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Jam-packed Summer!!

Summer is SUCH a busy time for the city of Williston, there is almost never a ‘quiet’ week!

6.13 blogFrom Lemonade Day in June to Rockin’ Ribfest in July the Williston Chamber has been busy as well, and we do not plan on slowing down anytime soon. This Saturday is packed to the max with events to attend including the 2019 Veteran’s Golf Scramble and the Paw-Pup Café!

The Veteran’s Golf Scramble is hosted at Eagle Ridge Golf Club, beginning with a shotgun start at 9 AM sharp. There is still plenty of time to throw a team together to compete for the $599 grand prize! With 18 holes on the course, there is something different to do at each one.

The Paw-Pup Café is the August social for the Young Professionals, a the Mondak Animal Rescue from  12 pm – 2 pm. There will be a monster cookie treat with a choice of drink provided by Deja Brew. This event is for all ages, families are encouraged to attend.  The Paw-Pup Café is free to attend but a free will donation to Mondak Animal Rescue will be graciously accepted!

The month of August closes with the Teacher Appreciation Reception on August 26th, and we are still accepting door prizes donations for this event. September is to be just as busy, with the Level-Up Business Conference and the Helping Hands Nonprofit Expo!

The Level-Up Business Conference is hosted by the Williston Chamber in the Skadeland Gym on the Williston State College campus on September 5th from 9 am – 2 pm. The keynote speaker is Pat Bertagnolli, VP of Human Resources at MBI Energy Services. His testimony of Growth & Retention Strategies can be applied in any sort of business or organization. The Conference will also touch base on Workforce Recruitment & Retention, Practical HR Information and more!

 The Helping Hands Nonprofit Expo takes place Saturday, September 21st in conjunction with the Main Street Market from 9 am – 12 pm. This event gives the nonprofits of Williston a chance to gain exposure, recruit volunteers, and promote their cause free of charge!

With so much going on this season its easy to lose track of time, so mark your calendars and follow the Williston Area Chamber of Commerce on Facebook to stay up to date with the latest information!

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Misha’s Intern Reflections

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The last ten weeks I spent at the Williston Area Chamber of Commerce were more trans-formative than I could have imagined. I expected to come to Williston, work, and then leave. However, through my internship at the Chamber, I feel more connected to Williston than even my college city of Spokane, WA.

I’ve come to know many of the community activists and organizers in this city. From our Chamber board to the shop owners, there are so many people who care about making Williston a better place to live. This outlook rubbed off on me. I’m excited for what this city has to offer its ever-growing population. Who knows, I might even end up here after I graduate. I’d love to help grow this community with all the people who have worked so hard to make Williston what it is.

Since I’ve been a part of the Williston community, I’ve gone to countless ribbon cuttings, committee meetings, and events aimed at improving Williston. I loved all the events and taking part in the organization process made me gain respect for event planners. I feel that Baily, Amanda and Rachel also shared a passion for making these events perfect.

Once everything is worked out, the events are awesome! That’s when we get to visit with the community and show off our hard work. Even though many people may never know that the Chamber of Commerce organizes Ribfest and Lemonade Day, the events themselves are a reward, and there sure are a lot of them.

It’s hard for some people to believe how much can happen in a city in North Dakota, but as I’ve heard a true Williston native say, “If you think there’s nothing to do in Williston, you aren’t paying attention.”

I want to thank everyone for making my time in Williston so special. The Chamber staff, the Cooks on Main staff, my fellow interns, Jim Powers, Vicki Hucke and all the others I’ve met along the way have made this internship truly unique. It is an experience and a city worth a five-star review.

Meet the Staff!

Between new people and a new office location these past few months have been a whirlwind of productive change for the Williston Area Chamber of Commerce!

In mid-April the Chamber announced we were moving from their downtown Williston location to the Landmark Building on W Dakota Parkway. In a weeks time Rachel Richter Lordemann became President of the Williston Area Chamber of Commerce, after serving as the Member Relations Manager for the past 2 years.

Amidst these changes the Williston Area Chamber of Commerce has returned to almost a full staff. Consider this your official introduction to our new faces!

Amanda Dickey

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With a long-standing career in the Media/Broadcasting industry, Amanda has an extensive background in Marketing, Public Speaking and Events.  Amanda has worked at Cherry Creek Media since moving to Williston, most recently as Sales Manager.  She has performed at several Williston Chamber events with her local band, was the emcee for last year’s Ribfest, and has been a Chamber Ambassador for three years.

