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mcdorman2008Mike McDorman, President & CEO
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

In recent years the chamber has spent much time, money and effort on changing your buying habits. We have worked with the business community to educate shoppers on the importance of buying local. During this Christmas shopping season, the most important time of year for retailers, we hope you will consider spending more of your dollars in Springfield.
Over the past year Clark County has seen a surge in sales tax revenue. While we can’t make a direct connection between the Buy Springfield campaign and this increase in sales tax revenue, we believe you are more aware of the impact of shopping local and, when possible, are making the choice to shop in Springfield.
Thanks to participating businesses – from retailers to car dealerships, restaurants to services – Buy Springfield window clings are displayed all over Greater Springfield. Our billboard, radio and TV campaign has sent out a message loud and clear that buying local DOES make a difference.
As you may recall:
  • $68 out of every $100 spent at a locally owned business stays in the community in the form of jobs and sales tax for county services, such as roads and law enforcement
  •  If that $100 is spent at a big box store, $43 still stays in our community supporting jobs and services
  • Purchases made out of town bring zero dollars back to our community
For those of you who have a smart phone, we also added a BUY SPRINGFIELD App to help you keep up with local events and take advantage of dozens of coupons and discounts posted on the app each day.  More than 4,500 users now enjoy all that the app offers every day!

 

So, why does this matter?  It matters because when we buy our goods locally and find our entertainment locally it is reinvesting in our community.
  • It allows our local businesses and entertainment venues to employ our neighbors
  • It keeps our businesses funding our government and educational services through income and property taxes
  • It funds our county services such as law enforcement and road improvements through sales taxes
  • It provides the foot traffic businesses need to justify sufficient inventory and selection
While we have unfortunately lost some local retailers, new retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods are coming to our community. The key to sustaining our local retail economy – and bringing in new merchants – is keeping your dollars in our community.
Let’s make sure that we are doing our part in buying local this Christmas season!
Have a great Chamber day!

mcdorman2008Mike McDorman, President & CEO
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

 

I met a realtor last week who recently moved to Springfield from a bigger city. She told me how she and her husband have fallen in love with our gem of a community, and how much they have appreciated the variety of opportunities to dress up, go out and enjoy the many events happening in and around downtown.

That has certainly been the case for me. Over the past month I have attended noteworthy events like the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Kick Off, the Westcott Gala, and Community Mercy Foundation’s Gala. Like many other arts and non-profit groups operating throughout our community, these organizations are doing a very important work here in our community.

The Salvation Army, a Christian organization that offers support for children and families, held its annual Red Kettle Kickoff at the Courtyard by Marriott to get the community off to a good start on raising money for both Christmas, and its year-round programs designed to bring hope to individuals and families in need. Last year alone the Salvation Army touched more than 2,000 children through its various outreach and assistance programs. The organization runs more than a dozen programs for adults and children – from food and shelter assistance, to summer camps, in-school and after-school programs that nourish students’ minds, bodies and spirits.

With the theme “Make Ripples,” the fundraising luncheon brought in more than $34,000 to kick off the Christmas giving campaign that will help those adults and families in our community who need it the most!

The first ever Westcott Gala was a sold out affair. The event was held at Clark State’s Hollenbeck Bayley Center to celebrate 10 years of the famed Frank Lloyd Wright designed Westcott House. The house museum, located along East High Street, is the product of arguably the most important architect of the modern era, and was designed in 1906 and built in 1908.

The event featured guest of honor and world-renowned architect, Peter Bohlin, and celebrated the remarkable community of people who help make the $6 million renovated Westcott House a vibrant, dynamic and irreplaceable asset through their participation in tours, programs and events.

Each year, the Community Mercy Foundation holds a Gala to benefit the health of our city and county. This year’s event themed as “A Night in Tuscany” was held at Boonshoft Museum of Discovery at the Upper Valley Mall.

