LEAP Chamber President recaps summer 2019

LEAP Chamber President recaps summer 2019
By: Mike Riehle Last Updated: October 7, 2019

It continues to be a very busy and exciting 2019 for the LEAP staff, members and the community as a whole. We are continuing to not only improve our processes but we have a distinct focus on bringing our membership a quality product while adding value to their businesses. We are only seven months into our transition but each day continues to bring clarity and optimism for great things to come. We want to thank all of you for your continued support in this process and your belief in our mission to make the Great La Porte area a destination for business.

First, we want to highlight the completion of the Downtown Facade Grants. Angela Rose, our Downtown Director, has continued to foster and expand this program with outstanding results. We completed six more buildings downtown in 2019 with bright colors and tremendous facade improvements to our historic Main Street. I encourage those who have not yet stopped to really take in the beautification of our downtown to take time and visit!

LEAP, through the efforts of our Downtown Director, are diligently working to revive and strengthen our La Porte Main Street Association. This group hopes to be the engine to drive not only excitement but economic development activity in our downtown. Angela is actively working to formalize the group and its leadership and recruit active members to the organization. The

La Porte Main Street Association not only acts as the hub to our downtown  but is a vehicle to acquire grant funds for improvements and events locally. Angela Rose presented, and was awarded a grant for $5,000 for the La Porte Togetherhood Project through the INspire Idea Grant at a recent regional Conference. This is only the beginning of opportunities for our local Main Street Association.

Over the past month we have created a partnership with our local La Porte Jaycees young professional group to help enhance the engagement of this sector and to work on creating an environment where our youth embrace not only philanthropic work but professional development. This initiative could go a long way to encouraging our youth to make the Greater La Porte area their home. We will be working with companies over the next several months to incentivize their young employees to get involved in this organization which will pay dividends for years to come. The La Porte Jaycees has been a staple of the La Porte Community and LEAP is thrilled to be a partner in their efforts.

Marketing and membership continues to be a tremendous value add for our business community and Lindsay Jongkind has been taking time to work with our members on ways to promote special events through our social media outlets and over 3,000 followers. She is also on the spot at all of our local ribbon cuttings, special anniversary celebrations, and company expansion events. If you have not reached out to Lindsay or attended one of our "Maximizing Your Membership" sessions please do so! LEAP has created this series to engage our members and to let them know how we can collaborate  to add value to their membership every day. This is a benefit and tool to utilize with your business on ways to improve your presence and networking capabilities with our fellow member organizations and your customers.

LEAP's New Teacher's Luncheon held in August welcomed over 180 attendees to "The Allure" to celebrate our new teachers and educators from the Greater La Porte area. This continues to be an extremely popular event within our business membership who annually come together to provide not only sponsorship of our educator's meal cost but they provide all teachers with much needed supplies and welcome items for their school year.

We just completed the 21st Annual Sunflower Fair on September 21st. For the last 20 years this event has driven significant traffic to our downtown. We want to thank Phyllis Jones for her efforts as the main driver and founder of this event as she will be greatly missed after stepping back to hand over the reins to the 2020 committee. There were over 100 participant vendors and 13 food vendors, along with the traditional car show, rides, local music, rib cook off, art show and many other attractions for our community families to enjoy.

The "La Porte Togetherhood Project" brought to the community by our La Porte County YMCA through their national YMCA efforts was a great initiative that LEAP was glad to support. This event, though shortened by rain and not so wonderful weather, on September 27th & 28th was an example of several community organizations coming together to make this community a better place. The focus was on cleanup to our downtown and the YMCA is looking to coordinate a future time and date to finish items or reschedule the event for a wider focus this spring. For more information please visit Facebook - La Porte 2019 Togetherhood Project.

Made in La Porte County continued its tradition of showcasing our county's manufacturing sector with over 45 vendors and 2,600 local students attending this year's event. This event is free for all involved with a reception held on October 3rd for our vendors and young professionals. The event brought significant traffic to our vendor booths from student and local business representation. We want to thank our partnership with Economic Development Corporation Michigan City and the Michigan City Chamber of Commerce as they continue to be drivers in making this county event a continued success every other year!

Lastly, LEAP wants to "pack the house" for the LEAP Candidate Forum being held on October 24th at the LPHS Performing Arts Center in partnership with the La Porte Jaycees. We have reached out to all candidates and this is shaping up to be a great event to be emceed by our very own Bert Cook. We want to have great community engagement as this will be a significant election for our city and community's future. This is your time to engage your candidates! There will be a forum from 6:00-7:00 PM with a Meet the Candidates session from 7:00-7:30 PM. We want to thank the La Porte Community Schools for providing this wonderful venue for such an important event.

Thank you for your continued support of LEAP!