Cathy Burwell mug with border

Despite this never-ending winter we are experiencing in Helena, there is a lot happening around town.

Coming up in March, there are two big tournament weekends with the first weekend being the Divisional AA basketball tournament. This is a new tournament, as in the past we have had play-off games and then teams advanced to the State AA Tournament. Both the boys and girls teams from the Western Division will be in Helena on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of March to determine which teams advance. The girls' tournament will be at Capital High School and the boys' tournament will be at Helena High School. The Chamber is helping with the girls' tournament hosting, so donations for the hospitality room are welcome. Contact Mike Mergenthaler at the Chamber (447-1941) if you’d like to donate.

The second weekend in March (10th and 11th) is the Annual SWISH Basketball Tournament which will have 90-100 teams competing here over the weekend. It is estimated the tournament brings 3,500-4,000 people to town.

Both of the above mentioned basketball tournaments will have a great economic impact to Helena of $500,000 to 1 million dollars in spending in the Capital City each weekend. The hotels, restaurants and retail will see a welcome boost in sales during the winter season!

New business, Cutting Edge Laser Works has wedding gift ideas, decoration ideas and special mementoes they can create for you. Check out their Facebook page or talk to owners Steve Utick, Jennifer Utick & Sean Buchanan for all the ways they can help you, your business, or your event. Contact them at sales@mtcuttingedge.com or phone 406-351-0393.

The Helena Area Chamber has been hosting Wisdom Wednesdays for our members on the 2nd Wednesday of each month. We have featured many topics ranging from Doing the Tough Stuff First, Sexual Harassment to Live Shooter Training. Coming up in March, we will feature a panel of Boss of the Year recipients who will talk about their best practices in hiring and retaining talent. We are going to continue these through May, so Chamber members — please tell your staff to take advantage of these informative classes (free to members!). More information can be found by calling the chamber at 442-4120 or check the website — www.helenachamber.com.

On the upside of the tons of snow around town, many businesses utilize snow plowing and removal companies to keep their parking lots and sidewalks clear. Some businesses that do lawn work in the summer find that snow removal helps tide them over the winter. We do have chamber members who do snow removal — call if you need a referral! If you do this work and aren’t a member — call the chamber to join!

The Helena Regional Airport is gearing up to remodel and add-on to the airport terminal starting this summer. With more flights leaving and arriving at similar times, the current waiting rooms are sometimes quite crowded, plus they need more room on the tarmac to safely park the planes. They plan to do the expansion in the least disruptive way and assure that passenger service will remain a priority. There will be expanded restaurant (food and beverage) service inside security with this project. Airport Director Jeff Wadekamper says they continue to work on additional flights with priority on getting the daily (early out, late return) flight back to Seattle on Horizon and also on the potential for a flight to Portland.

The Helena Chamber extends a big thanks to the Independent Record for the recent Report to the Community publication they inserted for the chamber. This was a joint effort and we really appreciate all the work by the team at the IR for helping make it the biggest and best one ever!

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Cathy Burwell is president/CEO of the Helena Area Chamber of Commerce.


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