Portage Area Chamber of Commerce
September 2020
September is Chamber of Commerce Month
The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce plays a vital role in making sure Portage is a vibrant place to do business. The Portage Chamber is an advocate for all our members, and Wisconsin Chamber Month gives us the opportunity to recognize the value each of them bring.

“This year has brought on many local challenges for our members and we are continuing to work to facilitate solutions for our members to ensure our community moves into what is our next normal,” said Marianne Hanson, President and CEO of the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Portage Chamber is partnering with Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce – the state chamber – and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to recognize all our efforts at a local, state and national level.
Local Portage businesses received $60k from We're All In grant
The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce helped local businesses by writing letters of confirmation for applicants seeking the We're All In! grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). Those business applicants received more than a combined $60,000 in grant money to help their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Chamber continues to advocate for our businesses and glad to be that resource to help these recipients.
City COVID-19 Business Relief Loan Program
The City of Portage has established a loan fund program to provide financial assistance to privately owned businesses in the City that have been adversely affected and/or required to shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The source of funding for this program is the Building Facade Loan Fund Program, which was made possible through the City of Portage and Portage Area Chamber of Commerce grant award in the
America's Best Communities Program, sponsored by Frontier Communications.
Click Here for the loan application.
Fun Times: Explore Portage on 2 Wheels
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel featured Portage bicycling as part of the Travel Wisconsin Fun Times print insert that ran August 23.

The article is posted on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s website. Click Here for the link to view the Portage piece.
2021 Portage Visitors & Community Guide
The Portage Chamber is pleased to offer an opportunity to promote your business in the 2021 Portage Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor & Community Guide. Reach visitors and residents of the Portage area in this enhanced publication, featuring:
• 10,000 printed copies of Guide
• online digital version of Guide where one click links readers to your website
• comprehensive community information and highlights
• complete membership listing

Free design services are offered for the preparation of your display ad. We look forward to promoting your business! The ad reservation deadline is approaching. Don't wait! For more information or to reserve ad space, please contact Jacklyn Ewerdt at 920-291-5005 or jacklynewerdt@gmail.com.
Creating Rural Prosperity
From Sara Meaney, Secretary-designee, Wisconsin Department of Tourism
It’s been a difficult week for us in Wisconsin, on top of what has already been a difficult year for a myriad of reasons. While there are many large issues at play in Wisconsin right now that need attention, leadership and action, today I’m writing you to share some initiatives and resources to support our rural businesses and communities.

Rural communities, tribal nations, businesses and farms are the backbone of Wisconsin’s heritage. Today’s health and economic crises come at a time when rural Wisconsin is already working to overcome struggles due to changes in technology and the global economy. To help harness the collective knowledge of local citizens, Governor Evers created the Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity and the new Office of Rural Prosperity within the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). In his 2020 State of the State message, Governor Evers asked the commission to engage and learn from residents throughout the state in order to develop long-term strategies that will “best support the needs of rural Wisconsinites and rural communities.”

Options are currently available to participate and share your perspective.
1.        Conversations with Commissioners: Virtual forums will be held for an open discussion on topics of rural realities and opportunities to be explored.
  • Tuesday, September 8, 7-9 pm
  • Wednesday, September 16, 3-5 pm
Register for a session here. Interpretation will be available in Spanish or Hmong.
2.        Submit your ideas online: Any Wisconsin resident may provide ideas in writing using an online portal on the WEDC website through September 30.
3.        Direct stakeholder engagement: Groups that hold a special stake in today’s rural Wisconsin and in its future may request the opportunity to meet and provide information to one or more commissioners by emailing Kellian Blazek.

Please take advantage of these opportunities to have your voice heard, share the realities you and your communities are facing, and contribute to forward-looking solutions that will benefit all.
Desk dividers available through Two Rivers Signs
Protect students and staff­ with portable L-shaped Desk Dividers to create physical separation and shield others from coughing, sneezing, and spreading germs. Move from one room to the next quickly and easily with lightweight and free-standing desk shield.

