BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — The Maumee Chamber of Commerce is readying for a return to several events in 2022.
Members of the chamber are encouraged to participate in several monthly meetings and other opportunities throughout the year.
On the second Tuesday of the month, the group meets for about an hour and a half for membership luncheons.
Members met in January for Mayor Rich Carr’s annual State of the City address.
Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague will speak at the February 8 luncheon.
“Having someone from the state level come and speak to Maumee is pretty cool,” said Kristin Meyer, executive director of the chamber. “We’ll have the rest of our lists together soon.”
While the chamber staff is currently working on scheduling other luncheon speakers, plans are already set for the November meeting, when a business expo will be held in place of the luncheon. According to Meyer, around 300 people are expected to attend the event, which will include up to 80 booths.
Several other events outside of the monthly luncheons are hosted by the chamber and businesses in the area. These events are used to recognize important individuals and businesses in the community and provide networking opportunities for the nearly 30,000 people who come into the city each day for work.
Hometown Hero Awards
The 47th annual Hometown Hero Awards Banquet, presented by the Maumee Chamber of Commerce and Metamora State Bank, will be held on Thursday, March 10 at The Pinnacle.
“Hometown Heroes is a recognition event,” Meyer said. “We have four really important categories we recognize for businesses and individuals. Then we give out awards to teachers, too.”
The categories include: Hometown Hero Award, Outstanding Citizen Award, Maumee River Award, Bridge Award and the Golden Apple Awards.
The Hometown Hero is awarded to someone who has helped improve the community by way of their work or volunteer efforts in the community.
“The Hometown Hero is just a little different from the Outstanding Citizen because they are somebody who did maybe a heroic act or something that sets them apart,” Meyer said. “They went above and beyond in something they were doing.”
The Outstanding Citizen Award recognizes a person who has shown outstanding dedication to the community. Previous winners have included police chiefs, members of city council and business owners.
The Maumee River Award is presented to a company or organization that has made an impact on the Maumee community. Previous winners have been recognized for their donations to nonprofits, assistance to groups in the community and leadership.
The Bridge Award is presented to a youth advocate in the community. Recipients typically consist of coaches or leaders, including Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, band leaders or other groups that have fostered and developed youth in the area.
“The award is for somebody who’s really gone above and beyond for the kids,” Meyer said.
Golden Apple Awards are presented a little differently than the others. Three teachers are given the award, but all of the teachers who are nominated are notified of the honor.
“Nominations have jumped to the 50s and 60s, that means 60 kids taking the time to sit down and write something great about one of their favorite teachers,” Meyer said. “We decided a few years ago to package them up and send them back out to the teachers along with a letter from our board.”
For students and other residents who wish to nominate an individual or business for any of the awards, the deadline is Thursday, February 10. Nominations may be filled out online at the chamber’s website, maumeechamber.com, or forms may be picked up at Metamora State Bank and returned by the deadline.
March Job Fair
March is shaping up to be an important month for the chamber with another event planned on Thursday, March 24 at Maumee High School.
The Maumee Chamber of Commerce is working with the school to hold a Career Expo and Job Fair from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.
“Our responsibility is to bring 36 businesses that are looking for workers,” Meyer said. “If you are looking for a job, looking to switch jobs or looking to get back out into the job force, come out to this job fair. It’s not just for high school kids, it’s for anybody who is looking for a job.”
Muddy Mini Races
The chamber has several other events it helps with each year, including the annual Muddy Mini Races.
“The Muddy Mini is a half marathon, quarter marathon and 5K race,” Meyer said.
The start line for the half marathon begins in uptown Maumee and sends the runners down to Side Cut Metropark before bringing them back through Maumee and ending at the Toledo Mud Hens ballpark. The quarter marathon also begins in Maumee and runs downtown, whereas the 5K runs exclusively in Toledo.
Registration for the Saturday, June 18 event is already available for runners, and businesses in Maumee can find a link to reserve a water stop on the chamber’s website at maumeechamber.com.
Also coming in June is the annual golf outing hosted by the chamber at Stone Oak Country Club. A morning and an afternoon tournament will take place on Monday, June 27.
“We usually have over 200 golfers who play in it,” Meyer said. “It’s a who’s who for Maumee businesses.”
The chamber recognizes that many gatherings, such as the monthly luncheons, occur during business hours, so it offers opportunities for businesses to network throughout the year.
“Several things are on hold right now because of COVID, but every month we try to do Coffee Connections,” Meyer said. “It’s about 25-35 people who get together for coffee at somebody’s business.”
When possible, the chamber also hosts Business After Hours, which allows members to meet with other businesses in the evenings.
Ribbon-cuttings are also important to the chamber. The events are used to celebrate the opening of businesses, anniversaries or even a move.
“Last year, we did 21 ribbon-cuttings,” Meyer said. “Anytime somebody has a celebratory situation, we like to do a ribbon-cutting.”
The chamber is working with several groups, including the city, to put on other events throughout the year that aim to help local businesses.
The goal of the chamber is to work closely with businesses and foster relationships, making the community an essential part of the success of the businesses.
“The people who come to work here, they don’t all live here, so the relationships they make in Maumee, they take them back to wherever they live,” Meyer said. “Hopefully, they are connecting with local businesses and using our businesses for their needs.”