The 2018 Membership Blitz kicks off at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, September 18. Meet the ambassadors who are teaming up to recruit new members and learn some of their favorite parts of Chamber membership!




Team 1

Amanda Geske, Banterra Bank | Chamber member for 1 year
“I love the membership driven newsletter, Member News! I find it incredibly easy to follow and stay up to date on the latest news and events my fellow members have going on.”

Michelle Jones, Banterra Bank | Chamber member for 14 years
“I am proud to say I was with the Women’s Network committee from the start! I love this group because you can meet other women from other businesses that you may have not ever met in your circle. Also, it’s a great way to network with business women in the community. The morning coffee and the luncheons are great and the ones I have attended I have always taken something back. I might be a little biased but I love the women on this committee! I feel privileged to be a part of it.”



Team 2

Brandy McIntire, FOX 23 KBSI/MY 49 WDKA Compulse Digital | Chamber member for 4 years
“I serve on the Cape Chamber Board of Directors and I have to tell you that it has really been a wonderful experience to get to get a behind the scene look at how this board helps shape the organization and make decisions and recommendations for the members’ prospective interests. The Cape Chamber Board has helped me meet more prominent people in the community and has helped to build those connections that help me in my profession as well.”

Zane McClard, Southern Bank | Chamber member for 8 months
“Cape Girardeau is a tight knit community. I feel that it is important for local businesses to support the Chamber to be involved in the community – customers notice!”




Team 3

Brenda Newbern, Visit Cape | Chamber member for 2 years
“My favorite networking event is First Friday Coffee. It gives me the opportunity to sit at the table with 7 other people and connect. I love getting to sit with someone and have a conversation about what they do and how I may assist them. Sometimes Visit Cape is already promoting their business and we are both working towards a similar goal, even though we have never met! And if I need to make a connection with a current business, odds are they will be at First Friday Coffee and I have the opportunity to connect. It is also the place where I feel if someone wants to get involved and meet the movers and shakers I can bring them to the FFC and offer them the opportunity to be successful!! It's a tool all in and of itself!”

Becky Welch, Candlewood Suites/Courtyard by Marriott | Chamber member for 5 years
“The Cape Chamber is an investment not only into our business, but also the economy of the Cape Girardeau area. The Chamber has assisted us by offering networking, low cost advertising, training, information resources, and other opportunities. It has allowed me to get to know our local businesses to see what products and services they offer.”



Team 4

Bridget Miller, Isle Casino Cape Girardeau | Chamber member for 3 years
“My favorite program offered by the Chamber is Chamber Young Professionals. This is a great way not only for our young professionals to network, but to get some insight and advice from professionals who have been working in different industries for a long time. I wish there was a program like this when I was just starting out. I think it is just so beneficial and well worth the time to join Chamber Young Professionals.”

Ellen Carlson, Sinclair Broadcast Group/FOX23 | Chamber member for 10 years
“I joined and continue my membership with the Cape Chamber because I find a great deal of value being a Chamber member. I have found that attending the multitude of events the chamber puts on to be great networking tools. I have gotten to know so many people and have formed lasting friendships and business relationships.”



Team 5

Carole Kinsey, MidAmerical Hotels Corp. | Chamber member for 8 months
“Being new to the area, becoming a member of the Cape Chamber helped me to learn the city and meet great people. The Chamber does an excellent job connecting businesses together to help us all.”

Beth Keller, Saint Francis Healthcare | Chamber member for 25+ years
“I think it is important for business to support the Chamber because they are really the back bone of your communities. They have your back when you need support, they are a great resource when you are looking for something or someone, and they promote your businesses as well. The networking that you gain and just a feel of the community vibe is so important especially for a newer business and they provide that. I’m in a couple different Chambers in the surrounding area and they are all a bit different but again, they are where it’s happening! The mission of the Chamber should be important to you because they are the ones representing you and your community in so many ways!”



Team 6

Debbie Pensel, First Midwest | Chamber member for 3 years
“I frequently visit the News & Events section of the Chamber’s website to update my calendar with Chamber events and I utilize the membership directory to see who the contact person for a business is for calling efforts. It’s a great tool!”

Heather Short, First Midwest | Chamber member for 10+ years
“I believe businesses should not only support the Cape Chamber, but be actively involved. A few of the many reasons why it’s important to maintain a membership with the Cape Chamber include that Chamber membership helps build your business relationships in the community with several networking opportunities, offers your business exposure through their publications and they refer potential customers to their members."


Team 7

Tiffany Barr, Ray’s Plaza Banquet Center | Chamber member for 3 years
“I think the Chamber Young Professionals is a great group offered by the Chamber. It's helped me grow as a young business leader and get out of my comfort zone. Plus, it's also a great way to make new friends and build long lasting business relationships.”

