All News News Posted December 31, 2021 By Choose Marshall

Choose Marshall reviews 2021 and looks forward to continuing partnerships in 2022

Choose Marshall is the economic development organization serving the Marshall community. Our mission is to help the economic well-being and quality of life of Marshall residents by promoting tourism and business growth. Our team runs the Welcome Center, the Choose Marshall Chamber, and supports a variety of economic development initiatives in the community.

2021 has proven to be another challenging year for both our local small businesses and large industrial partners. However, we’ve continued to work creatively to provide resources to the area. The beginning of the year brought generous contributions to Choose Marshall from Consumers Energy, ITC Holdings, and Cresco Labs to support direct grants to local businesses and to fund the Marshall Bucks matching program. The matching program, funded again this shopping season by Consumers Energy and Choose Marshall’s own funds, has poured tens of thousands of dollars directly to our Chamber businesses.

An important facet of our work involves bringing state resources to support our local business partners. In the spring, Choose Marshall was awarded a $25,000 Match on Main grant through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to support the Franke Center for the Arts and its commercial kitchen renovation project. And just last week it was announced we were successful in winning another $25,000 Match on Main grant for Marshall Hardware’s activation of unused space in its building and improvements to its alley area.

Choose Marshall has brought together four of Marshall’s largest manufacturers to create the Marshall Manufacturers Collaborative. This group, which also includes Kellogg Community College, Marshall Public Schools, Michigan Works! Southwest, and the Employer Resource Network, will aid these businesses in the areas of employee recruitment, training, and retention. Choose Marshall was successful in securing a $220,000 MICA 3.0 grant from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) to support this collaborative.

Chamber activities have continued throughout 2021, both virtually and in-person when appropriate. What’s Brewing, the Candidate Forum, a Small Business Academy, the United Way campaign kickoff, and the annual Economic Outlook all have taken place. We’re also grateful to continue to welcome new businesses to the Chamber with ribbon cuttings and new member presentations. The Chamber is focused on bringing value to our members, and this year has added both a Small Business Acceleration fund and a Tourism Sponsorship fund to our list of benefits.

We remain committed to increasing tourism as well as supporting the quality of life for residents, too.
As the weather warmed, the Marshall Social District continued to be a popular enhancement to downtown for restaurants and retail. Choose Marshall funded additional seating and lighting to make the area even more user-friendly for visitors who continue to prefer socializing outdoors.

We were thrilled to bring back the popular Skeletonfest kick-off party in-person. Featuring bands, food trucks, face painters, magicians, superheroes, games and more, the afternoon attracted hundreds of visitors and residents to downtown Marshall to enjoy the activities and visit the skeletons posed throughout town.

The 57th annual Christmas Parade also returned to its traditional format, traveling from the fountain circle through town. Featuring 90 floats, bands, community organizations (and of course, Santa!), thousands lined the streets to celebrate the start of the holiday season. The Celebration of Trees line Michigan Avenue and will again be replaced in the spring with tabletops for gathering outside.

As our community continues to navigate this unprecedented time, Choose Marshall appreciates all of those who have partnered with us to promote Marshall and support our local economy. We look forward to 2022 and working creatively to carry out our mission. Thank you partners and Happy New Year!