By Rich Palzewic
SEYMOUR – At the city council meeting last month, Seymour Business District Council (SBDC) board members met with city leaders about the group’s willingness to collaborate with businesses in Seymour.
Members Madilyn Heinke, Tashia Leisgang, Courtney Heagle and Kayla Raether each took a turn to introduce themselves and talk about the group’s mission.
Another board member, Melissa Hansen, wasn’t present.
“Each of us own businesses (with our families) in Seymour,” Heinke said. “Our mission is to be a role player in connecting community businesses with the city. We are community-first. Right now, we’re in the building phases, but we’re building a foundation. This isn’t just a women’s group – men can join as well. We’ve been meeting for six or seven months.”
Heinke said the SBDC is in the process of filing as a 501(c)(6), which is an organization that exists to promote its members’ business interests, without the goal of making a profit.
These organizations must make sure no one individual or shareholder benefits financially from the organization’s income.
“We wanted to introduce ourselves and let everyone know we want to be that liaison,” she said. “We want to be that face for businesses when they come into the city. It’s similar to a chamber of commerce, but we wanted to spruce it up.”
Heinke said the website, SeymourBusinessDistrictCouncil.com, is up and running, but still needs work.
“We have a golf outing scheduled for Friday, July 30, at Jackson Point Sports Grill and Banquet (Crystal Springs Golf Course),” she said. “The website is still in the works, but there’s basic information on there.”
Heagle said the group has another focus.
“Another goal is to build Seymour and make it a more enjoyable place to live,” she said. “We want businesses to want to be here and open in our community. We also want to get more employees to live here, too.”
Seymour Mayor Ryan Kraft said he thinks the SBDC is a “great idea.”
“Anything that promotes businesses in the community is great, especially in our downtown business district,” he said. “The SBDC will be able to connect with its customers via social media as well. That’s important because that’s where retail is going. Anything the city can do to help with a strategy to help promote events is what we need. We haven’t had a chamber of commerce for at least six years. When I was younger, the chamber was active in doing these things, but for whatever reason, it got away from that.”
Kraft said he hopes the SBDC also asks for help when needed.
“Even if it’s a flyer in city hall, we can do that,” he said. “Of our 1,250 utility customers, about half of those still physically come into our building to pay their bill every month. Those people aren’t looking on social media.”