This year’s gala was arguably the most well attended in Springfield and will benefit Community Mercy Health Partners (CMHP) Chronic Care Centers as well as providing support for the only prescription assistance program in Clark and Champaign Counties, Community Mercy Med Assist.

The health assessments for these two counties found the number of adults with chronic disease exceeded the state average by 6 to 10 percent. To address this health concern, CMHP will operated two chronic care centers (one in Urbana and one in Springfield) to focus on delivering care to those with ongoing illness.

As chronic disease does not discriminate, anyone can benefit from individualized and continued care management for diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure or emphysema and chronic pulmonary obstructive disease to name a few. This continuity of care can help patients achieve better overall health, reduce hospitalizations and enjoy life a little more.

Yes, there is plenty to do almost any night of the week in Springfield! Whether you want to enjoy the array of arts and recreation located here, or simply support one of the many non-profit benefits happening throughout the year, you do not need to go out of town to find it!

For more information on local happenings, go to: VisitGreaterSpringfield.com.

Have a Great Chamber Day!

mcdorman2008Mike McDorman, President & CEO
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

 It is that time of year again when we get together with family and friends to give thanks for the many blessings that we have all been given. It is also time for our whole community to come together to kick off the Christmas season in a very festive way.

Center City Association’s Holiday in the City, which is held every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, is arguably one of the best events of its kind anywhere. In its 16th year, the celebration kicks off the holiday season in style right in the heart of Springfield’s downtown.

The festival includes many attractions for the whole family to enjoy, especially the little ones. Along with the community Christmas tree, and decorative lights that can be seen on buildings throughout the core block, there is the popular Santa Land and a carousel. There are also street performers, 15 food trucks and vendors, along with many other fun activities happening throughout the core block of downtown. Holiday in the City culminates with Santa’s Arrival, a grand illumination of downtown, and a dazzling fireworks display that will “WOW” the youngest to the oldest in the crowd.

Lori Houseman, Holiday in the City Coordinator, along with the committee and many volunteers hopes you will come to the special festivities happening in downtown this Saturday. You will witness the progress being made with the resurgence of office, retail, and restaurant activity happening in our downtown.  You will also get to see the hard work being done by many key stakeholders, and by the City of Springfield, as we seek to move our downtown forward.  Community events like this one only help highlight these important investments being made in our Center City.

As we all enjoy our time together with family and friends this Thanksgiving holiday, let us not forget to stop and thank the one who gave each of us our many blessings. Let us also not forget to take time and enjoy all our great city has to offer; and that includes one of our community’s biggest events, Holiday in the City!

Blessings to you and your family during this week of Thanksgiving!

mcdorman2008Mike McDorman, President & CEO
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

 More than 1,100 Clark County 8th graders had a chance to picture themselves pursing their dream jobs in Clark County during the Nov. 12 “It’s All About Me in Clark County” career fair held at the Hollenbeck Bayley Center.

During the all-day event, middle school students from Clark County area school districts met with representatives from 30 local employers including Pentaflex, John Deere, Security National Bank and Speedway who spoke to the students about 16 different career cluster opportunities at their companies, skill sets and education needed for those jobs and potential salaries.

“This way the students are hearing from the employer not from their parent, not from their teacher, but actually from the employer of what it’s going to take for them to be successful and make whatever amount of money they’re looking to make in that career opportunity,” said Amy Donahoe, director of hiring and employer services for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

Students participated in a pre-event career assessment survey to explore how their interests could translate to future careers. Students were surprised to learn that companies, such as Speedway for example, provide job opportunities in a wide variety of areas, including engineering, accounting, IT and even construction.

The third annual “It’s All About Me in Clark County,” was a collaboration among OhioMeansJobs-Clark County, The Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center, Clark County school districts and the Community Improvement Corporation of Springfield and Clark County. These officials want students to know that if they go away to college they can return to Clark County, Donahoe said, and find career opportunities in this community.

