It could have been a lot stranger, but luckily chamber members and their guests gave Prom a wide berth and left their too small tuxes and too tight dresses in their closets instead opting for the occasional fur stole and painted tux tee shirt.
In keeping with the standard set by galas since the pandemic, energy and generosity, once again ruled the evening with the legendary cake auction fetching $14,100 in less than twenty minutes. Add that to the silent auction total $11,000, 50/50 raffle proceeds $1,200, ticket sales $1,500 and sponsorships worth $3,000 and Rob and company ended up raising $30,800 for the night. Not bad for a prom.
New Richmond Chamber Executive Director and emcee for the evening. Rob Kreibich, delivered his monologue recapping the chamber’s 2022 highlights in smashing fashion including more than 20 ribbon-cuttings, the addition of 46 new members, a retention rate north of ninety percent, $80,000 in ticket and food sales - a Fun Fest best in more than six decades, record setting turnout for the annual golf outing and hundreds of volunteer hours devoted to the community by members and chamber ambassadors.
Kreibich took time to recognize his staff, Avarie Swenson, Hana Peterson and intern Olivia Naser for their invaluable assistance as well as Mayor Jim Zajkowski and State Senator Rob Shafsholt.
“Three things to know about the New Richmond Chamber. Number one, we have fun. Number two, we put on big events. And number three, we hate long speeches. Our motto here tonight and every night is, the shorter the speech the faster the dues come in,” said Kreibich.
Outgoing Board Chairman Matt Tuinstra thanked the membership for their tireless efforts in the community and noted they are the reason for the chamber’s success. He also told the audience the chamber stood at 497 members and that with a little luck that number would reach 500 before the night concluded.
The chamber presented four awards to outgoing chamber members and another four awards to local businesses.
Chamber Member Awards
Outgoing Board Member - Sheri Soderquist
Outgoing Board Chairman - Matt Tuinstra
Chamber Ambassador of the Year - Carrie Borgstrom
Chamber Member of the Year - Marie Gremore
Small Business of the Year - Travel Leaders - Travel Now, Inc.; Kim Gorres, Tara Schwan, Melanie Peterson
Business of the Year - Culver’s of New Richmond; Tom and Julie Koop
Business of the Year - Isometric Micro Molding; Wayne Shakal, Cindy Johnson, John Gleason
Non-profit of the Year - Rise; Jake Peterson, Michelle Andrews, John Watters, Katie McNamara
Newly seated 2023 Board Chairman, Kelli Cadwell, concluded the evening's festivities by announcing the winners of the evening’s Prom King and Queen balloting.
Randy Calleja, once upon a time denied a trip to his high school prom by an empty gas tank, was elected King. He was joined by Jenny Larson as Queen.
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