kids received a new shipment of children's books and Springbok puzzles to go with the current supply of great children's games and toys.

Looking for a gift idea? You will find plenty of educational, creative and fun options for kids.

Giggles for Kids is located inside the Mercantile at 117 W. Cook Street. For more information, call 608-745-5768.
Wisconsin Business World & Kwik Trip Announce Virtual Statewide Competitions for Students
Wisconsin Business World announced it is launching two statewide business-focused competitions in partnership with Kwik Trip for students in grades 6-12.

A leader in vertical integration, manufacturing and customer care, the Wisconsin-based Kwik Trip Corporation has graciously partnered with Wisconsin Business World to present two inaugural project-based competitions with a focus on innovation and production.

“Wisconsin businesses and manufacturers have historically proven to be creative and resilient leaders in their communities,” said Wisconsin Business World Director Michelle Grajkowski. “Kwik Trip is a terrific example of the importance of innovation and we are excited to partner with them on these competitions.”

Students will choose to create a new product for Kwik Trip convenience stores or to solve an intricate supply chain scenario. Wisconsin Business World is awarding $500 cash prizes to the top three entrants in each of the competitions. Entries are due on March 15 and winners of both competitions will be announced this spring.

Since 1982, Wisconsin Business World – a program of WMC Foundation – has educated more than 25,000 high school students on business, entrepreneurism and the free market, through Summer Camps, one-day programs, online curriculum and classroom presentations. The Business World message is simple — Business is a Force for Good.

More information about the contests is available at 
Learning to Lead Series
Designed for new and first-level leaders
As an aspiring, new, or first-level leader, there is a lot to know. In addition to the duties of your new role, there is much to learn about how to: transition from worker and leader, mitigate conflict among your team members, facilitate effective communication between different work styles, effectively delegate work - and understand key HR laws and regulations. To start you on the right path, our Learning to Lead Series is specially designed to provide you with a strong foundation for your new role.

Build on your leadership skills through courses taught by area experts. Each course includes interactive discussions, case studies, and other opportunities to help you learn, practice new skills, make a plan for your continued growth, and connect with other new leaders.

The Learning to Lead Series includes the following courses. Take all four for a 15% discount!
•         Launch into Leadership starting February 22
•         HR Basics for Non-HR Professionals starting March 2
•         Communication and Delegation Skills starting March 15
•         Positive Power Plays: Skills for Conflict and Negotiation April 22

Click Here for more information and to register.
Help Save the Grandstand!
Save The Grandstand Inc. has received an acceptance letter from the IRS granting the organization 501(c)(3) status. Any donations can be mailed directly to Save The Grandstand Inc., 1022 West Carroll Street, Portage, WI 53901.

Volunteers are needed to help with their first Annual Arts and Crafts Festival on May 22-23. There will be live music, a beer garden and food vendors. Please contact Bunny at if you would like to volunteer or if you are a vendor and would like to have a booth. 
Library has reopened
The Portage Public Library reopened back on January 25 with hours of operation Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm and Saturday from 9am to 2pm. Masks are required for everyone five years of age or older along with encouraged social distancing and sanitizing protocols. 

If you are not feeling well, please do not visit the library. The front door will be the only entrance into and out of the library; the children’s front door will remain closed. For more information, call the library, 253 West Edgewater Street, at 608-742-4959.
2021 Public History Internship Opportunity
The Historic Indian Agency House is seeking qualified and enthusiastic applicants for a paid public history internship position during the 2021 season. Applications are due March 15.

Garner real-life experience in the field of museum operation, preservation, and education at a site of great historical importance. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972, the Historic Indian Agency House conveys the unique story of the 1830s commission of Indian agent John H. Kinzie as an emissary to the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) Nation.

As the Agency House embarks on a 90th season as a museum, there is an exciting lineup of events and educational programming planned. Be a part of it all!

COVID precautions are in place for the safety of our patrons, volunteers, and staff. If you know someone who may be qualified and interested in applying for this terrific opportunity, please pass this information along. Click here for details.
Terrarium Hands on Workshop
Come and create a beautiful, and unique terrarium with our step by step help at Edgewater Home & Garden on Saturday, 2957 Highway CX, February 6.

Registration is required. Call 608-742-6558. Masks are required and proper safety practices will be in place. Cost is based on materials used,
Chair Yoga at the Portage Library
Chair yoga is back! Join Ellen Swan on Tuesdays and Thursdays in February from 8am to 9am at the Portage Public Library. Chair yoga is a gentle form of yoga that can be done while sitting or using a chair as support. This will be an ongoing program. Wear comfortable clothing. Yoga mat, towel, block, and strap recommended but not required.
Must register in advance for one or both days; space is limited. Masks are required and chairs will be socially distanced. For more information or to register, call the library at 608-742-4959 or email
Free Covid-19 Test Site
The National Guard will be providing free drive-through Covid-19 nasal swab testing in Columbia County at the City of Portage Utility Building, 135 Northridge Drive from Noon to 6pm on Wednesday, February 10. Click Here for more information.
WI Home Sales Hit Record in 2020 Despite Pandemic to Lead Series
Despite Sharp Declines In Early 2020, Market Ends The Year With Strong Sales
By Brady Carlson

While the economy in 2020 proved extremely challenging for a lot of Wisconsin businesses and workers, the state's housing market saw record sales last year.

According to the year-end report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association, there were 88,685 sales of existing homes in 2020. That’s the highest annual total on record since the group started using its current sales reporting system, and 7.3 percent higher than the sales in 2019.

Record-low mortgage rates propelled sales in the second half of the year, following a sharp sales decline in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic.

Economist David Clark of Marquette University, who consults on the WRA reports, said the main obstacle to matching those sales in 2021 will be the falling number of homes on the market.

"The challenge we have is not that we don’t have enough buyers," Clark said. "The challenge is that we don’t have enough properties to sell. Our inventories have also dropped to record levels."

Inventories are so low now, Clark said, that "at some point that starts taking a significant toll on sales. It certainly has led to pretty dramatic increases in median prices."

The median price of a home in Wisconsin stood at $215,000 at the end of the year, up 9.7 percent from December 2019.
Spread the word about Portage!
Use #portagewi in your social media posts.
Check out the Chamber's YouTube Channel HERE
Job postings on
Check out these job postings on our Chamber site from our member businesses. You are welcome to post job openings your business may have at any time. Call the Chamber office at 608-742-6242 for more information.
Want to submit an article for this newsletter?
The Chamber's monthly newsletter deadlines the 20th of the month. Members are always welcome to let others know: about new products and services; introduce new associates or promotions; provide updates about their industry or business; give helpful tips; promote a sale or event. For more information, call the Portage Chamber at 608-742-6242.
Text PACC to 51660
to receive information about upcoming Chamber events
Text PORTAGE to 51660
to receive information about upcoming Portage events
Join a Service Club - Meetings subject to change
Rotary - Meets Mondays at Noon at Dino’s Restaurant, 2900 New Pinery Rd.
Lions Club - Meets the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 5:30pm at Dino’s Restaurant, 2900 New Pinery Rd., summer month meetings change locations
Kiwanis - Meets on Wednesdays at Noon at Pizza Ranch, 2905 New Pinery Rd.
Optimists - Meets on Tuesdays at 7am at Dino’s Restaurant, 2900 New Pinery Rd.
Elks - Meets 2nd & 4th Tuesday at 7pm; 4th Tuesday only during July and August
Women's Civic League - Meets 2nd Wednesdays of the month at Dino’s Restaurant, 2900 New Pinery Rd.
Portage Area Chamber of Commerce | 608-742-6242 | |