The Transylvania Times -

 
 

Chamber Of Commerce Celebrating 90th Anniversary - Brevard NC

 


The Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce is celebrating 90 years of service to local businesses and the community.

The chamber was founded in 1923 and has been a vital business link for resources, training, networking and economic development over the last nine decades, according to a press release.

“Membership continues at just under 500 members, a significant number of businesses for a community the size of Transylvania County,” said Executive Director Libby Freeman.

The chamber adheres to the long-term mission of promoting the economic well-being of the local business community and being a catalyst for the collaboration of businesses, local government, and civic and community organizations to enhance the quality of life for its residents, the release said.

In that spirit during each fiscal year of January through December, the chamber presents a calendar of programs and continuing resources to best address member needs.

Each year, the chamber offers workshops and seminars based on member feedback and topical business issues. During the last several years, the chamber has participated in national Small Business Week and offered a variety of programs from social marketing to branding to website design. Based on member requests, a seminar on Affordable Health Care was recently presented to a group of about 30.

“It’s important for us to respond to member training requests,” Freeman said. “The chamber is a resource for timely and economical training. The programs we present are either complimentary or offered for a nominal fee making it easy for the members to afford. We work to be cognizant of our member’s time constraints, too, so the programs are often in the early morning and in shorter time increments.”

One long-term chamber networking event is “Business After Hours.” Close to 100 people meet monthly to connect with business associates, meet new members, and share business news and offers.

The host businesses are a diverse group from all corners of Transylvania County. In June, the Hampton Inn Brevard hosted the evening in its newly renovated lobby. The hotel featured a menu prepared by Blue Ridge Bakery and Kiwi Gelato.

“The event was even more successful than we had hoped, with a great turnout of members and much appreciated feedback regarding the recent improvements,” said Layton Parker, the Hampton Inn’s general manager. “Everyone enjoyed the networking and interaction with other members, and we received numerous compliments on the food and venue. We appreciate the exposure and support we receive from the chamber staff and fellow members.”

The chamber has several committees and there are members who serve as liaisons with other community resources for the benefit of business and the greater community.

For example, the governmental affairs committee conducts the candidates forum during election periods and brings legislative speakers in to address the member base.

There is a chamber appointee to the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority, the Economic Development Advisory Board, and the Heart of Brevard.

This committee framework facilitates important collaboration with all facets of the community to support a positive business climate and opportunity for success, the release said.

The chamber website, the release said, is an important resource for both members and the public. The site was recently redesigned to offer additional resources and functionality.

Updated functions include a searchable member directory, photo album of member events, video collection, upcoming events and calendar, and downloadable forms. The website is complemented by a weekly electronic newsletter sent to the member base which is a source for member announcements, news, special promotions, and offers. There are also links to a host of other business and governmental resources. The chamber has a full-time staff of three, part-time staff of three and 20 volunteers.

It is also supported by a board of directors consisting of 21 members and four ex-officio members, once again representing the diversity of businesses and organizations in the community. The board president this fiscal year is Deborah Hall of Brevard College.

The investment in the Chamber of Commerce has remained steady over the last several years. Rates start at $60. Most members have between one to 10 employees and pay $175 per year.

“The investment supports a host of resources, training, and networking events,” Freeman said. “With the new website and electronic tools, the investment provides resources 24/7 while the training and networking offer the face-to-face programs that the members depend on, too.”

Look for more information on the Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce’s 90th birthday throughout the year.

For more information, visit http://www.brevardncchamber.org.