Merger approved for Brownstown organizations



Members of two Brownstown organizations recently met to approve a merger.

In the end, the Brownstown Chamber of Commerce was dissolved, and a business development development and promotion tier was added to Brownstown/Ewing Main Street.

Moving forward, the organization will operate under the name Brownstown/Ewing Main Street.

“Everyone we have spoken with, from community leaders to small business owners, thinks it was a great decision and is on board to help us take off running with it,” said Luke Nolting, chairman of the board of directors. “We appreciate everyone who has supported us this far, from volunteers to donors to people who come out and enjoy our events.”

As part of the merger, the organization adopted the new tier as part of its five-point organizational approach. The other tiers are economic vitality, design, organization and promotion.

The business development and promotion tier committee will focus solely on serving members via benefits, promotion and networking opportunities.

“Over the last two years, our organizations have worked closely together as we strive to develop a strong local economy, appearance and quality of life in Brownstown,” said Conner Barnette, vice chairman of the board who previously served as president of the chamber and vice president of Brownstown/Ewing Main Street.

“That being said, we’re excited to officially collaborate as one group and move full steam ahead,” he said. “We’ve got big goals, and we feel this is a huge step toward making them become a reality.”

Bill Braman with Lorenzo, Bevers, Braman and Connell in Seymour is handling the paperwork for the organization to submit to the Indiana secretary of state for final approval.

By the end of this month, membership cards will be sent out with a prorated membership rate that will take members through the 2019 calendar year. No members have been billed to this point.

There are now four levels of membership: Friend or individual, $100; supporter, $200; partner, $500; and champion, $1,500.

“The higher the membership tier, the more benefits you receive,” Barnette said.

The top tier also covers sponsorship of one of the five shows in the summer concert series, which kicks off May 11 with James Dupré and Lonesome Crow playing an acoustic show at Heritage Park in Brownstown.

“Coming from a small business owner, we feel that everyone in our community wants to be involved and be able to give back. The question becomes what are they getting out of the membership?” Nolting said.

“We want all our members to feel like they are not only contributing to Brownstown/Ewing Main Street but also helping to make Brownstown an even better place to live, work and raise a family,” he said. “We hope that with our new membership levels, people will be able to choose an option that will be a perfect fit for them and feel like it is an advantage for them to be a member now.”

When the merger took place, Barnette said the chamber had 93 active members and Brownstown/Ewing Main Street had 16. Most of those 16 also were chamber members.

“We haven’t really had a membership campaign to this point from Brownstown/Ewing Main Street,” Barnette said. “A lot of it has come from freewill donations or grants, so Brownstown/Ewing Main Street really didn’t want to hit up our local businesses that are already paying $200, $250 for a chamber membership to be a member of Brownstown/Ewing Main Street.

“A lot of people didn’t know what the difference was. There are some big differences between the two, but now with this merger, it will all be one membership,” he said. “We’re a small community, so it’s hard to ask the business owners that support us to donate to both memberships.”

There are now 11 board members, including two who were added from the chamber as part of the merger.

With those people involved, Nolting said he’s looking forward to the growth of the organization.

“I am lucky to have a board who puts the time in and truly cares about Brownstown. They want it to grow, expand and see it be successful,” he said. “We have high goals and expectations of what we want to see within the next few years. We encourage anyone who would like to be on a committee or help out to reach out to us.”

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Brownstown/Ewing Main Street

Established: 2010

Board of directors: Luke Nolting (chairman), Conner Barnette (vice chairman), Fayeann Hurley (secretary), Chad VanLiew (treasurer), Heather VonDielingen, Maria Anderson, Jake Brown, Mitchell McIntyre, Tawnya Fleetwood, Ashley MacTavish and Arann Banks



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