“I’m really excited to be such an integral part of the Chamber and look forward to working with area businesses while planning and building annual events for the community!”

Amanda lives in Williston with her husband Tom, President/CEO of Williston Fire & Safety and LineFinders, and son Justin.

Baily Scott

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My name is Baily Scott, I moved from Alabama to North Dakota in March of 2019, I had never been to North Dakota prior to my move. I graduated from Jacksonville State University in December 2018 with a bachelor’s in Communications. On the weekends you can find me hitting the trails or exploring new places!

Misha Krivoruchko

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I am the new Marketing and Event Planning Intern. I am currently enrolled at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. I am studying Finance and Operations & Supply Chain Management. Being from San Francisco area, Williston has given me a much-needed change of pace. In my few weeks here, I’ve been working on a new business to business mentorship program as well as various other odds and ends around the Chamber. Outside of the Chamber, I love going to the ARC and biking around Williston. My stay here is short, but I’m hoping to make the most of it by attending as many of the events in the city as I can.

You can meet the full Chamber Staff at our Open House and Ribbon Cutting on June 26th from 11:00am-1:00pm!

Kimberly’s Internship Reflections

What an amazing summer I’ve had in Williston! If you would have asked me how I was feeling before I came to North Dakota, I would have said several things:

I’m worried my internship won’t be enjoyable. I’m worried I won’t be able to meet my co-workers’ expectations. I hope I won’t be bored in Williston. I’m nervous about making new friends with the interns.

Looking back now, it’s comical how stressed I was over an experience that has turned out to be so incredible. As the Events & Marketing Intern at the Williston Area Chamber of Commerce this summer, I have experienced invaluable learning opportunities and have been encouraged to take initiative at every turn. I have attended countless committee meetings, seen every step of the event planning process, produced various types of marketing communications, and met so many community members whose support for one another is truly inspiring. I have learned that in Williston, if you don’t directly know someone who can help you get the job done, guaranteed there is someone you do know who knows a guy, who knows a friend, who will absolutely help you.

Though I’ve had the privilege of participating in many community events and activities throughout my internship, I do have a few favorites:

  1. Getting to take pictures on the Media Tour on Lemonade Day: Even though I was force-feeding myself after two straight hours of sugar consumption, it was incredible to see how professional those young entrepreneurs were! The fact that they opened their stands despite the rain was awesome! Lemonade Day inspired me to stock my glovebox with $1 bills, so whenever I passed a lemonade stand on the street, I was prepared to pull over and visit.
  2. Rockin’ Ribfest: This event felt like my baby. I loved seeing all the Chamber’s and the Ribfest volunteers’ hard work come together into such a successful community event! And the ribs were pretty fantastic. All the Gonzaga interns enjoyed themselves!
  3. Ribbon Cuttings: It was exciting for me to be part of a new business’ successful opening in Williston. When I visited those businesses later, it felt more personal since I had been there at their Ribbon Cutting.
  4. Working with such an energetic staff with a mentality of “failure is not an option” inspired me daily as an intern. When a plan didn’t pan out for an event, my co-workers always took the news in stride and immediately hatched a back-up plan. Even with no Chamber President, one full-time staff member out with an injury, and a Gonzaga intern on the way, my Chamber staff made it work and somehow kept everything on track!

A lot of community members have asked me how I’ve liked Williston. Now, I can respond honestly and say I have truly enjoyed myself. I’ve come to love custard from Culver’s, I’ve gotten so much coffee from Caffeinated that Precious (best barista ever!) memorized my order, I’ve looked forward to playing sand volleyball every Wednesday night at Spring Lake Park, and I’ve come to understand why everyone from Williston freaks out about the ARC – it’s awesome. I’ve confirmed that people from North Dakota really love Theodore Roosevelt (like A LOT). I’m still not exactly sure what’s in knoephla soup, but it’s pretty yummy. Lastly, I will forever be a little obsessed with prairie dogs.

Overall, this internship was a one-of-a-kind experience. You can be sure that I will practically preach about my incredible time in Williston to my fellow Zags when I get back to campus.

In the true spirit of North Dakota, I’d like to end with a quote that truly captures my experience in Williston this summer.

