Last year, the Ontonagon County Chamber of Commerce moved the visitor center to the lobby of Citizens State Bank in downtown Ontonagon. Under Lantz’s direction, the chamber immediately focused on increasing membership.
“Then we want to do more for our membership. (And) Increasing what we can do to elevate their business as well,” Lantz explains.
An important part of Ontonagon County’s economy is the tourism sector. “Tourism is what pays a lot of paychecks in our county. It’s not much different from the banking world. We have a lot of people that come through the doors in the visitor center looking for brochures and information, what to do when they come to Ontonagon. There are a lot of businesses that do pamphlets and brochures, but some have gone to online only.”
Lantz explained, “We live in an area where we have a lot of people that have money to travel, who are older and they don’t want any of that technology.”
While Lantz has 33 years of banking experience, she was born and raised in Paynesville of Ontonagon County. “I am a Copper Country gal! It’s in my blood, and it’s my history.”
It is the combination of her work in the banking and tourism industries that Lantz feels is important.
Lantz aims “to keep a foot in both worlds. To have those brochures to tell those people where they should visit, what activities they should do. Just as we do in the banking world.”
This year, the chamber is focusing on getting volunteers to help in the visitor center. “We want to make sure there is somebody here to staff it during all of our business hours.”
Lantz emphasizes that the chamber is countywide, and not just for the Village of Ontonagon. She explains the “invisible line” between Northern and Southern Ontonagon County.
“It is the Ontonagon County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Information,” she said. We’re looking for people regardless of where they live in Ontonagon County.”
The chamber sends visitors throughout Ontonagon County when they ask for restaurants, lodging, attractions and events, all things to do within the county.
Ontonagon County is home to thousands of acres of state and federal forests, numerous rivers and inland lakes, along with the scenic Lake Superior shoreline.
“It sure would be great to provide our visitors with a map of a particular area, and a highlight of a specific business to attract them to our county. Not just send them to an online location,” she emphasized.
Lantz said tourists want to talk to someone in the visitors center.
“They want to get your two cents on the particular things the visitor wants to do, such as places the visitor may want to go or be a part of,” she said.
With the excitement and energy that Lantz has displayed towards helping to promote the county, her involvement in the chamber and visitors center were inevitable.
“When I came to Citizens State Bank two and a half years ago, it was a bank that needed some tender loving care. It was the community that needed some TLC. There is so many things that we could do to promote our area. There is only so many people that have the ability to do so. I have the ability to promote our location, our town and our communities. I have a great deal of affection for the community. It’s a great place to be, so why would you not want to promote it?”
She stated her pride in working for a bank that has had a history of being involved in the county.
“The bank is privately owned. I have the support of the CEO as well as the owner of the bank to continue to be a special part of the community and the county,” she said.
One of the areas that Lantz and the chamber is working on is to get collaboration amongst the communities, local government entities, and individuals from both the North and South ends of Ontonagon County.
“The more we collaborate, the more we are able to do. That is a benefit to all of us,” concluded Lantz.