MARQUETTE — After nearly five years in operation, the Marquette Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted at its October 4 regular meeting to dissolve, effective November 1, 2019. Started in 2015 with a staff of one, the Chamber pioneered the Be Local Buy Local program, Marquette 365 Community Calendar, Evolve Creative Chamber, and Ampersand Co-working in downtown Marquette. These programs will continue unimpeded under the guidance of other organizations in the business community.
While these programs have been largely successful, the Chamber model as the founders initially envisioned – to cooperatively support the business community of Marquette – is not sustainable.
When the interim executive director left in early 2019, it became clear that in order to operate, the Chamber needed twice the number of members they had to adequately pay a staff person, but needed a staff person to obtain and adequately serve those members. It was the classic “chicken or the egg” dilemma and over time the Board realized the organization could no longer sustain in order to effectively support its members.
With a number of local and regional nonprofits serving businesses, the Chamber Board is satisfied with their decision. Travel Marquette, Lake Superior Community Partnership, Innovate Smartzone, Invent@NMU, and on a regional level, Invest UP, Accelerate UP, Small Business Development Center, and Northern Initiatives are all available to serve businesses both large and small. The Board believes the business community in the Marquette area is very well-supported.
The Chamber Board would like to thank the many individuals, businesses, and organizations who have invested their time, talents and financial resources in the organization throughout the years.