The Henderson County Chamber of Commerce has set five initiatives for 2013.
New chairman Chuck Edwards and a team of leaders from the chamber will work on these initiatives during the year:
• Membership. The chamber had its most successful membership drive ever when it organized recruiters into teams that competed to land prospects. The three-day blitz added 168 new members. "So now we want to work to help those members understand the different services we offer," Edwards said. The goal is to invite every member to "a prime time event" where the business can promote its businesses and network. The first one is Feb. 7 at BRCC. (Leader: Dave Modaff, Friday Staffing.)
• Public policy. Seek input from members on how public policy affects their business. "I feel like in Henderson County we're very fortunate that our local officials are very sensitive to businesses," Edwards says. The chamber will closely monitor the effort by Gov. Pat McCrory and the state Legislature to reform the state's tax structure and the unemployment insurance trust fund. (Leaders: Steve Dozier, Beverly Hanks, and Jim Ayers, NewPointe Builders.)
• Community development. In collaboration with other organizations, the chamber wants to work on a countywide campaign to expand business opportunities. "We feel like conditions are right," Edwards says. "We've got so many folks that are willing to work together for the common good. All of our goals are very similar." (Leader: Jim Rasmussen, Morrow Insurance) something that would be common to promote business and tourism, commerce in general, a branding effort. We have reached out to them to try to explore if there's a way we can do that together."
• Capital campaign. The chamber will continue efforts to pay off the $750,000 loan it received to build its new headquarters. Chamber executives are working now to refinance a $725,000 debt over 15 years. Debt service currently is about $60,000 a year. (Leader: Vince Rees, Mountain 1st Bank.)
• Revenue.The chamber recruits sponsors for its events and has its own fundraisers (like last year's successful Zombie Run). Edwards wants to look at expanding events that work and "see if there are maybe some that should be eliminated." (Leader: Mollie Parkhill, BRCC.)