Monthly Archives: September 2014

Engage Your Senses This Fall

Fall DriveAutumn is my favorite season of the year. There are so many wonderful, fun, exciting ways to engage your five senses right here in Union County and enjoy experiences of which city folk can only dream! Here are a few of my suggestions for great autumn activities.

See – Take a ride along any of our scenic byways or mountain roads and delight in the explosion of autumn color – Richard Russell, GA 180, and US 129 South are a few of my favorites. This is a great time of year to make your way to the top of Brasstown Bald and see unmatched natural beauty. Finally, everyone will be able to enjoy the many scarecrows around town as part of our Scarecrow-Ville event.

Touch – Why not take a trip to an alpaca farm and pet these lovable creatures?   You’ll find a great selection of alpaca fiber clothing and accessories to keep you warm as the temperature drops.

Taste – This will be your last chance to pick up fresh, local produce at the Union County Farmers Market to make your own perfect autumn meal. Contact the Chamber for a list of old time general stores where you’ll find the perfect ingredients to complete your recipe.   Or if you are like me and prefer someone else do the cooking, try one of our many delicious restaurants including our newest Farm To Table restaurant, The Sawmill Place. Stock up on Sorghum Syrup to enhance your morning biscuit or make your way to our local winery or craft beer shop for a sip of the season.

Smell – Stop by a local retailer and pick up your favorite scented candle. The smell of apple or pumpkin pie will lift your mood. Step foot into one of our local bakeries and inhale autumn yumminess!

Hear – This is a great time for music in the mountains. Visit one of our many upcoming festivals – the Indian Summer Festival in Suches, the Sorghum Festival at Meeks Park, and the Fall Hoedown at Vogel State Park. There are concerts each Friday night at the Historic Courthouse on the square or check out our online events calendar for local music events around town.

Be sure to pick up a copy of the North Georgia Farm Trail guide in the Chamber of Commerce/Welcome Center and explore all of the agritourism sites in the area. This is the perfect time of year to get up, get out, and get happy!

For additional shopping, dining, lodging, and attraction information, contact the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce at 706-745-5789, online at wwwVisitBlairsvilleGA.com, or me directly at President@BlairsvilleChamber.com.

Allow Me To Introduce – Sandy Kidd

Extraordinary

Extraordinary

Finding good employees can be one of a business owner’s toughest challenges, yet biggest rewards. A lot of time is invested in an attempt to find that perfect match. With local business always at the top of my mind along with the desire to ease the burden on local employers, allow me to introduce Ms. Sandy Kidd.

Sandy Kidd hasn’t always lived in Union County. In fact it wasn’t until six years ago that she finally made the decision to relocate to Blairsville from Gwinnett County after falling in love with our mountains and our people.   Because her passion for work and loyalty to her previous company were so strong, Sandy commuted to Atlanta even after moving to Blairsville. For the past 27 years, Sandy has worked as an Office Manager, Acquisition Assistant, and Closing Coordinator for a real estate development company in Atlanta, but now she is ready to become an asset to a local employer.

I met Sandy just this morning. Yes that’s correct. She’s not a long time friend or distant relative (that I know of), but rather simply an impressive woman who decided to reach out to me for advise on pursing employment in Union County. I was quickly impressed by her professional appearance, warm nature, and engaging personality. My first impression was that she is well-spoken, talented, and genuinely interested in becoming an active part of this community. Maybe that’s what impressed me the most. Sandy did not just ask about a job. She asked how she could be involved. She asked how she could help. She proved that she is willing to put in the work to find the perfect fit for her and for her future employer. In a world where individuals who demonstrate a strong work ethic, profound courage, and a desire to build valuable relationships are often difficult to find, I couldn’t help but share my observations.

So here’s my call to action. Together, let’s find the perfect employer for Sandy and put to use her wonderful talents in Union County. If you or someone you know is hiring for a position which you think Sandy might enjoy, please call me at 706-745-5789 or email me at president@blairsvillechamber.com. I will be happy to share her resume and make an introduction for you. While not every job will be perfect for Sandy, nor Sandy perfect for every job, there is certainly one out there that is, and I’m convinced that employer will be most fortunate.

What is a Chamber of Commerce Anyway?

hdr-logo-001If you have ever wondered what a Chamber of Commerce is really all about, you are not alone. In fact, most people who work for a Chamber of Commerce (myself included) at one time had to ask that same question. The good news is, we have answers. Those who are interested in learning more about the business services provided to our members are invited to join us for our upcoming Chamber Orientation.

The Orientation will be held on Tuesday, September 23 from 8:00am to 9:30am at the Union County Community Center located at 129 Union County Recreation Road. GnG Bakery and Café is generously sponsoring the event and providing a complimentary, light breakfast to all attendees. This session is intended not only for existing members, but also for interested business owners and organization leaders who would like to better understand the business services provided by the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce. Those who attend can look forward to learning about the structure and leadership of our local Chamber, benefits that members enjoy by being part of our organization, cost saving opportunities, events and programs offered through the Chamber, and instructions on how to use your unique login to our member information center to grow your business. There will also be time for questions and answers with the Chamber staff.

If you are interested in learning more about our Chamber Orientation or would like to register for this event, please call our office at 706-745-5789 or email our Membership Coordinator, Erin Huffman at membership@blairsvillechamber.com.

The Gift of Literacy

ferstJust over a year ago, I wrote a column introducing readers to the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy. The Ferst Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that mails an age appropriate book each month to every registered child in participating Georgia counties at no charge to the family. I was so inspired by this concept and the impact it could have on the future of our community that I immediately said yes to the opportunity to get the Chamber involved. This week, I want to give you an update on the program and remind you of how you too can be involved.

In 2013, a group of four volunteers signed the paperwork to allow all children under age 5 who live in Union County the opportunity to enroll in the free program through the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy. Since that time, we have added a dynamite group of five retired educators to our committee who have taken over the leadership of the program. This year alone, approximately $3,000 has been raised to support the local program through the generous contributions of individuals, businesses, and organizations. Currently, over 70 children are enrolled in Union County and receiving their free books.

There are two ways that I invite you to become involved in this program. The first is to reach out to anyone you know who has a qualifying child in Union County and encourage them to enroll their child in the free program. Registration can be completed online at FerstFoundation.org or forms can be picked up at our office located at 129 Union County Recreation Road. We are also looking for financial contributors who believe in the power of education. Did you know that sponsoring a child for one year is only $36? That’s right, for a mere $36 you can ensure that a child in Union County who might not otherwise have books in the home will receive a book in the mail each month for one year. Of course, any size donation is always welcomed.   Checks can be made out to Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy of Union County and mailed to PO Box 2743, Blairsville, GA 30514. On behalf of the children whose lives will be forever changed through your gift, thank you in advance!

Numerous studies have shown the positive impact of reading to children during the critical development ages of birth to age five. We want every child to read proficiently. We want every child to perform well in school and graduate from high school on time. We want every child to grow up prepared to compete in the global economy. If you are interested in learning more about the program, please contact me at 706-745-5789 or president@blairsvillechamber.com.