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

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

WMWO Chamber and KEDM Public Radio to host candidates meet and greet

Fall elections are right around the corner and not just for the Louisiana Governor's race.  There are a number of local races that directly impact the West Monroe and West Ouachita area.

To help educate the public on these races, the WMWO Chamber of Commerce and KEDM Public Radio will host a candidates "meet and greet" on Tuesday, September 29 at the West Monroe Convention Center.  The event will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

This event is free and open to the general public.

The purpose of the event is to make the public aware of who is running for public office and the issues facing our community. On Saturday, October 24, voters will be asked to select a handful of state leaders ranging from Governor to Attorney General. There are, however, a number of local races that need to be decided. The public will be asked to select state representatives and a senator for the Louisiana Legislature as well as a Ouachita Parish Police Jury representative and a Ouachita Parish sheriff.

Candidates vying for these positions have been invited to attend the September 29 meet and greet. Each candidate will be given a limited amount of time to address the audience. This event is not a debate - no questions will be asked from the moderator. However, candidates are encouraged to remain afterwards and visit one-on-one with those who attend.

Several incumbents faced no competition this season and were automatically renewed for another term in office. Those elected officials have also been invited to attend and visit with the public.

Whether or not you can attend this event, please take time to inform yourself of those who are running for public office. Election Day is Saturday, October 24, and early voting will be held October 10-17 (except on Sunday). The Louisiana Secretary of State's office is a wealth of election information - learn more at

For more information about the meet and greet on September 29, call the WMWO Chamber of Commerce at (318) 325-1961.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

September is National Preparedness Month - are you prepared to weather the storm?

For most of the community, being prepared for a disaster means having an adequate supply of bottled water, batteries and canned goods on hand. But for the thousands of small business owners, preparing for the possibility of a disaster is a complex and daunting task. Most business owners are unsure of even where to start. Unfortunately, those that are most prepared are often those that have suffered a tremendous loss and had to rebuild.

The West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce, in support of National Preparedness Month, has prepared some information and tips to help business owners weather the storm.

Develop a Preparedness Plan

A good plan will address several key areas: physical safety, protection of assets, and reestablishment of services. In order to protect the physical safety of both personnel and patrons, you must have and post an updated evacuation plan. This plan should be inclusive and address any possible disabilities and restrictions. All organizations should also have a shelter-in-place plan. Personnel should be trained and knowledgeable so that they can assist any patrons or visitors in the case of an emergency.

Proper protection of assets is essential in determining a business’s ability of bounce back from a disaster. First and foremost, consult your insurance agent annually to update records and determine if your coverage is still adequate. Secondly, back up all financial records and store them offsite. Your CPA will gladly maintain an electronic backup of your records, but documentation and day-to-day registers should also be properly protected. There are many options, from as simple as a home-office safe to an electronic cloud storage system. Determine what is right for the size of your business, but be consistent and diligent.  

After a disaster, quick and effective reestablishment of services is vital for the wellbeing of your business and often your community. Determine beforehand how you will communicate with both employees and the public. Plan for contingencies and receive additional training if avenues such as social media are outside your comfort. Assign roles to personnel when appropriate, allowing for individual expertise to assist in the process.

Make Hazard Mitigation a Priority

Many times when considering disasters and planning, we think about natural disasters that impact the entire community. Fortunately tornados, hurricanes and wildfires are not faced regularly. But hazards that require planning and preparation are much broader and unfortunately much more frequent than we often consider. Electrical fires, ruptures of pipes or even vandalism are all examples of disasters that any business could face – each resulting in shutdown and lost revenue.

A large part of being prepared is being proactive. Keep electrical and mechanical components in good repair. Ensure that all installations or repairs are performed by qualified technicians. Conduct regular physical inspections of your business and require employees to report any concerns immediately. All of these efforts will work to decrease the impact of these confined disasters, reducing your financial loss.


