In this week's episode of Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz, Toni Gumina, President and CEO of the West Bend Area Chamber of Commerce joins me to talk about the chamber's upcoming Doors Open West Bend event. Doors Open West Bend takes place October 13th and 14th. This free community event will provide behind-the-scenes tours of over 25 locations throughout West Bend, including businesses, historic sites, arts organizations, schools, and more.
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Fuzz Martin 0:00
Oh hello, you find lookin' humans. Thank you for joining me for another rousing edition of Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz. Who am I? Well, I am the aforementioned Fuzz, and you're about to spend 15 minutes with me and my guest. And if I'm being honest with you, today's episode is about 19 minutes long bonus. Before I go too far, I want to say happy birthday to my wife, Shanna Martin. You're amazing. I love you Happy birthday.
Fuzz Martin 0:39
This week, my guest is Toni Gumina, the President and CEO of the West Bend Area Chamber of Commerce. Toni joins me to talk about their upcoming Doors Open West Bend event, which takes place on Friday the 13th of October, and Saturday, the 14th, also of October, which also doesn't sound as fun to say in that order. Again, Friday, October 13. And Saturday, October 14. Without further nonsense from me, here are 15 or so minutes on Doors Open West Bend with Toni Gumina of the West Bend Area Chamber of Commerce here on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz.
Fuzz Martin 1:26
Toni, thanks so much for coming on to Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz. First, a question that you should be able to answer easily. What is a Chamber of Commerce?
Toni Gumina 1:37
Well, first, thank you for that challenging question. Chamber of Commerce is a business membership organization. And at its core commerce is a group of businesses that support the interest of its members.
Fuzz Martin 1:51
All right, that's easy enough. There you go. So what are the benefits of a Chamber of Commerce to businesses and the community?
Toni Gumina 1:58
Sure, absolutely. I would say for Well, for the members, I always like to say after it's been about 17 years, now that I've been in the chamber and trying to boil it down, I feel that the Chamber creates opportunities. Okay, we have four tenants that we fall for four pillars, if you will, with our chamber, and that is the promotion, advocacy, connection, and education of our members. And so we're constantly looking to build value, and programming and opportunities around those four pillars to really bring our members together. So we may not directly be promoting someone driving someone to a business's door. Sure, we're going to refer the heck out of all of our members, because it's what we do, and it's what honestly our members pay us to do. But we're here to connect businesses with businesses and allow them to use their experience to to grow their business and support the community. One of the things that we do from a community base is beyond supporting our businesses to keep the community strong, is we have our chamber check program. And it's a great way that we keep dollars in the community. That is a program that our members can take advantage of get on that list that they accept these chamber checks. And last year, we kept $78,000 in the community through the community supporting the chamber check program.
Fuzz Martin 3:28
Great. And those make great gifts as we dive into that. Your season. They do. Yes. In addition to that, with the chamber board, representatives from the school are involved with that from the school district. Yes, representatives from the city and the county this really kind of bring them together as well. Right?
Toni Gumina 3:45
Absolutely. I think it's very important for one with the school districts this for us to have a great relationship with a school districts in our area, because that's our future workforce. And they are our connection to what's current educationally and career paths with our local government or county government. We're here to get information from them what's going on economic development, you know, in ways of economic development, but also to be there to advocate for business in our community. And so to have that good relationship with them, so you have an open dialogue, what communities
Fuzz Martin 4:22
does the West Bend area Chamber of Commerce serve as it's mostly West Bend obviously, right, but it
Toni Gumina 4:28
is it is. So I would say our focus area for business advocacy and support is the West Bend area and then Washington County. But quite honestly, if you talk about our membership, we are providing services for businesses in Washington County and all the surrounding counties. Sure. You don't have to have a business address in West Bend to be a member of the West Bend area Chamber. There are many reasons why people might come on board from other counties, just business interest. We have several people, I'm going to be meeting with someone next week that works in the area, sure and commutes out, but would like to maybe develop some connections in this area from a sales perspective. Yeah. And then also, we offer insurance discounts. We have a partnership with network health. And so some businesses looking for reduced premium on their insurance. So I know we have a few people out of Milwaukee County that are members for that specific reason.
Fuzz Martin 5:27
Sure, because joining helps reduce their insurance rates so much, I guess, correct.
Toni Gumina 5:31
They get a discount on insurance premiums.
Fuzz Martin 5:34
Perfect. That's great. Yeah. So you've been with the West Bend chamber for two years now. Two years, June 21. Very nice. So put me on the spot. What is your favorite? What do you love about West?