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

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Thank you to my co-workers, my fellow interns, and all the incredible people I’ve met along the way for leaving footprints in my heart and making Williston such a hard place to leave.

Much love,

Kimberly Lonowski

Gonzaga University Class of 2020

Back to School!

Can you believe that it’s August tomorrow!? Although there are still a few weeks left of Summer, the start of August always seems to be the time when we get excited for cool Autumn days and Back to School! If you haven’t already noticed, Wal-Mart and other local stores have been in Back to School mode for a couple of weeks already: school supply lists are on display, and orange and black attire has hit the shelves.

I grew up in Williston, and for most of my life it was very common to take a trip East on Highway 2 any time we needed to do some major shopping – and especially for Back to School! We’d always leave after Church on a Sunday and make it to our destination by the time stores opened at Noon, armed with our school supply lists and ready to find the best First Day and Picture Day Outfits!

Luckily, Williston has grown a lot since my elementary school years! 😉 There is such a common misconception that Williston cannot offer the shopping opportunities of a larger city, but I’m excited to tell you that is not true!

Everything you need for Back to School at any age can be found right here in Williston. School & Art Supplies, Clothing & Backpacks for your elementary student; Locker Décor for your middle schooler; Technology for your WHS Coyote and everything you could need to make a dorm room home (click here for our Dorm Shopping Guide)!

So, there is really no longer much of a need to drive two hours to shop; and now, our locally owned businesses are making it even easier for you to Shop Local – especially if you want to keep your Sunday shopping tradition alive like I do!

Shop First Sunday allows you to shop on your time, in your town. Your favorite retailers are now opening up the First Sunday of Each Month to give you the chance to shop on your only day off, spend a relaxing afternoon with your family, or just enjoy me time before the start of busy work week!

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This weekend is the First Sunday of August, and the perfect time to get a head start on that Back to School shopping! Check out our Facebook event to see a full list of participating businesses and their hours (some will open at Noon, some at 1:00pm). We can’t wait to see you out and about, enjoying your local retailers this Sunday!

–Rachel

Williston Area Chamber of Commerce Holds Rockin’ Ribfest

The Williston Area Chamber of Commerce held Rockin’ Ribfest on July 14th at Williston State College. Community members came out to enjoy the many food and craft vendors, live entertainment, and of course, ribs! This year, there were eight rib teams: G-Style Transport, Purity Oilfield Services, Nemont, KLX Energy Services, ACME Tools and E&M Services, Target Lodging, Western Area Water Supply Authority, and Whiting Oil & Gas.

Throughout the day, attendees were entertained with live music from The Jensen Sisters, Jade’s Agenda, and the Dirty Word band. The kids zone was also a big hit, as it featured inflatables, laser tag, water games, face painting, and an obstacle course. Other events included the Little Mr. and Miss Rockin’ Ribfest baby pageant, bingo, and the Rib Eating Competition. For this competition, each rib team sent one representative to the stage to eat as many ribs as possible in six minutes. After six minutes, there was a 3-way tie at 14 ribs, and so the three contestants went into a 1-minute sudden death round. Slater Williams from KLX won by a landslide, and he was crowned Rib Eating Champion! Famous Dave’s sponsored and emceed this event. Rib Teams also competed in a corn hole tournament, which Western Area Water Supply Authority won.

Shortly before 4pm, ribs were presented to a panel of five judges. This year, judges included Mayor Howard Klug, Meghan Wittmis, Allyson Helde, Mark Owan, and Sean Scott. The judges scored ribs based on appearance, tenderness, and taste.

At 4pm, over 1,400 pounds of ribs were ready to be served to the public for tasting and fan favorite voting. The ribs sold out by 6pm!

At 6pm, after the Ribfest raffle, the following awards were announced:

Best Ribs (based on judges’ scores)

1st Place: Target Lodging

2nd Place: Nemont

3rd Place: Purity Oilfield

Fan Favorite (based on public votes)

Whiting Oil & Gas

Best Decorated Booth

1st Place: ACME Tools and E&M Services (Rock n’ Roll theme)

2nd Place: Whiting Oil & Gas (Hawaiian theme)

Breadwinner (most raffle tickets sold)

ACME Tools and E&M Services (345 Ribfest raffle tickets sold)

With a variety of food and craft vendors, live entertainment, delicious ribs, and an abundance of activities throughout the day, Rockin’ Ribfest 2018 was a great success. The Williston Area Chamber of Commerce would like to thank all our sponsors, donors, and volunteers for supporting this event!

