Thursday, June 16, 2016

Third Annual WMWO Chamber Business Expo June 24

The West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce will present its Third Annual Business Expo on Friday, June 24, presented by Glenwood Regional Medical Center.

The Business Expo will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the West Monroe Convention Center at 901 Ridge Avenue in West Monroe.

This event is FREE to the general public. You do not have to be a WMWO Chamber member to attend.  The Expo offers the public a chance to learn about more than 60 of our local businesses and organizations.  Attendees will be able to visit with retailers, professional service providers, nonprofit organizations and much more.  There will be plenty of free samples, door prizes, health screenings and much more.  The Expo is family friendly - there will be complimentary light refreshments as well as an inflatable jumper for children and even Kona Ice snowcones for sale!

This is an excellent networking opportunity for Chamber members and local businesses.  So many times, business owners do not have the time to meet one another because they are unable to get away from their own storefronts.  The Business Expo allows business owners the chance to connect with other leaders and create meaningful business relationships.

To learn more about the Expo, call the WMWO Chamber at (318) 325-1961.  Receive regular updates about the Expo by joining its Facebook event page at:

Friday, May 6, 2016

Understanding the impact of small businesses

The West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce is celebrating small businesses and the contributions they make to our community during the month of May.

The U.S. Small Business Administration officially recognizes the value of small businesses during National Small Business Week held May 1-7, 2016.

It is estimated that small businesses make up 97 percent of all Louisiana employers.  In Northeast Louisiana alone, there are over 7,000 small businesses.  The top three industries include retail, professional services, health care and social assistance.  In the United States, small businesses pay almost 40 percent of all wages

Volunteers visited over 50 small businesses in the West Monroe and West Ouachita area this week to present them with Small Business Week/Shop Local signs.  We thank small businesses for the time, energy and commitment they give every day.  Small businesses employ our friends, family and neighbors, and sales tax generated from these businesses help fund parks, schools, roadways and public safety.

The La. Small Business Development Center on the ULM campus offers a number of free trainings and services for small business owners in this region.  The Chamber encourages small business owners to take advantage of their services.  They can be reached at (318) 324-1224 or online at

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

St. Paddy's Day Bicycle Parade is fun for the entire family

The West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce, Love Your Community and City of West Monroe work together each year to host the annual St. Paddy's Day Bicycle Parade and Festival, a day of free family fun at Kiroli Park in West Monroe.

This wonderful event is sponsored by Centric Federal Credit Union.

Admission to Kiroli Park is waived during the festival.

The 4th Annual St. Paddy's Day Bicycle Parade and Festival is a day of family fun with the highlight of the day being a bicycle parade around Kiroli Park's athletic field. People of all ages are invited to take part in this non-motorized parade - participants can use bicycles, wagons, strollers, scooters etc. to stroll around the parade route.  Parade organizers will lead off with a decorated golf cart.

Prizes are awarded to the best dressed children, adults and pets so be sure to deck yourself in the finest green attire!

Live Irish music will be provided by Emerald Accent, and a demonstration from a dancer with the Jackson Irish Dancers.  There will be plenty of crafts, games and other activities for children during the day.  Some of the groups that will participate with activities include the Masur Museum, La. Purchase Gardens and Zoo, Macaroni Kid and cookie/cupcake decorating with Tummy Yummy Creations.  Other activities include face painting, a photo booth, inflatable bouncers and animal balloons with Rainbow the Clown.

Free popcorn and green lemonade will be provided to festival attendees while supplies last.

Food vendors will be selling refreshments at the festival including Kona Ice snocones, green cotton candy, funnel cakes and other treats.

St. Paddy's Day T-shirts will be available for sale for $10 each at the festival.

Event organizers are closely monitoring the weather for this weekend. Please keep checking the festival's Facebook event page for updates.

Many thanks to all of the companies and organizations who have sponsored this event and made it possible for local families to enjoy.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

It's time for the Great American Cleanup in Ouachita Parish

For many, the beginning of March seems marks the unofficial start of the spring season.

For Ouachita Green and its partners, March 1 begins a three-month period known as the Great American Cleanup.

During the Great American Cleanup, volunteers are called to action to clean all areas of Ouachita Parish.  A parish wide cleanup will be held on Saturday, March 19.  Various staging sites will be established around the parish allowing volunteers to register and providing them with cleanup supplies.

