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Lamar Chamber Merchant Networking Highlights Spring Season

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Lamar residents will see some minor changes for Chamber of Commerce activities this spring. Some small alterations are on the local menu for the annual Spring Fling, the Lamar Days Events and a new chamber enhanced membership benefits package was discussed during the merchants networking night, Tuesday, March 14th.  The monthly get-together is held the second Tuesday of the month and was hosted by chamber board member Therron Hammer of Ed Jones Investments at his office on South Main Street in Lamar.

Representatives from American Civil Constructors, the firm renovating Lamar’s Main Street, were on hand for any questions from the group and stated that residents could begin to see the medians removed in the next two to three weeks. Eric Depperschmidt, the new Executive Director of Prowers Economic Prosperity, PEP, attended the session as he continues to gain first-hand background information about the community.  Depperchmidt was the economic development director for Garden City, Kansas between 2006 and 2011 and was asked if he saw any specific attraction that city held to attract their level of business development over the years and if Lamar could take away a similar learning experience and put it to use?

He said their economic development group split from the local chamber and created a new identity for their economic development. Depperschmidt said there are similarities between the two regions as Prowers County is following guidelines set up from a study and has now brought many different groups together under one purpose.  “We saw all the government entities were buying in to this idea, and funneling the issues into the right path,” he explained, adding that development in one town in the county eventually aides everyone else.  He said ending economic competition among groups or towns also streamlined development.  “Our by-pass helped alleviate some of the downtown truck traffic in Garden City and it allowed for our Main Street to receive some street-scaping with the money saved from road repair from all the semis.  That was a long term goal that benefitted us.”

The Spring Fling is set for Friday, April 28th, but there will not be any sidewalk vendors for this year, due to the construction along Main Street.  Businesses will be encouraged to hold their sales events indoors and a Bingo Card Shopping Contest is in the works for the annual event.  The Lamar Days Parade route will still use Second Street this May, said Chamber President, Ginger Coberley, primarily because of the construction work on Main Street.  Chamber Secretary, Lisa Carder said one departure from the way things have been done will be ending the Good Morning Lamar Breakfast the Friday before the parade.  “This year, we’re planning a barbecue for the public which will be held at the Lamar Chamber offices and will run from 11am to 1pm,” she explained and said this will open up a shopping opportunity for any downtown merchants who may want to start their traditional bargain sales a day early.

Carder and Coberley discussed some of the benefits chamber members can enjoy when they opt into the enhanced membership benefits listings. An information card is now available at the chamber which explains how a new chamber website will allow members to showcase their business with online advertising at a discounted fee.  This includes job listings, an enhanced webpage listing and discounts on banner ads.  The next merchants networking night will be Tuesday, April 11th at 5:45pm at the Lamar Community Building with Lamar Partnership Inc as the host.

By Russ Baldwin

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