An example of collaboration

ESCANABA — The Commerce Center in downtown Escanaba is the perfect example of community collaboration. A quick look in the dictionary defines the word collaborate to mean “work together.” The advantages and effectiveness of a collaborative effort is epitomized by the working relationship of the Delta County Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Alliance, Builders Exchange, Visit Escanaba and the Upper Peninsula State Fair. Not only do all the organizations share office space and support personnel, but we also share the desire to see that all our economic development missions are accomplished.

Who are all these organizations, and what are their goals? Delta County Economic Development Alliance is a private non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation which serves as the central point of contact for assistance in the retention and expansion of existing business in Delta County, and in the attraction and development of new businesses. This alliance includes local and county government, the Chamber of Commence, private business, utilities, financial institutions, workforce development, and many other interested community leaders. It is governed by a local board of directors. The mission of the DCEDA is “to promote economic development through the attraction, retention and expansion of business and industry.” For more information visit:

The Builders Exchange is the construction industry’s service agency that works hard to procure plans, specifications, and information covering projects to be constructed, repaired and remodeled. The office is open for the convenience of members to review plans and gather information about pending construction projects. The Builders Exchange also promotes the use of its members services for all regional construction activities.

Visit Escanaba fuels the local business climate and broadens the local tax base by attracting and serving visitors as a means of bringing money into the community, generating personal income, jobs, and tax revenue by marketing and promoting Delta County as a destination for visitors. For more information visit:

The U.P. State Fair was reborn in 2009. On Feb. 3, 2009, it was announced that the state of Michigan would no longer fund the State Fairs in Escanaba and Detroit. Local citizens took immediate action to prevent the end of the UP State Fair leading to an Agreement establishing the U.P. State Fair Authority with representatives of the 15 U.P. counties and the Hannahville Indian Community. On Aug. 21, 2009, the governor signed the state’s portion of the U.P. Fairgrounds property over to Delta County, which then signed a lease agreement with the Fair Authority. The Hannahville Indian Community provided a $30,000 grant for start up money. The U.P. State Fair Authority, in cooperation with the Delta County Commerce Center, successfully and seamlessly operate the U.P. State Fair and continue to provide a venue for entertainment and to showcase, educate, and promote Michigan’s agriculture long into the future. For more information visit:

Delta County Chamber of Commerce has been in existence since 1921 and since then has been on the leading edge, promoting Chamber members and the issues that are important to their businesses and to the water front community in which we live and work. The mission statement reads “The Delta County Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary organization established to promote civic, commercial, industrial and agricultural progress of the community and district which it serves and to work for sound legislation and efficient administration at the community and all levels of government.” The simple version is that the Chamber exists to make the community a better place to live, providing an avenue for our business people to play a leadership role in building a healthy, vibrant community. For more information visit:

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Mollie Larsen is a staff writer at the Delta County Chamber of Commerce