Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
It seems as if this week has been somewhat rest and recovery mode at the Chamber, after a full-on Friday and Saturday last weekend. Bike Across Kansas riders began rolling into our community around 10:00 a.m. Friday…many choose to rise early and complete the day’s ride before the day heated up…temps were up to 98 degrees last weekend. Couple in the south winds, and a 528-mile ride in 7 days, participants were fairly exhausted…that didn’t keep them from going downtown in the afternoon however. It was a fun day in Ottawa…we blocked traffic on the 200 block of Main Street and had corn hole boards and live music playing. Downtown stores and restaurants were busy…Not Lost Brewery reported it was their biggest day since opening in 2019. Others had similar stories. 
 
At 6:00 the party moved to the Travis Marvin concert at Legacy Square…a big crowd turned out to hear and see the hometown boy perform their favorite country songs while visiting with our guests (a few pictures here). Most hailed from Kansas, but certainly not all. I had a very interesting conversation with a man who, while originally from Kansas, has moved to a retirement community in Florida. He had ridden BAK before, but it had been several years…he enjoyed getting back to his state of origin and spending a week with biking enthusiasts in a challenging event. Many of the riders told me that while exhausting, it is like spending a week at bike camp…sleeping in tents and floors, staying up late and enjoying new friends. I do think most were glad they were at the end of their adventure and looking forward to getting home the next day.
 
OHS staff and students were up at 3:00 a.m. to cook and serve breakfast (pictures here) to allow riders to get an early start on the day…again before the heat built in for the afternoon. The culinary students prepared 40 egg casseroles and I don’t know how many pounds of fruit and gallons of coffee were served…plus cinnamon rolls. They also had a vegan offering of sunshine muffins and granola bars. All in all, it was a herculean effort to have 800 overnight guests…but I think most will agree it was also a fun time for us too.  
 
Many BAK participants and officials reported that Ottawa was the best and most efficient stop of their 7-day journey… well-planned activities, and great team effort on the part of the community, they were made to feel really welcome. Community businesses and organizations stepped up and help sponsor the event…premier sponsors include Loyd Builders, Trendel Lumber, Aunt B’s Blossoms, Hayden Farm and Ranch, Cosentino’s Price Chopper, BCI Mechanical and the Ottawa Area Chamber. Additional sponsors include Kansas State Bank, Security 1st Title, Rock Creek of Ottawa, Edward Jones, Oak Star Bank of Ottawa, Ottawa Coop Association, and Country Financial – Carlson Agency…here is a flyer with all their logos displayed. Without these great partners, helping host events such as this would be impossible. Other partners include City Administration and city crews, Ottawa Police Department, Ottawa High School and school administrators, the Culinary Arts classes at OHS, Ottawa University, and Franklin County…not to mention our many Chamber staff and volunteers whom we rely on so many times during the year to help put on events. It truly was a community effort…but also very enjoyable. We certainly look forward to the next time BAK wants to ride through Ottawa!!
 
We are now ready to move on to the next event…The Sons of Sterling will be performing in Legacy Square on August 12…another free concert. And…another band with local connections. Chad Caylor is the bass player…it will be a great way to wind the summer down and get ready for school and fall activities. Put it on your calendar now…and plan to attend. 
 
AdventHealth Ottawa:
 
AdventHealth officially announced its $5.2 million remodel and expansion. The Gollier Center will be completely renovated and get a whole new look. Going forward, this location will house a variety of physician practices including primary care, internal medicine, pediatrics, neurology, sleep medicine, rheumatology and eventually an after-hours care clinic. Meanwhile, the space currently being used in the Franklin County Annex for doctors will be converted into rehab services which will include physical and occupational therapy and also speech therapy. Local contractors, Loyd Builders, will manage and construct the renovation. This will be a very positive update for healthcare in the community. It will place the doctor’s practices on Main Street for better visibility and accessibility…the project also uses many resources we already have – it expands them and organizes local healthcare into better spaces. And the last benefit is being able to take advantage of local builders to manage the project. All around a big win-win for Franklin County!! I can’t wait to cut the ribbon on the new spaces!!
 
Dee Jay Flummerfelt Insurance Agency:
 
Chamber members met Dee Jay (DJ) Flummerfelt at the Ribbon Cutting for the new owner and location (pictures here). DJ, as of March 1 this year, replaced Steve Norris as the American Family Insurance agent. In addition to keeping the agency thriving locally, DJ also hired many of Steve’s old team…Diane Carswell and Stephanie Valencia continue in the agency which is now located at 116A S. Main Street. DJ is an experienced agent as well…this is his second agency. In addition to the Ottawa agency, he has owned an American Family agency in Lawrence for 28 years. DJ lives halfway between Ottawa and Lawrence making him perfect a perfect agent for the two agencies. This morning, he told attenders, “our unique backgrounds, training and experience have prepared us well to help meet your insurance needs. Additionally, as residents of this community, we understand how important it is to be there for you – our trusted friends and neighbors. Together, we’re building strong partnerships that help everyone succeed.” A big thank you to DJ for keeping the agency going locally…and joining the Chamber!!
 
Kramer/AuBurn Pharmacy:
 
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned Kramer Pharmacy had been purchased by Mike Burns (picture of Mike here), owner of AuBurn Pharmacy. I had coffee with Mike this week…we updated each other, him regarding AuBurn’s and I filled him in on our local community. This change in ownership will be good…and in addition to this, Robb and Meredith Rosenbaum will continue to help Mike. For now, they continue to manage the Concordia pharmacy. Mike reports no decision has been reached on changing the name to AuBurns…he used to know George Kramer and has a lot of respect for him. Naturally with branding, it is much easier to promote one brand. In my view, I feel if it did change to AuBurn’s, it would be well received locally…AuBurn’s is a strong brand in this area with pharmacies in Wellsville, Baldwin City and Garnett – and at the end of the day, there aren’t many who still remember George Kramer. We have tentatively scheduled a Chamber coffee at the location for September 9 for everyone to meet and visit with Mike.
 
8-Year-Old Birthday Party:
 
Having gone to bed at midnight on Friday and getting up at 4:30 Saturday morning…I’ll admit to resting most of the rest of the day Saturday. I did go to Evie’s 8th birthday party that evening (pictures here). Always an exciting time for cousins to come together and eat cake and ice cream!
 
And what refreshing weather this week turned into…I had 1.5 inches of rain over Wednesday and Thursday. Just what our garden needed…the tomatoes are growing like gangbusters. I’m hoping for a big red one for the 4th of July!!
 
On Tuesday this week, the calendar officially turned over to summer…it’s hard to believe we are already almost to July. One thing about the rain this summer…it gives my lawnmower a lot of job security!!
 
Talk to you next week…
 
Onward ~ John 
 
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-100