The community cleanup provides the public an opportunity to play an active role in the beautification of our parish.  The appearance of our community is the first impression many investors and developers have of this area. The presence of litter is an indicator of more significant problems such as crime, neglect and a community that cares.

In an effort to combat litter and empower local residents, Ouachita Green has established a new litter hotline that is available day and night and on weekends. The Litter Hotline number is 318-460-0LTR (Zero Litter).  Residents are encouraged to use this number when they see littering or illegal dumpsites.  

Ouachita Green encourages the public to take action this spring against litter and help be an "everyday hero" when it comes to keeping our home clean and litter free.

To learn more about the Great American Cleanup or any program hosted by Ouachita Green, visit

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Small Business Saturday is November 28

Americans will spend this week celebrating Thanksgiving with friends and family.  As we give thanks for this year's many blessings, the West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce takes time to give thanks for the hundreds of small businesses in Louisiana.

We have a chance to say thank you to these businesses by taking part in Small Business Saturday on Saturday, November 28.  Small Business Saturday is a national campaign created in 2010 by American Express to bring awareness to supporting small businesses across the country.  Small Business Saturday is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  

During last year's Small Business Saturday event, approximately $14.3 billion was
spent at small independent businesses across the country.

There are dozens of small businesses right here in northeast Louisiana.  From clothes to toys to home decor and everything in between, all your shopping needs can be met right here at home in small, locally-owned businesses.

As you prepare to take part in Black Friday sales and holiday shopping this weekend, remember to Think Small!

For a list of WMWO Chamber members, please visit

Friday, November 6, 2015

Early voting begins November 7 for statewide elections

Early voting begins November 7 for three of Louisiana's statewide races.

Early voting will be held through November 14, and voters are reminded there is now an early voting site in the City of West Monroe.  The West Ouachita Senior Center, located at 1800 N. 7th Street, now serves as an early voting site.  The Senior Center will be open to early voters on November 7, 9, 13 and 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Voters will be asked to select Louisiana's next Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General. U.S. Senator David Vitter and State Rep. John Bel Edwards are vying to be Louisiana's next Governor.  In the runoff for Lieutenant Governor are Billy Nungesser, former president of Plaquemines Parish, and Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden.  The third statewide seat up for grabs is state Attorney General.  Facing off in that runoff are current Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and former Congressman Jeff Landry. For more information on Louisiana's elections, please visit the La. Secretary of State's web site at

Election Day is Saturday, November 21.

The West Ouachita Senior Center now serves as an early voting site for Ouachita Parish residents.
Only 38.5 percent of registered voters turned out for the October 24 election.

We encourage all registered voters to exercise their right to vote on November 21 and let your voices be heard.  After the polls close on November 21, the leaders elected will serve our state for the next four years.  With our state facing some tough decisions concerning such issues as education reform, transportation and the state budget, Louisiana's next leaders have their work cut out for them.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

National Manufacturing Day October 2

The country will celebrate National Manufacturing Day on Friday, October 2, 2015.

Manufacturing is big business in this country.  The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) estimate that manufacturers contribute more than $2 trillion to the national economy.  For every $1 spent in manufacturing, another $1.37 is added to the economy. 

The NAM estimates Louisiana manufacturers employ 7.4 percent of the state's workforce. According to the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, there are 2,997 manufacturing firms in Louisiana. Top manufacturing sectors in the state are petroleum, coal and chemical products as well as machinery, fabricated metal and paper.

Here locally, manufacturing has a tremendous impact.  Area residents may not realize the number of manufacturers that call Northeast Louisiana home - Graphic Packaging, Angus Chemical, Bancroft Bag and Berry Plastic are just a few of the manufacturers in our area.  It is estimated they employ more than 10,000 area residents.  There are even some you may not consider as "traditional" manufacturers - Pine Valley Foods and Landry Vineyards, both located in the West Monroe area, manufacture food and beverage products.  

The WMWO Chamber of Commerce is proud to partner with the Monroe Chamber of Commerce and La. Delta Community College to offer tours in late October of local manufacturing sites to high schools students from the Ouachita Parish and Monroe City school systems.  Students will have the opportunity to see first hand the types of jobs available in Northeast Louisiana.  They will then visit one of Delta Community College's campuses and learn what types of skills are needed and what types of classes are available to obtain such a job.

Take time to understand the importance of manufacturing - not just to Louisiana but this region of our state.  To learn more, visit