Holly Area Chamber of Commerce Tops 100 Member Goal
(Lara Mossa, May 5, 2019)
HOLLY – An off-road vehicle park is just one of the factors that will drive the growth of the Holly Area Chamber of Commerce according to Executive Director Richard Kinnamon who is excited about the potential growth.
The Chamber, which covers businesses in the Village of Holly as well as Holly Township, Springfield Township, Rose Township, Groveland Township and part of Highland Township, recently surpassed 100 members.
“We’ve been approaching people,” said Kinnamon. “We have built a Chamber that people want to be a part of. It seems like every week we have someone coming in and saying ‘how can I be a part of this.’”
There were 37 members when Kinnamon started a year and a half ago. Now, it’s up to 105 members and is expected to increase to 125 by mid- to late-summer. The effort has been led by Kinnamon, who has been a pastor for more than 20 years and is a substitute teacher at Holly Schools, along with Chamber Board President George Kullis, who is also the Holly Township Supervisor.
They’re proud of the way the Chamber provides community marketing through social media, ribbon cuttings, and informative networking breakfasts. “The Chamber’s been active and positive and doing things for our community,” Kinnamon said. Members have been active in the effort to raise money to relocate the historic train depot, as well as planning around the new ORV park. A recent Children’s Business Fair helped inspire and teach young entrepreneurs.
Plus the Chamber also recently worked with Michigan Department of Transportation to have a tourist sign put up on Southbound I-75 letting people know about the destination. A website – www.VisitHolly.com – is in the works.
“Holly was on the verge of explosion,” Kullis said about the change in leadership. “The Chamber was going to become more important than ever.”
One of the reasons for economic growth in the Holly area is the development of a new ORV park on Dixie Highway by Mount Holly. The park, located in Holly and Groveland townships, will contain off-road trails for dirt bikes, four wheelers and jeeps. Starting with 120 acres, the park is expected to open next year and will have another 115 acres by 2023. General RV has already built a new location in Springfield Township, and the project is expected to attract businesses that provide services for vehicles as well as restaurants and lodging.
At the same time, the Holly area is developing the Dixie Byway Corridor to promote growth and activity with a historical and unique identity, Kinnamon said.
“We are here for the businesses that exist and will begin to exist in that corridor and create an opportunity for them to have representation and promote their businesses as they develop out there,” he added.
The Chamber, which represents companies that range from nonprofit organizations and retail stores to tech firms, manufacturing businesses and contractors, is funded by memberships and fundraising events.
Robert Hillman, owner of Hillman Roofing in Holly Township, was the 100th member after joining in April. He has led Hillman Roofing, a third-generation business founded in the 1950s, for two years.
Providing residential roofing, Hillman joined the Chamber for exposure, good public relations and networking.
“It can’t hurt to know people,” he said. To give back to the local community, which provides most of his business, he is providing a free roof for a veteran in need, coordinated through the Holly Area Veterans Resource Center.
“Within the last two years, my business has really grown predominately in the Holly area,” he said. “There are veterans in my family. It seemed like a good thing to do.”
Meanwhile, the Chamber will continue to set new goals.
“It’s going to be a tourist attraction not just for Oakland County but for the entire Midwest,” Kullis said of the ORV park. “It’s going to be a general tourist area.” His eyes are on how to make that work best for the “Up North in Oakland County” community.
For more information, go to www.hollyareachamber.com.