Cindy White 2017

One of the hottest travel destinations right now is Iceland – the Land of Fire and Ice.

Iceland is a unique destination that offers pristine nature, active geysers, healing geothermal pools, dramatic lava fields, magnificent waterfalls, breathtaking landscapes and a chance to view the Northern Lights.

The Charleston Chamber is excited to announce a new travel program to this amazing country next Oct. 6-12.

Highlights of the trip include a city tour of Reykjavik, a full day adventure to the South Shore with volcanoes and waterfalls, a relaxing soak in the mineral rich waters of the Blue Lagoon, a full day excursion on the Golden Circle tour to the Thingvellir National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, a whale watching trip and a special excursion to view the Aurora Borealis.

All members of the public, Chamber members and non-members are invited to attend a free informational meeting today at 11 a.m. at the Charleston Chamber office, located at 501 Jackson Ave. in Charleston.

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Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses nationwide.

The eighth annual Small Business Saturday is set for Saturday, Nov. 25. This national campaign backed by American Express urges consumers to take a break between the big-box madness of Black Friday and the bargain-hunting mania of Cyber Monday and spend a day patronizing neighborhood merchants.

The Charleston Chamber is a Neighborhood Champion for the event and we are asking area residents to “Shop Small” on Saturday, Nov. 25 and help fuel the local economy.

Small business owners can easily participate in the promotion. A variety of free marketing tools are available so that businesses can let their customers know they are a Small Business Saturday participant.

More information, including the free marketing tools, can be found at www.facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday or www.shopsmall.com

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The Charleston Chamber is now accepting nominations for awards that will be presented as part of the program at the Chamber Annual Dinner on Jan. 27, 2018.

The Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award has been presented by the Chamber each year since 1965. The criteria for judging each nominee are: (1) demonstration of an active leadership role for the betterment of the community; (2) membership in business, civic, social and/or service organizations; (3) a willingness to serve as demonstrated by years of service; (4) a high level of personal commitment; and (5) service as a role model to help others reach their full potential.

Dr. David Glassman was recognized as the Outstanding Citizen of the Year last year.

For the 14th year, the Chamber will recognize the “Small Business of the Year” at the Annual Dinner. This award is designed to honor a small business that has made a significant contribution to the local community and economy. It is intended to recognize a successful and growing business that has achieved its status through ingenuity and hard work.

The criteria for selection of the Small Business of the Year are: (1) member in good standing for the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce; (2) any for-profit or not-for-profit headquartered in Coles County; (3) in operation at least three years; (4) demonstrated community involvement and contribution; (5) positive customer service relationships and practices; and (5) progressive business growth and performance.

"What’s Cookin” was presented the award at the Annual Dinner last year.

Detailed criteria for selection, submission instructions and nomination forms for all of the awards are available at the Chamber office or by calling 217-345-7041. The forms can also be downloaded from the Chamber website at www.charlestonchamber.com.

Nominations, including any supporting documentation, should be sent to the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 77, Charleston, IL 61920 or dropped off at the Chamber office (501 Jackson Ave.) by 3 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8.

Cindy White is president and chief executive officer of the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce.

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