Toni Gumina 5:46
Question? You know, I think the hustle and bustle the buzz around town, there's always something going on. I really appreciate that. This is a community that is in support of the arts, whether that is theater, music, Moa, you know, the the sculpture walk. So I love all of those things. And this may sound a little corny because I'm in an industry where I'm meeting a lot of people. And I would say one of the things I love most is all of the people I've met, and the common theme of all those people is really bad. A duty of service. I've met a lot of you this very giving community. We have currently 61 nonprofits that are members of the chamber, most of them residing here in West Bend. So it is a very giving community.
Fuzz Martin 6:40
Perfect. Good answer. Good answer. Thanks. In just under a month, October 13 and 14th the Westbury Chamber of Commerce will be hosting an event called Doors Open West Bend. Yes. So overall, what is the Doors Open event
Toni Gumina 6:55
Doors Open. So I'm sure many people are familiar with the wonderful Doors Open Milwaukee. So Doors Open West Bend is going to be an itty bitty baby version of Doors Open Milwaukee, which I believe is celebrating like their 30th anniversary this year. So a Doors Open event is really an opportunity for behind the scenes, three tours of locations that maybe normally aren't open to the public, okay? Or if they're open to the public, maybe you get to go see something behind the door that you normally wouldn't get to see. Sure. So that's the concept of doors open. You may have heard them and other communities referred to as Open House Day. Oh, sure, etcetera. But we just thought this would be a really cool experience, led by our board of directors, you know, we have our service to our members. But we also were tourism had a couple times a year. And so one of those events, we just finished up our 15th anniversary, West Bend $1,000, cash bash, which was insanely wonderful this year. So finish that up. That's with our tourism hat on and so Doors Open West Bend, we were looking for what could we do to support tourism in our area, but also spoke to the mission of the chamber and the vision of the chamber. And that vision is really to foster community engagement positivity and and positively impact the area and business but promoting West band and Washington County as a region of that's really welcoming. And so Doors Open really spoke to that for us because we are the area. So we do have some areas that are a little bit we're trying to hit different points of the City of West Bend. Sure. Occasionally, okay. Yeah.
Fuzz Martin 8:46
Yep. So it's, you know, every area of the city gets some representation we're trying.
Toni Gumina 8:50
Yeah. So you know, I think in the future, the hope is, we're looking this is taking place the second week in October of this year, and our hope is to bring this back every year, the second weekend in October. So the goal this year was to get about 25 locations, whether those were guided or self guided tours. And we are just about there, right with our locations. Perfect. Yeah.
Fuzz Martin 9:18
So it wasn't Doors Open Milwaukee that started this right. This is something that's been started overseas, didn't
Toni Gumina 9:25
we? Yes, it started in France, in 1984 was the very first Doors Open. And so now they're taking place all around the world. Sure. Yes. So no, we are not the first nor was no luck. Yes. And we won't be the last
Fuzz Martin 9:42
perfect. It's a very cool opportunity. So this year's event, you have different types of groupings of places, right that people can visit.
Toni Gumina 9:52
Yeah, actually, as we were gathering, as we were reaching out to folks that we really wanted to partner with us on this event. At this year, it was looking at the locations, how can we get the information out to the community in sort of an orderly fashion. And they really broke down into four categories. So it's going to be, there will be opportunities for architecture and history, industry and education, arts and culture and stuff for the kids are calling family fun. Sure. Okay. So we're gonna have opportunities in each of those areas,
what specific businesses and I know, you don't have to list all 25 ish that you have, or you could read through for that, but maybe highlight a few of the big ones. Sure and familiar with,
you know, some of the folks that we just are really appreciative of coming on and partnering with us right away is the Washington County Historical Society. So they have the beautiful tower Heritage Center Museum, the jailhouse Museum, they also I don't know if many people know that they own the St. Agnes convent and school up in the Barton area. So they are working with us to offer tours on these days. We're very excited to have MOWA on board, love to talk a little bit about the band in a moment here. And then from education school, again, I mentioned, great partnership with them. And they are I asked for the high school and they're like, how about these three schools? So they're looking into offering tours at the high school at Badger middle school and at McLean. Okay, because they felt they all held some nostalgia. Yeah, with with some updates that had occurred, and maybe people in the community haven't had the opportunity to go see those. And then on the family fun side, well, I will say also to I apologize. We're very excited to have serigraph onboard. Oh, sure. They're gonna offer from the industry side, they're going to be offering some tours as well. And then family fun. We're going to be partnering with the YMCA, and the library, and then just had great conversation with our city administrator the other day, and we're creating a working wheels experience for kids. Okay, so we're gonna partner with Lynch. Oh, yeah, Main Street and the city. And we're gonna bring just about every truck and vehicle that the city has that works on wheels, and create this experience of families in common with the kids climb around on the vehicles. So we're really excited about that. And locational it's really nice, because the Kettle Moraine Ice Center is also going to be no,
yeah, right across the street. Perfect.