A plan is only effective if it is implemented. Each year, set aside time to work with staff on safety hazards and disaster responses. Since September is National Preparedness Month, make it your month to focus on updating home and business disaster plans, meeting with your CPA and insurance agent, and scheduling maintenance inspections. Reprint and post new evacuation and shelter-in-place plans.

Lastly, remember - preparation, planning and implementation are the tools for success of any business! To learn more tips about preparedness in your home or business, please visit

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

West Monroe Brown Bag Concert series kicks off in September

September is right around the corner, and that means the return of the fall West Monroe Brown Bag Concert series.

The WMWO Chamber and City of West Monroe have once again partnered to bring the Brown Bag Lunch Concert Series to West Monroe every Wednesday in September.

Brown Bag Lunch Concerts will be held every Wednesday in September from noon to 1 p.m. at the Pavilion at Seventh Square in West Monroe, which is directly behind the West Monroe Farmer’s Market.

The concerts are completely free to the public and provide a great way to take a break from your work day.  We provide chairs and shade, and you bring a brown bag lunch.  

This fall's concert series features a terrific line up of local musicians including several that have never been featured at this event.  Performances this September include Roses and Revolvers on Wednesday, September 2; Early Ray and Josh on Wednesday, September 9; String Theory on Wednesday, September 16 and Bradley Bridges on Wednesday, September 23.

A special Brown Bag Lunch Concert will take place on Friday, October 2 as a Celtic Festival Kick-Off.  The event will feature a performance by Irish band Emerald Accent.  The Northeast Louisiana Celtic Festival will be held on Saturday, October 3 at Kiroli Park in West Monroe.

Members of the community enjoying a Brown Bag Lunch Concert.

This event could not take place without the support of local sponsors. The Chamber and City of West Monroe are proud to partner with Centric Federal Credit Union, Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union and the Ouachita Parish School System. The concert series is funded in part by the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council.

Our partners do an incredible job at hospitality during the concert series. Attendees are treated to complimentary beverages and snacks.  

The month of September happens to be Hunger Action Month.  We are strongly encouraging concert attendees to bring canned food and other nonperishable food items with them each Wednesday. Those who donate to this worthy cause will be eligible to win various door prizes such as Visa gift cards and gift certificates to local restaurants.

This fall's Brown Bag Lunch Concert series promises to be an exciting one, so please make plans to attend.

For more information about the concert series, please call the WMWO Chamber of Commerce at (318) 325-1961.

People of all ages enjoy these outdoor concerts.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Community partners in education needed this school year

School bells are ringing across Ouachita Parish this week.  As teachers, faculty and staff make their way back to the classroom, it is once again time for the business community to consider ways they can support our local educational system.

The WMWO Chamber of Commerce is proud to be involved with a grass roots program that has effectively connected local businesses and organizations with Ouachita Parish pubic schools.

The Adopt-a-School Program has been administered by the Chamber, in partnership with the Ouachita Parish School system, for more than a decade.  The program's goal is simple - connect each of the parish's 36 public schools with at least one adopter for the school year.

Who can be an adopter? The answer is simple - any one person, business or organization that has a passion for education and children.  Those who choose to become an adopter are committing their support of that school (or schools) for a given school year.

There are no set requirements or expectations to take part in the Adopt-a-School Program.  By agreeing to serve as an adopter, you are encouraged to know your school and the faculty and staff who work there.  Perhaps you agree to serve as a volunteer reader, judge the school's spelling bee or donate sweet treats for teacher appreciation week.

The education of our children and the effectiveness of our local school system should be a top priority for everyone in the community.  Well-educated children will result in a qualified future workforce to help meet the growing demand of jobs in our community.

Please consider getting involved in the Adopt-a-School Program and make a true impact on our parish.  To learn more, call the WMWO Chamber of Commerce at (318) 325-1961. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Small businesses benefit from flexible work options

A recent survey from the Small Business Majority found many small Louisiana businesses offer a variety of "family friendly" benefits to attract employees.

Small businesses may find it difficult to compete against larger businesses when it comes to hiring. Larger employers may be able to offer generous financial packages and benefits; however, small businesses are able to attract a talented, loyal workforce by implementing family-friendly policies that allow employees a healthy work-life balance.

