Economy showing signs of life


Donny Ray

Donny Ray

by Donny Ray

Trying to remain positive about the local economy is pretty tough these days. Let’s talk about a few of the reasons to be optimistic and a couple of reasons to be pessimistic.

On a positive note, unemployment is down across Alabama and Blount County, this is an obvious indicator that the sluggish economy is trying to get back on its feet. Another positive sign is the number of businesses that have located or relocated to the County in the past year or so. We have averaged one business per month having a grand opening over the past 14 months. Blount County also has one of the top household median incomes in the state at more than $41,000 per year. Existing and prospective businesses look very favorably to our area with our above average median income.

On the negative side, gas prices are severely hampering our local economy due to the large number of Blount Countians that commute to work every day. So even if you are fortunate enough to have a job, it costs you more and more each day to get to and from that job.

Local business support

The Chamber held a marketing seminar last month to introduce our local businesses to the idea of establishing a presence on the internet.

With the help of Locust Fork businesswoman Lisa Baker, CEO of, we learned just how easy it can be to advertise and sell products online. The chamber invites any of its members to give us a call and let us help you set up your own webpage via My MarketStreet. If you are already computer savvy, go to Lisa’s website and get started. Lisa will verify that you are a chamber member before listing you as such. By building our ‘communtiy’ web presence, all businesses will benefit as shoppers to come in to the County.


There are almost too many to mention. This newspaper, Otelco channel 71, and the local radio station lists dozens of events going on in our county – you are sure to find something to do at home, here in Blount County. Remember, whenever you shop, play, eat, or stay IN THE COUNTY, you are keeping tax dollars at home and helping a local merchant who might just be your neighbor.

Special note

The chamber show is now up and going on OTELCO Community Channel 71. Thanks to Robbie McAlpine, CEO of Alpine Advertising, for making this happen. Thanks also to the City of Oneonta and The Alabama Department of Tourism for sponsoring the broadcast. Each month we will interview and highlight local businesses and industry on the show, as well as recap a list of events and happenings in our area.

Call us at the Chamber office at 274-2153, find us on the web at, on Facebook at Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce, or follow us on Twitter @ChamberBlount, and on