ST. JOSEPH — Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce has a new look.
On Thursday, when chamber members met inside the Silver Beach Center to see the release of the new visitor’s guide, they were surprised by an unveiling of the chamber’s new name and logo.
The St. Joseph-based business networking and advocacy organization has changed its name to the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber.
“This new name culminates a multi-year effort to grow our business networks and adopt an attitude of regionalism,” Chamber President Chris Heugel told dozens of attendees. “It more inclusively represents our widening membership as well as our deepening commitment to help businesses thrive throughout Southwest Michigan.”
From a series of focus groups to getting 35 variations of the logo from Holt Bosse, the chamber landed on its new logo of the Lower Peninsula with waves radiating from the southwest portion of the state.
The chamber plans to begin implementing its new name and logo over the next few months. Chamber employees already have new business cards and emails.
Heugel said the first step in the chamber’s broader focus was its partnership with the Greater Bridgman Chamber & Growth Alliance last October.
This kicked off a bigger movement to serve businesses outside the traditional Benton Harbor, St. Joseph and Stevensville markets.
“The logo shows how our support of the regional business community ripples out, positively impacting not only the standard of living here, but throughout the state,” said Heugel.
Sarah Spoonholtz, regional director for the chamber, said it’s been several months of going back and forth over creating the new logo.
She said they didn’t have an idea for Holt Bosse to start with when the chamber hired the St. Joseph marketing firm.
“Seeing the color transition and gradient that had a focus on Southwest Michigan made us choose the logo,” she said. “People mentioned it looks like a Wi-Fi signal pushing its way out.”
Heugel said it’s been in discussion to change the name for the past two years. He said they wanted a name that would let outside agencies know what region the chamber represents.
Spoonholtz said the social media accounts and website will be updated by the end of the week.
The chamber, which was founded in 1954 as the Twin Cities Area Chamber of Commerce, held the name Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce for nearly 25 years.
The member-driven 501(c)6 organization has two locations – at 811 State St., Suite 303 in St. Joseph and at 9765 Maple St. in Bridgman.
Heugel said although the chamber has a new name and logo, it does not plan to change its current business model.
It will continue to hold “Business After Hours” events, its annual golf outing, the Fall Trade Fair and ribbon-cutting events throughout the year.
As for whether there are any other changes on the horizon, Spoonholtz said she doesn’t expect any in the near future.
“There have been discussions of adding other chambers,” she said. “But nothing has been set in stone on any of that yet. As for now, I think we’re done making changes.”
Contact: twittkowski@TheHP.com, 932-0358, Twitter: @TonyWittkowski