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Volume 5, Issue 22, Oct 17, 2022
 Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, Eau Claire, Wis.

Published the first business day of each week

Business Advocate Past Issues

Public Meetings Calendar

Chamber Events Calendar

The Chamber's Advocacy Principles

The Chamber's Business Issues Agenda


Last chance to register

Eggs & Issues: The Economic Impact of Tourism

Thursday, Oct 20, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center at the Confluence

  Click here for details and to register

One of our region's post-pandemic success stories is how local tourism came roaring back, with 2021 room tax revenues exceeding the previous record year of 2019. At this edition of Eggs & Issues, we'll look at the latest numbers, what's on the horizon, and what policy issues might affect tourism's future. Visit Eau Claire Executive Director Benny Anderson will join us to share the importance and success of partnerships, innovative digital marketing, reaching influencers, garnering national earned media, securing sports tournaments, and more.


Pints & Politics: What's at stake in the November 8 election

 • Tuesday, Oct 25, 4:00-5:00 p.m., Chamber office, WNB Conference Room
  Click here for details and to register


More Chamber election education to come

As the election gets closer, the Chamber will be providing additional opportunities for investors to learn more about the what's on the ballot and the positions of candidates on business-related issues. (The Chamber does not endorse candidates.) 

The Chamber's Guide to the Fall Election (Eau Claire Chamber)

In this issue: 

 • Plan Commission gets Costco rezoning

 • CVTC, Mason Companies, Jackson County Child Care Network win WEDA Economic Development Awards

 • Nov 8 Election resources

 • Room taxes rebound in Wisconsin

 National and economic news

 • COVID-19 updates 

 • Mark your calendar
Note on article links: A subscription is required for those marked with "$"
Publications known to have article limits for non-subscribers are marked with "+"


Plan Commission gets Costco rezoning request,

City hires consultant to create mall area plan

   Monday's agenda for the Eau Claire Plan Commission includes a rezoning request and general development plan for the construction of a Costco store on recently-annexed land along Black Avenue near the US 53/North Crossing interchange (see pages 11-68 of the Agenda Packet linked below).

   At the City Council's Tuesday Legislative Session last week, Eau Claire City Manager Stephanie Hirsch and Community Development Director Scott Allen updated members on city development progress, including the hiring of Vandewalle & Associates to work on a plan for the Oakwood Mall area in light of recent retail changes. The consultant will take three to six months to evaluate the area and come up with a possible redevelopment plan. The same firm was used by the city to create the plan it is implementing for the Cannery District west of the Chippewa River and north of Madison Street.

Meeting information:

Eau Claire Plan Commission

• Monday, Oct 17, 7 p.m. Agenda Packet (82 pages)

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, Oct 10, Public Hearing Agenda Packet (62 pages)

 • Tuesday, Oct 11, Legislative Session Agenda Packet (114 pages)

Link to videos of city meetings (City of Eau Claire)

City Council Online Comment Form (City of Eau Claire)

Contact information: City Council members (City of Eau Claire)

Eau Claire City Council begins 2023 budget talks (Leader-Telegram $)

Senior living facility planned for Eau Claire's south side (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire orders plan for Oakwood Mall (Leader-Telegram $)

Costco planning to open in Eau Claire (WQOW News 18)

Costco plans store in Eau Claire (Leader-Telegram $)

Costco proposing to open in Eau Claire (WEAU 13 News)

Construction on Downtown’s Block 7 is About to Begin – So You Can’t Park There Anymore (Volume One)


CVTC, Mason Companies, Jackson County Child Care Network win WEDA Economic Development Awards

   Three of the winners of the Wisconsin Economic Development Association's (WEDA) Community and Economic Development Awards (CEDA) were projects of specific impact in West Central Wisconsin:

Talent Attraction, Development, and Retention 

  • Chippewa Valley Technical College RESTORE Program – Recognizing the need to assist local employers struggling to hire qualified manufacturing workers, the Chippewa Valley Technical College, Chippewa Economic Development Corporation, and other local organizations collaborated to develop the Restoring Employment through Support, Training, Outreach, Recruitment, and Education project. The RETORE project uses a multi-pronged approach to address the continuing need for skilled workers across the Chippewa Valley’s manufacturing sector by focusing on outreach, short-term training, and contextualized and work-based learning opportunities. The program has secured financial support from over 20 manufacturing companies and was awarded a $10 million Workforce Innovation Grant. Site work has begun on a 20,000 square foot facility that will house the RESTORE program, with construction slated to be completed by February 2023.

