Thu, 01/26/2023 - 12:14pm caleb
Chamber of Commerce joins Grayling Main Street – and, soon, the Grayling Visitors Bureau – at new location on the corner of Peninsular and Michigan Avenue
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce recently moved into a new location – along with Grayling Main Street and eventually the Grayling Visitors Bureau – at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Peninsular Avenue.
Hayley Strohpaul, Grayling Chamber Executive Director, said the chamber has been looking to expand its office space for years.
“Finally able to get that done,” Strohpaul said. “A big win for us.”
The Chamber of Commerce used to be located in a building next to the city park on the I-75 Business Loop. The new address is 243 Michigan Avenue.
“We wanted to be more downtown, more in the thick of things. We’re hoping to get a bit more foot traffic here,” Strohpaul said.
Strohpaul said a Michigan State University Extension First Impressions Tourism Assessment showed that people had trouble finding the chamber and information about the community and its businesses.
“We’re hoping this will be a way for people to have easier access to business information,” Strohpaul said.
The “Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce is the business and community advocate of Crawford County, focusing on the protection and advancement of economic and business development, community image, natural resources and quality of life in the region,” according to its mission statement.
The chamber opened its new location on January 2, Strohpaul said. She said the office has had a few visitors, most of them for chamber business, but this is a “slow time” of the year, especially with the recent weather.
“The weather is not being very helpful for our tourist situation,” Strohpaul said.
Strohpaul said the chamber’s new event and marketing coordinator, Nicole Kent, a former chamber director in Port Austin, also started on January 2.
The old location for the Chamber of Commerce had a lobby, two offices, a bathroom, and limited storage space, according to Strohpaul. The new location has five full offices, five storage closets, two kitchens, a front desk/lobby area with a view of Michigan Avenue, and bathroom facilities. Strohpaul said the building’s previous uses included serving as an eye doctor’s office and before that a dentist’s office.
“We’ve gained a lot,” Strohpaul said. “It was a perfect set-up for us.”
The City of Grayling is pursuing grant money to purchase the now-vacant Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce building and demolish it for a possible future project, according to city officials.
Strohpaul said expansion options at the old facility were limited – it might have meant adding another story to the building – and the high cost of construction materials was also a deterrent for that course of action.
Grayling Main Street has moved out of its location at City Hall and into the 243 Michigan Avenue site.
Chamber and Grayling Main Street officials said they are “excited” to be in the new location.
“It will be convenient for us when we have events downtown, being centrally located,” Strohpaul said.
“It’s awesome to be in the district we’re serving. It makes it a lot easier,” said Jillian Tremonti, Grayling Main Street Executive Director. “I’m very excited about it.”
Strohpaul said she expects the Grayling Visitors Bureau to move into the 243 Michigan Avenue location soon.
In addition to having the Chamber of Commerce, Grayling Main Street, and the Grayling Visitors Bureau in the facility, “workshare” space will be available for people such as freelancers and remote workers, and two of the building’s offices will be available for rent, chamber officials said.
The Chamber of Commerce is currently accepting nominations for its 2022 Awards Gala online at https://getfoureyes.com/s/6xl7E/
The Awards Gala is slated for March 10 at Kirtland Community College. Deadine for nominations is February 3, according to the chamber. Awards include the Kirk Wakefield Service Member of the Year, Chamber Member Business of the Year, Chamber Member Organization of the Year, “You Made It Happen” Award, Longevity Award, and Citizen of the Year.