It is critical for the future of our community that our young people not only be equipped for the jobs of the future but that they have the opportunity to pursue those careers close to home.  That is why it is even more important for the business community to continue to partner with our local schools to make sure we are producing the talent for the jobs being created today and in the future.

Have a great Chamber day!

mcdorman2008Mike McDorman, President & CEO
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

 

Sitting on the corner of Spring and High Streets is one of the most historic and picturesque buildings in downtown Springfield. And while it can be lauded for its architectural splendor, what takes place inside adds to its importance as a local landmark.

The Clark County Literacy Coalition, located in the former Warder Public Library, was founded in 1989. It does what its name implies – addresses literacy issues among a diverse population. The CCLC works with everyone from school-age children to adults and those whose first language is not English. The list of services includes:

  • The Adult Basic Literacy Education program serves adults who need basic literacy help, whether it be reading so they can read to their own children or obtaining a GED;
  • English Speakers of Other Languages addresses those who need to learn to speak our language;
  • Teach Children to Read focuses on children who meet the following criteria: are two levels behind their current grade level and assessed between fifth grade or below in reading.The ever-growing need for a highly-skilled workforce demands that everyone be a highly-functional reader if they expect to access the better paying occupations that in many cases go unfilled due to lack of qualified candidates. For that reason, you can see how important the Literacy Coalition is to our community’s success in attracting and filling jobs that require a high degree of competency.

In working with school-age children the CCLC sees itself as a partner with schools in Clark County, serving those who need extra attention in order to catch up. CCLC Executive Director David Smiddy said it typically will take one year of twice a week, one-hour sessions for a student to move up two reading grade levels.

And with an increasing number of immigrants living in Clark County, their path to future success rests with being able to speak English.

Tutors are the backbone of the CCLC, which has one full-time employee and three part-time. Kathy Piatt may log more hours than any other tutor in the history of CCLC.  Why?  It’s not because she has been at it the longest. Carol Horner gets that award at 21 years!

Kathy, however, started out with one student and then asked if she could tutor more than one.  At present, she has six students, working mostly with special needs children. Whereas, typically tutors volunteer at Warder twice a week for an hour each time, Kathy comes in four days a week, several hours each day.

The City of Springfield owns the building that houses the Literacy Center, and while the Literacy Coalition pays only a nominal fee for use of the building, it is responsible for utilities, upkeep and repair. By occupying the building for its noble purpose, it also keeps in use an historic downtown facility that might otherwise be unoccupied.

Finances are always an issue, Smiddy said, so any donations or support of the CCLC’s fundraising activities are gratefully welcome. Its two largest are the June 5/10K Race for Literacy held the second Saturday in June and a dinner, generously financed by Jim and Niki Lagos, allowing all proceeds to go to the Literacy Center. This year they are selling Christmas cards designed by students/tutors.

The CCLC hopes to establish an endowment fund through the Springfield Foundation. For more information about the Literacy Center, phone 323-8617 or visit its website at https://sites.google.com/a/cclcnet.net/literacycenter/

Chris HeadshotChris Schutte, Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

 

On November 6th and 7th our community will welcome 140 young women from all over the State of Ohio who will be vying for the title of 2016 MISS OHIO USA, or MISS TEEN OHIO USA. The contestants – along with their families, friends and event staff – will comprise a group of nearly 2000 visitors to Greater Springfield.

The pageants will bring approximately $500,000 in economic impact to our community through hotel room nights, dining in local restaurants, shopping at our retail stores and visiting our attractions. And while this is obviously great news for our community, it may not be the biggest benefit of hosting this premier event.

From the moment we began negotiating with Proctor Productions (the event organizer) to host the pageant, it was evident that they had a very positive perception of our community, and our event facilities. They raved about our “gorgeous” downtown, Clark State’s “fantastic” venues and the “beautiful” Courtyard by Marriott hotel. It was certainly refreshing to hear an outsider’s point of view on Springfield.

