Letter: Support a strengthening chamber

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Last Tuesday evening the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce held their Business After Hours social, and it was a great kick-off to their new After Hours schedule. The chamber will host its After Hours social every third Tuesday of the month at Wedgewood from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Last Tuesday was hosted by the local Realtors.

The local Realtors, members of their offices and family, many chamber members, Chamber Ambassadors and board members and a lot of businesspeople looking to possibly join the chamber attended this kick-off to the new After Hours schedule, and it was a lot of fun.

A very special thanks to Jerry and Gerry Vogt for the use of Wedgewood, Tina and the Wedgewood staff for taking great care of us and City Councilors Rachel Christensen and Brian Anderson for attending. All of this was a success because of the extra effort of the chamber’s staff of Shari and Jean!

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Personally, I have been a chamber member since 2005 and served as a Chamber Ambassador for many years. I met my wife, Angie, during the chamber’s very first Leadership Course in 2007, and I always looked forward to running into Angie at the After Hours at the Elks.

Our smaller, local, nonfranchised brokerage, (RHR,) has hosted a handful of After Hours including at the former Wal-Mart location when we had it for sale before Bomgaars purchased it, downtown at our Broadway office for the Holiday After Hours (my favorite was always Diane Heaney’s carolers from the high school signing out on the sidewalks) and After Hours with The Albert Lea Tribune and Home Federal.

If you’re a business owner, current chamber member, past chamber member, active community member or interested in community involvement, consider supporting and joining a strengthening local Chamber of Commerce. I wouldn’t have done it for these last almost 20 years if I didn’t think it was worth it to participate.

Last Tuesday was an already busy night in town with many sports, school and city activities going on, and it was an honor to co-host this with so many other local Realtors. A lot of Heather and Matt’s team from Leland made it; Steve, Erika and Norena. Lisa, Layna and Lucas from RE/MAX. Longtime active chamber member Dawn, along with Terry and Neda, from Coldwell. Unique’s Josh and Emelie. Gina from Keller Williams. RHR’s Angie, Susan, Shannon and family. Many Realtors who could not attend reached out; Pam from Coldwell sent a very nice gift to give away in her absence.

A lot of amazing prizes were given away that were donated by the Realtors that attended. Lucas from ReMax, who also brought a handful of people from his BNI Group, won a one-year chamber membership. The youngest businessman in attendance, Jackson Cox, not only won an awesome gift basket from Leland but also won the grand prize drawing.

October’s After Hours will be as much fun! Help support our strengthening chamber and attend it with me. I look forward to seeing many people at Wedgewood on Oct. 17 at 5 p.m.

Robert Hoffman
Albert Lea