The mission of the Cook County Chamber of Commerce is to be the representative voice of county for-profit and non-profit businesses in working to improve the county economy and to address pressing county socioeconomic issues.
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Welcome to the Chamber


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For dining, lodging and other tourism information, Visit Cook County is your best authority. Go to or call 218-387-2524. The Cook County Chamber's focus is on public policy and economic development. Visit Cook County focuses on tourism.



The Cook County Chamber of Commerce seeks to hire a part-time Member Relations Manager. The person filling this position will serve as the interactive communication link between the Chamber and its members. With oversight and direction from the executive director, the Manager will be responsible for the recruitment of new members and the retention of existing members and for interacting with members in an ongoing effort to assess their needs for Chamber support.

The Member Relations Manager also will work to organize social gatherings at which Chamber members can meet, mingle, hear about Chamber happenings, get to know each other and be part of a more unified business community.

The Cook County Chamber seeks to serve as the voice of for-profit and not-for-profit businesses in Cook County. The county chamber is now 8 years old. Through its first years of business service, it has focused primarily on public policy at the county, state and federal levels, efforts that have brought significant benefits to the people and businesses of the county.

The Chamber now hopes to widen its span of services to include more member-focused efforts that build stronger connections with and between Chamber members. Our Member Relations Manager will serve as our primary agent for this effort.

To be effective in this role, the Member Relations Manager must be someone who enjoys getting to know and interact with a wide variety of people, who has superb verbal and written communication skills, who is able to work independently and who can work as an effective member of a small but highly dedicated team.

Initially, the Member Relations Manager position is set at 15 hours weekly and a compensation level of $25 per hour. The Member Relations Manager will be expected to work from home at least until COVID restrictions ease and new office space is found for the Chamber. A laptop computer will be furnished the Member Relations Manager if required, and the Member Relations Manager will be compensated fairly for cell phone usage. The Member Relations Manager will need access to a vehicle and will be compensated at the federal rate for miles traveled on Chamber Business.

A job application and job description are available for review and download at

The application period for this position will close May 21. Please submit a completed application via email to or send a hard copy to Cook County Chamber, P.O. Box 805, Grand Marais, MN 55604.


For more information, contact Jim Boyd, Chamber executive director, at 218-370-9665 or


Results of our Fall 2020 Cook County Business Health Survey

We have just finished our Fall 2020 Business Health Survey for Cook County. We received 76 responses, which represents roughly 20 percent of Cook County businesses, so a good sampling from which it is reasonable to draw some conclusions. The responses also appear to represent a good sampling of business sectors and areas of the county.

You can find the results here:

As you will see, the pandemic has affected Cook County businesses in dramatically different ways. It’s reassuring that 85 percent of businesses are quite confident they will still exist in six months, but worrisome that the remaining 15 percent are only “somewhat” confident or not at all confident of survival. Similarly, while it’s great that more than 40 percent of businesses report revenue of 100 percent or more so far this year compared to last, another 40 percent report revenue of 80 percent or less compared to a year ago, and a very worrisome one-quarter of businesses report revenue of 70 percent or less.

There obviously are a number of businesses that will need our support through this coming winter if we want them to survive. If you hear of any that are in trouble, please provide whatever support you can.

One very large red flag stands out in the survey: More than 50 percent of businesses reported their summer staff was insufficient. The effect of this staff shortage was most apparent in the number of businesses –especially restaurants – forced to close in the middle of each week so their staff could rest from the extreme workload it was forced to bear the rest of the week.

Inadequate workforce is a chronic problem for Cook County,but not to the extreme experienced this pandemic summer. And this despite an unemployment rate of 10.6 percent in June, 7.4 percent in July and 6.2 percent in August. A year earlier, the rate was less than 2 percent.

Clearly, a sizable number of employable county residents declined to work this summer, a decision that generous federal unemployment benefits helped make possible. Two strong reasons for staying home were the need to care for children who lost access to child care because of the pandemic, or concern about elevated personal vulnerability to the COVID-19 virus because of age or compromised physical condition.

But the staff shortage focused the spotlight most brightly on

just how much we depend on international workers holding J1 and H2B visas. In a typical summer, Cook County employers hire several hundred of these workers,and they were almost totally absent this year. This summer proved that we can “get by” without them in a pinch, but at the price of retarded business activity and an unhealthy work environment for resident workers. No one we know is at all eager to repeat the summer of 2020 anytime soon.

The link to the survey results provided above does not

include comments offered in response to the last question, about how well local leaders have done in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the comments were quite generous in their praise of local leaders, and it seemed that most business leaders were well satisfied with how the pandemic has been handled. There were scattered criticisms, which have been shared with those who were their focus.





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