Rockin’ Ribfest 2018 Sponsors:

Ideal Option • ONEOK • Williston State College • Williston Fire & Safety • Williston CVB  Williston Herald • Twisted J Field Services • Ackerman-Estvold • API Williston Basin Chapter • Basin Safety Consulting • Cups Drug Testing & Occupational Health • ACME Tools/E&M Services • American State Bank • Nemont • G&G Garbage • Crude Cuts Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative • Dakota Outdoor Advertising • Gravity Oilfield Services • John Voll – Re/Max Bakken Realty

Lemonade Day

It may have been raining on Saturday morning, but that did not discourage our young entrepreneurs from setting up their stands and proudly serving the Williston community unique blends of lemonade and sweet treats! The Lemonade Day media tour tasted some wonderful flavors, from lemonade with frozen fruit serving as ice cubes to a tangy coconut lemonade. There was no shortage of sweet treats either; we ate our fair share of banana bread, Rice Krispies, cookies, and rhubarb dessert!

The Lemonade Day participants offered excellent customer service and hospitality at each stand. The media tour particularly enjoyed seeing multiple themed costumes, clever lemonade names, and families working together to serve each customer. The kids’ determination to keep their businesses open, rain or shine, made Lemonade Day that much sweeter.

It was amazing to see an increase in participation for Lemonade Day 2018! There were 205 kids registered this year, in comparison to 166 in 2017. Additionally, 68 kids took advantage of the Brand Your Stand feature on the website to put their stands on the map. We hope to see an increase in contest participants as well.

For our young entrepreneurs: now that you have successfully made it through Lemonade Day, don’t put on the breaks quite yet! There are still many contests that all participants can easily enter. The deadline to enter is June 20th.

Best Stand Contest:

Send 2-3 images of your stand on Lemonade Day to lemonadedaywilliston@gmail.com

Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Contest:

Submit your Business Results form on lemonadeday.org/williston and check the box that says “Yes! I want to be entered into the Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Contest!”

Most Successful Business Contest:

Submit your Business Results form on lemonadeday.org/williston

Most Creative Business Theme Contest:

Email your pictures to lemonadedaywilliston@gmail.com

Don’t forget to attend the Awards BBQ on June 26th from 4:30-6:30pm at Harmon Park. All attendees will have the chance to win some awesome prizes!

Thank you to our generous sponsors, active parents, and everyone who made Lemonade Day 2018 a great success!

 

 

 

One last blog…

As I was considering my final blog and the message I wanted to leave you with, I was reminded of a letter we received at the chamber.   Without giving you the details, it stated that a couple both living and working in this community sent out a shower invitation with registration at online sites only, much to the surprise and disappointment of the author.

The point is valid.  And it is why we at the Chamber have been focused on promoting and educating everyone about the importance of supporting and shopping local.  No doubt, the online battle is one being fought throughout the whole nation and our community is impacted like everyone else.  Even the Supreme Court is at odds as to how to handle sales tax on online purchases.   But the fact that this matter is in their court shows how big of an issue this is particularly in this day and age.  Retailers are trying to adapt to their finicky customers, but the fact remains that we need businesses here so that we can get our goods same day.  We need to support our local businesses who provide those tax dollars which support us all.

Perhaps it could be said that sometimes online shopping is convenient, and that there are some things better suited to be purchased in that way.  But, the fact remains that there are plenty of stores, plenty of options, and plenty of reasons why supporting local businesses needs to be at the forefront of people’s minds.  Local businesses are the backbone of our community:  the same community in which you call home.  I have talked to dozens of people who have recently moved their families to our area and they all say the same thing.  They love it here!

I may be leaving the chamber, but I am not leaving this wonderful community.  We have so very much to be thankful for already and much to support so that our community can continue to grow, evolve, and support us as well.

I will leave this blog with how I answered the letter:  please pass the word to your friends and family on all that the Williston Area has to offer: the shopping, parks and recreation, employment and business opportunities, a community hospital, a community college, friendly neighbors, and caring leaders.  And most importantly, spread the word on the importance of supporting our local businesses.

