Local business owners and entrepreneurs braved the snow and the cold today (March 20) to come together for their monthly networking event. 

The Strathmore and Wheatland Chamber of Commerce (SWCC) coffee connection event was created for Strathmore and area business owners to meet up for a morning of networking, mentorship, and discussions on how to strengthen the local business scene. 

“The chamber hosts coffee connections for all our members and anyone who is actually in business in Strathmore who wishes to become a member of the chamber. We host these on the third Wednesday of every month at different member locations. And it's just a place for our business people in the community to get together, network, introduce themselves, and learn what other businesses are in the community—that type of thing,” said Michelle Bissett, Chair of the SWCC. 

Shawndra Bodkin, treasurer for the SWCC, says that coffee connections are a great opportunity for business owners to meet up. 

“It’s about getting your name out there and networking, as well as learning about other small businesses in Strathmore, Wheatland, and surrounding areas,” Bodkin said. “By hosting coffee connections and being a part of the chamber, it lets people know we are here and we are for you. We’re here for our community and for small businesses.” 


Daniel Wielwel, owner of MaxSPL Music, was the host of March’s coffee connection. 

According to Wielwel, events like this are a great way to meet and connect with other entrepreneurs. 

“I’m at my store six days a week. I don’t get the chance to go out to a lot of the local businesses in town and introduce myself or support them. So, this has been a great opportunity where everyone here is on the same page in terms of wanting to help each other out and get connected,” Wielwel said. 

Not only has it been an opportunity to network for Wielwel, but he was also able to gain more clientele at his business. 

“I’ve learned quite a bit about networking in general. I have also gotten a few gigs out of these coffee connections from people finding out the services that I offer. It has been a big boom for my business.” 

SWCC has a lot planned for 2024 and is encouraging citizens to come out, get involved, and have a say in what is happening with businesses in Wheatland County and Strathmore. 

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) for SWCC will be on Thursday, April 18, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Currently, no location has been finalized yet, but it will be announced soon. 

“We welcome anybody to come to the AGM. Anyone who is interested in attending and would like to get an idea of what it is or what we have to offer. It is an open invitation to everyone, just like our coffee connections are every month, and we look forward to meeting with everyone,” said Marylynne Martens, secretary on the executive board of the SWCC. 

According to Martens, anyone who is interested in joining the SWCC board must fill out an application form stating what their interest is in joining the chamber, and then it will go on to existing directors to vote on. 

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