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Our View: Chamber is an important player in community

The Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau annual Awards Banquet was held at the Hudson Golf Club Thursday night, Jan. 22. The event is a good reminder of how fortunate Hudson is to have a strong Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber may not always be visible to many residents, but it is a tremendously important player in the activities in and around the Hudson community.

The Chamber was in the spotlight last Thursday, but work goes on behind the scenes every day of the year.

The organization now has over 591 members with an 11-member board. In fact, Hudson's Chamber of Commerce is the 10th largest in the Twin Cities metropolitan area -- a remarkable achievement for a community our size!

President Kim Heinemann oversees a staff of four, which includes Director of Communications and Programs Pat Sherley, Membership and Programs Assistant Vanessa LaFleur, Director of Finance Jane Leaf and Special Projects Coordinator Char Hipsher.

Congratulations to outgoing board of directors Chair Gene Haberman. He kept the ball rolling in 2008. And, good luck to incoming 2009 Chair Rick Holloway.

The organization sponsors community and tourist events such as the Business Spotlights, Good Morning Hudson, Hudson U, the Spring Showcase, Spirit of St. Croix Days, an annual golf tournament, the annual Christmas Tour of Homes and Craft Sale, and a whole lot more.

Much of the Chamber's work goes on behind the scenes. The organization gets countless requests for information from visitors, residents (and potential residents) and businesses (and potential businesses).

We also would like to acknowledge those honored at the Chamber banquet last week:

  • The Marie Blakeman Award went to longtime Hudson volunteers Georgia and Dick Whitcomb. That award is presented by Barbara (Blakeman) Richardson, the daughter of the late Marie and Harry Blakeman. The award exemplifies Marie Blakeman's community leadership, contributions and passion.
  • Large Business of the Year (more than 20 employees): Hudson Physicians.
  • Small Business of the Year (less than 20 employees): Barkers Bar and Grill.
  • Chamber Member of the Year: County Market store Manager Dana Glade.
  • Community Volunteer of the Year: Former Hudson Hospital Administrator and Director of Development John Marnell (he retired earlier this year).

    All of those selected were excellent choices and very deserving of recognition. Again, congratulations to the winners and congratulations to the Chamber for providing a stage to honor these fine people in our community each year.

    The Chamber office is located at 502 Second St. and is open to the public Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It can be reached at (715) 386-8411, (800) 657-6775 or

    Our hats are off to the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau for the excellent work it performs on behalf of the Hudson area.

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