The Richmond Hill/Bryan County Chamber of Commerce has been pretty busy. While that is typically the case, I wanted to take a minute to pull out some of the highlights.
As many of you know, the Show Me Richmond Hill initiative is swinging into full force. After hearing a request for support in regards to the project, the Chamber polled its membership to gauge interest. Executive Director Kittie Franklin and Board Chairman Jerry DeLoach found that the feedback was primarily positive. "It was evident that the membership wanted to support it as long as it was in a fiscally responsible manner," said Jerry. "The initiative is a good thing and the Chamber wanted to do the right thing," he added.
The Chamber has committed to participate in the initiative in the amount of $1000 monthly for the remainder of the year. At that time, they will assess the effectiveness of the campaign to determine further involvement.
Jerry stressed that the first priority when making this decision was the responsibility the Chamber had to its membership. "The Chamber ensures to its membership that we will operate on a balanced budget. While there are reserves held, that money is a safeguard in the event that our fund-raising activities fall short of the upcoming years budgeting demands," he explained.
The Chamber is also exercising its abilities as an Entrepreneurial Friendly designated community. With this designation comes the ability to qualify for different types of grant funds. They have successfully completed the process to apply for a $25,000 grant. While grant money is only distributed twice a year, Kittie is confident it’s a done deal.
This particular grant will go to fund a brand new, state-of-the-art Chamber website as well as community brochures to be available in area businesses, hotels and motels. The web site will be contracted out to Chamber WebLink, a company dedicated to building and developing Chamber websites. "This website will be totally integrated with the membership database and all accounting functions," says Kittie. "All of our members will have their own page that they can maintain. They will have the ability to upload pictures, discounts and other content." Jerry is also excited about the development as it will offer the opportunity for small business who do not currently have a web presence to be able to utilize that medium.
The Chamber is also beginning to work on another grant to fund a complete resource center. Initial plans for the center include conference capabilities, a fully functioning copy center, computer setups and media capabilities. While the particulars have not yet been worked out and a location has not been identified, Jerry always encourages input. "We are looking for members to let us know what resources they do need and what they would like to see," says Jerry.
They are also gearing up for the 2008 Business and Consumer Expo to be held April 18 and 19 at the Richmond Hill Recreation Center located on Timber Trail. They have successfully sold all the booths and have plans for a great barbecue cookoff.
With all the activity going on Kittie makes sure to keep first things first. Fiscal responsibility is always a priority. "The Entrepreneurial Friendly designation opens up availability to grant funds and staying within budget ensures membership dues stay low while chamber programs and services continue to grow in a way that benefits the membership community," says Kittie. The Chamber strives to serve the business community in an effective way and I would love to hear what you think about it.
April Groves covers all things business for the Bryan County News. You can send thoughts, press releases, tips and questions you’d like answered to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.