Monthly Archives: November 2016

Much to be Thankful for!

Before ushering in the cold and snow, this past weekend offered a warm start to the holiday season.  Right after Thanksgiving, the Holiday Lights parade took place Friday night, with Small Business Saturday following the next day.  Both of which made for a fruitful and productive weekend!   Do you want to know who the winner was?

This year’s Holiday Lights parade was our largest yet – with over 30 floats.  Area businesses put a lot of hard work into making a fun Friday evening for the community.  I kinda felt bad for our judges – as the floats were all so well done it was so hard to choose which ones were the best!  But it made for a great evening.  Besides being decorated and lit up, the floats offered candy, some stuffed animals, hot cocoa, music and more to the record breaking crowd.  The evening topped off with Williston Parks and Rec lighting the holiday lights at Harmon Park – which you can still see every evening!

Small Business Saturday was just as much fun!  Getting some shopping done on a beautiful warm (for late November!) day was not just how I spent my Saturday, but how many others did as well.  And shoppers didn’t just make out on sales – the businesses who participated in Small Business Saturday benefited as well!

Diane Satermo, owner of Cedar Chest noted, “It was excellent and fun! Steady flow of customers all day, many who have never been to the store before.  Customers really enjoyed the special discount in the clearance room.”

“Small Business Saturday is always a fun time with our key customers. Customers loved the sales and warm weather. People were walking all over north and south downtown!” said Angela Skogen owner of Cooks on Main.

“It was my second year participating in Small Business Saturday and it was just as much fun as the last one!  People are in a great mood, there was a ton of foot traffic, the Christmas music is flowing and the sales are a bonus!” said Dana Johnson, owner of Little Muddy Gifts.   “Thanks to everyone who came out and supported our community’s small businesses!  We greatly appreciate your patronage all year long!”

Lenny Johnson, owner of Starboard said, “I’m encouraged by the continued effort put into Small Business Saturday.  It’s important that we continue to educate everyone on the importance of shopping, not only locally, but in small businesses.  Small Business Saturday for Starboard, as a company, increased nearly 15%!  A fantastic kick off to the holiday shopping season!”

So do you want to know who the winner was?  All of us!  When we all work together we will continue to see great results – for our businesses and for our community!  Now that’s what I call the United Business Community.  And the Chamber is proud to Champion that!

Oh wait!  You want to know which FLOAT was the winner?  Ah!  Well thanks to our wonderful Mayor Howard Klug, City Administrator David Tuan, and County Commissioner Steve Kemp judging for us, we do have winners.  But as I mentioned it wasn’t an easy job.   We have 2 ties!  The 22nd annual Holiday Lights Parade float winners are Dark Acres and Prairie Rattlers Motorcycle Club!  They tied for 1st place each receiving 84 out of 90 points.  Tied for 3rd place are American State Bank & Trust and Williston Home and Lumber with 73 points!

Congratulations!!  Thank you to all our businesses for being involved in our parade this year.  As I reflect that Thanksgiving has come and gone so fast, I can’t help but be thankful.  I am thankful that the weather held out to allow for more people to come out and see what a great community this is.  I am thankful for Bekka, Kelsey, and Shawna, all our volunteers, and the many businesses who participated to make last weekend a success!  And I am thankful for the Williston Area Community and I look forward to the new things to come in the New Year!




Keeping You Informed – Cell Towers, Signs, Roads…

As the city grows, there is much discussion and planning to determine on how the region develops – but it doesn’t occur in a vacuum – or at least it shouldn’t.  The Chamber aims to keep you informed:  our newsletters and blogs will notify you of what is going on.  You can always visit our website newsroom  to find out more details.  Items like the comprehensive land use plan and the transportation plan (portions of US Hwy 2 and 1804) – which address our region’s growth – are open for public review and input.  You may recall the sign ordinance – the Chamber and others were key in getting some important changes included in that ordinance.   Most recently, the Planning & Zoning Commission has begun discussions on updating the City’s overall cell tower ordinance to incorporate new technologies.  Most of us use smart phones – think about how improvement on the cellular services in our area will impact our ability to do business.  Some of you may have more of an opinion on this than others, depending on your use, but the commission is seeking input from the community.  If you have specific needs, thoughts or information on cellular services please take some time to provide feedback.  Visit our website or take the survey now.