The survey from the Small Business Majority found:

  • Nearly one in six small employers offer childcare benefits
  • Two-thirds of businesses allow their employees to take time off from work to attend their children's school activities
  • Nearly three in 10 businesses provide flexible work schedules or opportunities to work from home
The survey also found that 53 percent of Louisiana's small businesses offer paid leave to their employees, and 38 percent offer on the job training or financial assistance for education and training.

So, small business owners - don't think you can't compete with large companies when it comes to hiring qualified and talented employees.  Sometimes, being "small" has its advantages.  If you are a small business owner, you know that, in many cases, your employees are often the company's greatest asset.  Be sure to give careful thought and consideration to what strategies or policies you can put into place to protect those assets.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Learn more about local businesses at the M2M Expo July 28

The West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce will present a free opportunity for the public to learn more about local businesses and services offered in the area.

The Member2Member Expo, sponsored by Glenwood Regional Medical Center, is a free showcase of more than 50 local businesses and organizations who are current WMWO Chamber members.  The Expo will take place Tuesday, July 28 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the West Monroe Convention Center.

You don't have to be a WMWO Chamber member to attend.  The Expo is free to the general public. We encourage the community to attend the expo and visit with vendors, while learning more about the great local businesses that offer a variety of products and services.

Participating vendors will offer free samples, demonstrations and tons of door prizes.  The Chamber will offer a grand prize giveaway of a 48-inch flat screen television to be given away at 1:30 p.m. at the Expo.

From restaurants to retail clothing stores to professional services, the Member2Member Expo will be filled with dozens of vendors who offer all sorts of products and services.  This is a great opportunity to learn more about our community and the Chamber of Commerce, and as always, we encourage you to shop and support local!

Call the Chamber at (318) 325-1961 for more information or join the event on Facebook at:

Thursday, July 16, 2015

La. Delta Community College offers certifications for businesses

Do you or your employees need Forklift/Mobile Crane, OSHA 10 or First Aid/CPR Training/Certifications? 

Louisiana Delta Community College's DeltaWorks can give you these certifications at your convenience with evening or weekend classes.  LDCC offers these courses at their campuses or at your site depending on the number of your employees. Contact LDCC DeltaWorks to get more information and set up your training. 

There are a number of other certifications and job specific training Delta Community College can provide to area employers.  La. Delta Community College has eight convenient locations throughout Northeast Louisiana and has a 2,100 square mile service area.

To learn more about these programs available to local businesses, contact Dean Baugh at or (318) 547-0941.

For more information about Louisiana Delta Community College, visit their web site at

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Fourth of July festivities this weekend

There are plenty of things to do with the family this weekend in the Monroe and West Monroe area to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday. Information on these events are found below. For a complete listing of things to do or more information about hotels, restaurants or shopping opportunities, please contact the Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau at (318) 387-5691 or at

Faith, Family, Fireworks
Time: 9:00am-9:00pm
On July 3rd, the Duck Commander Warehouse will be hosting an all-day event. Si, Willie, and Reed Robertson will be taking the stage (on the loading dock, of course) and the family will be interacting with the audience throughout the day with eating contests and entertainment. And of course, it cannot be a redneck event without ending with a bang. Don't forget to bring your lawn chairs, Jack!
Venue: Duck Commander Warehouse
Address: 117 Kings Lane
West Monroe LA, 71292
Admission Cost:                Free
Phone: 318-387-0588

Fourth of July Children's Parade
Time: 9:30am
Children can decorate their bikes, trikes, and wagons and ride in the parade. Special guest will be Thomas Jefferson. There will be ice cream and Popsicles and music.
Venue: Triangle Park
Address: Corner of Pargoud Blvd. and Stuart Ave.
Monroe LA, 71201
Admission Cost: Free

