2023 was a year of growth for the Piqua Chamber


By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]

PIQUA — The Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce saw a great deal of growth in 2023 with many new Piqua businesses joining the Chamber last year, said Chamber President Kathy Sherman.

“For 2023,” Sherman told Miami Valley Today, “the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce had a steady year where memberships increased tremendously, renewals were way higher than we anticipated, and our engagement continued to increase. Our membership renewals were substantially higher than previous years, which is fantastic. — that’s what we want, is to keep people happy and wanting to come back.

“The excitement this year, for 2024, is the increase in memberships, programs, events and presentations that we will be hosting, which are at no cost to our members,” Sherman continued. “This year, we look forward to furthering our relationships with members. — I love anytime we have anything in person; something as simple as an in-person business call or our annual steak fry that has 400 people in attendance.”

Mark Reedy, 2023 Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce Board chairperson, shared the Chamber’s 2023 accomplishments, as well as recognized outstanding leaders and progressive businesses in the Piqua Community, during the Chamber’s 78th annual dinner at the Piqua Country Club. At that event, he also introduced Joe Dickerson, the 2024 chairman of the board.

In 2023, 36 businesses joined the Chamber, Reedy said. He also proudly shared Piqua Chamber’s cash flow and balance sheet are in great shape, thanks to Sherman’s focused and disciplined budgeting, he noted. The organization’s debts have been reduced dramatically, Reedy said, and will be at zero in 2024. Last year, the Chamber and its ambassadors held 18 ribbon cuttings.

Reedy also shared that Strategic Planning Committees were assigned last year and they created their own objectives to continue the Piqua Chamber improvements. Among these committees are:

• The Member Focus Committee — its strategic objective was to grow members and retain members with quality benefits. Its first year action plan was to design, distribute and analyze a membership survey; it was completed.

• The Communications and Marketing Committee — its strategic objective was to promote members and partners to each other, and interpret and communicate the organization value proposition for growth and development in Piqua. Its first year action plan was to develop metrics methods for social media, email, website and print and to create an updated brand and establish a plan for two-way feedback and communication; these were completed.

• The Business and Workplace Partnership Committee — its strategic objective was to help area businesses recruit and retain a well-trained workforce and promote local business opportunities. Its first year action plan was to seek feedback from members, analyze existing member programs and ways to improve them, and identify outside training/housing and transportation resources; these action plans were completed.

Other 2023 Piqua Chamber highlights included:

• The annual golf outing had 128 golfers; it was a golf fundraising record setter, Reedy reported. The annual steak fry/auction sold 380 tickets, with another 38 tickets given to sponsors; it was a steak fry and auction fundraising record-setter.

• The kick-off of the local Women in Local Leadership Power group, also known as WILLpower. The group’s mission is to support and empower business women in the Piqua community through professional and personal growth. WILLPower had a very educational and energetic year, he said, with programs including, cybersecurity basics, time management, goal setting, party planning for your business and personal events, among others.

• HR Council, consisting of human resource managers, meets monthly for the purpose of furthering their knowledge through discussions, guest presenters, and the exchange of ideas concerning employee relations and personnel matters. It is a time Reedy explained, to candidly and openly share information, discuss mutual concerns, and learn more about the human resource field.

• In June, 14 educators from Piqua, Bradford, Miami East and Edison, participated in a manufacturing education event, where graduate credit was made available through the Miami County Education Service Center. Kettering Health, Hartzell Air Movement, Hartzell Propeller, Nitto, French Oil Mill Machinery Company and IDC Spring provided tours to educators, which in turn, Reedy said, allowed them to speak to their students informatively having seen first hand what is manufactured by the company.

• In October, 330 students from Piqua High School and Upper Valley Career Center participated in a manufacturing and business educational tours. French Oil Mill Machinery Company, Winans, Crane Pumps, Scott Steel, Crayex, Miami Valley Steel, IDC Spring and Evenflo allowed students to learn more about local businesses and the employment opportunities available.

• In May, 148 students were recognized for their academic achievements at Alexander Stadium, during the Chamber’s Top 100 event. Of the 148 students, 16 students were four-year recipients. The lowest GPA was 4.0. French Oil Mill Machinery sponsored the signature event.

For year 2023, the Chamber recognized 12 companies with its Commercial Beautification award. The award is given for exterior restoration or renovation of existing facilities or newly constructed structures which enhance the immediate area surrounding the improvement and are located within the 45356 zip code. These structures include commercial, industrial, and public properties. The following companies that received the 2023 Commercial Beautification awards were: Ascend Wellness Holdings, 1206 Recker Road; Donatos Pizza Piqua, 415 W. Water St.; Fincel Door Company, 1718 Commerce Drive; Hobart Filler Metals, 8585 Industry Park Drive; Lemon Meringue Floral Boutique, 120 N Main St.; Ohio Cannabis Company, 8866 N. County Road 25A; Plastic Recycling Technology, 9054 N. County Road 25A; P&R Specialty Inc., 1835 High St.; Queen Exhibits, 1707 Commerce Drive, The Birch Tree, 319 N. Main St.; The Lawson Group Keller Williams Home Town Realty, 113 E. High St.; and VSF Investments, known as Poco Loco Swim Gear, 325 N. Main St.

Also, a highlight of 2023 is the recognition of outstanding leaders. The following were honored by the Piqua Area of Chamber for 2023:

• Cheryl Burkhardt was honored with the 2023 Order of George;

• Randi Pearson, Hartzell Fan CFO, received the Cheryl Stiefel-Francis Award for Non-Profit Excellence;

• Tom Lillicrap, This & That’s Candy business owner, was awarded 2023 Business Person of the Year.

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