MLCC’s Annual Dinner Celebration Recap

The Mountain Laurel Chamber of Commerce (MLCC) celebrated its successes on Thursday, November 7th at Nino’s Restaurant. MLCC President Shari Bukovac welcomed everyone in attendance. She thanked Nino’s Restaurant for creating a great menu and atmosphere for the celebration. Dr. Merle Skinner CFCC Executive Director led with prayer.

After dinner, MLCC Executive Director Kris Enberg kicked off the evening with a few special remarks and thanked the 2019 Board of Directors, noting what a great group of individuals they are to work with.  She went on to thank her staff: William Culver, the Chamber’s summer intern who now works remotely while attending law school in Knoxville, Tennessee; Cami DiBattista the chamber’s freelance writer; and Boss Bear Creative, who handles the Chamber’s marketing and website.  Kris then asked Stefanie Cramer to stand so that she could introduce her and boast of what an asset she is to the organization— not only as the administrative assistant to Kris, but also as a friend.  Kris said, “I mentioned to Stef earlier that day that I wasn’t nervous about the evening and that it was all because of her [Stef] and the great job she’s doing.”  Kris said it again, “it’s all because of Stef that I now have clarity.”  Kris thanked Stef and said, “it’s no fun to go to work when you’re not there.”

Kris also gave special recognition to Jerry Bryan (who recently retired) for his friendship and service to the Chamber by providing reciprocal computer services for the past 21 years. Unfortunately, Kris did not mention Lori Shepler who does an outstanding job with maintaining the Chamber’s FACEBOOK page and Siera, Stef’s daughter, who is our newest volunteer.  Thank you, Lori & Siera!

The theme for the evening was focused on success and community.  Kris lead by stating what a fabulous year the Chamber had.  She mentioned that the Rustic Ridge Deep Mine is up and running, the Route 31 Corridor Expansion Project is nearly complete, and that she was pretty certain everyone had a good year.

Kris’s enthusiasm showed through as she told everyone how excited she was all year.  She asked everyone to share with her in reading the Chamber’s mission statement, which is:  To enhance the economic growth and development of the business community by offering a variety of services and programs to meet the needs of local businesses, residents and tourists.

The program continued with testimonials.  Merle spoke of the partnership between the Chamber and the Christian Family & Children’s Center—especially the Senior Lunch Programs.  Shari spoke of the success of the Ladies Day Bash, smiling as she referred to the first one and with great pride when she mentioned this year’s growth.  She also spoke of two community events she was involved in: the gun safety course and the Melcroft Tree Light-up.  Sarah Brown of Seven Springs Mountain Resort reported on how happy Seven Springs was to host the 2020 MLCC Golf Outing. Roxanne Kern of Seemor’s All Star Grill and Ken Firestone of Firestone Insurance spoke of the Springfield Light-up Night.

The “Gateway to the Laurel Highlands” Flyer & Fun Map, website and Facebook pages, M2M Discount Program, Summertime/Fun-Time Gatherings, and the Mega Mixer in conjunction with over 30 surrounding chambers’ and tourist related entities at Seven Springs Mountain Resort to be held on January 10, 2020 were presented by Kris.

With pride Kris reviewed the Chamber’s community related services, including:  The Annual Stocking Stuffer Ticket, Build a Snowman Challenge, senior luncheons, job fair, golf outing, Kids Day, Student of the Month Program, Ladies Day Bash, gun safety course, Melcroft Tree Light-Up, free advertising to local fire departments, and pop-up events.

Kris then revisited the Chamber’s mission statement and how excited she was to fulfill it with so many productive and fun projects.  Kris said, “we have fulfilled our mission, we have established a sense of community.  This is us!  This is where we set out to be! This is where we live and work and this is why I am excited and why our theme for the coming year will be: ‘BE EXCITED!’”

The evening continued with various member speakers who gave updates on their businesses:

Gil Widenhofer of Robindale & LCT Energy Services started with a cute joke and then proceeded on how his business was not a main street business but how, through its employees, it brings people to the area to support the main street businesses.

Marketing Manager Deanna Richter of LHTC Broadband began by remembering the ground breaking ceremony in July 2018 to begin the construction of their new office building in Donegal.  The new office building will feature a lounge area for customers to learn about our products and services or just to have a cup of coffee while making changes to their account. “We plan to be offering service to the area for a long time to come and this facility not only shows our commitment to the community, but it will allow us to continue to expand. We hope to be operating out of the new facility in early 2020,” Richter said.

Richter went on to say that the new office building overlooks Caddie Shak Family Entertainment Center, which was acquired in November 2016. Due to the construction of the new business office this past year, the Caddie Shak was closed, but is scheduled to re-open in 2020 with all new go-karts, bumper boats, a new parking lot, landscaping, and new party areas. They will also be adding a Nerf battle course. While the focus is on updating the park, the success of the park came from the memories the community made there and the goal is to restore that nostalgia by fixing it up and making it a place that families come to spend time together.  The park is set to open in May 2020.

Josh Crowe, realtor for BHHS the Preferred Realty spoke of the housing market. He said, “It’s been a great year in real estate in the local area, there have been multiple offers on a lot of properties with some homes being under contract within the first week of the listing.”  Josh closed by mentioning the Chamber flyer and how it helped him grow his business

All three of these members praised and thanked the Chamber and staff for the support and dedication given to the growth and development of their business.  Baskets were given away as door prizes.  Kris said she and Stef simply wanted to make the night’s dinner a fun time and show appreciation to the members.

In conclusion, Kris thanked and wished everyone a great holiday season.  She again thanked Shari for her leadership and friendship.  Kris then encouraged everyone in attendance to join the MLCC in the new year “BE EXCITED” theme.  She thanked everyone for being excited, for being at the dinner, and for being excited to support the Chamber’s efforts. There was then a big round of applause.