Blues, Brews, & BBQ Day at the RiverMarket
Time: 10:00am-4:00pm
Enjoy this destination to shop and gather on the picturesque Ouachita River. This french-style market has a variety of culture, education and entertainment. The RiverMarket offers produce, artisan handmade items, food, and entertainment in a “town square” setting. Don't miss out on all the fun!
Address: 316 South Grand
Monroe LA, 71203
Phone: 318-807-9985

Downtown River Jam
Time: 5:00pm-9:00pm
Kevin D. Alexander, APLC presents Downtown River Jam on July 4th at the Downtown Riverwalk from 5pm-9pm!! There will be food trucks, spirits, and beer tastings. You don't wanna miss it! Come out and watch the fireworks while listening to live music with a fresh brew in your hand!!
Venue: Downtown Monroe
Address: 100 DeSiard Street
Monroe LA, 71201
Admission Cost: Free

The CenturyLink Star Spangled Spectacular!
Time: 9:00pm
It's time to celebrate America's independence! The annual Independence Day fireworks display will be on July 4th, 2015 at 9:00 pm. Best viewed from downtown Monroe, or close by, the fireworks will be shot from the center of the Endom Bridge! Display begins promptly at 9:00 pm, so don't be late!
Venue: Forsythe Park
Address: Louisville Avenue and Trenton Street
Monroe-West Monroe LA, 71201

Admission Cost: Free

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Summer Fun in the West Monroe and West Ouachita Area

Summer is here!  Kids are out of school, vacations are being planned, and there is a more relaxed feeling throughout the community.

If you are looking for fun things to do with your family this summer, there are plenty of opportunities right here in northeast Louisiana.

Several members of the West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce offer fun, low-cost entertainment right at your fingertips.

Chamber members such as Bayou Bowl, Skate Town and Louisiana Purchase Zoological Society have several programs and specials for children and families during the summer. These businesses often have "hot deals" available to families. You can keep up with all WMWO Chamber hot deals through our web site at

If you are looking for a camp or structured activity for your child this summer, there are several facilities that offer day camps or week-long camps for children ranging from sports to art to music. Whether it's an overnight camp experience at Seeker Springs or an art camp at MoJoy Studio, there is something for everyone.

An extensive list of regional camps and summer activities can be found by visiting the Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitor Bureau's web site at

Make the most of your summertime by taking advantage of some of the great businesses, camps and programs being offered in the community. If the WMWO Chamber of Commerce can help answer any questions or provide more information, please contact our office by calling (318) 325-1961 or visiting our website at

Happy Summer Everyone!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Posture Productivity in the Workplace

The WMWO Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a lunch and learn with Dr. Daniel Steffins of the Spinal Health Center in West Monroe as the guest speaker.  Dr. Steffins presented “THE POSTURE-PRODUCTIVITY LINK!” and provided attendees with a host of interesting current absenteeism statistics and how posture effects work productivity. 

According to statistics provided by Dr. Steffin, approximately 31 million work  days were last year lost due to problems such as low back and neck pain as well as headaches. This is a cause for concern considering that the most common reason given for taking a day off sick in 2013 was the common cold, and this led to only 27.4 million days off work.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 650,000 work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs), resulting in costs to employers of over $20 billion . These costs include Worker's Compensation and medical expenses, the latter of which are increasing 2.5 times faster than benefit costs.

Musculoskeletal disorders account for 34% of all lost workdays, and account for $1 of every $3 spent for workers’ compensation, resulting in a total direct cost of $50 billion annually.

Worker's Compensation claims per injury equal $29,000 - $32,000 per year.  Medical bills for the average shoulder injury (excluding surgery) are $20,000 per year.  Indirect costs are 3 to 5 times higher, reaching approximately $150 billion per year.  Cost of hiring replacement staff is between $130,000-166,000 per year.

Poor ergonomic practices or work stations can play a significant role in the development of many preventable musculoskeletal disorders including neck and back pain, shoulder and arm pain, headaches, or occupational overuse syndrome (previously known as RSI). Many of these injuries are avoidable by implementing correct ergonomics within the workplace.