Kim Voelker, Cape Chamber | Chamber member for over 15 years
“I became involved through a previous employer and quickly realized the value of being a member of the Chamber. I served as an ambassador for several years and participated in Leadership Cape. Most Chambers are typically viewed as organizations that just offer networking events but our chamber also puts a lot of effort into economic and workforce development. The work we are doing is essential to ensuring our region continues to thrive.”


Team 8

Greg Vaughn, Media Leaf | Chamber member for 2 years
“Leadership Cape is an incredible opportunity for local business people to gain access to everything “Cape”. Through this program, the Cape Chamber helps you dive deep into the education system, local industry, media, policy making, healthcare, history, infrastructure, police and fire departments, plus more. You are granted access to the things that make the city work...Things many citizens don’t normally see or even think about. Through the program you learn a lot about yourself and how to understand other personality types in the workplace. You learn how to listen, when to talk, and how to come together as a team to complete a project. Regardless of your background or profession, I highly recommend the experience!”

Alan Schoen, Pepsi MidAmerica | Chamber member for 4 years
“Pepsi MidAmerica has been a member for years but I felt our participation was lacking. I have worked to increase our participation because I believe a strong and active Chamber is beneficial to all. The Cape Chamber has helped me make contacts and form business relationships that continue to be beneficial to Pepsi as well as me personally.”


Team 9

Megan Frank, Credit Bureau Services | Chamber member for 1 year
“Having a ribbon cutting with the Cape Chamber is such a great experience! Not only do you get to celebrate a milestone with your team members, but you also get to include the community! Plus, social media is a huge marketing tool currently and a ribbon cutting allows you to share these milestones with everyone!”

Michele Litzelfelner, Cape Chamber | Chamber member for 30+ years
“The Chamber supports and advocates for all businesses in the area, not just their members. Why would a business not want to support an organization that works to create a better quality of life for our community and region through advocacy, business retention and expansion, economic development and a stronger workforce to name a few?”


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Right to Work Resources

Missouri Proposition A, the Right to Work Referendum, is on the ballot in Missouri as a veto referendum on August 7, 2018.

A "yes" vote is to uphold the contested legislation, Senate Bill 19, which would enact a right-to-work law to mandate that no person can be required to pay dues to a labor union or join a labor union as a condition of employment.

A "no" vote is to overturn the contested legislation, Senate Bill 19, which would enact a right-to-work law to mandate that no person can be required to pay dues to a labor union or join a labor union as a condition of employment.


To learn more about Right to Work, visit the following resources:


The Cape Chamber Board of Directors has taken a position in support of Prop A and encourages you to cast your vote on August 7.

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The Cape Chamber is pleased to announce the successful completion of the 29th year of the Leadership Cape program – an innovative 7-month program that exposes participants to the opportunities, realities and challenges of our community, while creating opportunities for professional growth.

Leadership Cape is a program led by the Cape Chamber, designed to identify and motivate emerging leaders, and to develop their potential for community leadership roles by exposing them to opportunities, realities and challenges of our area. Individuals who have a genuine interest in leadership, who desire to increase their own levels of involvement, and who wish to broaden their knowledge are encouraged to participate in Leadership Cape.

Class participants develop rapport with key community leaders, leading to long-term essential relationships. Those who participate in a leadership program such as Leadership Cape, benefit from the camaraderie developed among classmates, personal growth from session content, expanded knowledge of community structure, and an understanding of the importance of community involvement.

Kim Voelker, Cape Chamber Vice President, serves as the staff liaison for the Leadership Development committee at the Chamber. Voelker works closely with the committee to plan and execute the monthly classes.

“I have the pleasure of interacting with the participants and getting to know them on a more personal level,” says Voelker, “and that makes it very interesting!”

Leadership Cape Girardeau Class of 2018 graduates include:

Ms. Katherine Amrhein
Southeast Missouri State University

Lt. Rodney Barker
Cape Girardeau Police Department

Ms. Tiffany Barr
Ray’s Banquet Center

Ms. Erica Bogenpohl
Alliance Water Resources

Ms. Gayle Conrad
City of Cape Girardeau

Mr. Brandon Cooper
Moss & Cooper

Mr. Richard Crowley

Ms. Tammy Deimund
Saint Francis Health Care

Mr. Calvin Garner
Community Caring Council

Mr. Zachery Gendron
The Bank of Missouri

Ms. Amanda Geske
Banterra Bank

Ms. Patricia Harrell
Montgomery Bank

Mr. Dennis Kinkead
Southeast Missouri State University

Mr. Gunnar Knudtson
First Missouri State Bank

Ms. Taylor Laws
Cape Chamber

Pastor Jacob May
Christ Lutheran Church

Ms. Samantha Mlot
Old Town Cape

Mr. Todd Obergoenner
W. E. Walker-Lakenan

Ms. Katie Palisch
Realty Executives of Cape County

Ms. Debbie Pensel
First Midwest

Mr. Bruce Pfeifer
Drury Southwest, Inc.

