• Committee Reports



    The mission of the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce is to unite and represent Steinbach and area businesses in the belief that the resulting economic growth and stability provides an enhanced quality of life for the entire community.  This statement rings true as many local business owners understand how important it is for their business and employees to be interwoven in the fabric of our local community.

    The mandate of the Community Relations Committee is to bring business and community together.  Our Committee believes that supporting each other locally and supporting our neighbours has long been a strength of this region.  This local support is responsible for creating a strong economy in Steinbach and surrounding areas.

    Our Committee is proud to report on the following:

    • Pioneer Days Parade – The Parade was a huge success this year with a record number of 149 entries. Once again, Main Street was lined with spectators of all ages. The Chamber meets with the City, the RCMP, and the Steinbach Fire Department before and after the parade to ensure a safe and enjoyable event for all.
    • Black Friday – Our fourth “Black Friday” event was held last November. We had 25 local businesses participate in the event. One special winner won the grand prize worth thousands of dollars.
    • More For You Here – This year we embarked on a partnership with the City of Steinbach, allowing them to make use of the “More For You Here” slogan and logo.  We did a “More For You Here” Facebook campaign with the Steinbach Auto Dealers Association and gave one lucky winner $1,500 to spend at their chosen location. With one post we reached over 50,000 people for this campaign. Recently our video highlighting Steinbach reached 10,000 views on Youtube!

    I would like to thank everyone on the Community Relations Committee for putting a lot of time and effort into another great year.  On behalf of our Committee, I would like to thank the membership for their support and invite them to give us feedback and ideas to continue to foster a spirit of community here in Steinbach.

    Submitted by Committee Chair - Mike Fast - Schinkel Properties / Royal LePage

    Evan Funk – Earls Meat Market
    Serge Jolicoeur – Century 21 Gold Key Realty
    Tessa Masi – YWAM Island Breeze Manitoba
    Brenton Thompson – Summer Bounce Entertainment





    Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” I believe that this aphorism can be applied to life in business as well, particularly when we consider the unprecedented rate of change experienced by the business world today. Our ability to stay relevant is impacted by our ability to improve and develop ourselves, our people, and by extension our businesses. Simply put, we must keep moving and, more importantly, we must keep moving in the right direction.

    The Business Development Committee endeavours to play a role in supporting the development and growth of the local business community by creating opportunities for our members to come together in engaging learning environments. Our Committee’s goal for 2017 was to organize and implement four workshops.

    Organizational Health, hosted by Jordan Friesen – March 8, 2017 – 28 registered

    Jordan Friesen of the Canadian Mental Health Association, facilitated our first workshop of the season entitled, Organizational Health. Jordan took an engaging and interactive approach in exploring the value of understanding the impact that mental health has in our workplace. He gave the group practical tools to assist in recognizing the psychosocial factors that impact mental health at work. He also offered insight into how we could address common challenges like stress and burnout, allowing us to bring out the best in our colleagues. Thank you to Jordan for running a great event!

    Change Management, hosted by Stephanie Wiens – May 18, 2017 – 33 registered

    Stephanie Wiens of Summit Organizational Development, hosted and facilitated our spring workshop entitled, Change Management. Organizations today are facing more than ever before. The need for change is impacted by a number of factors including, technology, competition, changing demographics, the economy, and social and consumer trends. When organizations face change, the people also face change. This workshop focused on managing the people side of change. Stephanie walked the group through the four stages that people go through when experiencing change and provided tools to enable attendees to lead through the change.  Thank you to Stephanie for an engaging and informative event!

    Building your Brand in a Digital World – September 20, 2017 – 46 registered

    Matt Penner and Colin Enns of Three-Six North Marketing, facilitated our fall workshop entitled, Building your Brand in a Digital World. The digital landscape has changed, people are spending more and more time on their mobile devices. Additionally, access to information has changed, consumers now consult multiple sources on information online before making a purchase decision. The driving purpose of this workshop was how do you connect and stay relevant in a digital age? Matt and Colin provided attendees with insights into the basics of marketing methods for brand building and introduced specific tools for marketing in a digital age. Thank you to Matt and Colin for an event filled with content that is very relevant to marketing in a digital world.