Sustained sitting places increases pressure through the intervertebral discs in your spine.  A poorly adjusted chair will change the posture of your spine resulting in sore lower back muscles, and if your upper back posture in impacted you may sit with your head poking forward to see the monitor.  The average head weighs between 9 to 12 lbs and sitting in a forward head-on-neck posture for extended periods is very fatiguing to your muscles, contributing to headaches.

The National Headaches Foundation noted that half of 400,000 respondents of a 2008 survey stated they miss 1-3 work days per month due to headaches, and headaches cost companies nearly $17 billion annually due to absenteeism, lost productivity and medical expenses.

A recent article in the American Journal of Health Promotions, stated that for every $1 spent on a corporate wellness program, a return of $2.13 to $10.10 can be expected through lower medical claims, reduced absenteeism, improved productivity, and other factors.

Dr. Steffins and his team at Spinal Health Center are able to provide basic services including onsite workstation ergonomic assessments, employee lunch and learn workshops focusing on topics appropriate for your company, and/or onsite 10-minute “stress break” chair massages for employees with zero out-of-pocket expense for your company. Please give them a call today, at 318-322-2250, to schedule a complimentary consultation. They can quickly customize a solution for your company!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Celebrate National Small Business Week May 4-8, 2015

The U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes National Small Business Week May 4-8, 2015.

Across the nation and in Louisiana, small businesses have a huge impact on the economy.  The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) 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 in 2012.

The Small Business Administration reports most of the employment from small businesses come from firms with 20-499 employees.  Most of Louisiana's small businesses are very small as approximately 80 percent of all businesses have no employees and most employers have fewer than 20 employees.

The West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce applauds these small businesses for their hard work and dedication and the value they bring to our local economy.  Small businesses create jobs for our residents, and sales tax generated by these businesses help fund schools, parks, roadways and other amenities that keep our community strong and healthy.

The WMWO Chamber has signs posted at small businesses in West Monroe this week reminding the public to support small business and shop local.  To learn more about the impact small businesses have in this country, please visit

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Excellence in Customer Service: Creating the Right Environment

Think back. When is the last time that you received excellent customer service? Not the expected service or decent service, but that above-and-beyond service that makes an organization or business really stand out in your mind.

Now, who performed this feat of excellence? I’m willing to bet that it was the front line staff of the organization – the cashier, switchboard operator, waiter, hostess, order-taker or receptionist. Most of a company’s impressions are made by the individuals that many times are in entry-level positions with limited experience and training.

When was the last time you had terrible service? Odds are that the poor service was delivered by front line, entry-level staff. Why did one person or one organization succeed when others often fail? The key to having consistently good, if not excellent service, is in creating an environment that clearly defines the expectation of service and provides the resources for staff to deliver.

Creating an environment of excellence starts at the top. Management must be the models for all other levels, but it must also specifically define the expectations. This means writing policy, procedures or guidelines that are specific to each position.

Once guidelines are in writing, it is up to management to ensure understanding. Providing mentoring and evaluations of performance are both excellent tools to determine if staff members understand the expectations. Do not be afraid to revise policy regularly in order to make your vision clear.

Now comes the really hard part. You have to enforce the rules, consistently and with everyone. This is easier if you take the time to write position-specific guidelines. This allows for flexibility since you may require some actions by one position while other positions have different expectations or even limitations. For instance, a cashier may be instructed never to leave a specific post, limiting their ability to provide hands-on help to a customer. It is up to you to provide an alternative if you want this level of service to be provided by your business.

Allow people the opportunity to learn about other areas within an organization. This creates a team that understands, respects and can assist one another. Recognize the good as often as you correct the bad and make sure that examples of excellence are celebrated by everyone.

Last but certainly not least, give staff the flexibility and support needed to go the extra mile. A perfect example comes from Zappos, an on-line shopping outlet that has limited personal contact with customers. Consequently, they try to maximize these opportunities. They have empowered their customer service representatives with a limited budget to provide the extra as determined by the REPRESENTATIVE. Sometimes this is done in the form of an upgrade in customer status, but it is not limited to in-house perks. A Zappos representative sent a customer flowers on behalf of the company after learning about a recent illness. That is excellence – all because the company voiced its expectation and then supported its staff as they strived to deliver more than just the expect! 

