OSAGE | For the first time in several years, the Osage Chamber of Commerce held an annual meeting, at the Cedar River Complex, on Monday, Jan. 29, to celebrate a successful year in the city of Osage.
During the event, Osage Chamber Director Kati Henry shared the chamber’s 2018-2021 strategic plan, the 2018-2019 business plan, in addition updated chamber members on the future of the chamber as well as overall successes achieved in 2017.
“We are focused on getting returns on our investments for our members,” said chamber board president Michelle Richardson. “We are really looking at how the things we are doing are going to bring people into the community to visit or live, and how the things we are doing will bring prosperity and investment to the community.”
Richardson added Osage had been without a proper chamber director for over a year, and during that time, membership to the chamber had grown stagnant. Since Henry’s arrival, she has been focused on enhancing the overall visibility of the chamber, as well as expanding chamber membership and helping to establish a new chamber office on Main Street.
“Everyone has brought different strengths and diversity to the chamber board,” Richardson said. “Kati has been an absolute joy. We are so blessed to have her. I talk to her several times a week, and I can call her up and suggest we do something and she’s already done it.”
Henry told those in attendance the chamber was wasn’t just a group planning events and doing ads, but also looked to develop community leaders, and be at the forefront of tourism in Osage and Mitchell County.
In addition, Henry thanked those who had sponsored events in 2017.
“Without you, our events would not be possible,” Henry said. “The money expended in Mitchell County on travel, lodging, food, gas and more, places us significantly higher than surrounding counties. It’s important to recognize the businesses on Main Street and preserve that presence.”
For the Chamber’s Great Holiday Giveaway, Henry announced $90,000, in tracked purchases, were made in Osage during the promotion.
Henry also said since becoming director, she had created a contact log and had received roughly sixty calls for referrals.
“When I am making those referrals, our members come first,” Henry said.
“Last year we had several ribbon cuttings, and I’m excited for what’s to come in 2018,” Henry said. “In addition, we did about 115 welcome bags for new residents, of Osage, much of that was handled by our volunteers Cathy Gettman and Diana Nicolai, who do an amazing job of putting them together.”
Henry said, in addition to the chamber becoming more fiscally responsible in the year to come, the chamber is also working on expanding networking and participating in business after hours each month.
“We’re working on getting a new Osage visitor’s guide with maps,” Henry said. “We’ve increased our social media presence and are doing a lot more with promoting events there. We look to continue to support Osage area businesses.”
In 2017, the chamber board, with the assistance of the Osage City Council, purchased a building on Main Street. This space will become the new home of the chamber office, something Henry said will also increase the overall visibility of the Osage Chamber of Commerce.