$50,000 Pledge for Confluence Community Arts Center

Mark Willer

Mark Willer

Merchants Bank has pledged $50,000 in support of the new community arts center that is part of the proposed Confluence Project in downtown Eau Claire.

“We believe that the Confluence Project and the new community arts center are important for our community, and as a community bank, we believe it’s our privilege to join our neighbors in our support,” said Merchants Bank – Eau Claire President Mark Willer. “We expect that the project will contribute significantly to both the cultural and economic development of Eau Claire and the entire Chippewa Valley. One of the cornerstones of the Merchants Bank philosophy is to support its customers and the communities it serves by donating volunteer time and making monetary contributions to important community projects.”

Merchants is a full-service bank and is a regional leader in mortgage and business lending. The Eau Claire location, just off London Road, opened in February of this year.

The Confluence Project is a proposed revitalization of property commonly referred to as the “Haymarket Site” at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers. The public-private partnership seeks to construct a community arts center, which is the centerpiece of the project. A privately developed commercial/retail complex that includes housing suitable for University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students also is part of the project.

The Eau Claire City Council has pledged $5 million in city funds toward development of the community arts center. The arts center project also seeks $25 million in state funding and $5 million from Eau Claire County. The remaining arts center construction costs are sought from donations and tax credits. The $26 million commercial/retail and student housing complex is being privately financed.

Other members of the Confluence Project public-private partnership are Haymarket Concepts LLC, composed of Market & Johnson Inc., Commonweal Development Corp. and Blugold Real Estate LLC, a subsidiary of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council, and UW-Eau Claire. For information about making a commitment to the Confluence Project, contact Wally Rogers, Confluence campaign director, at wallacegrant@msn.com or 715-225-8685.

Get Your Windshield Washed in Caledonia

WindowWashingCALThe employees at Merchants Bank will be hosting a free car windshield washing event in support of Caledonia High School arts, academics and athletics on Friday, September 5 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. For each windshield washed, Merchants will donate $5 to Caledonia High School.

“Many of our employees have a student, know someone who attends or attended Caledonia High School themselves,” said Matt Schuldt, President for Merchants Bank in Caledonia and Spring Grove. “Being able to give back to one of our community partners is a great feeling and we’re looking forward to this fun event.”

All community members are encouraged to visit the Caledonia Merchants Bank drive-thru on Friday, September 5. No customer relationship is required to participate. Free will donations for Caledonia High School will also be accepted.

Beacon House Gets New Phone System

ECPhoneDonation2 copyWhen Merchants Bank acquired the former Alliance Bank location in Eau Claire on February 14, it meant a new phone system for the bank that matched what Merchants had in place at all of its locations. That was good fortune for Beacon House, part of the Eau Claire Interfaith Hospitality Network. Merchants Bank – Eau Claire President Mark Willer worked with Kelly Christianson, Executive Director of Eau Claire Interfaith Hospitality Network, and Pam Kozuch, owner of Telephone Systems Incorporated (TSI), to make sure the phones and components were installed at Beacon House. Merchants supplied the previously used components and TSI provided the installation. Beacon House serves families and pregnant women who are temporarily homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Students and Apple Valley Booster Receive a Total of $3,360 from Merchants Bank Money Ball

Apple Valley students who made lay-ups, free throws and half-court shots during Merchants Bank’s Money Ball halftime shootout at Apple Valley High School basketball games this season earned $1,680. Because of their efforts, Merchants Bank will match the $1,680 earned and donate that money to the Apple Valley Basketball Booster Club.

“It was great fun. The students and fans alike really enjoyed the halftime shootout. We’re happy to do it and happy to match that sum to the boosters who are supporting these great high school athletes,” said Merchants Bank’s Twin Cities Regional President Lawrence Stovern.

Students signed up before each game and were chosen in a random drawing to be the Money Ball shooters at both boys’ and girls’ games. The students reached the total by receiving a $10 gift card each time a participating student made a lay-up, a $25 gift card was given each time a participating student made a free throw, and $100 in cash was given each time a student made a half-court shot. The half-court shot was a progressive jackpot and there were three big winners during the year – one for $500 by Ja’Quan Robinson, another for $300 by Mohamed Kone and $100 to another Apple Valley student.

“The best part is the kids were actually the ones who raised the money for the boosters by making the shots,” Stovern said.