This article was written by Denise Calhoun with the City of West Monroe. Denise recently led a customer service workshop for WMWO Chamber members. To learn more about customer service, please call the WMWO Chamber at (318) 325-1961.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Chamber presents Shotgun Shells and Crawfish Tails

The WMWO Chamber will present Shotgun Shells and Crawfish Tails, our annual spring fundraiser, on Friday, May 1 at the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office Rifle Range in West Monroe.

The event will feature a crawfish boil and new to this year's event is a 5 Stand Skeet Tournament. Live music will be provided by The Waterboys!

The Skeet Tournament begins at noon and will end at 4 p.m. with the announcement of winners. Crawfish will be served from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Crawfish tickets are $25 per person which includes five pounds of crawfish, vegetables, dessert and unlimited beverages. Registration for the 5 Stand Tournament is $250 for a five-person team. Prizes will be awarded to the top shot and top teams.

The event will be a great time for networking and relaxing. Several wonderful prizes will be raffled off to attendees.

To learn more about the event or to purchase tickets, please call the WMWO Chamber at (318) 325-1961 or visit: 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Parish-wide cleanup set for March 28

Across the country, the spring season is know as the time for the "Great American Cleanup," where residents, business leaders and civic groups come together to clean their individual communities.

The Great American Cleanup will be observed locally in Ouachita Parish on Saturday, March 28. The cleanup is hosted by Ouachita Green, a non-profit organization made up of three Keep Louisiana Beautiful affiliates - Keep Monroe, Keep West Monroe and Keep Ouachita Parish Beautiful.

Members of the community are asked to put teams together to clean a portion of Ouachita Parish this Saturday. Whether it's a park, neighborhood, playground or roadway, your efforts can make a difference in improving the appearance of our community.

Did you know the state of Louisiana spends nearly $40 million a year picking up trash? Just think how much money we could save if we took individual responsibility for picking up litter we see every day - even if we were not the ones who put it there!

Please consider taking time on March 28 to be a part of the Great American Cleanup in Ouachita Parish. If you cannot take part this Saturday, consider organizing your own cleanup anytime this spring.

To learn more about the cleanup or to register online, please visit Participants will also find a list of supply pick up locations. Several sites throughout the parish will have supplies ready for pick up on Saturday including orange safety vests, litter grab it tools and trash bags.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

WMWO Chamber to offer Colors of New England tour this fall

The WMWO Chamber of Commerce has partnered once again with Collette Travel and the Ruston-Lincoln Parish Chamber of Commerce to offer group travel this fall to New England.

The "Colors of New England" trip will take place October 6-13, 2015, journeying through New England's charming and vibrant northern states. Highlights of the trip include tours of Boston, Massachussetts, Woodstock, Kennebunkport, Lake Winnipesaukee Cruise, Quechee Gorge and a tour of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory. Travelers will even be treated to a lobster dinner and will be able to watch apples transform into cider the old-fashioned way using a rack and cloth press.

Check out the link below for a video describing the Colors of New England trip:

To learn more about this unique trip opportunity, you are invited to attend a meeting on Tuesday, February 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the WMWO Chamber of Commerce office at 112 Professional Drive in West Monroe. Call the Chamber at (318) 325-1961 for more information or to reserve a seat.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

WMWO Chamber announces release of 2015 Member Directory and Relocation Guide

The West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce the recent publication of its 2015 Membership Directory and Relocation Guide.

The guide, published by Innesto Marketing, features a listing of WMWO Chamber members (as of this fall) and several articles about the region including education, healthcare, attractions and amenities. This information can be extremely beneficial to visitors who are considering moving to this area and our newest business owners and residents.

Copies are currently being mailed to every WMWO Chamber member. This annual publication is free of charge to the public. Copies may be picked up at the Chamber office, located at 112 Professional Drive in West Monroe.

An online version of the directory will also be made available in the near future on the Chamber's website at