Silver Lake Sand Dunes, Hart, Mears Area Chamber of Commerce

2388 N. Comfort Dr. in Hart

Phone: 231-873-3982

An interview with Director Scott Beal

Date opened: 2001

Staff: One-Executive Director

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday

What the chamber offers: Supporting and promoting businesses in Silver Lake, Hart and Mears. Our member website is one of the top five visitor destination websites in Michigan, www.thinkdunes.com, along with the Visitor Information Center on Polk Road. The member dues support community events such as Home for the Holidays Christmas Parade, Community Easter Egg Hunt, Hart and Silver Lake Fireworks, Hart Community Performing Arts Series, Blessing of the Duners, National Asparagus Festival and the Silver Lake Apple BBQ Festival. The Chamber of Commerce also financially supports many of the area civic and non-profit organizations, such as Oceana College Access Network, Oceana County Economic Alliance, Hart Historic District and United Way of Oceana County.

Why did you want to be the director of the chamber? I had served on chamber of commerce boards in other cities in the past. I always wanted the opportunity of working for a chamber in some capacity.

Most memorable day at the chamber? My first ribbon cutting for a new business opening, I thought maybe 10 people would attend, and over 30 people attended. I learned then how much the residents and businesses support each other.

What is it like to serve our community in this capacity? It is very rewarding, so different in a positive way than working in the corporate business world.

How has our community responded to the chamber? The chamber was well established when I started in 2017, the community is always supportive of the chamber and all area non-profit and civic organizations.

How has becoming director of the chamber allowed you help our area’s small businesses? I feel we are able to give the businesses increased exposure and reach a larger market than most of them could reach with their own marketing efforts.

What is your favorite thing about Oceana County? That the community supports each other in good times and bad times, and how positive and helpful everyone is.

Future plans? Help the businesses still affected by the COVID-19 economy return to 2019 business levels.

Why is it important to shop small and local? Eighty percent of items most people buy are available locally. Working with the cities, corporate and private sponsors and chambers of commerce throughout Oceana County, we helped develop the DiscoverOceana.com website promoting the Shop Local and Gift Card program. The gift cards brought $42,000 in revenue to area businesses during the peak of COVID restrictions.