Being a fairly recent residence of the Merrill area gives me a fresh look as to how the city is growing and the areas that still need work. Chambers can play a huge roll in this process and help with that success. It is important for the Chamber to feel the pulse of the area businesses from the employers with hundreds of employees to the one person shops. It takes all of these businesses to make a great community.
We lived in Verona WI (5 miles west of Madison) for 34 years. We did not do a lot with the community for the first few years, then I served on the town board for two years, joined the Optimists, served on the Chamber board and was President at one time. My wife and I worked with a group that ran the local festival for 15 years before making the move to Merrill. In Verona we started a Well Pump business and my wife opened and ran a gift and antiques store and we had two commercial buildings that we rented portions out. All these things gave me plenty of opportunity to be involved with the other businesses, local government and lots of people.
Our first connection with Merrill came through the Chamber as most newcomers do. The packet we received made us aware of all the things the community had to offer. After buying a commercial property and with the help and support of the city government we built 88 self storage units and converted the City Wide Storage to an office building. Joining the Chamber was a good business step to get involved with the city and meet other business owners. Being asked to be on the board allowed me access to the true workings of the Chamber and the city.
The Chamber is the true hub of information for the city. It is amazing to hear all the calls that come into the office seeking information about the city and who to contact for information on projects and events in the city. When a new customer comes into your store or office it is often times due to a referral from the Chamber but you may never know it. The Chamber works on bring tourism to town also and promoting our business community. These are some the things that people look for when they are looking for a place to start a family, locate a business or retire to. By supporting our Chamber, that in turn makes this community a better place to live and grow.
Randy Wixson 2017 Board Chairman