Monthly Archives: July 2014

Tropical Costa Rica

The Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce is happy to costaannounce our next great travel opportunity to Costa Rica in April of 2015. Tropical Costa Rica is being offered by the Chamber in partnership with leading tour operator Collette Vacations.

The Tropical Costa Rica tour departs April 25, 2015 for a nine day getaway. Enjoy lush forests and stunning waterfalls, exotic wildlife, and endless coastlines.   Visit San Jose, Guanacaste, Monteverde, and Arenal. Tour the Doka Coffee Estate, the Moteverde Cloud Forest where trees grow to heights of 100 feet, and Selvatura Park with more than 30 species of tropical butterflies. Relax as you take a delightful cruise on Lake Arenal and enjoy a guided, leisurely-paced “Hanging Bridges” walking tour. Still not enough? Extend your vacation with an optional 4 day jungle adventure at Tortuguero National Park to include a wildlife boating tour, bird watching excursion, and a spectacular boat cruise through the canals.

In addition to the remarkable stops on the tour, Collette Vacations is including a variety of services to make this trip one of pure leisure. Transportation will be provided to travelers from Blairsville to the Atlanta airport and back. Collette will handle all flight and hotel arrangements as well as luggage transfers between hotels. Fourteen total meals are also included in the tour pricing which starts at $2,499 per person for double occupancy if you book before October 24, 2014.

Interested travelers can learn more about the tour by attending an upcoming, free and informational presentation on Tuesday, August 5, 2015 at 9am at the Union County Community Center. Please note that this trip is open to the entire community – business owners, families, retirees, etc. For more information about the Tropical Costa Rica tour and to RSVP for the presentation, please call the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce at 706-745-5789 or email

Take 5 With Erin Huffman

Erin Huffman, Membership Coordinator

Erin Huffman, Membership Coordinator

This week I’m introducing a new series that I’ll call Take 5. Every few weeks, I’ll spotlight a business person in our community and ask them five fun questions so that we can learn more about them and their business. I’m starting with the Chamber’s very own, Erin Huffman. Erin joined the Chamber team in January of 2014 as our Membership Coordinator. She works to recruit members to the Chamber and assists our 560 members in utilizing all the benefits afforded to them.

  1. Tell us your favorite thing you do in your position?

I love getting to know the community, not just about their business but about them. There are so many awesome people in this area who have wonderful families and stories. It’s really nice to get to know them on a personal level and build that connection with them.

  1. Which member benefit do you think is the most valuable for our chamber members?

That’s tough. There are so many great benefits. I would say the most valuable benefit would be the Chamber connections. The Chamber members are community members. They will be the ones needing or wanting your services. Those relationships can go a long way. 

  1. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a grocery store cashier. I thought pushing all the buttons was so cool. I also wanted to paint houses and make designer candles. I don’t have a creative bone in my body, so I wouldn’t excel in those career paths. 

  1. What would people reading this be surprised to know about you?

I’m a pretty open book so I don’t know. I love being around people but I can be really shy in large groups of people. I also would love to go back to school and get my masters in psychology. I would love to end up being an elementary school counselor and help children in some way. 5. When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?

I love to be with family. We don’t have family too close so when we get to visit I value and cherish every second of it! 

Erin can be reached at the Chamber by calling 706-745-5789 or emailing her at The Chamber of Commerce is located in the Union County Community Center at 129 Union County Recreation Road.

Budget Blinds Named Business of the Quarter

bb1The Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Budget Blinds has been chosen as our Business of the Quarter for third quarter 2014. The Business of the Quarter program was established to recognize outstanding businesses and organizations that go above and beyond to serve the local community. Nominees are selected based on chamber involvement, general reputation, contribution to the community, and new construction, renovation, or beautification of their business property.

Budget Blinds is an active member of the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce. Owners Rick and DeeDee Siefken are well known in Union County for their excellent products, outstanding customer service, and willingness to give of their time, talent, and treasure. They have supported the Chamber and local business community by participating in and sponsoring many of our events. Rick currently serves as an Ambassador of the Chamber and recently graduated the Leadership Union program.

Budget Blinds as a company has a very positive reputation in the community. The local team will meet with you to discuss the best options for your window covering needs within your budget and make sure your product is perfectly installed to your specifications. There’s no doubt that their customers are satisfied, and it shows in there sales numbers. Our Blairsville store has made the Top 20 in USA gross sales 10 times in the last 13 years! They have recently opened a beautiful new showroom, so stop by and see all they have to offer.

