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Reece: Thank you cards as important today as ever

My grandmother, Nanny Swaim, would always remind us kids (usually through a not so subtle letter to my folks about the better points of parenting), on how important thank you notes are.

These letters arrived, when we didn’t respond, after receiving the gift of a dollar bill in a birthday card or receiving for my 19th Christmas a "Keep On Truckin’" T-shirt with my name across the back done with iron-on letters. These useful gifts not acknowledged were always followed by something even more practical (in my grandmothers eyes anyway) the next year – personalized stationary and envelopes to write said notes.

While somewhat getting the hint after 20 or so years, the “reminder” letters from Nanny Swaim continued on into our adulthood although by then they were then directed to us about our own kids. So, being one who had it eventually drilled into their thick skull to write them, it feels good when I get an unexpected thank you note from somebody. Even more so like this one:

"Dear Gary, Thank you so much for lunch at Duke’s last week. I especially appreciate your friendship and council. I plan on reading E-Myth (a great book for entrepreneurs about working on your business instead of in your business) and contacting the people you suggested. I came away from our meeting feeling hopeful and encouraged…"

Other than a personalized T-shirt, I am pretty tough to buy for. But that particular note was a really nice gift.

Every business has ups and downs. It takes a lot of energy to run a business and occasionally it feels like there is nowhere to turn or anybody to talk to. When we run off the rails, and we all do, it takes a little help to get back on track.

Sometimes I am fortunate enough to help somebody out. Maybe it’s offering a different perspective or getting somebody connected to possible opportunities. Perhaps it’s just about sitting back and listening. For me, those are things what make a lot of what I do most enjoyable.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are many, many people out there who will be more than happy to help. As tough as it may be to pour out your challenges or situation, it’s more about taking the chance and just asking. Like Bono of the band U2 said “When you stop taking chances, you'll stay where you sit, you won't live any longer ... but it'll feel like it.”

Lastly, I raise my glass and offer a toast. Here’s to wishing everybody a wonderful holiday season and hoping to all a 2013 which brings you nothing but peace, happiness, good health and prosperity!

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Join us Jan. 15 for our next after hours mixer at Querhammer & Flagg Funeral Home (yes, you read that correctly, Querhammer & Flagg Funeral Home) 500 W. Terra Cotta Ave., Crystal Lake. I’ve heard through the grapevine that all Chamber members and their guests are dying to attend for the great networking opportunities!

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How would you like to showcase your business in front of 5,000 potential customers?  Well, the 2013 Crystal Lake Home & Business EXPO on March 24-25 is one of the best, most cost effective ways to do just that. Booths are now 75 percent sold out so don’t wait any longer to sign up!

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Beginning Jan. 10, the Crystal Lake Chamber’s “Leaders in Action” program, now in its 37th consecutive year, will again provide world-class training by eight presenters each of whom are dynamic experts in their respective fields. Worth over $5,000, the Chamber is proud to be able to present Leader’s for only $195 for Chamber members and $245 for non-members. Your investment includes breakfast each week and all materials. Class size is limited to 50 people and is filling up fast. Register at www.clchamber.com.

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Please welcome our newest members! BVC Carpentry & Remodeling, Bill Veit; Crystal Lake Jr. Tigers / Jr. Gators Youth Football Organization Robert Pudlik; DES Staffing, Jim French; Fast Forward Marketing, Vanessa Baker; New Peking Chinese Restaurant, LiXia Liang; Prudential Financial, Joseph Vedda; Quantum Web Solutions, Bruce Van Kessel; Rosecrance Health Network, Phil Eaton; Sherwin-Williams, Shannon Logsdon and The Home Improvement Network, Pete Thomas.

• Gary Reece is president of the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce. Email garyreece@clchamber.com.

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