Chamber of Commerce to continue local focus

Published 9:53 am Monday, January 26, 2015

The Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce’s main goal is to support and promote the local businesses and industry in Carter County.
The Chamber has been focusing on doing that through a series of events in the past year that have focused on the locally-owned business options that are available in the county.
“The local focus will continue to be the backbone of the Chamber of Commerce,” Chamber Director Tonya Stevens said. “It is important to recognize these people. They live right next to you. The have a goal for their business to prosper. It is important to support them. There are so many of them out there.”
One way the Chamber focused on small businesses was by participating in the Shop Small Saturday initiative. The Chamber hosted a Chamber Bucks Treasure Hunt with different clues posted on Facebook to lead participants to different locally owned businesses.
“That was a fun event, and I think the businesses really had fun with that,” Stevens said. “It was just another opportunity for us to highlight our small businesses. We encouraged people to shop – not just with those that participated – but with all of the small businesses in the area.”
The Chamber hosted the Buffalo Business Showcase with Milligan College at the start of the fall semester to introduce students to businesses and services that were available to them.
“That was a very big success,” Stevens said. “The students left that aware of what was out there for them. They may not have known all of these businesses are available here locally.”
On a regular basis, the Chamber hosts monthly breakfasts to allow members time to network and to introduce participants to new businesses in the community. The Chamber also sends out a monthly newsletter highlighting new members, and Stevens said at least once a week a local business is spotlighted on the Chamber’s Facebook page.
“It helps to get the word out about who we are and what we have to offer,” she said. “We do support our larger retailers as well, but we keep the knowledge on the forefront to shop local and think local when there is a need.”
Stevens encouraged local shoppers to get out and visit with their local business owners even if they are thinking of making a purchase that day. She said visiting with business owners allows customers to get to know the person in a different way.
“You can make a connection on a different level,” she said. “Then you get to know the person behind the business.”
The Chamber will also be launching a new website on Feb. 1. Stevens said the website will be more user friendly and will offer better functionality for members than the current site.
“It will have a different overall look and feel,” Stevens said.
The site will allow members to log in and update their business information, she said. Also, Chamber employees will be able to control local content themselves, which is something they cannot do with the current site.
“It will be more locally focused and will have more local information,” Stevens said.
For the future, Stevens said the chamber will continue working to promote the Carter County community and the Chamber members.
“We want to continue to provide value for our Chamber memberships and we want to continue to be engaged with our membership,” she said.

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