Ms. Whitney Quick
Better Business Bureau

Mr. Larry Rhodes
Commerce Bank

Mr. John Ryan
Spencer Fane LLP

Ms. Mary Schabbing
Saint Francis Healthcare

Mr. Michael Siebert
Coalter Insurance Group

Mr. Greg Vaughn
Media Leaf, LLC

Mr. Mike Warren
Main Street Signs

Ms. Rinda Wiseman

Applications for the 2019 Leadership Cape class will become available at a later date. If you would like to receive notification of the opening of applications, contact Kim Voelker at


For more information about the Cape Chamber or the Leadership Cape program, visit

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Location, location, location – the phrase is paramount in real estate AND in economic development.

The state of Missouri is in a great geographic position with its location in the center of the United States. This should be a huge advantage in economic development. We are rich in many transportation resources including rivers, rail, highways, airports, and river ports. However, our transportation infrastructure is struggling.

Within 500 miles of the state of Missouri is 43% of the U.S. population, 41% of buying power, and 44% of both wholesale trade and manufacturing plants. However, our infrastructure is deteriorating and, in many places, unsafe. We have the seventh largest transportation system but we are only 46th in revenue per mile. We have the fourth lowest gas and diesel taxes in the nation and they haven’t been raised in decades.

But in November, we have a chance to change all that. Missouri voters will be asked to approve a 2.5% gas tax increase for four consecutive years resulting in approximately $410 million each year for transportation in Missouri. Of that, $288 million would go to fund the Missouri Highway patrol and $122 million would go directly toward local transportation projects. The Highway Patrol funding frees up more of the State Road Fund for much needed statewide projects.

This is a responsible way to finally address our need for additional transportation funding. Please remember to vote in November.
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Over the past 18 months, there have been several notable expansions from our existing businesses. These include an almost completed 60,000 square foot manufacturing facility in the Greater Cape Girardeau Business Park by Idyllic Enterprises and SI03, 30 – 35 new jobs at Schafer’s Electrical Enclosures, 150 new jobs from AT&T, and numerous hospitality and restaurant projects. Even several of our new businesses are results of working with existing developers.

Statistics show even though start-up companies and new businesses are gaining in overall job creation, 60 – 70% of new jobs still come from existing business. The Chamber conducts a BRE (business retention and expansion) program continually. This is accomplished through meetings with existing business representatives both formally and informally. We gather information on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of both the area and the company. Armed with this information, we can address issues and advocate on behalf of our business partners resulting in reduced impediments to growth and leading to more stability in our business base and, ultimately, more investment and jobs.

Keep in mind, a complete economic development plan still includes efforts to recruit new business and industry and support an entrepreneurial climate conducive to start-up ventures. But let there be no doubt, growth from our existing business base is critical to success.
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There is a silent killer of many businesses in the United States and our area is certainly not immune.

Statistics show us 80 – 90 percent of the U.S. businesses are family owned. However, less than one third will survive into the second generation and roughly 10 percent will make it to the third.

Business succession planning is a process whereby owners research and decide upon a plan to move forward in case of the event of death, illness, or simply transition. It generally uses estate planning strategies and there is no “one size fits all” plan. Careful consideration must be given to determine the best options. Without a plan in place, there is a high degree of the possibility of failure.

Many factors must be examined. There are issues of estate taxes, liquidity, ownership percentages, family disagreements, and capabilities of management. The uncertainty of a transition can affect the business internally among employees and externally with customers. It is so important to develop a plan and communicate to your team you have one in place.

There are many succession planning vehicles and succession planning concerns. It is important to seek the advice of an expert on such matters and do it sooner rather than later. Many believe business succession planning is at least as important, and maybe more important, than individual estate planning. Employees, customers, and family members are relying on a smooth transition. Don’t let them down.
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For almost two decades we have enjoyed a successful partnership resulting in very tangible results.

Old Town Cape was established in 1999 and the Cape Chamber was at the table helping to get things organized. OTC is an accredited Main Street Program for downtown revitalization based on the four point approach of promotion, design, economic vitality, and organization. Certainly Old Town Cape has thrived in the last several years under the leadership of Director Marla Mills.

