NEW BUFFALO — Great weather to go with the tropical setting of the Pool Bar at the Four Winds Casino combined for a record attendance for the first “Mixer” gathering of the season of the Harbor Country Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

After a three-month hiatus, Member Services Director Kimberly Wendt started the evening with several of announcements before introducing the hosts for the evening that included Four Winds Casino Resort staff members Tim Adams, Georgia Gessler and Allie Mojsiejenko. Co-sponsors were New Buffalo Savings Bank, represented by President and CEO Dick Sauerman, and Teachers Credit Union (TCU), represented by Anne Fefeman, vice president of commercial and business services. Both representatives stressed the benefits of the pending union between the two savings institutions announced last April, and the benefits that will be brought to both the community and their customers.

“Our customers will become full members of Teachers Credit Union with full access to their wide array of products and services as well as its larger lending limit … It is the kind of partner New Buffalo Savings is proud to be associated with,” Sauerman said, noting TCU’s commitment to its communities through 14,000 volunteer hours last year and donation of more than $750,000. He said TCU, as the largest credit union in Northwest Indiana, has the capacity and scale to meet the concerns of depositors and help its members grow their businesses.

Feferman pointed out the similarities between the two institutions which are focused on service and the core value of reinvesting in the community.

“New Buffalo Savings is a perfect fit.  We both have tremendous resources in both money and people,” Feferman said.

Later at the Mixer Sauerman said “We’re going through the regulatory approval process right now. Since they’re part of the NCUA and we’re part of the FDIC they have different regulators so they both have to approve the transaction.”

He expects to know the results of the approval process in November.

“There’s a lot more coming,” he added.

Wendt began her announcements with the reminder that membership renewals are due in September and can be paid by the easy pay link, cash, check or credit card via phone.

This year’s fall and winter promotion, dubbed “The Undiscovered Season,” was launched at Ship and Shore Festival to capture summer visitors. The special interest tours included in the promotion of year-round businesses will be featured on dedicated pages on the Chamber web site.

The Chamber Board recently approved a three-year strategic plan and committees on marketing, membership, economics and finance are setting their tasks and goals in support of the plan. Volunteers are welcome to serve on the committees and also as a Chamber ambassador.

The Chamber’s annual meeting is set for Thursday, Oct. 24, in the vineyard at Tabor Hill Winery. The evening will include a review of the strategic plan, the annual budget, the 2019 annual report and installation of new board members.  Tickets and table sponsorships for the limited seating are available through the Chamber office.

She said ad sales for the 2020 Harbor Country Guide have begun, with premium cover positions and member spotlight articles offered on a first-come basis, followed soon by display ad sales.  Members will be notified by email and links in the member newsletter. Distribution will begin on Thursday, March 26, at the Spring Break Out Party.

The Chamber will be represented at the Three Oaks Wurstfest on Saturday, Sept. 21, and the Harvest and Wine Festival in New Buffalo on Saturday, Oct. 12.

New members announced during the meeting included Cathriona Fey and Eric Neagu from Antero Group, Betsy Nelson and Dallas Smith from Designsmithspaces, Toni Priebe from Grand Home Automation, Mindy McNeil from The Barn of Three Oaks and Bob Miller and H. A. Jenkins from Three Oaks Perfect.

When the microphone was offered to members, Susan Matheny, program manager at the Berrien Community Foundation, urged members to check the Foundation’s website for deadlines for upcoming grants. 

Chikaming Township Supervisor Dave Bunte said The Cherry Beach Committee was within $100,000 of its goal to match the grant for the purchase of Cherry Beach and urged members to contribute before the Sept. 30 deadline.  

Darlene Heemstra of the Harbor Country Rotary Club said the organization doubled its mum sales and will be selling Amish Cheese at the Three Oaks Wurstfest on Saturday, Sept. 21. She said the funds are used to support the group’s projects for local elementary students.

The next Chamber mixer will be Wednesday, Oct. 9, at The Peasant’s Pantry in Sawyer, co-hosted by Falatic’s Meat Market.

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