In addition to supporting the local business community and being a very active, involved Chamber member, there are several other reasons Budget Blinds was chosen as our Business of the Quarter. Rick is a member of the local Rotary Club and has volunteered for numerous community events including the Blairsville Scottish Festival and Relay for Life. You may have seen him in a recent performance at the Blue Ridge Community Theatre or by the Licklog Players as he active in both organizations. DeeDee is a Stephen Minister through the First United Methodist Church and is part of the handbell choir. She and Rick work closely with the youth of the Church to make a positive impact on their lives. Finally, Budget Blinds has long been a partner of Habitat for Humanity to provide free window coverings in all of our local Habitat homes.

For all these reasons, the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce is honored to present Budget Blinds this outstanding recognition. If you would like to nominate our next Business of the Quarter, forms can be obtained at or by contacting the Chamber at (706) 745-5789.

And She’s Off!


Less than two months in her new position and Tourism Director Tobie Chandler is leading Union County’s growing tourism industry in a big way.  Because tourism brings people and their money to our county to support our local businesses and sustain jobs, the efforts of the Chamber to promote this leading industry are vital. Here are a few exciting things happening on the tourism front.

  • Hop along the History Trail.  The Chamber is working with a number of county partners including the Union County Historical Society and the Georgia Mountain Research & Education Center Community Council to compile a list of historical assets in Union County and organize them into a visitor friendly trail.  Historical businesses, cemeteries, attractions, and structures will all be included. 
  • Homegrown and Handmade can mean only one thing. The second edition of the North Georgia Farm Trail pocket guide to agritourism will hit the stands this week.  The Chambers of Commerce in Towns, Union , Fannin, Gilmer, and Pickens counties have just released the second edition of our ultra popular guide to farms, orchards, wineries, and all things agritourism along the Georgia Mountain Parkway.  The just released second edition now includes even more places to experience our authentic mountain treats including retail outlets that primarily offer locally made gifts and treasures.
  • We made the news!  Thanks in large part to the Chamber’s tourism efforts, we have seen recent articles in Northeast Georgia Living on The Sawmill Restaurant and a feature on the Blairsville Scottish Festival and Green Bean Festival in Georgia Magazine.  Additionally, Tobie hosted a film crew at the recent Blairsville Scottish Festival that was shooting a pilot show for The Travel Channel!
  • The Chamber is now on Instagram. This photo and video sharing social media tool will be used for the primary purpose of enticing visitors to come, visit, and stay awhile.  Photos have become the easiest and most valuable way to sell the beauty of our county and lure visitors to come experience all that we have to offer.  Find us on Instagram by searching BlairsvilleChamber.  Use #iheartblairsville to tag your posts or email your photos to and we will likely use them in our promotions.
  • And we’re blogging!  The Chamber’s blog can be found at  This blog allows us to have candid conversations with the world about who we are and what we have to offer in Blairsville-Union County.  Those who follow our blog will soon be treated to the explorations of our good friend, Lottie, who will experience Union County in fascinating ways and recap her adventures.  

In addition to these great accomplishments, the Chamber is fulfilling daily information requests that come from a variety of sources about all the great things to see, do, and experience in Blairsville-Union County. We are working hard on behalf of our 560 members and a community that we love. If you have ideas, suggestions, or feedback please call our office at 706-745-5789 or email me directly at

Happy Fourth!

The sky over Union County will be bursting with color this Friday night.  Residents and visitors will have their choice of two great fireworks shows to celebrate our nation’s independence.  The Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce along with our sponsor, Woodmen offireworks the World, will host our annual display at Meeks Park.  Additionally, the town of Suches has prepared a phenomenal show to be held at Woody Gap School.  Both shows will take place on the night of July 4 beginning at dark.

As in past years, the Chamber is offering chances to win $1000 by making a $10 donation toward the fireworks display.  The winner will be drawn on the evening of July 4th following the show in Blairsville and does not have to be present to win.  Tickets are available from Chamber Board Members and at the Chamber office within the Union County Community Center at 129 Union County Recreation Road.  You may see volunteers of the Chamber at various local businesses this week as well as in town on the night of the fireworks. Please consider a donation that will ensure the continuation of this wonderful tradition.

New this year for our member businesses is an opportunity for a fireworks raffle package.  For a minimum $200 donation, member businesses will receive 20 raffle tickets, a three month banner advertisement on the Chamber website, and one e-newsletter advertisement.  Contact the Chamber for details!

The Chamber would like to say a special thanks to Woodmen of the World, a not for profit organization offering a variety of insurance and investment options, who is helping sponsor this year’s event.  We also thank the Union County Commissioner’s Office, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Union County Fire Department and Union County Recreation Department for providing event support in the form of fire and public safety, traffic control, and parking. 

For additional holiday events and celebrations, check out our website at or call the Chamber at 706-745-5789.