    Mentor Roundtable – October 11, 2017 – 48 registered

    As a Chamber, we have often heard from our entrepreneurial business owners and emerging leaders that they would like the opportunity to connect with established members of our local business community and learn from their experience. In response to this interest, we facilitated our first Mentor Roundtable in the fall of 2015. The event was met with an overwhelmingly positive response and the Committee elected to run the event again in 2016 and now in 2017. We were privileged to host Alan Barkman of Barkman Concrete, Waldo Neustaedter of Century 21, Colleen Dyck of Gorp, Dorinda Penner of Sunshine Nursery and Chino’s Bistro, and Chris Koop of The Chez Koop Corp. as mentors at this year’s event. We are truly fortunate to live in a community where we have business people that have this level of experience and knowledge that are willing to give of their time to sit down with our members, and build into the next generation of leaders in our community. There was incredible value for our members to connect with the mentors and listen to them pass on what they have learned, share experiences, and answer questions. Thank you to our mentors for participating in this year’s event! Also, a special thanks to Steinbach Credit Union for hosting us in their facilities and to BDC for sponsoring!

    In closing, we have had an inspiring year as we have had the privilege to work with some fantastic local business leaders. Looking forward, we anticipate an exciting year ahead as we seek more opportunities to bring our members together, provide relevant content and to encourage us all to keep moving forward.

    We would also like to extend special thanks to David Warkentin for producing the video communications for our events this year!

    Submitted by Committee Chair – Wayne Patram – Barkman Concrete

    Vice Chair - Gemma Brown – Smith Neufeld Jodoin LLP
    Gerald Banman – Harvest Insurance Agency Ltd.
    Emma Lafreniere – Steinbach Credit Union
    Luke Singh – Hanover Dental Clinic
    Rick Battistoni - MNP





    The mandate of the Membership Services Committee is to develop and implement effective marketing, mentoring, and membership programs to achieve Chamber retention and recruitment objectives.

    Our Committee actively pursues new memberships and works to retain existing memberships through developing and communicating our value proposition to all Chamber members.  We work to identify and respond to the changing needs of our membership and strive to be Chamber ambassadors in our daily interactions with the business community.

    Below is a summary of the key areas of focus for our Committee in 2017:

    Effective Marketing

    With the foundation set by the launch of ChamberMaster and our new website in 2016, we are now able to measure and refine our marketing efforts.

    Our website analytics show that over 23,000 unique users visited the website this year, an increase of 30 percent from 2016. Pageviews are also up 60 percent from last year indicating increased user engagement.  Our weekly newsletter has an average open rate of 51 percent (double the industry benchmark) and is the primary communication tool in driving registration for our events including Mixers, Lunch & Learns, etc.

    Member Retention

    At last year’s AGM, the Membership Services Committee announced that, after our aggressive membership drive in 2016, we had a total of 463 members, representing about 70 percent of all registered businesses within Steinbach.

    Our goal this year was to ensure we retained these new members and we are very happy to announce that we currently stand at 456 members - a decrease of just seven members from last year.  Happy with a decrease? Yes. We truly worked hard this last year, hit our budget target, and welcomed 38 new members to the Chamber.

    • We lost 45 memberships this year: 29 (65%) were due to businesses selling, closing or merging (out of our control). Of the remaining 16 that dropped, 10 of them never attended a Chamber event.  This shows us that engagement is key to finding value in your Chamber membership.
    • We gained 38 new members this year: 20 (53%) of them signed up on their own through our online application.

    It is important to remember that the business landscape is, by definition, a competitive and challenging environment, so seeing start-ups fail is not necessary a poor reflection on the Chamber. In fact, we should celebrate the fact that many businesses are born right here in the Southeast, and work hard to ensure that we provide an environment that fosters entrepreneurship and attracts businesses to our region.

    As a general comment, we anticipate losing between 20 to 30 members per year due to these circumstances that are beyond our control (2017 is a bit higher than normal due to the membership drive where we added over 140 new members). We hope to offset our lost members by gaining 30 to 40 new members each year as new businesses open.


    This year, we have again seen our Mixers consistently exceed 100 attendees. The success of our Mixers has also resulted in numerous local organizations requesting to host a Mixer.  This is a welcome contrast to previous years where we had to seek out businesses to host.

    As a result of the increased response and interest, our Committee has worked hard at developing a Mixer Guiding Document that provides potential hosts with an step-by-step framework for hosting a Mixer and helps ensure attendees will enjoy a consistent, high caliber experience.

