New Additions

Madison Chamber office upgrades
will offer more space for seminars

Renovations to building
completed in early November

(December 2013) – Thanks to recent renovations completed in November, some of the workers at the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce building, 301 E. Main St, will be celebrating the holidays by decorating their new offices.
“We wanted to make the best use of the space within the building,” explains Katie Wood, Chamber Event Planning and Business Resources official. The three-week construction project saw the creation of a new office as well as changes to the conference room and entryway. Making the best use of existing space is important since the building currently houses offices for the Chamber of Commerce, Madison Main Street Program, Jefferson County Industrial Development Corporation and EcO15.

Katie Wood

Photo by Lela Bradshaw

Katie Wood of the Madison Chamber staff poses in the newly renovated office.

Trevor B. Crafton, Executive Director of the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, said there was “a complete consensus from all the associations under the roof” that some changes needed to be made to the interior of the building. What now serves as an office for Whitney Wyatt, Main Street Program director, had previously been “kind of a dead space,” according to Crafton. The renovations allowed some other officials to shift their offices and, according to Wood, everyone has been “excited” by the changes. “We think it looks great!” she says.
The renovations also allowed for improvements in the old conference room, which is now a more private space that features technological upgrades. The conference room now features a new flat screen television that is Internet based and can be used for presentations. The space is available for use by Chamber members free of charge and can be rented by others.
Wood said the conference room is suited not only for events, such as meetings and presentations, but also gatherings and holiday parties. Crafton said that there had been “a need in our community for a better meeting spot,” and that the Chamber sees these improvements as a way to “just reinvest back in our community.”
He said these renovations are an example of how the Chamber and JCIDC can work together “providing tools to our members.”
Crafton said he is pleased that “a lot of not-for profits signed up” to use the conference area. He cited the local American Red Cross chapter as an organization that has a history of using the space, and he believes that the improvements to the room will only make it easier for the group to present life saving seminars.
Another series of seminars that Crafton is anticipating is a number of presentations on the Affordable Care Act. “We’re going to take a look from a Chamber perspective at providing resources and tools to individuals and businesses on the Affordable Care Act,” Crafton says.
He stresses that the Chamber is not taking a political stand; it is “extremely neutral.” Rather, he sees the Chamber as a way to help people find out “where do they go, who do they talk to” in regard to the new law’s impact on businesses and employees. He said that it is “extremely important to educate people. The next 60 days, we’re going to be having a lot of seminars.”
The Chamber moved to its currant location about three years ago. Crafton says the location allows the Chamber staff to “have a more positive presence” than the previous offices on the Madison hilltop.
“We’re a hub – a business driving force,” he notes. He said he is also pleased that the space allows several community associations with similar goals to be housed under the same roof. He says that having the groups in one central location has proven advantageous to the organizations and to community as well.
He says that the associations work together with a “team model” that “eliminates overlap and helps build better relationships. All of us together have become one big family.”
Wood agrees that the shared space has been “very beneficial” and said it is not uncommon for the Chamber to receive a call that would be better addressed by the Industrial Development Corporation. By working together in the same building, it is easier for all employees to keep abreast of developments in cooperating associations and share information with the public more effectively, she said.
The Chamber is also looking ahead to celebrating its 90th Annual Dinner on Jan. 22. The event will take place at the Brown Campus Center at Hanover College and will feature the presentation of the Jeff Garrett Community Service Award and the Business Citizenship Award. Tickets are $40 for individuals or $280 for a table of eight. Chamber members are urged to should watch for invitations to be sent and information will soon be appearing on the Chamber’s website: www.MadisonIndiana.com.

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