A Note from the Director

Jennifer Heinzman, Executive Director, MCACC

Is Entrepreneurship For You?

Sustainable economic growth requires entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs create new jobs, contribute to economic expansion, and become stakeholders in supporting a healthy business environment. As communities across the world struggle to meet employment demands, the importance of fostering the next generation of entrepreneurs – both job creators and entrepreneurial employees – is particularly significant.

Here at the Chamber of Commerce, we are constantly looking for ways to help businesses succeed, grow or even start. Starting your own business can be an exciting and rewarding experience. It can offer numerous advantages such as being your own boss, setting your own schedule and making a living doing something you enjoy. However, becoming a successful entrepreneur requires thorough planning, creativity and hard work.

Consider whether you have the following characteristics and skills commonly associated with successful entrepreneurs:

  • Comfortable with taking risks: Being your own boss also means you are the one making tough decisions. Entrepreneurship involves uncertainty. Do you avoid uncertainty in life at all costs? If yes, then entrepreneurship may not be the best fit for you. Do you enjoy the thrill of taking calculated risks? Then read on.
  • Independent: Entrepreneurs have to make many decisions on their own. If you find you can trust your instincts — and you’re not afraid of rejection every now and then — you could be on your way to being an entrepreneur.
  • Ambitious – You will need to be a self-starter that is fully committed and willing to work tirelessly to get your project off the ground.
  • Persuasive: You may have the greatest idea in the world, but if you cannot persuade customers, employees and potential lenders or partners, you may find entrepreneurship to be challenging. If you enjoy public speaking, engage new people with ease and find you make compelling arguments grounded in facts, it’s likely you’re poised to make your idea succeed.
  • Able to negotiate: As a small business owner, you will need to negotiate everything from leases to contract terms to rates. Polished negotiation skills will help you save money and keep your business running smoothly.
  • Creative: Are you able to think of new ideas? Can you imagine new ways to solve problems? Entrepreneurs must be able to think creatively. If you have insights on how to take advantage of new opportunities, entrepreneurship may be a good fit.
  • Supported by others: Before you start a business, it’s important to have a strong support system in place. You’ll be forced to make many important decisions, especially in the first months of opening your business. If you do not have a support network of people to help you, consider finding a business mentor. A business mentor is someone who is experienced, successful and willing to provide advice and guidance.

If you feel that entrepreneurship is for you and you need help getting started, call the Chamber and we will provide you with the resources necessary to get you started on the right track!


unnamed (4)Join us on the Tullymore Patio for our 2nd Annual Labor Day Weekend Celebration – this year featuring pianos, pints and a pig roast, on September 1st!
Last year’s pig roast was so popular, we decided to add even more excitement to the night – with dueling pianos and a special visit from the team at Ludington Bay Brewing Company. This awesome event is sure to have something for everyone!
Enjoy an awesome pig roast, complete with all of the sides to please every palate – and enjoy awesome live entertainment with two talented pianists ticking the ivories on the patio with a live request driven dueling piano show.
We will also be welcoming the staff of Ludington Bay Brewing Company, as they feature six of their craft brews on tap for everyone to enjoy! Plus, our staff has put together some additional tasting options for those who may not want to sample just the beer.
Tickets are now available for purchase in the Tap Room, with similar pricing our last big patio event in July:
·        $22 Combo Ticket: Includes dinner, three tasting tickets and live entertainment
·        $10 Event Ticket: Includes three tasting tickets and live entertainment
·        $18 Dinner Ticket: Includes dinner and live entertainment
Dinner starts at 6 PM, with the dueling pianos beginning at 7 PM.
Contact the Tap Room at Tullymore Golf Resort to purchase your tickets for this awesome event by calling (231) 972-4837, extension 260.
Learn more about Tullymore by visiting them online at www.tullymoregolf.com/

Advertise with Tuba Bach

Advertise with Tuba Bach_2018 (1)

Advertising in the Tuba Bach New World Exploration festival season booklet is a wonderful way for your business to reach out to our audiences and support the mission of Tuba Bach. Over 3,000 community members from Big Rapids and surrounding areas attend our world-class performances in September and October each year.
Just $100 will share your business information for 12 performances this fall AND an additional performance in December. We will also share your business on our website and post a connection from our Facebook page during the festival.
Our festival season advertisers are a diverse collection of local businesses and private organizations who share a dedication to the arts. We invite you to join them (& us) in celebrating the live musical arts in West Michigan.
Contact Adriana by email:  mallett@tubabach.org or by calling (231)796-0712 by September 10 to be included in our festival season programs.
Learn more about Tuba Bach and the upcoming 2018 festival at tubabach.org.

