The Louisiana Chamber of Commerce has officially moved to its new location at the foot of the Champ Clark Bridge.
In addition, chamber Director Chris Koetters recently won a prestigious regional Chamber of Commerce award to add to the new facility.
The chamber office is now in the old Pick-A-Dilly convenience store building on the north side of Hwy. 54 and Hwy. 79 (Third Street).
The chamber had been at the Louisiana Area Historical Museum site on Georgia Street after moving there last year from city hall. The new location provides more room for chamber business and meetings and provides better visibility at the busy corner, Koetters said.
“The exposure is just amazing here,” Koetters said while putting the finishing touches on the office last week. “It’s good for not only us but the city to capture some of this traffic.
“A lot of people don’t know what’s in Louisiana and just drive through. Now they’ll see a new (Louisiana Visitors and Convention Bureau) visitors center and find out there’s something in town,” Koetters said.
The chamber will also save money at the building being leased by Niemann Foods for no charge, Koetters said. Niemann will open its new County Market on Tuesday, Aug. 19 and is giving the space to the chamber as a community project.
“County Market has been an awesome partner,” Koetters said. “It gives us a great opportunity to use our financial resources for other means.”
The chamber office and visitors center will offer brochures on immediate area attractions and information on things to do in Hannibal, Quincy and Springfield, Ill., Koetters said. Regional chambers are all sharing information and giving out the brochures of others now, he added.
“You would think we’d be competitive but we work together to bring tourists into northeast Missouri and central Illinois,” Koetters said.
Koetters recently received the Jim Anderson Professional Torch Award recognizing “outstanding Missouri and southwestern Illinois chamber officials who work passionately for their chamber and their region, according to the American Chamber of Commerce Executives website. Koetters beat out entrants from St Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, Ill. and both state chambers of commerce and accepted the award at the executives meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“It was a big shock to win that award,” Koetters said. “We were probably the smallest town up for the award. I’m glad (Chamber President) Jeff Guay nominated me.”
Koetters took over the chamber helm 10 months ago and is paid on a 30-hour basis.
“I don’t think I’ve seen just a 30-hour week yet, but that’s all right,” Koetters said. “This is an awesome job.”