Chamber of Commerce Annual Report 2009-2010

Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce

With a staff of 12 professionals and hundreds of volunteers, the Greater Hall Chamber works to increase the value of membership and enhance the Gainesville-Hall County community tax base and quality of life.


• In 2009, Gainesville-Hall County was the 3rd fastest growing MSA in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

• Through Greater Hall Chamber economic development efforts, Gainesville was named a “Best Performing City” based on economic growth and job creation in a national report by the Milken Institute.

• The Greater Hall Chamber membership currently totals: 1,400 businesses and 2,700 individual members.

• The Chamber’s Annual Membership Campaign exceeded its goal for new members with 193 new members as of May 30, 2010.

• The annual financial goal for membership (new and retained) was achieved, and the Greater Hall Chamber is financially sound with NO DEBTS.

• The Chamber appreciates its partners in Economic Development including Hall County and the cities of Gainesville, Oakwood, Flowery Branch and Lula.

• HALLmark 2010-2015: The Next Generation has confirmed financial commitments of $1.7 million (plus $350,000 of in-kind services) towards the $2.1 million goal. HALLmark funds economic development, education, government affairs, healthcare and VISION 2030 initiatives.

• VISION 2030, a Hallmark Initiative, continues to work on executing plans for the future of Gainesville-Hall County and hosted a “stay meeting” where Chamber representatives, elected officials and community leaders assessed our community as visitors see our community. The program generated great ideas to consider in updating the Comprehensive Land Use Plan in 2011.

• The Chamber’s Healthcare Committee coordinated the 4th Annual HealthSmart Expo and 3rd Annual Get Fit Stay Fit 5K Corporate Challenge. Thousands of runners, walkers and spectators have participated in these community wellness programs.

• The Chamber held a public forum on Healthcare Reform featuring Congressmen Nathan Deal and Congressman Phil Gingrey with over 700 people in attendance.

• The Chamber’s Healthcare Committee has grown to over 100 and is comprised of healthcare professionals from the Northeast Georgia Medical Center, area physician groups and business leaders. The committee addresses legislative issues, access to healthcare, and implements community wellness programs.

• The Chamber sponsors two Agribusiness Celebrations annually with the Hall County Extension Office, honoring over 200 farmers and 50 agribusinesses. These celebrations recognize the importance of agribusiness to the Hall County economy.

• Small business development continues to be a priority with 12 seminars focusing on marketing, websites, financing, and customer service. Two specialized marketing workshops were held to assist small businesses.

• The Chamber recognized 12 small businesses as “Small Business of the Month.” 85% of Chamber memberships are small businesses.

• Gainesville-Hall County retained and enhanced its designation as one of Georgia’s “Entrepreneur Friendly” communities.

• The newly implemented Buy Local Business Expo was a tremendous success. The event was open to the public and featured 70 small business exhibitors.

• Monthly South Hall Business Coalition meetings were held at several South Hall County locations with programs on government, education, healthcare, economic development, water, tourism and transportation.

• New and existing industry investments exceeded goals with $165 million in capital investments and 600 new jobs created in 2009-2010. Another 400 jobs were retained through consolidations and the efforts of the Chamber’s Economic Development Council.

• 150 visits to existing industries were made to assist with expansions, human resource needs, and other identified needs.

• New and expanded industries included ZF Industries, American Yazaki, GMI, Echoshell, Kubota, ElringKlinger and Cargill.

• The new 175-acre Gainesville Business Park opened and is a public/private partnership between the City of Gainesville, Hall County, the Gainesville-Hall Development Authority, the Economic Development Council and Pattillo Construction Company.

• Quarterly networking meetings with commercial brokers were sponsored by the Chamber’s economic development staff.

• Area human resource professionals met monthly as part of the Chamber’s Human Resource Council.

• The Chamber’s Environmental, Health & Safety Committee coordinated the 6th Annual Safe & Green forum for industry.

• A Poultry Celebration was held in fall 2009. The event was sponsored by Merial Select, featured a panel of poultry experts, and honored long-time Georgia Poultry Federation Executive, Abit Massey. Over 400 attended.
• The Annual Industry Celebration honored outstanding industry in Hall County including Cargill, Wrigley, SKF and Hollis Transport.

• Over 70 companies currently participate in the Chamber’s Drugs Don’t Work program.

• Over 350 businesses participate in the Chamber’s Partners in Education program. Businesses partner with schools and focus on increasing attendance, providing special rewards and community support.

• 900 students participate in the Youth Apprenticeship Program where local businesses offer apprentices the opportunity to enhance job skills and learn workplace ethics.

• Leadership Hall County, founded in 1983, now has over 600 graduates. Youth Leadership Hall, in its fifth year, has 250 student graduates. Both programs seek to develop community leaders by educating participants on leadership skills and important community issues.

• Water is one of the Chamber’s leading issues on the local, state and national level. The Chamber seeks to educate citizens on the need for water planning, water conservation, and local and regional cooperation on water issues. The 1071 Coalition completed a study and will publish an important economic impact analysis on Lake Lanier in June 2010.

• Issues Committee meetings were held monthly to address local, state and federal issues with business leaders.

• The Chamber hosted over 70 networking events during the year including Business After Hours, Leads Group, Network Over Coffee, New Member Breakfasts, special seminars, community forums and luncheon events.

• New marketing efforts included the Atlanta Business Chronicle Gainesville-Hall County Feature Section; Inside Business Reports televised feature on Gainesville-Hall County; Partnership with CoStar Retail for area commercial and industrial real estate data; and an advertising partnership with Lake Lanier Islands Legacy on Lanier magazine.

• Ongoing marketing efforts include the monthly Business Link newsletter, timely eBiz communications, monthly mailings, and a new and improved web site in development.

• The Chamber updated its By-Laws and adopted new policies in 2009-2010.