Morden Chamber back in black

Morden and District Chamber of Commerce chair Michelle Sawatzky at the MDCC AGM. (LAUREN MACGILL, Morden Times)

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The Morden and District Chamber of Commerce has overcome a deficit and reported a surplus after another successful year.

MDCC held their annual AGM on April 5 at The Oaks at Minnewasta Golf Course.

“Our Chamber has completely turned around,” MDCC chair Michelle Sawatzky said. “When I look back to six or seven years ago, our Chamber was in dire straits. We were struggling financially.”

The Chamber reported a surplus of just over $9,000 last year.

Sawatzky said through the direction of previous chair James Steedsman the Chamber was able to turn around.

“Bit by bit we’ve been chipping away at it,” she said. “For 2018 to be the year that we got rid of that deficit and are in a surplus position, it is a great time to be part of the Chamber. We’re really looking forward to serving our membership, serving the community of Morden, to do great things.”

Sawatzky said the little things have all contributed to getting the Chamber back on track, like connecting with members.

“[Executive director] Candace [Olafson] has worked tirelessly over the years to visit with our members, ask them what they need, figure out ways to serve them,” Sawatzky said. “We’ve paid a lot of attention to the little things, watching our spending on all the little things. At the end of the year all those little things added up and that made a massive difference for us.”

Moving forward into 2019 and beyond, Sawatzky said the Chamber will be sticking to its three year strategic plan, created last year.

“It’s quite detailed and we’re focused on some core strategic initiatives around member engagement advocacy,” she said. “Our purpose is to help businesses thrive. We have it mapped out month by month what we’re doing, so we’re sticking to our plan and I think that’s the key to us being successful in the future for many years to come.”

“As this board hands over the baton to the next leaders of our community, our goal is to have a legacy for them,” she added.

That legacy will include their new office building, currently being built on Stephen Street.

MDCC has also come up with an initiative called Morden Bold.

“What we’re doing is we’re bringing our stakeholders together, the people who love Morden,” Sawatzky said. “We’re asking for community leaders, we’re asking for representation from the school division, we’re asking for business people to come. We’re asking for any citizen who really cares to come join us.”

MDCC has partnered with Dave Angus, past president of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, to bring the brainstorming session to Morden.

“Nobody’s allowed to shoot down ideas,” Sawatzky said. “We’re going to dream big, we’re going to record those ideas and from here we’re going to help put an action plan in place and start creating so much more energy. Morden has so much energy, we’re really harnessing that energy and propelling us into the future.”

Morden Bold will take place May 16 at The Oaks at Minnewasta Golf Course.