Orion Township Supervisor Chris Barnett, Orion Area Chamber of Commerce board Chair Angela Delpup, Orion Area Chamber president and CEO Joyce Donaldson and GM Orion Plant Director Jeff Roeschke all discussed the impact the chamber has had on the area during the chamber’s member appreciation breakfast on Jan. 31. Photo by Jim Newell.
By Jim Newell
ORION TWP. — The Orion Area Chamber of Commerce is growing and experienced one of its largest years of growth in 2023 when 58 businesses, organizations or individuals joined the chamber ranks.
The chamber now has 311 members and Chamber President and CEO Joyce Donaldson attributes the growth to more businesses in the community learning about how the chamber supports area businesses.
“I think with the help of The Lake Orion Review and ONTV and our board members and ambassadors getting out the good word about how the chamber does support small businesses they’re literally calling us every day to join,” Donaldson said. “They basically call us because they want to be a part of something that is greater than themselves. They want the support of the chamber and business community. With all of the support that we offer I think they feel us wrapping our arms around them to support them, whether they’re a new business, an existing business or a longtime business. I think they see the chamber being more active and they want to be part of it.”
The news came during the chamber’s annual membership meeting on Jan. 31 at the Orion Center, along with the chamber’s annual report which details the activities of the chamber and membership.
While there are many networking opportunities within the chamber for businesses to gain exposure, the business owners also feel a strong connection to the Orion community and want to find ways to contribute, Donaldson said.
“Many of our members are very community-oriented. Yes, they’re getting involved in the chamber but they’re also getting to know nonprofits and supporting the nonprofits. At Christmastime the Lions Club reached out to us and said, ‘Hey, we know you have great relationships with the credit unions, could you give us the name of your contact people?’ We gave them the contacts and through that they were able to get financial donations, baskets and turkeys. So, (businesses) are really interested in helping the community. That’s just one example but it’s one example that I’m really proud of. And the financial institutions all came back to me and thanked me for getting them in touch with the Lions Club.”
“This is the best chamber in America. I am not biased,” said Orion Township Supervisor Chris Barnett. “Thank you for supporting our chamber, for supporting our community and supporting each other. I love watching the ribbon cutting videos because it’s amazing to see the investment that’s happening over and over every day in our community. On top of that, to hear the success from the new business owners who moved here, who chose Orion Township to plant their flag, to hear that some of their best customers are their repeat customers, or are referring clients, are members of the chamber of commerce.”
Barnett added that he appreciates the locally-owned businesses who have chosen to make Orion Township their home for business, and personal, investment.
“The Ignite Taverns and the Old Detroits and the Johnny Blacks and the small businesses that are people who live and work and raise their kids here thrive,” Barnett said. “I think that’s really unique about our community and I love that about our community.”
Over the past year, Donaldson is most appreciative of how active chamber members are within the chamber and the community.
“I think I’m most proud of the involvement. Just looking at this room today, 125 people came out to learn about what we did last year and look to the future because they want to be more involved. And many of them are those 58 new members that we received last year,” Donaldson said.
Some 2023 Orion Area Chamber of Commerce highlights include:
· The chamber gave out approximately 450 welcome bags in 2023 to new residents, homeowners, associations and businesses.
· The creation of the Good Morning Legislative Breakfast and the State of the Community Address, both for chamber members to hear from local, state and federal government leaders.
· Creating new committees and increasing committee participation.
· Educational workshops, Small Business Appreciation Walks and Commerce and Connections Roundtables.
· The chamber held 76 events, programs, ribbon cuttings and meetings in 2023, including seven signature events, from the Impact Awards program to the Women in Business Conference.
To learn more about the Orion Area Chamber of Commerce, visit the chamber’s website, www.orionareachamber.com, call the office at 248-693-6300 or email email@example.com.