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St. Charles Chamber boasts successful 2013

GENEVA – The St. Charles Chamber of Commerce saw lots of positives in 2013, as new programs gained momentum and new businesses moved into the city, said Tom Hansen, president of the organization.

During the St. Charles State of the Chamber annual breakfast held Thursday at Eagle Brook Country Club in Geneva, leaders also gave members an idea of what they can expect to see next year.

Before Hansen highlighted some of the newer programs that recently took off, he said the Chamber administered 45 ribbon-cutting events last year, and attendance at the annual golf outing was up about 15 percent, with 110 attendees. Also, 62 new members joined the Chamber this year.

Hansen said the morning Java Jump event started last year has been a success, giving business owners another means of networking. Another new Chamber initiative helped put members of the board of directors face-to-face with numerous business owners about two weeks ago, as they spent about half a day meeting with merchants around town.

“It was a great way to meet people and find out what their needs are,” he said. “It was really well received, and we had a lot of fun doing that.”

Kristine Kowalski, chairman of the board-elect, noted that new activity is stirring for the Charlestowne Mall and the First Street project.

She said looking forward, Chamber leaders hope to hire a full-time business representative who would help recruit new members and identify opportunities to help existing businesses grow.

Dan Stellato with the St. Charles Chamber Council for Industry said the program awarded a student with an $1,250 scholarship, and Chamber members had a chance to see an electric car being built at St. Charles North High School through its Project Lead the Way program.

Devin O’Brien, chair of the relatively new Young Professionals Council, said that program has been gaining momentum, as well.

He noted that the group will host an “ugly sweater party” at The Office in St. Charles from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 10.

As the event wrapped up, Membership Chairman Scott Pruden announced the winners of the Rookie Member of the Year and Member of the Year awards.

He named Colleen Noe, a doctor with Integrated Family Health Care, as Rookie Member of the Year, while Kowalski was named Member of the Year.

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