True feeling of revitalization and pride in Kent

By Lori M Wemhoff Published:

Is it just me, or could anyone else use a long, winter nap right about now? It sure has been a busy couple of months around here, but for good reason. There's a lot going on in and around Kent, and that's great!

November included a tour of Ametek's new facility downtown, and three ribbon cuttings, in addition to our annual awards dinner. Thank you to the sold out crowd of 150 that attended the Tree City Awards on Nov. 15 at Laziza. Congratulations again to all of this year's award winners -- you are truly the best of Kent's businesses.

So what's coming up? For four hours on Dec. 20, the full board of the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce will meet for its annual Advance (we look forward ... not back!), to plan for 2013. After a review of 2012, the board will focus on the strategic plan for the upcoming year, how to better serve our membership, and provide value and benefit for the investment made.

It was another year of growth for the KACC. For the third year in a row membership increased...from 176 (2009) to 245 (2010) to 255 (2011)...to 267. We welcomed 59 new members in 2012. We thank our members for their continued support and investment in membership.

The Chamber's tagline: "Kent ... a great place to live, work, play and do business" has never been more appropriate and descriptive of the look and feel of the area. Businesses are growing, people are spending their hard-earned money, and there's a true feeling of revitalization and pride in being in and from Kent.

With change and progress comes growth. In 2012, the KACC coordinated 19 ribbon cuttings!

To say the Kent area has experienced a growth spurt is quite the understatement. Just look around and you'll see not only physical buildings where there once were none, but also a major increase in foot traffic-- people shopping and eating in and around Kent. Throughout the day and after 5 p.m., there are people in downtown Kent patronizing the well-established and new businesses owned and operated by our neighbors and friends. We're always encouraging Shop Local ... Eat Local.

It's been a great year, and more successes are sure to be achieved in 2013. Existing businesses have either relocated in Kent, or expanded, and new ones have opened their doors in Kent for the first time. What we need to remember and reiterate to others and one another is that both old and new businesses make Kent what it is -- a destination. We all need to continue to work together to build upon the strong foundation established by the pioneers of Kent business.

With so many new businesses moving into downtown, it's encouraging to see the best of the old with the best of the new working together to rejuvenate the historical business district of Kent.

I wrote about it in my very first issue of Connections in 2009, the key to success is collaboration vs. competition. Working together is so much more productive and positive, and in the end rewarding. What we're all working towards is making Kent the best place to live, work, play and do business.

Lori M. Wemhoff is executive director of the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce and the Central Portage County Visitors & Convention Bureau.

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