Celebrating a Healthy Health and Wellness Sector

Getting Down to Business with the OPRF Chamber

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By Cathy Yen

Executive Director OPRF Chamber of Commerce

Next Sunday's free Community Health and Wellness Fair teaches as much about our local economy as it does about staying healthy.  Five noticeable trends emerged from the process of organizing this event.

First, the "health and wellness" industry is growing rapidly here.  With almost 25% of our 450 Chamber members residing in this space, today this is our largest business category.  New restaurants might attract more attention, but look closely and you will notice healthcare providers of all shapes and sizes opening local businesses at an astonishing rate.

Second, for a relatively small community, we have tremendous healthcare options.  We boast two premier hospitals and access to many other notable healthcare systems.  Numerous medical doctors, podiatrists, dentists and other specialists practice locally – often right next door to providers using adjectives like "alternative," "holistic," "traditional," and "natural."  We enjoy a plethora of fitness options, counselors and experts at both child and elder care.  Our options are as diverse as they come.

Third, the sheer number of small practitioners interested in building both brand and business underscores the need for business associations like the Chamber.  The Chamber's value proposition resonates for these service professionals looking for connection and support.

Fourth, the hands-on process of organizing the Health Fair creates much-needed community and fellowship among our health and wellness members.  The hospitals have joined as sponsors and mentors and the Westcook YMCA has taken a leadership role as well.  The Park District has donated space and expertise to an event that will benefit both businesses and tax payers.  It has been great to see such collaboration and sharing between big business and small.

Finally, major community events still depend on volunteers.  Cheers to Chamber members Dr. Mary Ann Bender, Podiatrist, and Christian Harris, owner of MaidPro for leading this effort. And thanks to the many volunteers who have worked for months to bring us the April 10 Health Fair.

Come by on Sunday.  Over fifty businesses will be at Ridgeland Common from noon to 4pm, eager to share their expertise. It's an impressive display of a very healthy sector of our local economy.

Email: cyen@oprfchamber.org Twitter: @OPRFChamber

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