Chamber Of Commerce Debuts A New Direction

Judy Kramer
Enterprise Staff
Jessica Kendall took over the reins as President of the Warsaw Chamber of Commerce on January 1. The theme for the Chamber in 2020 is Partnership, and she looks forward to working more with organizations, businesses, clubs, the City and Tourism creating partnerships to benefit Warsaw and Benton County.
“I am a people person,” said Kendall. “I love it here, love the people, and believe Warsaw is a place of hidden beauty. I am excited about 2020 am ready to get rolling.”
Kendall will work closely with Chamber Director Mac Vorce to carry on the successful partnerships that began in 2019 when the theme was Invest in Home, and build on them by finding different ways to invest in our community.
“We think of partnerships as businesses working with each other,” said Vorce. “One way for this to happen is to pool, or share advertising money to get more ads at less cost. One example of partnerships occurred at the January 9 basketball game and food drive at Warsaw High School. The athletic department organized the food drive for the Benton County Food Pantry, and the Chamber partnered with the Booster Club, matching funds with money collected at the door. It all benefitted the Food Pantry and therefore Benton County. I tried to just show up at the game and leave the High School responsible for everything. It was a success and it is good for the staff and students to feel that way. They will continue to want to do more.”
Vorce said that in 2019, downtown merchants got together and came up with Second Saturday festivals, helping better the downtown area. Before Heritage Days, the Chamber teamed a couple of businesses together to share advertising costs. The Chamber also partnered with Radio to help it get more ads and both parties benefitted.
“I work very close with Lincoln and Cole Camp,” said Vorce. “We go to their events and they come to ours. We work with Warsaw High School. The school has a student clean-up crew that it sent to our trails to help clean up after the flooding last year. There was no way I could have done it alone. The high school is invested in home and became my partner too. It is effective.”
Vorce said that Warsaw High School athletes also were sent by Principal Danny Morrison to help off load for Heritage Days. He said that he loves getting with these different groups.
“Last year there were 17 new events in Warsaw including Second Saturdays and Butterfield 60, because of partnerships with Tourism, Lincoln, Cole Camp, Warsaw and many others,” said Vorce. “The focus last year was heavily on ‘Shop Local,” and that is a great thing. But, maybe you can’t always shop local and maybe you are telling me that I have to do it. Some people like to shop online and that is okay, even though I am more of a brick and mortar kind of guy. There are different ways to invest. You can write a check for a good cause, volunteer, and say good things about events and places that is the same as advertising. Even if you buy in, or contribute to Lincoln or Cole Camp, you are still benefitting Benton County. I am slowing down on the phrase ‘Shop Local’ and letting other people carry that tune. It worked well last year.”
Jessica Kendall has been Warsaw City Clerk since August 2016 and plans to stay in the job until she retires. She followed Leo Porter as 2019 Chamber President, and will be followed in 2021 by President Elect Kevin LaPettis.