Reflecting on how things went in 2019 for the Union Area Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director Amanda Egli was pleased with the success of the organization.
The year 2019 was a big one for Egli because it was her first full year in her role as executive director after she stepped into in September 2018. Egli attributed the lack of transitions in 2019 making the year go much smoother than previous years.
“(Last year) went a lot better overall for the Chamber — part of that is because there was not a transition period like in 2018, and I was in my position for the entirety of the year,” she said. Egli explained that in 2019 she learned what needed to stay the same for the Chamber and what changes she thinks need to come in the future.
“Some things need to change to keep up with the times, so now we are focused on staying on top of what is happening to be relevant,” she said. “After last year, I feel it will be easier to do that more effectively.”
The annual events that city residents expect not only went successfully but the Chamber saw a bigger turnout than in years past.
Wingfest, which takes place in October went off without a hitch and saw an increase in attendance, Egli said. Part of that increase in attendance can be attributed to changes made to the event.
This year the Chamber had That 80s Band perform at the festival, which drew in a larger crowd Friday, Egli said. The band, paired with the increased number of food truck vendors, helped boost the number in attendance.
Another event that saw a better turnout last year was Halloween Boo Bash, which the Chamber and parks department co-host.
“This year there were so many kids,” Egli said.
There also were some changes for members. Egli added a new way for members of the Chamber to mingle.
In May she hosted a barbecue for members to attend so they had the opportunity to interact in a more casual setting.
Another change for the Chamber was to bring Small Business Saturday to the city of Union. Small Business Saturday falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and supports small businesses after Black Friday.
Egli ensured the day was unique for the city of Union with the addition of a passport for shoppers. The passport was taken around to the different businesses to get stamps.
After the participants were done they could take their passport back to the Chamber, where attendance prizes were given. The Chamber even offered the opportunity to take a free picture with Santa.
There were roughly 56 families who came to this event, which was a huge turnout in its first year, Egli said.
Changes to Come in 2020
The biggest change that Egli is making for 2020 is her change to the annual awards banquets. This year one banquet — the Distinguished Service Awards event Saturday, Feb. 1 — is all that’s on the calendar.
The decision to combine award banquets precedes Egli role as executive director, she said. In years past there were three, in 2018 the banquets had been combined so there would be two, one in February and November.
The decision to condense it into one came from trying to increase the attendance of the event, making it more cost effective and ultimately more elegant.
Egli also changed who the event was opened up to. Previously only persons who were given the award were allowed to attend, this year nominees for the award will be in attendance.
“By allowing the nominees to come, it gives them a chance to be recognized and not just those who win — which is important because they too deserve it,” she said.
Egli explained she hopes to also increase the number of events in the community, increasing its accessibility to the residents the Chamber serves in the future.
For more information or to learn about upcoming events for the Union Area Chamber of Commerce, visit www.unionmochamber.org.