The Chamber of Commerce—A Great Business Investment!

Jack Salzman, 2012 Lake Norman Chamber Board Chairman

This year, I’ve had the unique opportunity to Chair the LakeRegion’s largest business association—The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce—with a membership exceeding 900 businesses. The Chamber’s board has been focused on maximizing exposure for member businesses in conjunction with increasing benefits and developing additional relevant programming

One of the most powerful improvements made is the completely revamped Chamber website, which is much more user-friendly and designed to increase traffic to the site. This increased usability in conjunction with increased visitors to the site will, in turn, increase exposure for member businesses. Additionally, new networking and training opportunities have been created specifically for female owned/managed businesses and a new “Competitive Edge” series will be unveiled this fall for the full membership.

Lake Norman Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram has seen a steady rise in sales volume over the last year—approximately 35%—and I’ve heard from our realtor members that home sales have dramatically improved – great signs for our local economy.

Many business owners, myself included, have spent the last couple of years focusing primarily on minimizing costs, optimizing operations and keeping the business solvent. Now that we have reached a significant economic turning point, it’s now time for our business community to recalibrate our efforts into growing our businesses by marketing and networking with other local businesses.

In a recent meeting with Chamber president Bill Russell, I asked him if there was specific data on how relevant chamber membership is for a business.  I know first hand how the chamber has benefited Lake Norman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram.  However, I was more interested in how membership in a chamber of commerce, any chamber for that matter, benefited a business – whether retail or service.

Bill pointed to a study conducted by The Shapiro Group, Inc. who specializes in economic and development strategies for chambers of commerce.  The recent study was aimed at the question “Do consumers really support business because they are members of a local chamber?” The data revealed that 59% think that being active in a local chamber is an effective business strategy. What’s more, when consumers know that a small business is a member of the chamber, they are 44% more likely to think favorably of it and 63% more likely to purchase goods or services from it in the future.

As an automobile dealer, I found it interesting that among consumers buying a car from a particular manufacturer, chamber membership leads to a 20% increase in consumer favorability reports. In the south, where relationships mean a great deal, the data is staggering! There is an 82% increase in the likelihood of future patronage if the consumer knows you are a member of the local chamber of commerce.

The base membership for the Lake Norman Chamber starts at only $275 and is a sound investment for any business. If your company is not located within the operating bounds of the Lake Norman Chamber, there is most likely a chamber established in your particular region. Do your company a service and join your local chamber! If you do business in the Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville or greater Lake Norman region – consider joining ours!

You can check out information on the Chamber’s new website at lakenormanchamber.org or call the chamber at 704-892-1922.  The bottom line – membership in your local chamber of commerce is a great investment and now is the time to get re-connected!

Jack Salzman,  2012 Chairman of the Board of Directors

Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce

Jack Salzman, President of Lake Norman Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram is the 2012 Chairman of the Board of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce.

The study Jack cited can be found at: Chamber study.

Advertisements

Lake Norman Chamber President’s Newsletter for August 22, 2012

Business Mixer Thursday Night at CPR Huntersville

Thursday, August 23rd 5:30-7:00

Join the best in business at a Thursday night business mixer at CPR Huntersville – Cell Phone Repair 5:30 to 7:00 pm 16933 Kaufinger Street Suite 170 in the NorthCross Shopping Center.  A grand prize of a new IPad will be given away with food and drinks provided by Moe’s Southwest Grill.  Don’t miss this great networking event!

Chamber examines Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act – Obamacare

Focus Friday Topic: This Friday, August 24 8-9:30 am at the Chamber

The Chamber will host a Focus Friday – Friday, August 24 from 8-9:30 am at the Chamber (Randy Marion Conference Room) on the topic of Healthcare and in particular how health care reform will impact small business.  Kenny Colbert SPHR, president of The Employers Association will speak on the timeline and implementation of provisions within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, informally known as Obamacare.  Joining Mr. Colbert is Tanya Blackmon, president of Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville.  Mrs. Blackmon will speak on the healthcare issue as a provider.

