The St. James Chamber of Commerce Banquet is an annual event which works both to entertain and inform local chamber members. The 2012 Chamber Banquet was held at the VFW in St. James with about 70 members of the chamber and guests in attendance.
The night had Irish dinner and Irish entertainment from Mapleton in the form of the Mapleton Kilties. Amy Kortuem, a harpist, was also invited to play her harp for the audience. Kortuem entertained the audience with jokes as she played music she had written. There are photos and video of the entertainers online at the Plaindealer website.
The night’s main focus was the introduction of 2013 Chamber Board Members and a review of what the chamber will be working toward for 2013.
The Chamber is hoping to increase membership in 2013 while adding value to the benefit of being a chamber member.
The chamber is an advocate for the business community, it was formed to advance the welfare and prosperity of the St. James area in order to help the community prosper. The chamber mission statement says “all necessary means of promotion shall be provided and particular attention shall be given to the economic, civic, commercial, cultural, industrial and educational interests in the area.”
Tabitha Johnson, the newly appointed chamber director has worked hard to ensure that the chamber helps the community by bringing costumers to St. James. Recently, Johnson brought a December Holiday Parade to St. James, which will continue on into 2013. Johnson also introduced the Chillabration, a winter celebration for St. James, which raised more than $6,000 in one hour during the polar plunge for area non-profits.
Coming in April will be the Agriculture banquet, in which a student from St. James will be selected for an Ag. scholarship. The Chamber will also be holding their annual Railroad Days Run this summer. All of these special events highlight St. James and drive people to the area.
The chamber brought in $53,195 in 2012 while spending just $50,574. Being a member of the chamber of commerce offers opportunities that businesses may not have otherwise. Chamber members are given the advantage when it comes to representation as a business, because many tourists will ask the chamber about different destinations for car repair, food or supplies.
Chamber members can also spread their advertising budget to different media outlets for the cost of one, by bundling with other chamber members for special events. The re are many benefits to being a member of the chamber of commerce.
This years executive committee members for the Chamber of Commerce are President Ellie Kulseth from St. James Electric, Vice President Jenn Mathistad from DODA-USA, Treasurer Jen Gilbertson from Pioneer Bank, Secretary Sami Dougherty from Good Samaritan Society and Past President Kevin Christenson from Pioneer Bank.