-Janna

Spring! And another change…

This week I blogged how spring is finally here, and this weekend’s weather should leave no doubt that it is finally upon us.  The grass turning green, buds sprouting on trees, the baby calves out in the fields, the sunshine warming our faces and our moods:  nature has a way of reminding us about change.  It reminds us that it comes regardless of what we do.  Like the warm weather after a long cold winter, nature reminds us that change is welcomed.  I have often blogged and written about change because as humans we often resist change and for many it is a difficult reality.  As soon as you get used to one change, another comes.  And often while the ‘ink is still drying’ on your attempts to deal with that change, more may come unexpectedly.   It can be frustrating, but as a good friend pointed out to me, it’s important to think about cheese.

Who moved my cheese? is a business fable illustrating attitudes and actions that people can take when confronted with change.  A good short read, I highly recommend for anyone who hasn’t read it.  The point is, though, that change while hard, should be expected, welcomed, and sometimes chosen.

Here in the Williston market, we should be particularly accustomed to it.  With the remarkable population growth and the infrastructure projects needed to accompany that, there have been and continue to be countless changes.  Some small, like an updated storefront, some large like the US2 road construction last summer.  It was hard to wait patiently through these seasons where roads were being created, widened, adding lights for safety and traffic flow, and more.  Some people may not have even known about the water treatment plant until it was completed but you were directly impacted whether you realize or not.

Back to change.  This week, I informed my Board of Directors and my staff of my resignation from my position as President of the Chamber as of May 23rd.  And I wanted to take this time to tell our members and the community.   I wish I could tell you all in person how I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the business community and lead such a great organization.  It is bittersweet for me, knowing that I leave while there is still work to be done, but I look ahead toward the opportunity to contribute to the community at another important organization, our hospital – CHI St. Alexius Health’s Foundation.

My time at the Chamber has been full of change.  But change is good.  And while a change in leadership at the Chamber may be accompanied by changes in other leadership throughout the community after the results of election day on June 12th, I have full confidence that we are headed in the right direction.  Last week I also blogged about how well positioned we are for the future.  I could write another whole article or two about how that is true despite our area’s growing pains…maybe another time!

The Chamber has a strong focus on its mission to ‘Champion the United Business Community’.  It has great staff and a strong board, and I am confident that it will remain steadfast on its path to advocate and work for the business community.  Our valuable programs, events, and committees will continue to provide opportunities to connect and grow your business.  The Chamber’s strong partnerships with other entities will continue to unify us.

Because I know and see it’s potential, I will persist in promoting and serving this wonderful growing, evolving community, just in a different role.

-Janna

Spring…Finally!

Although today isn’t one of the sunniest of days, there is no doubt that spring is finally upon us.  The snow has melted, and last weekend was so beautiful I couldn’t help but smile and enjoy being outside.  My son has a good start on his farmer’s tan already.  And although today could be considered a bit gloomy, the forecast for this weekend is absolutely amazing.  As 17th century American poet Anne Dudley Bradstreet aptly penned “If we had no winter, spring would not be so pleasant”.

Just like the improved moods of everyone living around here, the increased activity around the Williston area is tangible.  Even the cows having their calves remind us that change and new growth is not only inevitable but it is welcomed – just like spring after a long winter!  And there’s nothing better than good old nature to remind us of that.

At the Chamber, we are busy with the candidate forums this week.  Even though the results of the elections are yet to be determined, I find myself excited to be involved in the process and the possibilities that lie ahead.  No matter what the outcome, it is refreshing to see new people and new faces becoming involved and running for these positions.  Our elected officials have an extremely important job to do and are responsible to our businesses and the residents of this community.

Despite what some people (not familiar with our area) may erroneously believe, the Williston area is far from ever busted.  It is poised for the future.  Our very growth alone is evident in the birth rate, our school enrollment, and the plentiful job opportunities.  But it doesn’t stop with numbers.  It’s about the people.  It is about our evolving community and shaping our future to what we want it to be.   Which is especially vital for those in positions elected to represent us to remember.  The Williston area may have had a few growing pains along the way, but I have full confidence that we are on the right track.   After the long hard ‘winter’ of being hunkered down while infrastructure improvements were completed, our business community has endured and found efficiencies.  I trust that our elected officials will do the same.

I cannot urge you enough to be involved in the process of electing those who will represent our community.  Make your voice be heard on June 12th and then sit back and enjoy the pleasant spring.

-Janna

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