Friday, May 26, 2017

2017 Cranberry Blossom Fest

Welcome to Cranberry Country!



Join in on the festivities! June 15th through the 18th we’re celebrating the beautiful blossom season. Wisconsin Rapids is in the heart of the cranberry country and we are proud to celebrate where the berries begin. The 10th Annual Cranberry Blossom Festival is filled will “berry” fun events including live music, a car show, a parade, a carnival and of course culinary treats featuring Wisconsin’s #1 fruit crop, the cranberry!

Schedule of Events
Thursday, June 15

Lunch by the River
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  Veterans Memorial Park
Hosted by Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce
Gather the family and friends for an unforgettable lunch by the beautiful Wisconsin River. There will be entertainment, along with local food and beverage vendors.



Grand Ave Artists at the McMillan Library
490 East Grand Ave, Wisconsin Rapids
For the entire month of June, feast your eyes on creative artwork in the air-conditioned comfort of the McMillan Library All Purpose Room. Rain or shine, you will enjoy colorful paintings, baskets, pottery, jewelry, photography and more!

Cinema Under the Stars
7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. West Grand Ave
Join us for the 12th Annual Cinema Under the Stars event in Downtown Wisconsin Rapids. Food and drinks will be available for purchase and of course that includes popcorn! Admission is FREE, bring your own lawn chairs or blankets and enjoy a family classic under the stars. The movie will begin at dusk.

Friday, June 16

June Dairy & Berry Breakfast
6:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Hosted by the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, Agri-Business Committee of the Heart of Wisconsin ad LHS FFA Chapter
DELICIOUS pancakes, sausages, cranberry juice, coffee, milk, ice cream sundaes and more! Adults $7.00 Kids 5 -12 $5.00 & Kids 4 and under FREE



Cranberry Blossom Festival Carnival
4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
1st Avenue South between Johnson and Goggins Street, Wisconsin Rapids
Through the whole weekend of Cranberry Blossom Festival enjoy carnival rides, games, and food! This year the carnival is located in Downtown Wisconsin Rapids along the beautiful Wisconsin River. Wristband specials available



Beer & Cheese, “A Downtown Block Party”
6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
2nd Street North between Jackson and Oak, Wisconsin Rapids
Who doesn’t love beer and cheese? This event is designed to feature craft beers, local cheeses, and our downtown! Food will be offered from a variety of vendors. Beer enthusiast can purchase a cap, and then sample craft beers at several bars.

Saturday, June 17

Arts, Crafts and Cranberries Fair
West Grand Ave between the bridge and 3rd Ave South, Wisconsin Rapids
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Hosted by the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce
FREE order event! (Rain or Shine) Family friendly. Features woodcrafts, framed art, jewelry, candles, pottery and many cranberry themed products.


7th Annual “Cruise-In” Car/Motorcycle Show
West Grand Ave between the bridge and 3rd Ave South, Wisconsin Rapids
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Hosted by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 101
Cruise on into downtown Wisconsin Rapids for the 7th Annual “Cruise-In” Car/Motorcycle Show. There will be dash plaques awarded to the first 75 entries. Also, awards will be given to the top 3 cars and motorcycles.



Ice Cream Social & Cranberry Exhibit
11:30 a.m. – 10:00 pm.
1150 17th Street North, Wisconsin Rapids
The Friends of Rapids Music bring you seven local bands taking the stage at the beautiful Robinson Park bandshell. Admission is FREE, so come enjoy music from different genres all day long! Food, beer, soda and bottled water available for purchase. No carry-ins, please.
For more info visit: www.frmgroup.org

Cranberry Blossom Festival Carnival
11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
1st Avenue South between Johnson and Goggins Street, Wisconsin Rapids
Through the whole weekend of Cranberry Blossom Festival enjoy carnival rides, games, and food! This year the carnival is located in Downtown Wisconsin Rapids along the beautiful Wisconsin River. Wristband specials available



Wisconsin Rapids Rafters Baseball Game
6:05 p.m. – 8:05 p.m. Witter Field
Come watch the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters play the Wisconsin Woodchucks! Former Rapids Twins star, Moe Hill will be returning to sign autographs and meet with fans. Don’t miss the Moe Hill bobblehead giveaway.

Sunday, June 18

Cranberry Blossom Fest Parade
12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Hosted by the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce
Gather downtown for a parade which will travel along Oak Street then cross over on 6th Street to East Grand Ave, over the Grand Ave Bridge and continue along West Grand Ave to the Rapids Mall parking lot. This year’s parade will feature members of the University of Wisconsin Marching Band.



Cranberry Blossom Festival Carnival
12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
1st Avenue South between Johnson and Goggins Street, Wisconsin Rapids
Through the whole weekend of Cranberry Blossom Festival enjoy carnival rides, games, and food! This year the carnival is located in Downtown Wisconsin Rapids along the beautiful Wisconsin River. Wristband specials available



Wisconsin Rapids Aqua Skiers Show Team Performance
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Lake Wazeecha
Be entertained and amazed on and off the water by the Wisconsin Rapids Aqua Skiers Show Team, as they present their summer show themed around Mardi Gras. Get ready for lots of color and fun to finish out a great friendly show at Lake Wazeecha (Red Sands Beach).

