GRAVENHURST - The Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce is planning a party with some simple ulterior motives.
“We are approaching the event, not as a revenue builder, but a social event for all of Gravenhurst’s businesses,” said Tara Bartok, marketing coordinator for the chamber.
The Winter Gala is scheduled for Nov. 17 in the Terry Fox Room at the centennial centre and Bartok said it will be an event to “celebrate the business community,” as well as one for all to network and share an evening of camaraderie.
“We are trying very hard to focus on the business community, both members and non-members,” chamber manager Danielle Millar said, explaining in years past, the gala tended to be for only chamber members.
It also tended to be hosted by private business owners and by moving it to the Terry Fox Room, Millar said it helps open the event to all of the business community. It also allows for a significant number of people to attend, with a capacity of about 250.
“Tickets just went on sale yesterday (Oct. 1) and we have 110 already sold,” Millar added.
The chamber duo was in front of council Oct. 2, asking the rental fee of about $800 be waived for that evening and as a showing of good faith and support, council agreed.
“I appreciate that partnership,” Mayor Paisley Donaldson said of council and the chamber. “That’s something that this council is trying to build on, not only with you but with the BIA as well and we appreciate all the work (the chamber does) for the business community.”
While the resolution to waive the fee was fully supported by council, it is an issue council hopes to get away from in the future by establishing a policy on how and who may be eligible for municipal fee waivers.
Deputy Mayor Jeff Watson, also a local business owner and chamber member, reiterated his support for the chamber’s request this year, but suggested next year the chamber might wish to seek event sponsorship.
“I’d throw in $100 to have my name up as a support for your endeavour to get the business community together and celebrate,” he said. “It’s something (the gala) we all need to do to get together; $50 between 15 businesses would more than pay for what you need.”
Millar said the event is gathering some sponsors while the goal is to break even on the event and not use it as a revenue generator for the chamber.
“I want this to simply focus on building community,” she said.
For more information about the Winter Gala or to purchase tickets, contact the chamber office at 705-687-4432.