“Born to Be” Women and Young Miss Summit

Born To Be Social Media.jpgAngels of Action is thrilled to announce its first “Born To Be” Women and Young Miss Summit, set for October 13, 2018 at Tullymore Golf Resort in Canadian Lakes.
Geared towards women and girls ages 10 and up, we have designed a day that will inspire, uplift and ultimately move us into pursuing the good works that God planned for us to walk in before we even breathed our first breath.
Come ready to hear from nationally acclaimed speaker, author and former contestant on America’s Next Top Model, Leah Darrow, along with breakout session speaker Ashley Giovannucci with Across My Heart Ministries of Grand Rapids. Wood T.V.’s own Jordan Carson will guide us through our day as we end with inspirational music and some profound testimonies given by local non-profit founders that will give us opportunity to hear and pursue the gifts and talents God has given each one of us.
Tickets will be available Monday, August 27th. Contact Angels of Action for more information.
Proceeds from this event will be donated to Angels of Action.

Muskegon River Trash Bash set for Sept. 15, 2018

Volunteers Needed

Muskegon River Trash Bash 2017

(AUG 16 – Big Rapids, MI) – Local communities are joining together on Sept. 15, 2018 to tackle trash and debris in the Muskegon River for the second annual Muskegon River Trash Bash.  Volunteers are needed in multiple communities including: Evart, Big Rapids, and Newaygo.  In addition, the Village of Mecosta is cleaning up a portion of the Little Muskegon River, a tributary or the Muskegon River.

Specific information about each location and to register to volunteer, go to each community’s page at https://www.americanrivers.org/make-an-impact/national-river-cleanup/volunteers/  or follow on Facebook @MRtrashbash.  Volunteers are eligible to win prizes and receive giveaways. Bring your own boat, kayak, or canoe, or walk along the river’s edge. B103.9 will be broadcasting from Hemlock Park.

The Muskegon River Trash Bash first started in 2017 as the Class of 2017 Leadership Mecosta project through the Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce.  Ice Mountain, B103.9 Big Rapids, Republic Services, and American Rivers are sponsors of the 2018 Trash Bash. Other contributors include: the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly, Lowes, the City of Evart, JJ’s River Run, Newaygo Brewing Co., Village of Mecosta, and the Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce.    

American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams. Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Since 1973, American Rivers has fought to preserve these connections, helping protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®.  American Rivers’ National River Cleanup is a series of nationwide community-based river and stream cleanups.  Learn more about National River Cleanup at www.AmericanRivers.org/Cleanup,  www.americanrivers.orgwww.facebook.com/americanrivers, and www.twitter.com/americanrivers.

Deadline for Leadership Mecosta Applications Extended

2018 Class of Leadership Mecosta at Paris Park

BIG RAPIDS, MI – There is still time to be a part of Leadership Mecosta

Leadership Mecosta has extended its deadline for new members interested in being a part of the 2018-19 class. Mecosta County residents interested in developing their leadership skills and community connections still have the opportunity to apply for this year’s class.

Leadership Mecosta is a dynamic 9-month program for community members that wish to connect with other leaders in the Mecosta County community. Members will have the chance to learn leadership skills and principles, grow in serving the community, and lead into the future of Mecosta County.

This year’s class will begin with the Leadership Development Retreat, and overnight retreat, which takes place September 20-21 at CranHill Ranch. Classes are then held monthly, beginning in October and continue through May.

Leadership Mecosta will host a Kickoff Mixer at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 13 at Buffalo Wild Wings in Big Rapids. Current class members as well as Leadership Alumni are encouraged to attend.

If you are interested in learning more about Leadership Mecosta, or if you would like to be part of the Class of 2018/2019, contact the Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce (127 S. Michigan

Get Involved! Volunteer with SLD Read

SLD Read is in need of Language Links tutors to work with first through third graders in the upcoming school year.

Language Links is a pro-bono, school-based program which provides two hours per weekblur-book-browse-256546 of individual, specialized instruction to underserved children who are significantly below grade level in reading and spelling but do not receive Special Education services in either area. The Language Links program utilizes one-to-one multisensory instructions in reading, writing, and spelling.

