Facing challenging past year, Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce starts next 100

BEATRICE – Normally held in late January, the Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce held their annual banquet Friday night, joining a long list of events that had to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic of the past year.

Chamber Executive Director Angie Bruna says it was a year of operational adjustments for the organization, using technology to keep chamber services and programs going.

"In the Carnegie Building, we were sitting in different offices on the same Zoom call, talking to each other, or from home. It was a little different than some years. Thank you guys for your partnerships. I truly appreciate it and I look forward to what the future holds for our community and our organizations."

Heath Stewart of First National Bank completed his year serving as Chairman of the Beatrice Chamber’s Board of Directors. He credited local businesses and the community with being resilient in what has been a challenging past year.

"If there's one thing I'll take away from 2020 is that it was a year we came together. We adapted and when we were presented with an unprecedented challenge, we prevailed. I'm hopeful that life will continue to get closer and closer to normal as we get through the rest of the year. I'm more confident than ever that our businesses and citizens will continue and work together to adapt and overcome whatever the next challenge is."

Colleen Schoneweis, operator of Colleen’s Catering and the Vintage Venue, takes over as Chairperson of the Chamber Board this year. She told those in attendance to make use of their chamber benefits, serve as volunteers for local events and support the local economy.

"Be an active chamber member...join a committee...volunteer for one of your favorite events...utilize your chamber perks...shop local and support our area businesses first."

Silent auction items were featured at Friday night’s banquet to raise funds for the chamber, now celebrating its 101st year. The event was held at the downtown Vintage Venue.