Friday, September 29, 2017

Hunger Action Month

September is Hunger Action Month - a month-long effort designed to inspire people to take action and raise awareness of the fact that 48 million Americans are food insecure. In fact, right here in Northeast Louisiana over 73,000 people are facing hunger.   

During this month, the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana hosted a series of events to spread the word about the hunger crisis, and dedicate themselves to a solution. 

Although September is coming to an end, we challenge the community to support the Food Bank year round and help end hunger in Northeast Louisiana. As we prepare for a busy fall and holiday season, we know there will be a tremendous need for volunteers, donations of food and financial support. The Food Bank challenges the community to spread awareness and join the movement to fight hunger in our community by participating in some of the events and actions below.

Get Involved:
·        Follow FBNELA on Facebook & Twitter and share our posts about hunger with your friends with the hashtag #HungerActionMonth.
·        Make a donation – $10 = 55 Meals for people facing hunger in Northeast Louisiana.
·        Coins for a Cause – Drop off your spare change at any Centric Federal Credit Union location. Your donations will be given to the Food Bank of NELA to fight hunger.

·        Visit for more events and ways to get involved.

Chamber Diplomats recently packed food bags for needy children in our area.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

With the end of May upon us, the West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce wanted to take time to reflect on National Small Business Month, which was celebrated throughout the month of May.

Across the nation and in Louisiana, small businesses have a huge impact on the economy.  The La. Association for Business and Industry reports there are more than 424,000 businesses in Louisiana, employing more than 892,000 people.  Small businesses make up more than 97 percent of Louisiana's employers, providing more than half of the state's private workforce.

The WMWO Chamber of Commerce partnered with the La. Small Business Development Center at ULM to spotlight small businesses in our area and thank local business owners for their commitment to their business and the community. Small businesses create jobs for our residents, and sales tax generated by these businesses help fund schools, parks, roadways and other vital services.

Each May, the Chamber honors small businesses in various categories as part of its Small Business Awards Program, sponsored by Glenwood Regional Medical Center.

This year's winners award winners included: 
  • Community Champion Award - Tiffany Olmstead, publisher of Macaroni Kid Monroe-West Monroe.
  • Emerging Entrepreneur - SaniCan Bin Cleaning & Exterior Services
  • Female Champion Award - Deanna Head, Unitech Training Academy
  • Micro Business Award - Finding Solace Counseling, LLC
  • Small Business Award - TBA Studio
  • Silver Plus Award - Kilpatrick Funeral Homes
  • Honorable Mention in the Micro Business Awards category was presented to Green Gator Pumping & Sewer, LLC
Emerging Entrepreneur Winner SaniCan Bin Cleaning & Exterior Services
Congratulations to all of these well-deserving businesses and leaders!

Remember to support small, locally-owned businesses throughout the year. For a complete listing of WMWO Chamber members, visit our online membership directory at

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Spring festivals and events abound in West Monroe

The spring season is right around the corner, which means festivals are abound in the West Monroe area!

We kick off the unofficial start of the spring season this Saturday with the 5th Annual St. Paddy's Bicycle Parade at Kiroli Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Come rain or shine, this free family event will roll! The highlight of the day is a bicycle parade for people and pets of all ages. Bring your scooter, trike, bike, wagon, etc. and parade around the park in your festive green attire. 

Other activities include face painting, jumpers, food vendors, arts and crafts and live musical entertainment from Emerald Accent. Contact the West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce at (318) 325-1961 for more information.

Also this Saturday, Landry Vineyards kicks off its annual concert series.  If you haven't done so, make a point to visit this beautiful vineyard in the rolling hills of West Monroe and listen to incredible musical groups while enjoying Landry Vineyard wines and refreshments. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and a picnic is optional. Visit for additional information.

Celebrate the many talented artists and musicians found in this region later this spring at the Downtown Spring Art Festival on Saturday, April 29 in downtown West Monroe. This second annual event will feature local artisans, crafters, musicians, food vendors and more. There will be plenty of hands-on activities for children - then shop or dine in the district known to many as Antique Alley. Learn more about the Art Festival at

In May, the Chamber of Commerce, City of West Monroe and several community partners will host the annual Brown Bag Lunch Concert Series. This seasonal favorite features live local musical talent every Wednesday in May from noon to 1 p.m. at the covered pavilion at 7th Square in West Monroe (located directly behind the West Monroe Farmer's Market). A light lunch is sold at each concert and sponsors provide complimentary refreshments. Feel free to bring your own lunch and enjoy the sounds of terrific local entertainment. The concert series will pick up again in September.

There are so many fun things to do this spring season in the West Monroe area.  To learn more about any of these events or others taking place in the community, contact the Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau at

Friday, October 7, 2016

Recognizing the impact of manufacturing in our region

October 7 is known as National Manufacturing Day, a celebration of modern manufacturing and a time to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.

Manufacturing plays a key role in the economy of Louisiana and across the United States.

According to the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), approximately 3,000 manufacturing companies in Louisiana contribute more than 20 percent of the state's gross state product and employ more than 148,000 people. These are good paying jobs which have an average salary of $82,000 which is almost double Louisiana's average wage of $44,409.

In the United States, manufacturers contributed $2.17 trillion to the nation's economy, and for every $1 spent in manufacturing, another $1.81 is added to the economy. Stephen Waguespack of LABI said taken alone, manufacturing in the United States would be the ninth largest economy in the world.

Locally, leaders are working on partnerships that will expand resources for regionally-based manufacturing companies and help strengthen the workforce needed to fill jobs at these sites. Today, La. Delta Community College announced a partnership with Reliability Solutions and Training Logic, Inc. two firms with substantive expertise in working with manufacturing companies to train workers for modern automated manufacturing operations. 

Read the full announcement at:

Representatives from Reliability Solutions said in less than 10 years, there will be a shortfall of 3.4 million skilled tradespeople.  Many people, especially those coming out of high school, falsely believe trades-related jobs are "second class" or "demeaning" jobs, said Ian McKinnon of Reliability Solutions.  McKinnon said many of these jobs often lead to six-figure salaries.  He encouraged community and business leaders to help spread the message of the opportunities awaiting those interested in pursuing a trades-related career.
To learn more about Manufacturing Day and its impact to our economy, visit

Students getting a tour of Bancroft Bag in West Monroe. 

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.