Also featured in the program is Tracy Baker, Chief Executive Officer of Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas, Inc. (formerly WellPathSelect, Inc.).  Baker is expected to speak on the costs which will shift to the consumer and how insurance companies are addressing the changes.

Tracy Baker

The Focus Friday program is an educational program intended for Lake Norman Chamber members but is open to the public.  Participation by those who attend is encouraged. There is no charge and the event is sponsored by DavidsonNews.net and CorneliusNews.net.  For more information about the briefing, see the Chamber’s website at lakenormanchamber.org

Leadership Lake Norman accepting applications thru this Friday

Deadline: Friday, August 24th

The Chamber is still accepting applications for the 2012-2013 Leadership Lake Norman program.  Now entering its 16th year, 287 business leaders have graduated from the program which examines the quality of life, history, governance, business and commerce, and infrastructure of the Lake Norman region.  Whether you are new to the area, a native of North Mecklenburg, a young employee, or a seasoned business professional – The Leadership Lake Norman program gives you a unique look into our community and region. Tuition for Chamber members is $425.  Individuals or small businesses absorbing the cost can contact the Chamber for payment options.  All applications must be received by August 24th.  Visit the Leadership Lake Norman page on the website for more information and the application.

Upcoming Events

Chamber Golf Tournament – Monday October 15th at River Run Country Club

Get ready to tee it up again!  October 15th at River Run Country Club the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce will be holding its Annual Golf Tournament.  The captain’s choice tournament is one of our most popular events and this year promises to be one of the best tournaments we’ve ever had.  

There will be a Putting contest where the winner could take home $20,000, a Chipping contest where the winner could walk away with $5,000 and 2 Hole-in-one opportunities offering up a Trip to the 2012 Masters and a Trip to the 2013 ESPY Awards.

To see what sponsorships are still available or to register for the event Click on the following link     2012 Chamber Golf

Other important dates

Thursday, October 4th 7-9 pm

North Mecklenburg Candidate Forum – NC House #92 and Mecklenburg County

Thursday, October 11th 7-9 pm

North Mecklenburg Candidate Forum – US House of Rep. District #9 and Mecklenburg County

Friday, March 8th

Lake Norman Chamber Business Expo

Davidson College Belk Arena

Lake Norman Chamber asks “How will Healthcare Reform impact Small Business?”

Tanya Blackmon

The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce will host a business briefing Friday, August 24 from 8-9:30 am at the Chamber (Randy Marion Conference Room) 19900 West Catawba Ave in Cornelius on the topic of Healthcare and in particular how health care reform will impact small business.  Kenny Colbert SPHR, president of The Employers Association will speak on the timeline and implementation of provisions within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, informally known as Obamacare.  Joining Mr. Colbert is Tanya Blackmon, president of Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville.  Blackmon, who was recently named one of the Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare Magazine, will speak on the healthcare issue as a provider.

Also featured in the program is Tracy Baker,Chief Executive Officer of Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas, Inc. (formerly WellPath Select, Inc.).  Baker is expected to speak on the costs which will shift to the consumer and how insurance companies are addressing the changes.  In addition to his responsibilities in the Carolinas, Mr. Baker overseas health plans in Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee and Mississippi.

Tracy Baker

 

 Bill Russell, president of the Lake Norman Chamber, says businesses are extremely interested in this topic.  “While discussion of healthcare and this particular issue has quieted down over the summer, you can expect a great deal of buzz in the weeks ahead of the November elections.  Businesses are still very concerned when it comes to the costs associated with healthcare reform and how it will impact hiring as owners and managers address employee benefits.  The Chamber is excited we have leaders from the human resource, insurance, and health care industries which can address the implementation of the health care provisions.”

 The Focus Friday program is an educational program intended for Lake Norman Chamber members but is open to the public.  Participation by those who attend is encouraged. There is no charge and the event is sponsored by DavidsonNews.net and CorneliusNews.net.  For more information about the briefing, see the Chamber’s website at lakenormanchamber.org

Pioneer Springs Community School – Looking ahead to our past

Pioneer Springs Community School

This past week, Pioneer Springs Community School hosted a ribbon cutting of a new minimal-tuition private school at the site of the old Croft School House.  This new school is rooted in the basic school philosophy of Dr. Ernest Boyer, former president for the Advancement of Teaching.  This education philosophy is the foundation of the Community School in Davidson and the Corvian Community School.   Pioneer Springs will open this fall with a Kindergarten and First grade and plans to open another grade level each year thereafter.

