By Heather Graves
ASHWAUBENON – Founded in 1969, the Ashwaubenon Business Association (ABA) took aim at promoting village businesses in an effort to draw customers to the area. Now, 50 years later, ABA’s reach extends beyond village borders.
The ABA was originally founded by Bill Lucas as the Ashwaubenon Businessmen’s Association, Inc.
In 1991, it was changed to Ashwaubenon Business and Professional Association, Inc. to be more inclusive.
Eventually, it became known as the Ashwaubenon Business Association, Inc.
Stacie Christel, the director of sales and marketing at Aloft Green Bay and current ABA board president, said over the years, the organization has grown and changed, but the original vision remains the same
“The mission of the ABA is to promote the success of Ashwaubenon businesses and community through education, promotion and networking,” Christel said.
Christel has been a member of the ABA since 2010.
She has been an active board member since 2012 and has served as president during the 2016–17 term and the current 2018–19 term.
“I feel the association is critical to both my professional and personal path by allowing me to grow my business network along with self-growth,” Christel said.
The ABA is made up of more than 100 area businesses and 20 associate members from Ashwaubenon and surrounding areas.
“Through the evolution of both our members and district, ABA has grown with change by opening our boundaries and welcoming not just Ashwaubenon business, but our Green Bay and surrounding neighbors who are looking to grow relationships within Ashwaubenon,” Christel said.
Association members pay an annual membership – which includes nine monthly luncheon meetings that features a variety of guest speakers.
Some of this year’s speakers include Green Bay Packers President Mark Murphy, Alonzo Kelly from Kelly Leadership Group, LLC and David Sauter, CEO of Envano.
Membership also includes village updates, networking and social activities, financial support for Ashwaubenon education and members’ website and email links on the ABA site.
“The main reason I stay active and committed to the ABA is definitely the people,” Christel said. “I have always felt welcomed from the very first event I attended. And, as for the business side, the value I receive from the minimal membership fee is immense. From the motivational luncheon speakers to the pre-meeting networking, the worth is felt monthly.”
Some of the businesses in the ABA include Aloft Green Bay, The Green Bay Distillery, Lodge Kohler, The National Railroad Museum, Fox Communities Credit Union and many, many more.
ABA members and the community came together earlier this month to celebrate the 50-year milestone at the Miller Lite Lounge overlooking Lambeau Field.
The evening featured heavy hors d’oeuvres, gift card giveaways to Ashwaubenon businesses and Star 98 entertainment courtesy of Laura McKenna.
“We put all our focus into making this a memorable night for our entire association,” Christel said. “The entire event was a team effort with time and talent provided by our board members and administrator.”
A smaller celebration took place in November 2018 at the Green Bay Curling Club, where members had a chance to learn how to curl.
More information about the Ashwaubenon Business Association is available at ashwaubenonbusiness.com.