Easy to disinfect and reuse, these dividers set up and knock down in seconds. Clear plastic window areas offer optimal visibility from two sides. All pieces are die-cut with rounded corners for safety and the windows are secured with plastic rivets. The economical dividers also feature a convenient handle, magnetic closure, and two durable sign holders for stability on flat surfaces.

Click Here for desk divider details. For more information, contact Two Rivers Signs & Designs for ordering information at 608-742-4242.
American Legion Celebration of Freedom
On Saturday, September 12, Legion Wisconsin programs will be showcased with fun, interactive exhibits and award recognition on the the grounds of the American Legion State Headquarters, 2930 American Legion Drive. Join Legion Family and community members for camaraderie, live music and celebration.

Highlights include live music from The Hounds and Road Trip, POW/MIA Silent March, Military Vehicle Displays and museum tours. Masks and social distancing practices are encouraged.

Click Here for a schedule of events.
Spark & Sparkle offering hand sanitizer
Spark & Sparkle LLC is offering a September Special on handmade hand sanitizer made with 190 proof Ethanol, Hydrogen Peroxide 3%, Vegetable Glycerin and Aloe Vera. For every bottle sold in September, Spark & Sparkle will donate $1 to support the Portage Police Department K9 Unit and Columbia County Sheriff’s K9 Unit.

Get a one ounce bottle for $2.99 each or a case of 49 for $146.51;
2oz. for $5.99 each; 3.4oz. for $9.99 each; 16oz. for $14.99 each.

Spark & Sparkle LLC is located at 141 E. Cook Street. Call 608-566-1590 or sparkandsparklellc@gmail.com for large orders.
ADRC in need of Volunteer Drivers
The Aging and Disability Resource Center of Columbia County (ADRC) is seeking volunteer drivers for its Home-Delivered Meal Program. The ADRC serves approximately 180 meals each day Monday through Friday with has five meal sites located throughout the county in Portage, Pardeeville, Columbus, Lodi, and Poynette.

Due to COVID-19, our congregate dining sites are closed at this time, making anyone aged 60 and older eligible for the Home-Delivered Meal Program. The ADRC offers home-delivered meals to participants for a suggested donation of $4.50, but does not deny a meal based on someone’s inability to pay.

Each meal follows the most current Dietary Guidelines for America. The ADRC has seen an increase in demand and is asking for assistance from the community to help serve those in need. If you have an hour or two that you could spare in the early morning/afternoon, please call 608-742-9233 and ask for Sandy. Please note, volunteers are asked to fill out a volunteer application and a background check to keep participants safe.
A word about Second Harvest
Second Harvest is helping residents of Portage and throughout Columbia County struggling with hunger. Keep in mind, Second Harvest doesn’t just help those facing hunger in Madison, or Dane County, but throughout its 16-county service area, which includes Columbia County. Here is data to show the kind of impact Second Harvest is having specifically within Columbia County.

  • Number of agencies and programs Second Harvest works with in Columbia County – 21 (including ARC of Columbia County, the Portage Food Pantry, a pop-up pantry at the Portage United Methodist Church, the Pregnancy Resource Center in Portage, and St. Vincent de Paul in Portage, to name a few).
  • In addition to working with specific agencies and programs in Columbia County, the FoodShare Outreach staff is in the community as much as possible, given the COVID-related restrictions, helping folks learn about, apply for, and renew their benefits for the FoodShare program (formerly known as food stamps).
  • From March 15, 2020 – 679,252 pounds of food was distributed by Second Harvest in Columbia County alone; as compared to 185,353 pounds from March 15, 2019 to August 1, 2019. That’s a 366% increase in the amount of food they provided in Columbia County during the same time period year over year as a result of the Coronavirus.
  • Since the pandemic began, over 9% of all the food Second Harvest has distributed throughout the 16-county service area has gone to Columbia County.

