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Strategic Partnership Spotlight: Tawas Area Chamber of Commerce

October 27, 2011

In November of 2008, the Small Business Association of Michigan launched a new initiative to actively seek out regional and statewide business organizations who shared our vision in moving toward an entrepreneurial economy. The Tawas Area Chamber of Commerce is a recent addition to our group of partners. We sat down with The Tawas Area Chamber of Commerce’s Director, Mark Hitchcock, to talk about our partnership.

Tawas Area Chamber of Commerce
The Tawas Area Chamber of Commerce has been serving members from Au Gres to Oscoda and Tawas Bay to West Branch and beyond since 1947. A current membership of 230 businesses, the majority of the Tawas Area Chamber members are in the service industry, but also include health care and education. As would be imagined, tourism is a large economic driver to the Tawas area community.

“SBAM is like a diamond in the rough. Our goal is to improve the value of what we can bring to our members – our partnership with SBAM allows us to do that-and then some,” shares Mark Hitchcock, Director of the Tawas Area Chamber of Commerce.

Focus had the opportunity to talk with Hitchcock about the Tawas Chamber partnership with SBAM:

Focus: What is the value of SBAM to the Tawas Area Chamber of Commerce?

Hitchcock: We are always looking for ways to bring more value to our members and their investment in the Tawas Area Chamber. The addition of SBAM as a strategic partner makes all of their programs and services available to our membership. This is a perfect example of that added-value. We all have to do more with less and we are taking the lead at the Tawas Area Chamber of Commerce to bring more efficiency and opportunities for our members to grow their businesses.

For example, health care is the number one question brought to us from our members. There are many unknowns around this topic, and for our members to be able to pick up the phone and learn from SBAM the best approach for their business – and even buy into a group plan if that works for them – that is one huge value-add. 

Focus: Why are partnerships important?

Hitchcock: I am a big believer in collaboration both personally and professionally. From a business standpoint- when you can model operations around that of what has worked for a big business and apply those principals as appropriate to small businesses – it’s a win-win situation. Our partnership with SBAM allows us to provide big business insights – best practices, access to resources, networks – to our smaller community and businesses. We have a staff of one – so this partnership allows us to meet and exceed the needs of our members and parallel the value of their membership to that of a larger chamber. Just because we are a small community doesn’t mean our opportunities should be limited. With partnerships such as SBAM, we are able to expand our reach and resources.

Learn more about the Tawas Area Chamber of Commerce at,  For more information on SBAM’s strategic partnerships, contact Pierre LaVoie.

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