Your Business Advocacy Partner

In a recent article on the value of chambers, Principal of the lobbying firm and our advocacy partner Acuitas, Sarah Hubbard, shared that, “No other organization represents the business community like a chamber of commerce.” In follow-up to the article, an episode of Spotlight Podcasts continued the discussion on the value of chambers, including the role of government relations. The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance knows this to be true and has been hard at work – 16 chambers and economic development organizations and over 7,000 member businesses strong – advocating for rural northern Michigan businesses.

We’ve been here all along – and now more than ever. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we have worked to ensure we best represent you and serve as the voice of business. We’ve done that by calling you, talking with your employees, and collecting your feedback through surveys, like the Regional Reopening Plan. We’ve utilized your feedback to focus our engagement during the crisis on a set of solutions so we can drive the economic recovery of our region.

The Alliance has been working to ensure that businesses have access to resources, and we’ve been advocating for additional resources, like PPP loan funds. We’ve been monitoring important issues to ensure that the northern Michigan perspective is included, like submitting feedback to and meeting with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission on behalf of our bars and restaurants. We’ve helped prep businesses for reopening through industry forums on manufacturing, construction, retail, and more. We know that as a business owner, your time is precious – which is why we’ve worked to connect you with experts – like the unemployment webinar with individuals from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.

In order for us to advocate for you and your business, the Alliance also knows it’s important for us to stay up-to-date on the newest information and be knowledgeable on policies that affect rural northern Michigan. We’ve hosted discussions for our Alliance members so we can better serve you – like a budget boot camp to prep members on the state budget process or a housing discussion on how to address issues amplified by COVID-19.

After weeks of advocacy, the Alliance joined the Governor in announcing the reopening of certain businesses in rural northern Michigan. And while it was certainly an accomplishment to be recognized for our advocacy efforts, we know the hard work is not over; in fact, it’s just begun. We will be relentless until all of our businesses have the opportunity to open safely and our communities may begin the recovery process. Thank you to our business community for your resiliency. It is our honor to support your work and our communities.

ALLIANCE JOINS GOVERNOR IN REOPENING NORTHERN MICHIGAN

Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance members ready to reopen safely

NORTHERN MI – Today, the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance joined Governor Whitmer in announcing the first phase of reopening by retail businesses, restaurants, and bars in the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula, specified as Michigan Economic Recovery Council reporting regions 6 and 8. The Governor signed Executive Order 2020-92, allowing the May 22 reopening of businesses. This news comes after weeks of advocacy from the Alliance and its member organizations. The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance represents 16 chambers and economic development organizations from all across northern Michigan.

Alliance chamber and economic development organizations have all been highly involved at the local level in response to the economic and health crises in their respective communities – and have joined forces to collectively advocate for northern Michigan at the state and federal levels. Rural northern Michigan communities are committed to partnering with public health and implementing clear guidelines for safe operating practices, including expanded health screening and testing, use of PPE, and employing modified social-distancing practices and comprehensive cleaning procedures to avoid future spikes.

Joining the Governor on stage at her press conference to announce the Friday reopening, Stacie Bytwork, the chairperson of the Alliance and president of the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce, stated, “The Governor’s regional plan recognizes there is no one-size-fits-all approach and northern Michigan is ready to lead by example and open safely.” She went on to say, “Our businesses will take these protocols seriously. Their livelihood is on the line.”

This announcement comes after the Alliance, advocating at the state and federal levels since the onset of the pandemic, sent formal communications to the Governor’s office. The Alliance offered several northern Michigan business leaders for inclusion in reopening discussions – and then followed up with a formal request last week that northern Michigan showcase how reopening can safely begin with regions 6 and 8.

The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance continues to support chambers, economic development organizations, and their over 7,000 member businesses by providing timely information and advocating for rural business needs at the state and federal levels. The Alliance is engaged in delivering industry-specific information, access to funding opportunities, and working to ensure the northern Michigan voice is represented in reopening discussions.

About the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance:

The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance is a coalition of chambers and economic development organizations in Alpena, Benzie, Boyne City, Cadillac, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, East Jordan, Elk Rapids, Gaylord, Harbor Springs, Leelanau County, Manistee, Marquette, Petoskey, Sault Area, and Traverse City. The Alliance exists to advocate for rural northern Michigan and move forward rural-centric business policy.

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ALLIANCE SENDS LETTER TO GOVERNOR WHITMER OFFERING TO SHOWCASE REOPENING STRATEGIES IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN

Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance members committed to safe operations following guidelines

NORTHERN MI – The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance sent a letter to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, offering northern Michigan as a test case for implementing clear guidelines and safe operating practices, following the Governor’s regional reopening plan. The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance represents 16 chambers and economic development organizations from all across northern Michigan.

The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance states in the letter, “The Alliance is supportive and excited about the regional reopening plan that you announced late last month, because our organization knows that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Our rural northern Michigan communities are eager to show that our business owners are committed to protocols to keep customers and employees safe”.

Stacie Bytwork, the chairperson of the Alliance and president of the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce, expressed her desire to support businesses in reopening safely. “Northern Michigan is ready to partner with public health in order to take a thoughtful approach to reopening to protect businesses, employees, and customers. We know our businesses take reopening protocol seriously – these businesses are their livelihood.” Amy Clickner, vice-chairperson of the Alliance and CEO of the Lake Superior Community Partnership said, “Our rural northern Michigan communities are experiencing a lower incidence of infection and are prepared to get safely to work so we can ensure the wellbeing of employees, their families, and contribute to state programs that depend on business taxes.”

The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance continues to support chambers, economic development organizations, and their member businesses by providing timely information and advocating for rural business needs at the state and federal levels. The Alliance is engaged in delivering industry-specific information, access to funding opportunities, and working to ensure the northern Michigan voice is represented in reopening discussions.

About the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance:

The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance is a coalition of chambers and economic development organizations in Alpena, Benzie, Boyne City, Cadillac, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, East Jordan, Elk Rapids, Gaylord, Harbor Springs, Leelanau County, Manistee, Marquette, Petoskey, Sault Area, and Traverse City. The Alliance exists to advocate for rural northern Michigan and move forward rural-centric business policy.

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