The New Buffalo Business Association held their annual business meeting and holiday party Thursday, Dec 1, in the Terrace Room at the Harbor Grand in New Buffalo.
Members mingled and enjoyed light bites and cocktails amidst the festive holiday trees and decorations.
Two guest speakers attended the meeting and gave overviews of the projects they chair. City of New Buffalo Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Chair Robert Kemper gave an update on the downtown development project and Rich Kochanny, Chair of the New Buffalo Township Corridor Improvement Authority (CIA), gave an update on Exit 1 and Exit 4 improvement plans.
Executive Director Cathi Rogers gave an overview of the 2016 NBBA events and presented the 2017 goals. She said that in 2016, the NBBA held more than 54 days of events and activities with more than 200 vendors participating. Fifteen percent of those participating represented local business and non-for-profits organizations. She stated that more than 100 community volunteers worked the events, all of which raised more than $45,000 in sponsorship dollars. She estimated more than 35,000 visitors attended the events and visited the area in 2016.
The 2016 events included: Bev’s Ball, Saturday Nights Alive, New Buffalo Farmers Market, Classic Car Cruise, ARTigras, Fourth of July weeklong celebration, Ship & Shore Festival, Harvest & Wine Festival and the holiday events. The NBBA also participated in other co-sponsored community and business events, such as the Easter Egg Hunt, Michigan’s Longest Garage Sale, City/DDA Community Picnic, Halloween Parade, Miss New Buffalo Pageant and Shop Small Saturday.
New on the 2017 calendar of events will be a Beer Festival in April, an expanded summer Farmers Market and additional holiday activities, which will encompass Lions Park and the new City Christmas tree.
Rogers said the NBBA plans to also expand and create additional member benefits. The organization also pledged to align their focus to help the DDA and CIA with long-term program initiatives to benefit the area all year.
She thanked the following key supporters and sponsors of events that were held throughout the past year: The Pokagon Fund, City of New Buffalo, New Buffalo Township, Four Winds Casino, Marina Grand/Harbor Grand, New Buffalo Savings Bank, Fusion Design Group and New Buffalo Times.
Rogers also said that the NBBA donated approximately $6,000 in revenue sharing to non-profits in 2016. Those receiving funds for donating their time at the Ship and Shore Festival were: New Buffalo Lion’s Club, New Buffalo Sports, Inc., New Buffalo Rail Road Museum and Rotary of Harbor Country.
The 2016 Board of Directors were: Ric Heath, President-Heath & Co; Karen Poff, Vice President-Horizon Bank; Emma Brewster, Secretary-David’s Deli; Karen Gear, Treasurer-Fifth Third Bank; Katie Maroney-Equilibrium Fitness; Jan Vallon-PJ’s Ladies Casual Wear; Lisa Gawron-The Hidden Gem and Lori Robinson-MI Massage Studio. Returning to the Board in 2017 are: Poff, Heath, Brewster, Gear, Maroney, Gawron and Robinson.