For the most complete and up-to-date information visit:

Monday, May 15, 2017

5 Ways the Chamber Can Make Your Professional Life Easier


We’re all so busy these days. That’s part of the reason life hacks are so popular. But did you know one of the best professional life hacks is chamber membership? Here’s what you can get out of it to help you do more for your business or professional life with less:

Professional Advice

When you need assistance in business, either to take your business to the next level or maybe you’re thinking about selling your business, the chamber can help. There is no other better-connected business organization in your community. They know the professionals dedicated to your type of business problem and can place you in touch with them. The chamber can also provide assistance when you’re not even sure what kind of business acumen you need because it’s likely they’ve seen similar issues before.  

A New Job

Because the chamber is connected to so many businesses in town, they often know of openings before they are officially announced. They also are aware of businesses that are coming to the area. From job knowledge of what employers want to making introductions, if you’re searching for a job there’s no better place to get involved than with your local chamber.

Applicable Business Learning

If there’s a skill you’re interested in picking up, you can go onto the Interwebs and look around. Maybe you can find a teacher or a mentor virtually, but chances are they don’t know the economy of your town or the obstacles or positives in your community. Plus, when you’re using online learning you never know if it will be worth your time and money.
The chamber offers business learning that is personalized to your community. They offer reasonable rates and local expertise. Learning through the chamber is affordable and improves your networking as you’re doing it.

Building an Audience

Who has time to build an audience? Well, if you want to be successful in business, you need to find the time. But a chamber membership can almost be a life hack in this department because you’re getting exposed to a whole new audience when you connect with the chamber. For instance, let’s say you write a guest blog post for your local chamber. Now a whole new set of eyes is looking at your materials and seeing you as an industry expert. The same could be said if you speak at a lunch and learn session.
Engage with the chamber on social media. Chambers often have large followings and engaging with the chamber places your content in front of their audience.

Get by with a Little Help from Your Friends

Finally, if you’re a small business owner who doesn’t have many business owner friends, you may find you have few people to bounce ideas off of. You may long for a group that faces the same challenges and one that will celebrate your small professional victories, knowing that they’re much larger than they sound.
Joining the chamber exposes you to a whole different group of people, people who understand the importance of business in the economy and ones you can talk to about business without their eyes glazing over. Connections made through chamber membership do more than just cultivate sales for your business. They become lifelong friends and a staunch professional support network.
Don’t join the chamber because it’s an expectation for business success. Join it because of what it’s able to do for you and your business. Membership will make your life easier as it extends your marketing reach and their offerings increase your business knowledge.
Do it for you. Because sometimes, just sometimes, it’s okay to be purely selfish in your motivations.


Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.




Empower yourself with the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce
Useful Links:




1120 Lincoln Street
Wisconsin Rapids, WI


Monday, May 1, 2017

Small Business Advantage

5 Advantages Small Businesses Have Over Large 
(and How to Capitalize on Them)


David and Goliath is a great story, but let’s be honest, when it comes to small business the story often doesn’t have the same ending. We’ve watched it as local bookstores go out of business thanks to Amazon and Barnes & Noble. We saw the local grocer close up shop to “spend more time with family.” But often it’s impossible to compete with the loss leaders of big stores and businesses.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Small businesses (under 150 employees) have several advantages over their larger competition. They just need to know how to leverage them.   

Social Media Is the Great Equalizer

Social media costs small businesses the exact same amount as it does larger ones to participate. Some platforms may roll out features to larger Fortune 100 businesses first, and they may have a better-known brand, but ultimately there’s the same cost of entry for all businesses.
You don’t need a huge marketing budget to get your voice heard on social media. You just need to be willing to invest the time in forming relationships. Let people in and get to know you and they’ll do business with you.

Agility

Small businesses can make decisions on behalf of their customers without large amounts of time consulting layers and layers of management. They can respond to changes in the market more quickly. They don’t need to worry about running things by corporate or sticking with something that isn’t working because it’s a directive. Small business is agile and able to provide customers with what they want quickly, as long as they’re listening.

Their Brand Is Their Own

In addition to making decisions on behalf of customers quickly and easily, a small business can rebrand much more rapidly in response to what their customers need and want. There aren’t decisions being made across the country on the location’s behalf. If they notice customers are receptive to something, they can rebrand or market to meet that need or speak to it.  

Personalized Customer Service

A small business often is able to offer more personalized customer service because the people who work in a small business are closer to the success of the company. They have more of a vested interest and see more of a direct effect in what they do. Employees of large businesses are far removed from the board and CEO. Their mission statement is something on the wall and not something they feel every day.   
Some small businesses have relationships with their repeat customers. They may also have the longevity that makes them experts in their fields. In a large business, employees may be rotated to different departments based on labor needs and they may not have that same depth of knowledge.

Localized Niches

A large company may not bother with localized search and keywords so it’s easier to compete in those areas. Through content and review sites, you can build local brand recognition and authority. Small businesses can go deeper and more specific in content than larger companies can afford to scale. Check out this video on how small businesses can compete with big players in SEO.

A Final Word about Small Business Competition

If you're a small business owner and a large box store just moved into your area, you’re not going to compete with loss leaders and deals. At least not unless you want to take huge revenue hits. Instead, compete in ways that you have the advantage. Get more personal on social media. Show off your expertise. Build know, like, and trust.
Don’t take them on in a show of strength. Appeal to your customer’s emotions. That’s where your skills lie and it’s where your customers will reward you with loyalty.  

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect to their audience through content for higher conversions and greater loyalty. Her articles have appeared in Associations North (formerly Midwest Society of Association Executives’) Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
Christina’s an introvert who loves presenting and working with groups to help improve their storytelling and content marketing, yet she feels incredibly awkward at cocktail parties.