Representatives from the Chamber, the City of Cape, the University, and OTC meet at least quarterly as a downtown development team. We work on infrastructure, planning, and economic development issues. Just this year, the city completed an update of the Downtown Strategic Plan in partnership with many local groups and interested individuals. The plan is not a blueprint, but does offer ideas and guidance on future development.

Downtown Cape has experienced a revitalization not seen for quite some time. The new Marquette Tech District has facilitated an entrepreneurial culture resulting in excitement for both living and working downtown. Both the Chamber and OTC are located in the old Marquette Hotel and attached Carriage House. This allows for frequent interaction directly strengthening the partnership.

The establishment of a Tax Increment Financing District has led to renewed interest in redevelopment downtown and the possibility of a project at the old Esquire Theater has everyone excited. The Chamber/OTC partnership is alive and well!
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The Cape Chamber pleased to announce our new website, Designed as a hub of information, this website will serve as a valuable tool for both human resources professionals and individuals looking to relocate to the Cape Girardeau Area. 

Talent attraction and retention is becoming increasingly challenging for regional companies competing with larger markets across the United States. Through retention visits with major employers in the Cape Girardeau Area, Cape Chamber staff confirmed the Cape Girardeau region is no exception to this trend.

With this in mind, the Cape Chamber developed the Cape Is Home talent attraction campaign. hosts a variety of useful information including way of life, opportunities, things to do, options for education and housing, and more.

“We are excited about our new website launch and the robust information it provides for those looking to call Cape home,” said John Mehner, President and CEO of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce. “We believe that this new site will allow visitors to better understand all that our community has to offer, while also serving as a tremendous tool for HR professionals recruiting new talent to our area as well.”


For more information, contact:

John Mehner
President & CEO, Cape Chamber
220 N. Fountain
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
(573) 335-3312 |

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The Chamber is a stand-alone not for profit, membership organization. We spend 100% of our time on economic development and community betterment issues.

We are not part of any governmental entity. We exist because of, and FOR, our members. The Chamber is not simply the people who work with me at 220 North Fountain Street. The Chamber is our membership working in concert with our team.

It is through our member’s support we are able to accomplish the many things we do every day. It is the Chamber, working closely with many local partners, that takes the lead on business recruitment and expansion efforts. It is the Chamber that takes the lead on advocating at the local, state, and national level for a strong business environment. It is the Chamber that takes the lead on developing tomorrow’s local leaders, area young professionals, and working women. It is the Chamber that takes the lead on many local community development issues. And it is the Chamber that has been doing this for more than 100 years. The Chamber is uniquely positioned to lead, build partnerships, and get things done. All these things positively impact regional business.

Listen to Let’s Talk Business each week on KRCU. Read the local papers and watch local television. The Chamber and its accomplishments are front and center.

Each of you has an opportunity to be part of something very special. Become a member of the Cape Chamber during our 2018 Membership Drive and receive: 1) waived $25 enrollment fee , 2) $25 Cape Chamber Cash, and 3) promotion of your business on the Cape Chamber's Facebook Page.

Call Dana Brune with any questions at 573-35-3312 or apply online today!

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Did you know each of you can play an important role in the economic development efforts for our area?

A full economic development effort includes an existing business retention and expansion plan, recruitment of new business, entrepreneurial ecosystem development, AND the business of conventions, visitors, and tourism. YOU can play a direct role in that last category – the Tourism Industry.

Research shows tourism is more than a 16.5 billion dollar business for our state with employment in excess of 308,000 jobs. Yes, 8.3% of all jobs in Missouri are related to tourism. Fourteen percent of visitors are doing business related activities while 86% are leisure travelers. That’s where you come in.

If you are in a business or service club with an affiliation to a regional or state-wide organization, look for ways to bring a convention to Cape. With the recent addition of the Drury Plaza Hotel and Conference Center, we are having much success in this arena.

Individually, think about hosting a family reunion, class reunion, or just inviting out of state friends to enjoy the things our area has to offer. And don’t forget traveling youth sports. If your sons or daughters play in that world, work with your teams to host events here in Cape.

Please call on our Visit Cape team to help you with your efforts. They can assist with hotel arrangements, schedule planning, and other details. They can also provide welcome bags and work with you to ensure a great experience for all our visitors.
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Make the Most of Your Membership

Through Chamber membership, you can broaden your business contacts and referrals, enhance your leadership and professional skills and participate in projects that positively affect our area.

Learn More


First Friday Coffee
First Friday Coffee

Network with nearly 300 business leaders each month

Ribbon Cutting
Ribbon Cutting

Announce your opening, anniversary or ground breaking

Women’s Network
Women’s Network

Engage with hundreds of key female business leaders

Business Visit
Business Visit

Visit 1-on-1 with Chamber staff about your business needs