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Bates: In tough times, creative businesses stand out

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

I really enjoy sharing about the creativity of chamber members. Creativity that takes advantage of opportunities can be the difference between success and failure.  

One such innovative entrepreneur is Glen Gilmer, owner of True Blue Coupons and Glen’s Lawn Service. Gilmer established Glen’s Lawn Service as a successful lawn care company during the 1990s. Diligent and reasonably priced with references to boot, Gilmer was and is well thought of by those who use him. Yet when 2008 hit, Gilmer found his business, Glen’s Lawn Service, needed new customers to replenish some lost through the recession. That was when Gilmer followed the old adage “adversity is beset with opportunities” and True Blue Coupons was born.

Gilmer creatively spearheaded True Blue Coupons, an affordable coupon flyer, as a way to advertise Glen’s Lawn Service to the community with other organizations sharing the cost. He distinguished his flyer by its unusual blue color and 11-inch by 15-inch size that cradles all other mailers. Kudos to Gilmer for developing a cost-effective way to get the good news to the community about Glen’s Lawn Service and other companies using True Blue Coupons.

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The McHenry Area Chamber’s WINGs women’s group invites ladies to its High Tea luncheon sponsored by First Midwest Bank, Centegra Health System and the Shah Center. Participants will enjoy assorted teas, sandwiches, scones, lemon curd, fruits and desserts.   

Entertainment will be provided by the dazzling women of the chamber modeling apparel from local retailers that accentuates their best features. It is designed to give viewers new ideas about what looks best on different body types.

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The McHenry Area Chamber’s “Emerald City” Ball is Jan. 25 at D’Andrea Banquets. Complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres begin at 6 p.m. with a filet mignon dinner at 7 p.m. There will be a sweets table and complimentary beverages at 9 p.m. and dancing to the sounds of Lori Shane and the Mix. 

As a special offering, there is an opportunity to partake in a raffle to win an all-inclusive travel package to Riviera Maya, Mexico, for two adults sponsored by Worldwide Traveler; a 14-karat white gold emerald and diamond ring sponsored by Steffan’s Jewelers; and a four-door stainless steel Maytag refrigerator sponsored by Sears Appliance Outlet. Only those in attendance eligible.

Awards will be presented to retiring board members Anne Meagher, Medela Inc.; and Wayne Seely, Visual Horizons Inc.; Board Member of the Year Wayne Seely, Visual Horizons Inc.; Joe Thome Recipient Chris Hoak, McHenry Harley-Davidson; Ambassador of the Year Kurt Rice, A Better Water Treatment Co.; and Frank E. Low Award winner Joe Meyer.

Awards also will be presented to our “Dorothy” Sponsor, Worldwide Traveler; our “Scarecrow” sponsors Centegra Health System, Home State Bank, Medela, Northwest Herald, Porte Brown, Steffan’s Jewelers, Verlo Mattress Factory Stores and D’Andrea Banquets. Our “Tin Man” sponsors are Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, American Community Bank & Trust, Blooms & Rooms Design Studio, Bjorkman’s Ace Hardware; General Mitchell International Airport, McHenry Bank & Trust and Mercy Health System.

Those attending the event can get a picture taken to commemorate the evening at the photo booth sponsored by Palmarium Home Inspection Services.

Reservations can be made at www.mchenrychamber.com.

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The McHenry Area Chamber’s “Life is a Journey” Expo is March 15 at McHenry High School West Campus. For information and booth application, download the form at www.mchenrychamber.com.

• Kay Bates is executive director of the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce. 

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