Chamber kicks off fundraiser

The Merrill Area Chamber of Commerce has a dream for their 100th birthday… a dream of a brand new exterior digital sign to replace their current sign that has been broken for nearly a year. So they are kicking-off a new fundraiser this month and have aptly named it – Pot O’Gold Fundraiser.

The goal of the Pot O’Gold Fundraiser is to raise $18,000 by June to erect a new digital sign in front of their office in time to display upcoming summer activities and events. Their current sign is very old and is not working correctly. The double-faced top of the sign used to light-up brightly but is currently very dim at night. Electricians worked on the sign in the fall but little could be done with the fluorescent lighted sign at a reasonable cost. In addition, the double-sided message boards have been unusable; the side facing the north for more than a year and even longer on the one facing south because the acrylic covers and letter boards fall apart whenever opened.

“We put up the last message on the side facing north almost a year ago telling folks to visit us on the web for the calendar of events,” said Debbe Kinsey, the Chamber’s executive director. The chamber also updated their logo over a year ago in preparation of their 100th anniversary, yet the current sign still bears the old one and is printed in black and white rather than the actual bold purple color of the organization’s moniker.

Plans for the new sign include using the existing frame, having it repainted in purple, re-facing the lighted top with the Chamber’s updated logo in the correct colors and replacing the fluorescent light tubes with updated energy-efficient electrical lighting. The dilapidated message boards will be removed and replaced with a new double-sided digital messaging system. This system will allow the Chamber to announce numerous events and activities at one-time rather than just one or two, as was the case with the current lettering system.

According to traffic count data, more than 7,000 vehicles pass by the Chamber each week making this an ideal location to announce community information. One of the roles of the Merrill Chamber is community information and/or tourism according to Kinsey. They do this in a variety of ways that includes an information center that’s open 24 hours, disbursing 40,000 Merrill visitors guides annually, having a great website that showcases “everything Merrill,” a community calendar of events, a monthly newsletter, press announcements, advertisements in travel magazines, local radio and news print and tourism/recreation shows.

“It’s important for us to disseminate as much information as possible to the community,” concluded Kinsey. “Being able to make announcements via an external sign again will be a great asset not only to us but to the entire community and to those visiting or passing through Merrill.” In addition to the high traffic count, the Chamber’s website averages more than 6,000 visits per month.

Donations to the Chamber’s Pot O’Gold Fundraiser are tax-deductible and can be made payable to: Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Inc., 705 N. Center Ave., Merrill, WI 54452.

For more information contact the Merrill Chamber of Commerce at 715-536-9474 or visit them on the web at

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