Here are some food insecurity projections as a result of COVID-19 that Feeding America has put together for Columbia County:
  • 2,800 children are considered food insecure (up from 1620 pre-COVID…a 73% increase)
  • 7,150 people of all ages are considered food insecure (up from 4,110 pre-COVID…a 74% jump)
  • Overall an estimated 12.6% of the people in Columbia County are considered food insecure
  • Overall an estimated 22.5% of children in Columbia County are considered food insecure

September is Hunger Action Month. One of the ways Second Harvest encourages people to take action in September is to take part in Go Orange Day (September 10 this year). It’s a day when people can help raise awareness of hunger, and help provide funds to Second Harvest, without reaching into their wallets or giving money. All we ask them to do is wear something orange, take a picture, and post that picture to NBC15’s Facebook page. That’s it!
Launch into Leadership for New Supervisors
Taking on a new leadership role requires a change in mindset and learning many new skills, including developing a new relationship with co-workers, navigating new supervisory responsibilities, improving communication among the team, and recognizing and motivating team members.

Whether your leaders are directly supervising staff or simply taking on more responsibility, the Launch into Leadership for New Supervisors course with instructor Sarah Smyrk is a great opportunity for them to envision themselves in a leadership role and begin to approach their work differently. The class will be held September 21 through September 25.

Sarah's high-energy class is a practical look into what it means to be a leader, including:
•         Understanding the leadership mindset
•         Basic supervisory responsibilities
•         Dealing with co-workers in your new role
•         Improving communication in your team
•         Effective delegation
•         Recognizing and motivating team members
•         Planning your future leadership development

The class is a live, virtual course providing opportunities for participants to interact with each other and the instructor. By spreading the content of this course into shorter timeframes across the week, participants will be able to build a small cohort of learners and to integrate information they’ve learned right away into their work for the day. Click Here to learn more and to register.
Update from Adams-Columbia Electric
If your vehicle hit a power pole or other utility equipment, would you know what to do? A group of representatives from Wisconsin electric cooperatives, Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative, along with the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association and Safe Electricity, are launching an educational campaign aimed at making sure drivers know what to do if they are in a crash that involves power lines or other electrical equipment. “License to Live” includes an educational video and other instructional materialism and was funded by the Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange. To learn more about License to Live and view the video, go to: https://safeelectricity.org/license-to-live/ 

Before the cold winter months approach, be sure to check out the Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP) Loan. This loan is available exclusively for members of our co-op to make energy efficient upgrades to their home or business. Click Here to learn more about the loan and to apply.

The Electronic Recycling event has new dates! The event will take place from 10am to 2pm on October 2 at the Friendship office, on October 9 at the Wautoma office and on October 16 at the Pardeeville office. Members may bring up to five items per membership including one TV or monitor. Please follow CDC guidelines by wearing a face mask and practicing social distancing and please do not get out of your vehicle. Employees will retrieve items from your vehicle and take them to the dumpster for you. For a list of accepted items, visit https://www.acecwi.com/electronic-recycling-2/.
Portage Center for the Arts Programming Update
Portage Center for the Arts (PCA) has been closed to the public since March 22, 2020. The PCA plans to reopen to the public on September 9, with limited hours, reduced staff, and reduced public capacity. Most summer events went virtual, and will continue with virtual art exhibits this fall, as well as onsite (in-person) exhibits in the Drury Gallery. Opening receptions, however, have been suspended, along with other large group gatherings such as the concert series, until at least January 2021. You can read more about the Reopening Plan at www.portagecenterforthearts.com/covid19.
Hillbilly Science Spectacular rescheduled for Dec. 12
The Portage Center for the Arts March 2020 Family Series Event, The Hillbilly Science Spectacular, has been rescheduled for Saturday, December 12 at 3pm. 

If you purchased individual tickets for this event but cannot make this rescheduled date, please contact the Portage Center for the Arts for donation or refund options at 608-742-5655.
Bee Alive Yoga presents Back to School offer
Bee Alive Yoga presents a Back to School offer of one month unlimited yoga for just $40. This offer ends September 7, 2020. Use code: BACK2SCHOOL at checkout. Membership expires one month after first class. Must redeem purchase before December 31, 2020.

For more information, contact Bee Alive Yoga, 230 W. Wisconsin Street, at 608-745-9333 or beealiveyoga@gmail.com.
Sky High softball tournament
Sky High Camping Resort will host a softball tournament on Saturday and Sunday, September 12-13 & 19-20 from 10am to 4pm. Admission fee is $95 per team with 10 players per team.

