Newly established business group spent first year without a president
It would be wrong to suggest the Fredonia Area Chamber of Commerce has been rudderless during its first year.
Still, there was a certain sense of satisfaction and relief with the announcement that Annie Stadler has agreed to be the group’s first president.
Stadler is vice president and manager of the Fredonia branch of Port Washington State Bank.
Since its incorporation last year, the Fredonia Chamber had been operating with a slate of officers but no president.
Village resident Laurie Ziegler, who is a managing member of Sass Accounting in Saukville, is the group’s vice president and served as de facto leader of the business organization while it
searched for a willing president.
Ziegler, who was recommended to be the Chamber’s first president, declined the appointment because she said it was important that the leader of the group have a business interest in the
Last week, Stadler said her acceptance of the appointment as president was partly due to her desire to to serve the community, and a little bit of yielding to peer pressure from her Chamber
“The Chamber has been together for one year and has had great networking opportunities. We are always working on more interesting topics to help support our area businesses grow and succeed,” she said.
“As far as becoming president, I want to see this organization be successful in the Fredonia area, so taking the step to be the first president of the group gives me the opportunity to help it succeed for many years to come.”
Prior to last year, Fredonia was the only community in Ozaukee County not represented by a Chamber.
Getting business owners to buy into the concept of a local Chamber was slow going at first, but momentum for the group is beginning to build.
The group is certain to gain additional visibility next month when it sponsors Fredonia’s community rummage sale.
The annual community event was in jeopardy after past sponsors chose not to hold the sale this spring, citing a lack of volunteers.
That’s when the Chamber stepped in, taking the lead role in setting up the sale, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 17.
The group has posted an online registration form to be included in the rummage sale’s promotional materials on its website — fredoniaareachamberofcommerce.com.
Ziegler said she takes pride in watching the fledgling business group take shape, as well as its decision to take an active role in the community.
“I am glad to see us beginning to be involved in the community, such as sponsoring the rummage sale,” Ziegler said.
“I think it will give us good exposure, because I am afraid that there aren’t many people who know we exist.
“I would like to continue to be an organization that fosters networking and promoting our businesses and our community.”
To that goal, the Chamber’s website also includes business biographies for each of its member businesses.
Although it operates without financial support from local government, the village’s Economic Development Committee provided the impetus for the creation of the Chamber.
Wary of being seen as an arm of village government, Village Trustee Lisa Dohrwardt — who runs Don’s Greenhouse with her husband, Trustee Don Dohrwardt — supported the Chamber from the start but refused to accept an officer’s position.
Dohrwardt has continued to serve as the contact person for a variety of Chamber-related issues.
The Chamber’s annual membership fee for businesses is $50, and $35 for nonprofit organizations.
THE FREDONIA AREA Chamber of Commerce finally has a full slate of officers in place after spending its first year without a president. Annie Stadler of the local branch of Port Washington State Bank has agreed to serve as the group’s first president. Officers and directors include (front row from left) Secretary/Treasurer Peggy Wester, Stadler, Vice President Laurie Ziegler, (back row) and directors Blake Peuse, Michele Wester, Jackie Papenfuss, Christine Stielow and Lisa Dohrwardt. One of the organization’s first public activities is sponsoring the Fredonia Community Rummage Sale on Saturday, May 17. Photo by Sam Arendt