Business Retention and Expansion 

   • Mason Companies – The family-owned Mason Companies began making boots and shoes in the early 1900s in Chippewa Falls, WI. The company launched their first website in 1999 and since then the company has expanded beyond shoes into apparel, household goods, and beauty products, becoming one of the top 250 e-commerce companies in the United States, employing more than 500 people. To accommodate the growth and need for future expansion, Mason Companies worked with local governments and economic development partners to find a home in the Lake Wissota Business Park for a new $60 million, 425,000 square foot fulfillment center, with plans for the building to eventually grow to 975,000 square feet and include a new corporate office building.

Economic Development Initiative

   •  Jackson County Child Care Network – The lack of quality childcare in Jackson County was a growing concern, creating a significant barrier to employment and negatively impacting economic growth in the region. Families were struggling to find quality care, often being placed on multiple year waiting lists, and employers were faced with over $2.5 million in lost productivity. To address this problem, the Jackson County Childcare Network was formed in 2019 as a 501c3 business-led organization dedicated increasing the availability of quality childcare in the county. Using local American Recovery Plan Act funds, the Network offers childcare provider retention bonuses, and plans are being developed to create 500 additional childcare slots in the community.

More information:

Community and Economic Development Award Winners Announced (WEDA)


Fall General Election

•  Tuesday, November 8, polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

   Offices: US Senate, US Congress, Wisconsin Governor/Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Treasurer; State Senate (odd # districts), State Assembly, Eau Claire County Sheriff, Clerk of Courts

   Referendums: City of Eau Claire, Eau Claire Area School District

More information:

The Chamber's Guide to the Fall Election (Eau Claire Chamber)

MyVoteWisconsin (Register, find your polling place, what's on your ballot)

Wisconsin Legislative and Congressional District Maps (Wisconsin Legislature)


Election news:


Wisconsin Gov. Evers, Michels display differences in debate (AP)


Wisconsin State Bar: Public, media invited to attorney general candidates debate on Thursday, October 27 (WisPolitics.com)


Political Ad Watch (WisPolitics.com)


Room Taxes rebound in Wisconsin

   As COVID-19 shut down travel worldwide in 2020, revenues from local taxes on overnight lodging in Wisconsin fell by nearly half. By 2021, statewide room tax collections had largely rebounded along with leisure travel but it has taken until 2022 for revenues to recover in cities like Madison and Milwaukee that are more dependent on business travel. On the other hand, revenue from online home rentals has increased following the passage of a 2019 state law that required internet marketplaces to collect room taxes from customers.

Room Tax Revenues Rebound (Wisconsin Policy Forum)


Locally rebounding room tax revenue will be one of the topics covered at the Chamber's next policy breakfast...

Eggs & Issues: The Economic Impact of Tourism

• Thursday, Oct 20, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center at the Confluence

Click here for details and to register


National and economic news:


Soaring rent, food costs keep U.S. inflation on front burner; labor market tight (Reuters)


Inflation increased 0.4% in September, more than expected despite rate hikes (CNBC)


COVID-19 Updates 


COVID-19 Resources: 

COVID-19 Symptoms & Testing (EC City-County Health Department)
Local COVID-19 Testing Sites (EC City-County Health Department)
Interactive COVID Data Tracker (CDC)
COVID-19: Staying Safe in Your Community (EC City-County Health Dept.)
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Information Hub 
Eau Claire weekly COVID Situation Report 
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Vaccination Page 
Metrics Dashboard
Chippewa Valley COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force


Mark your calendar:


Eggs & Issues: The Economic Impact of Tourism

 • Thursday, October 20, Pablo Center at the Confluence


General Election

• Tuesday, November 8, Polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

   The Chamber's Guide to the Election


Workforce Solutions Summit

 • Wednesday, November 16, Pablo Center at the Confluence


Eggs & Issues: Election Analysis with Marquette Poll's Charles Franklin

 • Thursday, November 17, Pablo Center at the Confluence


Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast

 • Friday, Dec 16, Pablo Center or live stream on Perigon


"Eau What A Night:" The Chamber's 108th Annual Meeting

 • Wednesday, January 25, 2023, Pablo Center


29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

 • Wednesday, February 22, 2023, Madison


Business Salutes Eau Claire Annual Golf Outing

• Monday, August 7, 2023


Public Meetings Calendar

Click the link above for the our regularly updated schedule of public meetings.


Thanks for reading this issue of Business Advocate. If you have comments or questions, contact Scott Rogers, Vice President Governmental Affairs, at 715-858-0616 or rogers@eauclairechamber.org 

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