For more information or to register, contact Sky High Camping Resort, N5740 Sky High Drive, at 608-742-2572 or info@skyhighcampingresort.com.
Free Rummage!
Come to the tent at the Portage Seventh-day Adventist Church, 2100 E. State Road 33, for the free rummage on Thursday and Friday, September 3 & 4 and again on Sunday and Monday, September 6 & 7, from 8am to 5pm Sept. 3, 4 & 6 and 8am to Noon on September 7.

No price tags, everything is free. Any donations will go to the food pantry. For more information, contact Helen at 608-742-3322.
Brat Fundraiser at Festival Foods
The Portage Presbyterian Church will be holding a Brat Fundraiser on Saturday, September 5 from
10am to 2pm at the Festival Foods Brat Hut, 2915 New Pinery Road.
Free Chair Yoga at the Library
Join Ellen Swan, certified yoga instructor, on Tuesdays in September 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 throughout the Fall.

Space is limited, so you must register in advance. Wear comfortable clothing. Yoga mat, towel, block, and strap recommended but not required. Masks are required and chairs will be socially distanced for your safety. For more information or to register, call the library at 608-742-4959 or email programs@portagelibrary.us.
St. Mary's Best Fest
Although they were not able to hold the traditional festival in May, they have rescheduled and will still hold the raffle on Saturday, September 12! It will be a drive through event enabling safety on the grounds of St. Mary's, 307 W. Cook Street. The raffle ticket sales will make up the bulk of St. Mary's fundraising for 2020!

There will be food (for you to take home!), door prizes and a chance to win up to $5000! The drawing will be held at 6pm on Facebook live! Call 608-742-6998 for more information.
Agency House Living History Day
The Historic Indian Agency House will hold its Living History Day on Saturday, September 19. This reenactment is scaled back quite a bit from what was originally planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It still will be absolutely worth your while to come out and learn from two well-versed reenactors who love to share 1830s history portraying general day-to-day life during that time.

The reenactors will be cordoned off in a way that is socially distanced but still allows for easy interaction with visitors. A mask is required for this event, which is free for members. All others may attend the reenactment and tour the museum/house with regular paid admission. For more information, please call 608-742-6362, or email historicindianagencyhouse@gmail.com.
Spread the word about Portage!
Use #portagewi in your social media posts.
Pregnancy Resource Golf Scramble
Please join us for the third annual Golf Scramble to benefit the Pregnancy Resource Center in Portage on Saturday, September 19 at Saddle Ridge Golf Course. Shotgun start at 11am with registration from 10:30am to 10:45am.

Golf in a 9-hole scramble format. $45 per person (cart included). Form your own teams or be paired.
Lunch is included and cash bar. There will be hole prizes, 50/50 raffle, raffle baskets. Golfers and non-golfers are welcome! Register for golf at 608-742-2181.

All proceeds from this event will benefit the Pregnancy Resource Center in Portage serving the greater Columbia and Sauk Counties. Funds will directly go to helping expecting mothers and families in need of baby items and counseling. For more information about the Pregnancy Resource Center, to volunteer, or sponsor this event, please call 800-705-4710.
Virtual - Silver Lake Cemetery Living History Tour
This event has been changed to a virtual event that will be held on Saturday, September 19 from 11am to 2pm. The Silver Lake Cemetery Tour gives participants an idea of what life would have been like for Portage historical figures, while also offering insight into the history of the City of Portage. Watch the City of Portage Facebook page for more details. For more information, call Doug Klapper at 608-742-7503.
Drive Thru Brat Sale at Portage VFW
Come and get a brat at the Portage VFW drive through brat sale happening from 11am to 4pm on Friday, September 25 at the parking lot of the VFW, 215 W. Collins.

Check out the Chamber's YouTube Channel HERE

Job postings on portagewi.com
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.
Wauona Trail Women's Club - Meets 3rd Monday of the month at 11:30am at Dino's Restaurant, 2900 New Pinery Rd. (Sept-May)
Portage Area Chamber of Commerce | 608-742-6242 | pacc@portagewi.com | www.portagewi.com