The Blount County-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce continues to work hard for our local businesses in this struggling economy. At the same time, we are actively recruiting industrial prospects to our area to aid in the recovery process. While we understand that these objectives are “long term” in nature, we understand the urgency of the matter, as people are losing jobs, and we are working diligently to find solutions.
Since the first of the year, the Chamber has formed three working committees, one of which is Workforce and Economic Development. This group is charged with the mission of working with the Chamber staff to find and implement ways to assist Blount Countians in areas of job training, job creation, and industrial recruitment.
As of this update, we have partnered with several state agencies to gain exposure for our business/industrial community, including: the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, the Alabama Development Office, the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations, Birmingham Business Alliance, CAWACO, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, just to name a few. Our association with these agencies will strengthen our position to “sell Blount County” to business and industry.
And speaking of partners, the Chamber thanks the Blount County Commission and the cities and towns of Blount County for their financial investment in the Chamber of Commerce.
The county and the city of Oneonta have also requested that we be the “point of contact” and the lead agency for Economic Development and Industrial Recruitment. We welcome and applaud this decision as an effort to make the process of countywide recruitment more efficient.
Assistant director Aimee Wilson is working with a second committee (Membership) to find ways to build the Chamber membership. The committee has several plans in place to increase the exposure of the Chamber, part of which is to promote individual memberships to the chamber of commerce. Too many residents believe that the chamber is a “business only” organization. This is certainly NOT the case, as we welcome everyone who wants to be part of a TEAM to build and promote our wonderful county. Please call our office and join today! Individual memberships are $35 per household, and business memberships start at $95 for most retail businesses.
There remains plenty to see and do around Blount County. That brings up the third committee working at the Chamber, the Events committee. The focus of this group at the moment is the Chamber Banquet to be held in May. The banquet this year will be a celebration of our community and its volunteers and its business and educational leaders. As the year progresses, the Covered Bridge Festival and all of its associated events take place, and before you know it… it will be Christmas Parade time.
But as beautiful spring weather begins in our area, we’ll not look that far ahead yet! We encourage you to explore and enjoy your home county. All of our local stores and shops are anxious to serve you. Also, there are many opportunities to volunteer and help our charitable/ nonprofit organizations in the county. Let’s continue to work together as Blount Countians toward a brighter future. Our best days are still ahead of us!