Abigail Jennings, a Charter Member of the Lake Norman Chamber and president of Lake Norman Realty Company knew of my interest in history.  I also serve as Chairman of the Historic  Hugh Torance House and Store Board of Directors in Huntersville.    The Croft School House, site of the new Pioneer Springs Community School, first opened its doors in 1890 to serve the rural, railroad-centered business district of Croft in North Mecklenburg.  It’s been almost 80 years since its closing but I was amazed at how many alumni still turned out to take part in the announcement.

One of the senior women, Mrs. Barnette, had no idea as to my identity – actually that wasn’t important to her – as she approached to show me a picture of her class with their teacher.  She pointed out some of the students in the old black and white photo as her eyes sparkled and the bright smile filled her face as she pointed out her friends and neighbors. She traced her finger over each face on the picture, stopping to tell a brief story about each student as her memories took us both back in time.  

Bill Russell with Abigail Jennings

The school was converted to a soldier’s home after the War (World War II) for the returning vets and several years ago became an historic landmark and today also houses an architect who specializes in historic preservation.

I could tell Abigail was as passionate about the school as Mrs. Barnette was about its history.  I asked what inspired her to get involved in this project.  Abigail stated, “My husband and I decided to join two other families to start Pioneer Springs Community School, as we had recently been exposed to the popular educational model of “The Basic School” taught at the Community School of Davidson last year when our daughter attended Corvian Community School.”

Abigail added, “Unfortunately, when Corvian received their charter, everyone had to go through the lottery process and most families did not get back in. We realized that with over 4,000 children on waiting lists for these two schools, our area desperately needed another school that provided this type of holistic learning environment, and that’s how it all got started.”

During the opening ceremony, those of us in attendance were reminded of the words from T.S. Elliott when he said, “We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Alumni of Croft School

Walking the halls of the old school house last week, I pictured Mrs. Barnette as a little girl. Sitting intently in her chair, listening to her teacher teaching the basic English and math of her day.  She and the other students would later be responsible for much of what we know in North Mecklenburg and now Lake Norman.  Now eighty years later, those same classrooms will again be a center of learning and once again we as a community will arrive where it all started and we will know the place for the very first time.

 

Pioneer Springs is currently accepting applications for enrollment in Kindergarten and First Grade.  For more information please visit, www.PioneerSprings.org or email PioneerSpringsCS@gmail.com

Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce returns to River Run with Annual Golf Tournament

The largest business network event on the links, the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce Fall Captain’s Choice Tournament, is set to make a return trip to River Run in Davidson on October 15th.  The tournament is scheduled for Monday, October 15, 2012 at River Run Country Club.  Local businesses and networking enthusiast who enjoy the day outdoors are encouraged to mark their calendar now to join the premier networking event on the green!  The day will be filled as business owners, managers, and employees mix with local community and business leaders, creating and nurturing business relationships, enjoying a great day of golf, and simply have a fantastic day practicing a little social networking.

Mike Russell with Ambassador Chairman Vickie Stevens

This year’s tournament director is Mike Russell with EnergyUnited.  Russell states, “We are very excited about the upcoming tournament.  This will be a great deal of fun on an incredible and prestigious private golf course.  This year we are incorporating a putting contest with a $20,000 prize, chipping contest with a $5,000 prize, and more into the tournament.  We also lowered the price of playing from the previous year while at the same time packing more into the event.” This year we are offering more prizes that players can win including a possible trip to the 2013 ESPYs and a trip to the 2013 Masters.

The Chamber is currently seeking sponsors for this year’s event.  Interested businesses or players should call Brett Zabek at the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce for details at 704-892-1922 or see the Golf registration flyer on the Chamber’s website at lakenormanchamber.org under events (signature events).