The Milton Area Chamber of Commerce will be moving to a new location at 144 Merchant Row. An official opening date is scheduled for Aug. 1. The chamber has signed a three-year lease with landlord Kris Agnew, who also owns American Family Insurance located next door, MACC Executive Director Dani Stivarius said.
“The primary reason for moving is space,” Stivarius said, noting that the new space is nearly twice the size of that which the chamber currently occupies within the Chapel Specialties on the Square Building, 819 High Street.
MACC is growing, Stivarius said. Membership has nearly doubled over the last six years, from 110 members to 211, she added.
Describing Chapel Specialties owners Beth and Bill Drew as “wonderful landlords,” Stivarius said after the coffee shop in the building closed, MACC’s foot traffic slowed.
“It is sad to leave that side of town. Historically, the chamber has always been there, but we are looking for a new beginning,” Stivarius said, adding that she has served in her position for six years, and MACC has been located within the Chapel Specialties building for eight.
While exploring potential sites for the chamber, Stivarius said: “We looked at three options and this was the best fit. The layout of this space is nice, and I like the character of this building,” she said, noting the natural brick walls.
Stivarius said she explored spaces for purchase in the Parkview area, but after crunching the numbers, the option was not currently within the MACC budget.
“It is a goal to own our own building, but not now,” Stivarius said.
At 144 Merchant Row, MACC Administrative Assistant Kricket Jewett will have a desk in a centrally located reception area and Stivarius will have her own office.
“We hope the move will bring more traffic, and people just stopping in,” Stivarius said, noting that often those visiting a community look to the chamber of commerce as a source of information. The chamber will continue to provide a kiosk, featuring pamphlets from area businesses, she said.
Pointing to new initiatives, Stivarius said MACC is participating for the first time with the cities of Milton and Janesville through the Janesville Area Visitors and Convention Bureau. The City of Milton and MACC joined the bureau earlier this year. The group is tasked with promoting tourism within Milton and Janesville.
“We have an annual contract with that group which we will revisit at the end of the year,” Stivarius said.
MACC representatives serving on the bureau’s board include Tony Astin, Jim Lyke and Becky Hillmann. They join with City of Milton representatives Administrative Services Director Inga Cushman, city council member Lynda Clark and Milton Historical Society Executive Director Kari Klebba, Stivarius said.
The Milton school district decided against joining the group earlier this year.
Those interesting in learning more about MACC and future celebratory plans for its new office should visit the nonprofit on Facebook.