You may not be able to attend commission meetings, but information discussed and decided upon at city and county meetings are important for you to know.  The Chamber’s website is the place that you can go to for easy access to this information.   So, check back often to our website.   Be informed and provide input – help shape the community where you live and work into the way you want and need for your business.


Small Business Saturday – November 26th

Shopping local is not a new concept – it’s what everyone did before we became so global.  American Express founded ‘Small Business Saturday’ six years ago as a special day to celebrate and support our small businesses.  The Chamber, along with the Williston Downtowners Association, has signed onto Small Business Saturday as a coalition member because we agree: “when small businesses succeed, we all do”.   If you’ve been following the Chamber Blog, you have read about our emphasis on shopping local and making Williston strong.   The natural result of spending money where you live is a stronger community and thriving businesses.  We should shop local all the time – but plan to shop Williston specifically on November 26th!  Invite your friends and make a day of it.  Stop by any of the coffee shops in between shopping at the stores and take a break to eat at one of the many restaurants around town too while you’re at it!


If you’re a business owner, you can help spread the word as well – we have promotional materials to help you market this day to your customers.  Look for an email from the Chamber or contact Kelsey  for more information.  Visit for custom materials.  You can also send us any details on deals, coupons, special holiday hours, etc. and we will get that information up on our website for the community to see.   There is information from American Express on how customers can receive double points.  We will be passing out information to the Holiday Lights Parade watchers the day before.

Help spread the word – tell your co-workers, friends and family!  Join communities all over the country and unite on November 26th to support our local businesses.

#willistonwide #shopsmall #shopwillistonwide


Just 7 Days…

Happy Election Month!  Whether you are still undecided or can’t wait to cast your vote and for the elections to be over – voting is still an undeniable obligation and privilege we hold in this country.   Across the country there have been record breaking number of voter registrations, but North Dakota is different:  you don’t need to register.  You do, however, need to prepare.   If you haven’t lived at a ND address by October 9th, you should check with your state of residence for voter registration requirements.  Otherwise, find your polling location  (note that some may have changed since your last vote) and show up with your ID (proof of residency) on November 8th during the times the polls are open.

But I urge you not to simply show up.  This is an important election.  And not just because of the Clinton or Trump choice.  All elections are important.  This year North Dakotans get to vote for our Governor, Senator, US House of Representatives, Public Service Commissioner, Insurance Commissioner, State Treasurer, ND Justice of the Supreme Court, ND District House Representatives, and County Commissioners. The people we choose to put into office (for the next 2, 4 or even 6 years) make decisions that truly affect our lives.  Particularly on a local level.  Our County and City commissioners oversee numerous departments – anything from the roads we take to work, to social services we need, to the protection provided by our police and fire departments.

Our local representatives work at the state level to be a voice for our needs and issues here in Western North Dakota.  All the infrastructure improvements you’ve seen in the area are in part possible because of state funding and the working partnerships of those representatives at the state and local levels.

Beyond the people we are electing there are also 5 ballot measures to consider:  Residency requirements for State Legislators, Allocation of oil extraction taxes for education, Crime Victims’ rights, Tobacco Tax, and Medical Marijuana….You may have heard of a few but you can review the details here to determine which way you will vote. The Chamber’s aims to provide candidate forums proving you with the information on the candidates and issues at the local level.  If you missed the one we held last month you can find some information the Williston Herald wrote on it here. The Secretary of State website has great information.  Additionally, the North Dakota Living Magazine ( did a great piece on the ND November elections– you can view it here.

I urge you to refuse the notion that your vote doesn’t make a difference.  It most certainly does!  All our votes matter.  It’s our responsibility and opportunity to help shape our way of life.

So do your homework, be prepared and make a difference.  Vote!


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