We're very excited.
So you mentioned The Bend's. So let's go back. So you have some special isn't the kickoff that's happening?
Yes, we figured soon. So let me give you the dates here. All right. We Doors Open West Bend is going to be taking place on Friday, the 13th of October. So October, Friday, 13th. And Saturday, October 14, our operating hours are going to be from two to 530 on Friday, okay. And 730 in the morning, we're going to kick off with the farmers market and going until 230 In the afternoon on that Saturday. Well, the band was that was Bill and his team were one of the first folks I reached out to and they were just right away, what can we do. And so we thought for the first year, it would be great to have a kickoff as a thank you to all of the community but to our sponsors to those businesses that are going to be host to our sites. And so we at the band will be offering tours on Friday from three to five I believe. And then we're going to have a closed door reception for all of our supporters from 530 to I guess, yeah, 530 to 630, I have to get this all right, my head, I might be a little off on that. But 530 to 630. And then at 630 The doors are going to open to the public, we're sponsoring a concert with the jimmies at the band fun, free concert, no tickets needed. It'll be sort of a first come first serve for open seating. And to as you know, we'd love to show a little love back to the band too. So again, free concert. But if people want to offer us a small donation at the doors are coming in, we think that'd be wonderful.
Great. And again, that's on Friday the 13th that that portion opens at 636 30. The
doors will open to the public at 630. And then the concert will begin at 730.
Perfect. That's awesome. So with all of these different tours that are going on, or the guided you said some are guided some are on your own are
correct. So the way it'll work and we're actually working with our partner locations right now to get the details. They don't all tours will not necessarily be offered during Doors Open West Bend's operating hours, okay, so each tour location will be customizing their tour. Okay, so we're finalizing that with those locations that should be out and to the pub. Like, buy the last week of September, okay, for review. So you'll get to know, okay, I'm gonna go to the band at three o'clock, but I want to get down to the working wheels with my kids at four. So that's how it'll work. And some locations will offer guided tours. Others, I was speaking with holy angels, Catholic Church wants to be part of this. And they're working out, you know, they'll probably have some opportunities for people to come in and just walk along and look at the beautiful architecture in that building.
Great. It's great. And you said, there's no cost to this to the public, right?
There's no cost. However, there are some tour experiences that may have a cost associated with them. Okay, that will all be put out publicly. So and those will also require typically some pre registration. Okay, I'll throw out a nod to Missy proper and authentic wellness. So we're starting with the farmers market. And Missy does these great Farmers Market tours for healthy eating? Okay, and she runs a class. It's about an hour and a half long for eight to 10 people. She's gonna run two of those tours for us on Saturday. Normally, it's $35 to attend this class with preregistration. She's going to offer a special for $5 Oh, wow. Can you get you get all of Missy's knowledge, you get the Farmers Market. Plus a bunch of takeaways too.
Great. That's awesome. And yeah, this will be on the chamber website.
It will and I do believe we also have put out on our social media flyer with that opportunity.
Perfect. Very good. I know that it takes a lot to get these together. Obviously, you have your staff at the chamber. You've been doing a lot of work, a lot of work. But you also have some great sponsors for the venue who's sponsoring Doors Open West Bend.
I said, because they're wonderful. I our sponsors, we have three title sponsors. Right now we're going to be looking for more sponsors, but our three title sponsors are Westbury bank, West Bend insurance, and regal where synergy apps and they were all just absolutely fabulous. I thought to really get this to be an event that we're promoting outside of West Bend. All three of those companies are just synonymous with West Bend. And it was important to have those names in support of this event. And I just can't thank them enough.
Thanks, sponsors. Yeah. So one more time if people want to find more information about Doors Open West Bend, give us the dates again, and then the website where people can go and find sure
the dates for Doors Open West Bend our very first one. The dates are Friday, October 13, from two until 530. And Saturday, October 14, from 7:30am to 2:30pm. You can go to the chamber website, which is w be a chamber.org. And there is a Doors Open West Bend tab right there, and you'll get the information and it will be updated daily.
Perfect. Toni, thank you for coming on the show. having me.
Thanks again to Toni Gumina for joining me to talk about Doors Open West Bend from the West Bend Area Chamber of Commerce. Sounds like it's going to be a fun event, especially for those of you who like to go to your neighbor's houses when they're having an open house. You know who you are. You can find more information about Doors Open West Bend at WBachamber.org. Thanks again for listening smash that follow button on your podcast player. I want you to hit it so hard that you have to replace the screen on your phone. If you ever have an idea for the show, send the topic to me email@example.com. I'd love hearing about positive and fun things happening in and around Washington County. Again fifteen spelled out with fuzz at gmail.com New episodes come out on Tuesdays. And with that, I'll talk to you next Tuesday right here on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz.