Monthly Archives: January 2014

STAR Students and Teachers

It is with great pleasure that I announce the Blairsville-Union CountySTAR Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting & STAR Presentation sponsored by Budget Blinds. The event was held on Tuesday, February 18th at 11:45am in the Union County Community Center.

Attendees can look forward to our annual Chamber programs and statistics update which will highlight the top accomplishments of 2013 as well as exciting announcements for 2014. Each attendee will be the first to receive a complimentary copy of our brand new 2014 Community Magazine and Business Directory which features a variety of stories and resources for residents, newcomers, and visitors. Lunch will be provided by The View Grill.

The Chamber is also proud to be the local sponsor of the STAR Student/Teacher program. At this year’s event we will recognize UCHS STAR Student, Alice Francis; UCHS STAR Teacher, Amy Payne; Woody Gap STAR Student, Logan Wood; and Woody Gap STAR Teacher, Althea Cantrell. For those who are not familiar, the PAGE STAR program honors Georgia’s outstanding high school seniors and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their academic development. To obtain the STAR nomination, high school students must have the highest score on a single test date on the three-part SAT and be in the top 10 percent of their class based on grade point average. Each high school STAR student is asked to name his/her STAR teacher. High School recipients compete for school system titles; and system STAR students in turn compete for region honors. Region winners and their STAR teachers are invited to Atlanta to compete for state STAR scholarships and awards.

We congratulate each of the 2014 recipients, and say a special thank you to Rick and DeeDee Siefken of Budget Blinds for their sponsorship of this event and overall support of the local community.

Business of the Quarter – The Wine Shoppe

First Quarter 2014 means the opportunity to celebrate another wonderful business in Blairsville-Union County as our Business of the Quarter.  Every three months the Chamber recognizes a member business in the community who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to make Blairsville-Union County a great place to live, work, and play.  This quarter we are pleased to recognize The Wine Shoppe.

Bill McGlamery, owner of The Wine Shoppe

Bill McGlamery, owner of The Wine Shoppe

Owner, Bill McGlamery is a well known and well respected business owner in Union County.  A wonderful member of the Chamber, he has sponsored and participated in many Chamber events.  Most recently, The Wine Shoppe took first place in the 7.5 foot tree category in our annual Tour of Trees. Kudos are in order here for Jane McGlamery!  Mr. McGlamery serves on the Union County Development Authority Board of Directors and the Board of Directors for the Selective Service.  He is very active in Rotary and was recently name Rotarian of the Year for his contributions to the organization.  He has donated wine products and gift certificates to a number of local charities.  Most notably, he donated all of the wine for the Humane Society Mountain Shelter’s Puttin’ On The Dog event.

Mr. McGlamery is passionate about wine, passionate about business, and passionate about helping others.  This is witnessed through his stellar customer service and ability to remember customer favorites, his willingness to mentor others based on his current and past business experiences, and his burning desire to give back the community that he now calls home.  One specific example is the McGlamery family’s annually Christmas carol singing to residents of Branan Lodge during the holidays.  After a short conversation with him, it is easy to recognize his desire to be a “giver” rather than a “taker” and his desire to change lives and transform our community through ongoing contributions of time and treasure.

The Chamber is proud to work on behalf of members like The Wine Shoppe.  Please join me in applauding them for this worthy recognition.  Stop by and congratulate them at their location at 305 Murphy Highway, Suite B in the Union Station Plaza.  If you would like to nominate a future Business of the Quarter, contact the Chamber at 706-745-5789.

Welcome Erin Huffman

Erin Huffman, Membership Coordinator

Erin Huffman, Membership Coordinator

The Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to welcome Ms. Erin Huffman as our new Membership Coordinator. Erin joined the Chamber staff on January 6, 2014.  She possesses a dynamic personality, a strong customer service background, and a can do attitude.

Erin grew up in the mid-west playing sports, cheering on her beloved Kansas Jayhawks basketball team and traveling with her family. In August 2010, she and her husband moved to Georgia.  She has worked in higher education for the past nine years in many different capacities of customer service. She brings with her experience of helping others, solving problems, and being community oriented.  You can often see her cheering for her husband as he assists in coaching the Young Harris College Mountain Lion baseball team.

Erin received her B.S. degree in Psychology from Saint Mary University in Leavenworth, KS. She currently resides in Young Harris with her husband Travis, their one year old son Charlie, and their dog Lulu.

Please join us in welcoming Erin Huffman to the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce.  She can be reached by calling 706-745-5789 or via email at membership@blairsvillechamber.com.

A Look Back at 2013

As we draw the curtain on 2013, I would like to take a moment to celebratehdr-logo-001.gif the many successes of the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce. Year after year, I am overwhelmed with the milestones we reach and the progress we are able to make. Thanks to a great staff, Board, and membership, this past year was no exception.

The lifeblood of our Chamber is our membership, and membership in the Chamber is strong. Currently we serve 568 members. This is very close to an all time high and is quite impressive for a rural community. In keeping with our mission to positively impact our community and members by facilitating tourism, economic and cultural development, the Chamber offered a variety of business education classes as well as networking events to broaden the knowledge of our members and promote communication and support among Union County business owners. These included our Business Roundtables, Maximum Money series through UGA’s Small Business Development Center, Buy Local Extravaganza, and Buy Local and Jingle Bell Buys Weekends. We successfully hosted the July 4th fireworks display and offered our first group travel trip to Ireland. We also introduced the Holly Jolly Christmas event in 2013 which proved to be a fun afternoon for over 600 attendees. Our staff serves on a number of committees for the betterment of Union County including the Blairsville Downtown Development Authority, Blairsville Scottish Festival and Highland Games, Appalachian Trail Community, Union County Interagency Group, Northeast Georgia Board of Realtors, and the Northeast Georgia Mountain Travel Association to name a few. Finally, the Chamber continues to be the lead organization for tourism promotion in Union County. Always tackling new initiatives and incorporating the use of technology, we have proudly served over 10,000 visitors in 2013 and had over 100,000 website hits. Most certainly, without the assistance of the Chamber of Commerce, these individuals would likely have missed many of the wonderful attractions, restaurants, and shops in our community. A strong Chamber means greater community impact and more dollars spent in Union County.

In addition to the membership, another key component of success within our organization is the leadership. The Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce is served by a seventeen member Board of Directors who volunteer countless hours to ensure valuable output from the organization. I would like to say a special thanks to Robert Henderson of State Farm Insurance and Kristen Stroud of Community & Southern Bank who completed their Board of Directors term in 2013. It is directly because of the vision, knowledge and involvement of these individuals that we are able to boast such a great organization.

If you are interested in learning more about any aspect of the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce, I invite you to contact us at 706-745-5789 or email me directly at president@blairsvillechamber.com.

The Real Value of Chamber Membership

While approximately 550 local businesses and organizations already

Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce Proud Member

Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce Proud Member

understand the value of being a member of the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce and therefore are currently active members, there are many more that probably have not considered the true impact membership can make. Allow me to share the results of a 2012 study by The Schapiro Group, an Atlanta-based strategic consulting firm, on the real value of joining a local chamber.

The national survey of 2,000 adults revealed that being active in a local chamber of commerce is an effective business strategy because two-thirds of consumers believe that such companies use good business practices, are reputable, care about their customers, and are involved in the community.  When consumers know that a small business is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 49% more likely to think favorably of it and 80% more likely to purchase goods or services from the company in the future.

Small businesses stand to gain significantly if consumers are aware that the business is involved with its local chamber.  For example, if respondents know that a small business is a member of its local chamber, the business enjoys a 49% increase in its consumer favorability rating, a 73% increase in consumer awareness, a 68% increase in its local reputation, and an 80% increase in the likelihood that consumers will patronize the business in the future.

With survey results like these in addition to a long list of member benefits, it is easy to see the value of being a member of the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce.  If you are a business owner and would like to learn more about how you can benefit from membership, contact our Chamber at 706-745-5789 or me directly at President@BlairsvilleChamber.com.

Don’t forget that our Business after Hours celebrating our Business of the Quarter, The Wine Shoppe is coming up on Thursday, January 16th,2014 from 5:30pm – 6:30pm.  Everyone is invited to attend.  Contact the Chamber for details and reservations.

The Real Value of Chamber Membership

While approximately 550 local businesses and organizations already understand the value of being a member of the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce and therefore are currently active members, there are many more that probably have not considered the true impact membership can make. Allow me to share the results of a 2012 study by The Schapiro Group, an Atlanta-based strategic consulting firm, on the real value of joining a local chamber.

The national survey of 2,000 adults revealed that being active in a local chamber of commerce is an effective business strategy because two-thirds of consumers believe that such companies use good business practices, are reputable, care about their customers, and are involved in the community.  When consumers know that a small business is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 49% more likely to think favorably of it and 80% more likely to purchase goods or services from the company in the future.

Small businesses stand to gain significantly if consumers are aware that the business is involved with its local chamber.  For example, if respondents know that a small business is a member of its local chamber, the business enjoys a 49% increase in its consumer favorability rating, a 73% increase in consumer awareness, a 68% increase in its local reputation, and an 80% increase in the likelihood that consumers will patronize the business in the future.

With survey results like these in addition to a long list of member benefits, it is easy to see the value of being a member of the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce.  If you are a business owner and would like to learn more about how you can benefit from membership, contact our Chamber at 706-745-5789 or me directly at President@BlairsvilleChamber.com.