Gray: Successful 2012 builds to exciting 2013 in Woodstock

As we enter a new year, it is with great pleasure that we also look back on the successes of 2012.

First of all, I’d like to thank the board members of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Without their dedication none of our successes would be possible.

Thank you to Board President Todd Kinker of Golden Eagle Community Bank, Vice President Kathryn Loprino of Woodstock Public House, and Treasurer Tom Landers of Marian Central Catholic High School; directors Jennifer Baker-Grogg of Centegra Health System, Lisa Kelly of Woodstock Professional & Business Women, Jack Bechaud of The Social (net)Worker, Mark Peloquin of Leading I.T. Solutions, Jim Campion of Campion, Curran, Lamb, & Cunabaugh P.C., and Kathy Rauch of Family Health Partnership Clinic; and ex-officio members Cort Carlson of the city of Woodstock, Carol Smith of Woodstock Community School District 200, and Catherine Jones of McHenry County College.

In addition to the fine work put in by our board of directors, our many committees also deserve praise for their stellar achievements over the past year.

Our Membership Committee established the well-received “I am the Woodstock Chamber” marketing campaign and revamped the tiered membership levels. The result has been a lot of positive attention to our membership and the community. Thank you to Myriad Creative Services, Simple Market, Benoy Motors, Family Health Partnership Clinic, Finzel Fotos, Home State Bank – Woodstock, Copy Express, Apple Creek Flowers and C. Romano Photography for kicking off our campaign.

Our events committee established the first annual Pickle Palooza free music festival – bringing hundreds of music lovers to enjoy the Woodstock community.

Not to be outdone, our Communications Committee established a stunning new logo and a Facebook presence that has already resulted in over 750 fans.

Our SOHO Group (Small Office/Home Office) also deserves plenty of praise. The group consistently provides valuable guest speakers at its monthly meetings.

All of the wonderful success we have enjoyed in 2012 is just a stepping stone to what we plan to accomplish in 2013.

The annual Groundhog Days Celebration is extra special for 2013 – it is the 20th anniversary of the release of the movie. Plenty of festivities are planned to mark the occasion. Stay tuned to for details.

Our Annual Dinner will be Feb. 21 at the Woodstock Public House starting at 6 p.m. Cost is $60 per person.

And, of course, no year would be complete without the annual Miss Woodstock Pageant. The 65th annual Miss Woodstock Pageant is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 31 at the Woodstock Opera House.

For Pickle Palooza 2013 we are teaming up with Woodstock Harley-Davidson, which will play host to the music festival on June 29. Our non-profit benefactor for the event is the Woodstock VFM. We are planning to make it an incredible day of music and festivities.

A special thank you and recognition to my office staff, Joanne Clark and Rikki Lee Travolta, for whom I am extremely grateful for their dedication and ability to keep our office running smoothly. Your roles are essential to the Woodstock chamber and I thank you for your outstanding contributions all year long.

Of course, none of this would be possible without our continuingly growing membership. I’d personally like to thank all the Woodstock chamber members – both new and old. If you are not yet a member of the chamber, call the chamber office at 815-338-2436 or email to find out details on how to be a part of this great community organization.

• Shari Gray is the executive director of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

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