Increasing the Value of Membership
During these challenging economic times, it’s important to know what the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce is doing to increase the value of membership. With a staff of 12 professionals and hundreds of volunteers, the Chamber continues to work to make our community a great place to live and do business.
Over 70 area businesses are saving on workers compensation insurance and making their workplace Drug-Free by participating in the Chamber’s Drugs Don’t Work program.
The SOIN Award for Innovation, a new $10,000 award to honor and financially assist new entrepreneurs in the community, was introduced by the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce in 2009.
Gainesville-Hall County, Georgia tied for 3rd as fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
Through the efforts of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Division and other local entities, Gainesville was named a “Best Performing City” in a national report based on economic growth and job creation and retention by the Miliken Institute.
Chamber President/CEO Kit Dunlap is a founding member and Vice President of the newly developed 1071 Coalition, a group of citizens, civic groups and businesses dedicated to maintaining water levels in Lake Lanier to sustain water supply, recreation and economic prosperity.
Over 275 businesses are participating in the Chamber’s Partners in Education program, a business-to-school workforce initiative dedicated to bringing businesses and schools together. In 2009, over 400 students participated in the Youth Apprenticeship Program, learning workplace skills under the supervision of area businesses and organizations.
The VISION 2030 process identified healthcare as a significant issue in planning for the future of the community. The Chamber’s Healthcare Committee is providing community wellness programs through Get Fit Stay Fit, a 5K corporate challenge that concluded its second year with over 1,200 participants. HealthSmart, a wellness expo with health screenings, seminars, demonstrations and over 70 exhibitors presenting healthcare products and services, is Wednesday, October 7 at the Georgia Mountains Center. A restaurant challenge is underway that promotes restaurants that offer healthy menu items to customers (see page 13).
The City of Gainesville was named one of the state’s “Entrepreneur Friendly” communities by the Georgia Department of Economic Development. The designation indicates the community has worked to develop an environment that is welcoming to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Over 75% of the Chamber’s membership consists of small businesses.
A national survey found that customers are 63% more likely to do business with a member of the Chamber. The Chamber staff continuously makes member referrals with requests averaging 10 daily from telephone, website and walk-ins to the Chamber’s in-house Welcome Center at 230 E.E. Butler Parkway in Downtown Gainesville.
The Leadership Hall County program, introduced by the Greater Hall Chamber in 1983, now has some 550 graduates. Initiated in 2005, the Youth Leadership Hall program has 200 student graduates. Both programs seek to expose highly talented, motivated and potential leaders of Hall County to the inter-related economic, government, socio-cultural and educational issues of the community.