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Milton Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dani Stivarius stands in front of the chamber’s new office location at 144 Merchant Row. The new office will open Aug. 1.

MILTON

The Milton Area Chamber of Commerce will open its new location at 144 Merchant Row on Aug. 1.

The chamber signed a two-year lease with landlord Kris Agnew, who also owns the American Family Insurance agency located next door, Executive Director Dani Stivarius said.

“The primary reason for moving is space,” she said.

The new space is nearly twice as big as the chamber’s current offices at the Chapel Specialties on the Square building, 819 High St.

Stivarius has been in her position for six years and the chamber has been located within the Chapel Specialties building for at least that long.

“It is sad to leave that side of town. Historically, the chamber has always been there, but we are looking for a new beginning,” Stivarius said.

Membership in the chamber of commerce has nearly doubled, from 110 members to 211, over the past six years, Stivarius said.

“We hope the move will bring more traffic and people just stopping in” at the new location, Stivarius said, noting that visitors often look to a place’s chamber of commerce as a source of information. The chamber will continue to provide a kiosk with pamphlets from area businesses, she said.

Stivarius said the chamber is partnering for the first time with the cities of Milton and Janesville through the Janesville Area Visitors and Convention Bureau. The city of Milton and its chamber of commerce joined the bureau earlier this year. The group is tasked with promoting tourism in Janesville and Milton.

“We have an annual contract with that group, which we will revisit at the end of the year,” Stivarius said.

The Milton School District decided against joining the group earlier this year.

The chamber’s board includes Tony Astin, Jim Lyke and Becky Hillmann. They join city Administrative Services Director Inga Cushman, city council member Lynda Clark and Milton Historical Society Executive Director Kari Klebba, Stivarius said.

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