    This last year we held three mixers:

    1. Ste. Anne Co-op
    2. Frantz Inn (RBistro & The Edge) & SDC La Broquerie CDC
    3. Steinbach Family Resource Centre

    Each Mixer had a unique feel and theme, with all locations giving a ‘behind the scenes’ look at their operations. Steinbach Family Resource Centre represented our first non-profit to hold a Chamber Mixer.

    Our Committee has already begun planning for 2018, and expects to host four Mixers.  If you would like to host a Mixer, or have any feedback on how we could make them better, please let us know. And if you have not been to a Mixer, we strongly encourage you to give it a try!

    Business Excellence Awards

    The Business Excellence Awards are heavily driven by nominations from our membership and the general public. Nominating someone is a great way to show appreciation to our local business community. This year, we had over 68 nominations in different categories for awards.  However, not everyone that was nominated let their name stand for an award. Thank you to all those who took the time to submit a nomination.

    To recap how the process works, a subcommittee organizes the nominations and this information is then handed off to an unbiased Awards Selection Committee comprised of Chamber members. The members on this committee are typically not affiliated with any other Chamber committees or on the Board to ensure the decision is impartial. A scorecard is used to help rank each award class according to various criteria.

    If you have interest in being on our Awards Selection Committee, please get in touch with any of us.


    In summary, we continue to look for ways to effectively support our members and add value to your Chamber membership.  Please encourage businesses you notice that are not engaged with the Chamber to join and get involved. If you have ideas or questions, please feel free to contact anyone from our Committee.

    We have noticed a significant difference between the push of encouraging a business to join and get involved, versus the pull we have felt where someone is initiating the process of becoming a member and wants to get involved. Our goal is to move toward a pull, as it results in a much higher engagement rate.

    Finally, we believe that by strengthening our membership, the resulting economic growth provides enhanced quality of life for our entire community. Strong Business equals Strong Community.

    Submitted by Committee Chair - Matt Penner - Print Studio One | Three-Six North Marketing

    Matt Wieler, Vice-chair – Castle Mortgage Group Steinbach
    Brad Kehler – Network Media O/A mySteinbach.ca
    Christine Beaumont – Paul Craft Financial
    Roman Zilber – Cost Wise Business Consulting
    Michelle Bezditny – Chamber Membership Development Coordinator
    Joel Bourgouin – Bourgouin & Associates (resigned mid 2017)





    As a Steinbach Chamber of Commerce program, Eastman Immigrant Services assists newcomers settling in the Eastman region, making the transition to a new community a positive experience both for the newcomer and the receiving community. Our vision is to empower newcomers and create welcoming communities where everyone is valued.

    Immigration to the Eastman region continues to be strong and steady. As of the end of September, we have registered 219 new families. This compares to 206 families same time last year and 241 till end of September in 2015. On average, about 250 -300 newcomer families are recorded in our office annually.

    In recent years, EIS has hosted some very fine events in our community with the goal being to inform our community about diversity, while also supporting our newcomers in the process of integration. During our most recent application for funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, we were encouraged by our funder to reduce our energies spent on events and programming and focus on developing a volunteer program. While it is a bit unfortunate to leave some of our fine events aside, there is great promise in a volunteer program. The connection established between local volunteers assisting newcomers allows for powerful communication that works two ways.

    While many newcomers come with basic or excellent language skills, others need more help with language acquisition. As it pertains to English for work, EIS offers specific English classes geared towards empowering newcomers with language ability to succeed at work. Our English at Work classes consist of a pronunciation class, a reading and writing class, and a speaking and listening class. EIS is also available to offer onsite EAW classes for employers with newcomers needing more language skills.

    2017 was another banner year in showcasing cultural diversity during the Summer in the City Festival and through participation in the Pioneer Days Parade where our newcomers showcased their country of origin flags. During our recent fall outing, we had around 200 newcomers take in the rich history, the wagon rides, petting zoo and a hot dog dinner at MHV.

    In general, our newcomers are faring well, with a few needing additional support. Our community is very supportive and welcoming, which is the greatest contributing factor to the success of both our newcomers and our community.

    Submitted by Richard Harder – EIS Program Director

    Ben Dueck – Chamber Executive Director
    Marina Klassen – Reception/Resource Coordinator
    Viktoria Vladimirova – Employment Facilitator
    Josie Fast – Settlement Worker
    Erna Friesen – Settlement Worker
    Charlene Penner - Volunteer and Integration Coordinator
    Maxine Fehr – English Skills Instructor