Apple Valley High School Booster Club donation from Merchants Bank

Pictured from left to right: Debbie Jones (Apple Valley Basketball Booster Club), Brian Wester (Merchants Bank), Tiffany Elliot (Apple Valley Basketball Booster Club), Dale Trobroxen (Apple Valley Basketball Booster Club), Lawrence “Skip” Stovern (Merchants Bank)

“10 Days of Giving” Record-Breaking Year Ends by Topping 280,000 Pounds

10DaysLogoWINONA, Minn. – Final tallies put the 25th Anniversary of the “10 Days of Giving” at 280,082 pounds of food.

The total breaks down to $127,626 in cash and 24,830 pounds of food. The previous record was set in 2009 when just over 250,000 pounds of food was collected. For the purposes of the total, two pounds of food are counted for each dollar.

“This year’s drive was successful because we came together as a community to help people, to make sure that no one in Winona County goes hungry,” said Mark Metzler, who is co-chair of the food drive. “Most of all, we are moved by the generosity of our neighbors who have made the effort to make a difference for someone else.”

This is the 25th anniversary of the “10 Days of Giving” and the 40th anniversary of Winona Volunteer Services, which benefits from the Winona contributions. The 25-year total for pounds of food collected now stands at 2,393,767.

“At Merchants Bank, we are thankful that we have the ability and employee dedication to help facilitate this drive. It really is a privilege,” Metzler said.

More than 30 area schools and child-care centers and more than 150 businesses participated in this year’s drive. For a listing of this year’s participating businesses, click here.

Area Food Shelves Receive Money from “Swipe Out Hunger”

SwipeOutHungerAppBannerMerchants Bank’s “Swipe Out Hunger” Facebook giveaway has concluded with more than 1,700 votes cast to benefit area food shelves.

Merchants Bank donated 5 cents each time a Merchants Bank credit card or debit card was used between November 29 and December 15, for a total of $10,000 to be split among the food shelves. Votes were placed on Merchants Bank’s Facebook page.

Merchants Bank representatives will be presenting food shelf representatives with checks within the coming week.

The Food Shelves were nominated by bank locations (bank locations making the nomination are noted in parentheses). There were a number of locations that nominated the same organization. The “Swipe Out Hunger” awards break down as follows:

  • 360 Communities (Lakeville): $270
  • Cannon Falls Food Shelf (Cannon Falls): $540
  • Channel One Rochester (Rochester): $569
  • Eagan & Lakeville Resource Center (Apple Valley and Rosemount): $352
  • Friends in Need Food Shelf (Cottage Grove): $387
  • Hastings Family Services (Hastings): $751
  • La Crescent Food Share (La Crescent): $2,383
  • Randolph Food Shelf (Hampton): $264
  • Red Wing Area Food Shelf (Red Wing): $250
  • SEMCAC Houston County Food Shelf (Caledonia and Spring Grove): $387
  • SEMCAC in Preston (Lanesboro): $250
  • SEMCAC in Rushford (Rushford): $370
  • Southeastern Minnesota Education & Resource Center (St. Charles): $250
  • The Hunger Task Force (Onalaska): $2,066
  • Winona Volunteer Services (Winona, Lakeside, Goodview): $1,238
 A minimum of $250 was given to nominated food shelves. Total amount given away was $10,327.

Merchants Bank Looks to “Swipe Out Hunger” for Area Food Shelves

SwipeOutHungerAppBannerMerchants Bank will be donating 5 cents each time a Merchants Bank credit card or debit card is used between November 29 and December 15, up to a total of $10,000, for area food shelves during “Swipe Out Hunger,” the Bank’s second annual Facebook Giveaway.

The “Swipe Out Hunger” giveaway will work like this:

  • Supporters of area food shelves will be able to vote once per day between November 29 and December 15 for their chosen organization
  • At the end of the giveaway, nominated food shelves will receive a percentage of total amount of money raised based on the percentage of votes that organization receives on Merchants Bank’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/MerchantsBank

The Food Shelves were nominated by bank locations (Bank locations making the nomination are noted in parentheses), and there were a number of locations that nominated the same organization. Participating this year are: SEMCAC Houston County Food Shelf (Caledonia and Spring Grove), Friends in Need Food Shelf (Cottage Grove), La Crescent Food Shelf (La Crescent), The Hunger Task Force (Onalaska), Channel One Rochester (Rochester), Southeast Minnesota Education & Resource Center (St. Charles), Winona Volunteer Services (Winona), 360 Communities (Lakeville), Eagan & Lakeville Resource Center (Apple Valley and Rosemount), Hastings Family Services (Hastings), the Cannon Falls Food Shelf (Cannon Falls), SEMCAC in Preston (Lanesboro), SEMCAC in Rushford (Rushford), the Randolph Food Shelf (Hampton) and the Red Wing Area Food Shelf (Red Wing).