Letter from the President: December 2017/January 2018
As you may have already heard, (and can read more about in this edition), your Alamance Chamber was recognized as the 2017 Chamber of the Year! The award was presented by the Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (CACCE) at their recent annual conference. The Alamance Chamber was selected from among chambers in both North and South Carolina in the small chamber category (under 700 members). CACCE recognized the Alamance Chamber specifically for four things: their work on behalf of the Alamance County Economic Development Foundation, the re-branding of the chamber, development of the Women’s Symposium event, and implementation of a new dues structure. That is a lot of big change for a small chamber and I want to recognize the work of your excellent chamber staff in managing all the “moving parts” during the change as well as the leadership and volunteers who served on the various committees.
Small Business Saturday has just passed but as we head into the holiday shopping season, I wanted to keep, in the forefront, the idea of supporting small businesses as well as that of shopping locally. Purchasing goods and services locally among our small businesses means keeping more money in the community. Certainly, direct economic gains from shopping locally come in the form of more sales taxes and more payroll dollars to locally employed people which, in turn, circulate through the community. Some studies estimate this local “multiplier effect” to be 2-3 times the value of the original spend. Another study reports that for every $100 spent with a local small business, there is a return to that community of $68 (vs. $43 spent at a non-local business). Speaking of social fabric, the one-of-a-kind nature of local businesses contributes to the unique character and sense of place of our community – something getting lost as retailing gets farther removed from the customer. As you get into holiday mode, please try to include our small, local retailers and restaurants as one (more) option for goods and services. Keeping it local is a gift that keeps on giving.
Finally, while on the subject of small business, I have already mentioned in previous issues that the Chamber is working with other local partners to analyze the local “ecosystem” for developing and growing small business and entrepreneurs. We have engaged a consultant who has been working for the last few months and they will issue a report in early 2018 that will guide our next steps. A survey went out to the membership in mid-November and I want to thank those who took time to respond.
We will keep you posted as this project continues.