Pageant contestants and their families were recently in Springfield for event orientation. We had the opportunity to personally welcome them to Springfield where the event will be held for the first time after a 12-year run in Portsmouth, Ohio. Following the orientation meeting we were able to speak with contestants and their families one-on-one about everything our community has to offer. We again received incredibly positive feedback about Springfield. They are legitimately excited to be here and it shows!

As Greater Springfield’s destination marketing organization, we have the opportunity to hear this kind of positive reinforcement on a regular basis. Trust me when I tell you that visitors love our community! Their opinion is honest and genuine – and not weighed down by past history. They see what Springfield is today, and where we’re going.

No fewer than a dozen people attending the orientation told us – completely unprompted – that they couldn’t wait to get back here for the event, and planned to visit Springfield beyond the event to enjoy our local attractions. This, in essence, is the value of hosting events like MISS OHIO USA.

The MISS OHIO USA pageant offers us yet another opportunity to raise the perception of our community. I would be remiss in not thanking our many local partners who make hosting this event possible: Clark State Performing Arts Center, Courtyard by Marriott, Lee’s Famous Recipe, Sheehan Brothers Vending, Olive Garden, the event committee and our local hotels. From lodging and ticket sales, to staging and contestant meals, you are the driving force behind this event.

Please join us in providing a welcoming atmosphere to the contestants and their families. If you would like to attend the event, just visit Ticketmaster.com and enter “Miss Ohio” in the search box. Selling-out both nights of the event would go a long way towards us retaining this event for years to come!

mcdorman2008Mike McDorman, President & CEO
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

We’ve always known there are a lot of great things in Springfield. From outdoor recreation and events, to Arts & Culture and dining, Springfield offers a diverse menu of activities that are difficult to match for cities twice our size!

What better way to highlight these amenities than to ask you – our local residents – to help us identify the Best of Springfield?

Online voting for the Best of Springfield contest opened to the general public on April 15th, and continued until the polls officially closed on August 30th. The only eligibility requirement was that the business – or attraction – be based in Clark County. The voting was promoted via billboards, print advertisements and social media.

In that time we received more than 3000 ballotscovering 18 different categories focused on local dining, shopping and entertainment. This incredible response – and the wide variety of answers – far exceeded our expectations. Voting in many of the categories was very tight with some of the winners overtaking their competition in the final days of voting.

On October 22nd the winners were announced at the first annual Best of Springfield Celebration at Clark State’s Hollenbeck Bayley Center. 350 event attendees enjoyed great food, live music and a special wine tasting with Cameron Hughes. The winners received a special framed plaque designating them as “The Best of the Best 2015”, and window clings announcing the designation to their clients and customers.

All of the winners, along with the second and third place finishers in each category, are featured in the new Best of Springfield magazine which debuted at the event. We will be distributing the magazine via mail, and at a number of local pick-up points including the lobby of Commerce Pointe downtown.

This contest would not have been possible without you, the voters. Thank you for sharing your opinion on what makes Springfield great. And to the winners, congratulations on your achievement and we hope you wear your new title proudly!

Best Breakfast Spot: Bob Evans
Best Lunch Spot: Mike & Rosy’s
Best Fine Dining: Seasons Bistro
Best Pizza & Subs: Bada Bing
Best Sushi: Sake 3
Best Chicken & Wings: Buffalo Wild Wings
Best Burger: Five Guys Burgers & Fries
Best Coffee & Bakery: Schuler’s Bakery
Best Ice Cream: Young’s Jersey Dairy
Best Date Night Spot: O’Conner’s Irish Pub
Best Bar/Nightclub: O’Conner’s Irish Pub
Best Place to Watch the Game: Buffalo Wild Wings
Best Family Fun: Young’s Jersey Dairy
Best Local Attraction: Westcott House
Best Local Event: Summer Arts Festival
Best Outdoor Recreation: Buck Creek State Park
Best Salon & Spa: Oasis Salon & Spa
Best Locally Owned Retail Store: Champion City Guide + Supply

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