Welcome to the Buchanan Area Chamber of Commerce
Buchanan - Since 1833
For over 150 years Buchanan has provided its citizens and businesses with a unique experience - being part of a truly American 'hometown' community with opportunities for economic development, business growth and cultural diversity. Its schools are strong in academics and athletics, and its business owners are neighbors and trusted family friends.
The Buchanan Area Chamber of Commerce works hard to point its members in the direction of all opportunities the community offers: from pointing new residents to the area's entertainment, wineries& breweries, restaurants, theaters, shopping, events, hiking, cycling, camping, boating and fishing; to hosting events which build ties within and outside of our community.
March PERC Breakfast
Sponsored by Lake Michigan College - Bertrand
Friday, March 15th - 7:30p
13th Annual Chili Walk & Cook-Out
Downtown - Starts at Lehman's
Thursday, March 21st - 4:30p
BACC Annual Dinner & Awards
Fernwood Botanical Garden
Sims Education Center
Thursday, April 11th - 6p
Empty Bowls Soup & Chili Supper
Buchanan High School
Friday, April 26th - 4:30p
POSTPONED: Annual Dinner & Awards 2020
COVID-19 Business and Community Resources
05/25/2020 Update: Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-97 last week, permitting the re-opening of retail stores with some restrictions.
05/22/2020 Update: Governor Whitmer has signed Executive Order 2020-100 extending Michigan’s Safer at Home order until June 12, 2020. The order also extends the temporary closure of certain places of public accommodation such as theaters, gyms, and casinos.
05/21/2020 Update: Governor Whitmer has signed Executive Order 2020-96 for reopening veterinarian offices and pet grooming, auto showrooms by appointment only, more retail by appointment only, and expanding available medical and dental services.
05/07/2020 Update: Gov. Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-77 extending the stay at home mandate until May 28 with one significant change. Effective May 11, the manufacturing industry will be allowed to return to work with specific operational modifications. All other restrictions on businesses and individuals remain.
The Governor also unveiled the Michigan Safe Start Plan -- six phase strategy for re-opening the economy.
05/01/2020 Update: Gov. Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-70 that marks the beginning of the MI Safe Start Plan, allowing for some types of businesses, including construction and real estate activities to resume work beginning Thursday, May 7.
4/17/2020 Update: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has launched a Save Small Business Intiative, which includes all of Berrien County. Funded by contributions from corporate and philanthropic partners, the Foundation will provide $5,000 supplemental grants to small employers in economically vulnerable communities. Save Small Business Grant Fund
4/01/2020 Update: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) went into effect today and continues through December 31, 2020. It requires certain public employers and private employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.
This list has been compiled to provide guidance and an index of currently available resources to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chamber will update and enhance this list as the situation evolves.
Berrien County Health Department – Daily updates and hotline (there are no confirmed cases in Berrien County at this time). Information and guidance for specific audiences: Healthcare professionals, Community events & gatherings, Travel recommendations, Faith-based organizations, Businesses & Employers, Colleges & Universities, Law Enforcement & 1st Responders, Childcare & Schools, Long-term care facilities
Buchanan Area Senior Center -- While the BASC is closed, Daily Check-In Calls are available for seniors who would like social contact that respects social distancing requirements. If you or a senior you know would like a regular check-in call, please call the BASC at 269-695-7119 to be added to the call list.
Buy Local Berrien – A Facebook campaign launched by the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber of Commerce to generate support for local businesses in Berrien County and help spread the word of openings and closures. The group is open to all businesses in Berrien County.
Cornerstone Alliance – A task force has been created to connect local businesses with resources including access to Federal, State and Local dollars to help sustain payroll and other operational needs. The Alliance has also created a working guide to assist local businesses in fully reopening in a safe, organized and efficient manner.
Rent & Mortgage Payment Program (RAMPP) -- The Berrien Community Foundation, Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council
and Cornerstone Alliance have partnered to create a zero-interest loan program for Berrien County businesses and nonprofit organizations that have a rent or mortgage payment due in April and May of 2020.
211-- 24/7/365 resource to connect Michigan residents with help of all kinds, like housing support and financial assistance.
State of Michigan – Executive orders, directives and FAQs, and community mitigation strategies. Comprehensive list of resources for residents, business and specific audiences.
Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) – Small business relief programs, employer updates, and guidance on specific topics such as cash flow support, e-commerce, and human resources
State of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency – For information on filing a claim. Self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors and low-wage workers affected by COVID-19 can also apply for unemployment benefits .
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – Emergency preparedness, considerations for school closings, communication resources and print materials.
Small Business Administration (SBA) – Guidance for capital access, supply chain shortfalls, facility remediation/clean-up costs and more. SBA Disaster Relief loans are available for all Michigan businesses.
Tech Soup -- Resources for non-profit organizations.
Buchanan Promise Overview
- MGCF has been named beneficiary of a multi-million dollar bequest to support a new scholarship program at Buchanan High School.
- Modeled after the Kalamazoo Promise concept, it will be available to graduating students who resides inside the BCS district boundary.
- Length of residency will determine the percentage amount of the award, with students who have lived in district K-12 receiving 100% of the available grant, and others on a time of residency sliding scale.
- Each student is encouraged to complete the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and apply for at least one additional community based scholarship. Many colleges require FAFSA as part of their application process.
- No merit based criteria will be used for the Promise Scholarship. All students who are headed to a post-secondary institution, whether an associate’s, baccalaureate, trade or certification program, are eligible.
- Scholarship will be a first dollar award, meaning that any Federal and community scholarship grants should NOT affect student eligibility.
Walter E. Schirmer, Sr. was President of Clark Equipment, headquartered in Buchanan, starting in 1963. He was one of the four founders of the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation in 1978, where he established two permanent endowment funds, the Walter E. Schirmer Memorial Scholarship, and the Walter E. Schirmer Fund for the Buchanan Library. He had a deep love and concern for his community, rooted in very traditional values. He was devoted to serving Buchanan and he encouraged his Clark employees to do so as well.
His legacy was not lost on his son, Walt, Jr. Wally, as he was known, established his own fund in 1994 with the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation, through which many community organizations and projects have received support. In October of 2015, he discussed his estate plan with the Foundation from which, over the last months of his life, emerged the concept for a new and exciting idea called a promise scholarship.
Promise programs seek to transform communities by making a long term investment in education through place based scholarships. They work to expand access to and ensure success in higher education, deepen the college going culture in both the K-12 system and community as a whole, and support local community economic development.
Walter E. Schirmer, Jr enthusiastically endorsed this concept for the Buchanan community, his hometown. His permanently endowed gift to Michigan Gateway Community Foundation will have a significant positive impact on future generations in Buchanan, continuing the legacy established by his father years ago.
For more information please visit the Buchanan Promise website. http://buchananpromise.com