It won’t be long now before school is out and our kids will be on their bikes riding to the swimming pool, parks, and On The Beach family fun center. Everyone please be extra careful driving around town. Several times last summer I heard from drivers who had some close calls with kids darting out in front of them.

Both Herington and Hope have an All School Reunion event planned for Memorial Day weekend with schedules packed full of fun events for graduates and local residents alike. You can check the Chamber’s community calendar on our website for all the events’ times and locations.

Don’t forget that the deadline for the Chamber’s Area Wide Garage Sale is Friday, May 22 at 4pm. We’ll be formatting the map over the long holiday weekend so no late entries will be possible. We’re extending the advertising for this event again this year, so you will want to be listed on the map for the best exposure!

The Think Local First program is nearing its two year anniversary and the committee is very proud of the results of the last two years. Starting June 1, the committee has decided to take the program into more of an education, digital and print media campaign. Our last Cash Mob will be at Sweet Creations on Tuesday, May 26 from 4pm to 6pm and our last monthly rewards drawing will be held at 3pm on Friday, May 29. Thank you everyone for all of your support and especially to the participating businesses who have generously donated extra product, gift certificates, and Local Bucks for the past two years to help make the program so successful.

Small-Business-SaturdayThe Think Local First campaign is gearing up for Small Business Saturday and for Think Local First for Christmas!

Now in its fifth year, Small Business Saturday (November 29th), held every year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, was created by American Express in 2010 to support the small businesses that create jobs and boost the economy. Since its inception, Small Business Saturday has served as the ceremonial kickoff to the busy holiday shopping season for independently-owned businesses.

The Chamber is really excited to be participating for the first time. We’ll be promoting the businesses that will be open and participating in Small Business Saturday with posters around town and on the Think Local First Facebook page. Stop in at the Chamber and pick up your “Shop Small” button and wear it with pride! On that Saturday, if you make a qualifying purchase at one of the participating businesses, not only will you be supporting our community and your local economy, but you’ll receive one of the 300 “Shop Small” canvas tote bags available, while supplies last.TLF logo

There are so many great ways to do your Christmas shopping locally: tools for your handyman from G&R Auto Parts or Clark Lumber, unique gifts or antiques from Miss Lizzy’s or Prairie Chic, a bottle of their favorite wine or spirit from Sullivan’s or Barnes Heartland Liquor, a subscription to the Herington Times, candles or home décor from Kay’s or Signature Homestyles, beauty products from Mary Kay, a gift certificate from one of our local restaurants or for a beauty treatment from First Impressions or Shear Joy. Show those you love that you really care with a thoughtful gift from a local merchant!

honkOur Think Local First Anniversary Week is over and a rousing success!

Chardy Bayes, the Chairperson of the Think Local First program, and I want to make sure and thank all the people who volunteered to make the celebration happen.

Big thanks are due to Larrie Fisher for watching the Chamber office all week and keeping things rolling there!

Thank you to all of our attesters who turned out to the 5 Open Houses, holding signs and shouting: Kevin & Rose Bayes, Ed Mueller, Kristen Korgol (who also made a great new “Honk” sign), Brandan Sneath, Ray Perez, Becky Mowat, and Virginia and DJ Neuberger. We also couldn’t have done it without all our young citizen attesters! It does our hearts good to see our kids getting involved and preaching the message of Think Local First.

We enjoyed all of the great entries into our coloring contest and the entries we received from our middle school and high school kids in the Promo Contests!

We want to give special recognition to Virginia and DJ as longtime supporters of the Think Local First program. They both participated in the action group that created the program and one of the two of them have been at almost every Cash Mob since then; always wearing their Think Local First buttons!

Thank you to all of our Cash Mob groupies that faithfully attend all of our events and to each of the businesses that hosted our inaugural Open Houses and thank you to all of our Think Local First participating businesses that have made the first year such a success.

And as always, my heartfelt thanks to the man who does so much behind the scenes; my very best friend and supporter, my husband Dave. I don’t think anyone really knows how much he does that makes everything that I do possible!

Our Think Local First program is very excited about our Cash Mob this month, we’ll be mobbing two of our home-based businesses: Signature Homestyles and Mary Kay.

signature homestylesChardy Bayes is an individual representative for Signature Homestyles, a company that specializes in home décor and home organization.  Tammie Jinkerson-Prosch is a fairly new transplant to our community and has joined the Chamber and the Think Local First program with both her crafting business, Crafting Your Treasures, and as a Mary Kay beauty consultant.mary kay logo

On April 16, from 4:30-6:30pm, we’ll be mobbing both of these ladies here at the Chamber office.  Come in and either purchase something or place an order for at least $10 and be entered into the drawing for the $60 prize basket.

Don’t forget to keep bringing in those receipts for a chance to win the $150 monthly prize basket. The drawings are held at 3pm on the last day of the month. This past month, on the last day of March, Joan Mattan was our lucky winner!

The Think Local First program is still in full swing and we’re very excited about our January Cash Mob this week!  The Herington Lanes/Railer Café/Blockhouse Bar has something for everyone!  Come down this Friday, January 10th between 4pm and 6pm and spend at least $10 in cash and get your name into a drawing for $60 worth of product, gift certificates, and Local Bucks!

Don’t forget to keep bringing your receipts in for the Think Local First monthly drawing!

The Chamber’s monthly e-newsletter has gone out 3 times now and it’s getting great reviews.  Several people that signed up for it, however, hadn’t been receiving it and discovered that it was going into their Spam folder. So if you signed up for the e-newsletter and have not received it, be sure and check that.  If you have not signed up yet, take a moment and do it now.  Go to the main page of the Chamber’s website and scroll to the bottom of the page.

The Chamber’s Annual Banquet is coming up on the 27th.  Do you have someone that you would like to nominate for Citizen of the Year, Senior Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, or Educator of the Year?  You can pick up forms in the Chamber office or download them from our website or Facebook page.

The Promotion & Resource Committee has decided that there will be no charge for decorating a table at the Banquet this year, so we hope that every business and organization chooses to use this opportunity for some free promotion.  To reserve a table to decorate, please call the Chamber office.

I love January! Not only is it my birthday month, it just feels so fresh and new; with a new year stretching out in front of me filled with all sorts of possibilities! I love opening a fresh calendar and filling in all the fun things I’m going to do.

It’s also a time to look at how things are going and make plans on ways that you can be better in the new year. The Think Local First working group is doing that right now. We’re looking at all aspects of the TLF program and evaluating what’s working well, what needs improvement, and maybe what we need to change all together. We’ll be sending out surveys to all of our Think Local First participating businesses but we’d like to hear from all of our residents. Do you have an idea that the TLF working group should try? An idea on how to improve an existing part of the program? We want to hear from you. Feel free to call the office at 258-2115 or email us at or just grab myself or the program chairperson, Chardy Bayes, as you see us around town. We want to hear from YOU!

Miss Lizzy'sIn the meantime, be sure and put our next Cash Mob on you schedule. It will be January 15, from 3pm-5pm at Miss Lizzy’s Emporium. Miss Lizzy’s is not only a fun place to shop, but Jerry & Donna Barta give back so much to our community. Let’s show them how much we appreciate them.

I hope everyone has a fantastic New Year and we look forward to serving you in 2015!