There is no charge for tutoring or assessment to either the parents or the school. All tutoring is done during the school day.

All new tutors must complete the SLD Read interview process and attend our 32-hour Phonics Fundamentals for Tutors training. All new tutors also receive a one-to-one internship with an experienced SLD Read tutor as well as ongoing support and training. There is no fee for SLD Read trainings for SLD Read tutors.

Language Links programs are established in Big Rapids Public Schools, Crossroads Charter Academy, and St. Peter’s Lutheran School.

Since 1974, SLD Read has been helping children all over West Michigan who are at risk for reading failure.

For more information, contact Suzanne Finney at (231) 592-9605 ext. 2034, or email sfinney@SLDRead.org.

Grand Slam Investigations supports Chamber Members

GSI_New_Logo.pngIn today’s society, businesses have to take precautionary steps to ensure that their business succeeds.  Not getting it right the first time can lead to several issues such as: employee embezzlement, workplace violence, and employee turnover.  

Because we want to help protect your business, Grand Slam Investigations and the Mecosta County Chamber of Commerce are offering chamber members special discounts on background checks, to help protect your business assets.

With over 20 different types of background checks available, we will create a custom package to provide you with the information needed to hire esteemed people.

Here are examples of the reports and pricing being offered under this special deal!

National Criminal Database Check:  

Regularly $24.95

Chamber Pricing $19.95

This background check reviews over 93 pages of criminal databases, from the county level to the federal level, and includes the National Sex Offender Registry.

Employment Credit Report:

Regularly $15.00

Chamber Pricing $10.00

Do you have employees that are handling financial transactions for your business? Reduce your risk of embezzlement by running a credit report to show whether your applicants are taking care of their finances or may attempt to steal yours.

Motor Vehicle Report:

Regularly $8.50 + DMV Connection Fee

Chamber Pricing $5.50 + DMV Connection Fee

Need to know if your applicant has speeding tickets or accidents while driving?  This report will show prior violations and ensure that you are hiring someone that drives safe, keeping your insurance rates down.
Contract GSI today at 231.359.1555 or www.gsipi.com and make sure you mention that you are a Big Rapids Chamber Member for your discounts!!  

Cruisin’ at the Castle

Submitted by The Canadian Lakes Cruisers


The Canadian Lakes Cruisers are happy to announce our  15th Annual Car Show to be held on  Sunday September 2, 2018  at the Castle from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The show welcomes classic cars, motorcycles, and trucks to enter and let the public oooh and ahhh over your vehicles. This is a wonderful family event.  On the shady grounds, visitors may wander about the vehicles, bid on items in a silent auction, take part in 50-50 raffles, and get something to eat. Children may get their faces painted and have balloons made for them by the clown. A disc jockey will be playing appropriate tunes from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

Prizes will be awarded for top entries in each category and allow the public to select their favorite vehicle.  All proceeds from sales and auctions go to local charities. This year’s selected charities are WISE, God’s Helping Hand, and MI 22 which tries to prevent veteran suicides. Total donations over the past several years have exceeded $7,000. The Canadian Lakes Cruisers would like to thank the public for their generous support.

Canadian Lakes is located about  8 miles east of exit 131 on U.S 131 . Signs will be posted to show you the way to the Castle.  If coming from the east (Mt. Pleasant) drive on U.S. 20 until the 9 Mile road turnoff, several miles past Remus , and  follow the signs to the Castle. If using your GPS punch in: 9400 Pere Marquette Dr. Canadian Lakes, MI 49346.

You may register on the morning of the show from 9 a.m. to Noon. For more information, how to register, how to help, or directions call Marshall at 231-598-0838.

Chamber Child Care Task Force

Chamber Executive Director Jennifer Heinzman met with state officials this week to discuss solutions to the problem of lack of child care in the area. The group is heading up a task force to re-evaluate current regulatory barriers in the child care industry, that are contributing to the current shortage of quality care in the state. The goal of the task force is to create more child care options in the area,  in order to prevent the issue from being a barrier to employment for parents of small children.

L-R: Jennifer Heinzman, Executive Director, Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce, Daire Rendon, State Representative, Michigan’s 3rd District, Bridgett Tubbs-Carlon, Appletree Learning Center, Michele Hoitenga, State Representative, Michigan ‘s 102nd District.