Partners in EducationThe Calhoun County Area Chamber and Visitors Center prides itself with the heavy
involvement with the local and surrounding schools. Throughout the fiscal year there are events,both teacher and student sanctioned, that help improve the educational systems within the Calhoun County area. In the most recent events, students that are home-schooled have been involved with a few of the occasions.
DSC08147Job Shadow Day is a day for the senior students that are quickly approaching graduation. They list their top three career interests, the Chamber then works with matching the individual students with similar businesses in the community. These days are split up by city and county schools, one takes place in the fall and the other in the spring season to ensure that all students are paired. These days are designed to give the students a look at what a typical day would look like if they were to pursue said career.

Kiwanis Adopt - Art schoolChamber in the Classroom is a program that was developed recently. Experienced leaders in the area pair with a teacher to help high schoolers develop professional skills. These days enlighten students on six major aspects of jobs; time management, organization, problem solving, attitude, and professionalism. The community leaders spend the day with students teaching through their own personal encounters.

Doncasters 1The industry tours that have taken place since July 2018 have expanded the knowledge of manufacturing industry careers of over 275 educators from all schools systems in Calhoun County. Each have toured at least two manufacturing industries, and explored the day-to-day operations. The exposure to the industries allows educators to take back information to their students in hope that students will pursue industry options within Calhoun County. The end results will not only maintain the population within the Calhoun County boundaries, but creating a long-term workforce pipeline. There are five more industry tours scheduled through January 2019, including the Anniston Army Depot.20180302_092507
The Chamber Award of Excellence is a program that keeps the students engaged in the community around them. The contests are divided up by schools and grades, each participate in a different month. For example in January the 9 th -12 th graders at Ohatchee, Weaver, and Alexandria will develop a business plan to be placed in the contest. The submission will include a start-up plan with basic information such as hours of operations, competition in the area, and graphics containing a logo. The goal of these contests are to stay up to date on the minds of the young and energetic that will one day take over Calhoun County as their own.

As you can see the Calhoun County Area Chamber and Visitors Center is not only
dedicated to the local businesses and members of the community, but also to the young adults that will take the place as future members of the community. We strive for the next generation to go above and beyond their potential.


shopWhen local businesses and companies think of joining their local Chamber the main reason is often networking. Truthfully, there are many more opportunities and programs besides networking. So, this month, we dive into our Shop Local, Shop Small campaign and explore this benefit of being a member at your local chamber.
So much good can happen when communities choose to shop local and shop small. As you begin to shop for the holidays, venture away from your online norm to discover something new, unique, local.

shop small

Know when shopping local, you’re making an impact on our schools, public services like safety and fire protection, roads and much more. So, before making that easy purchase, remember, money spent here, stays here. This investment recirculates again and again in our community, to local non-profits, accountants, print shops, restaurants, and more!
While we are often drawn to the lowest prices, we overlook the convenience, customer service and goods provided by our neighbors. We challenge our members and communities to think long term. Help us keep our local economy strong and invest in main street, shop small and shop local. Utilize our area businesses and services whenever you can. Thank you for continuing to help our communities grow!
buddyNovember 24, Iron Bowl Day, we’re set to kick off our Shop Small, Shop Local Holiday Campaign with our very own “Buddy the Elf.” If your business would like to offer a holiday retail deal for the general public, please email the details to If you’d like more information on how your business could participate, please call (256) 237-3536.
Start this holiday trend and use #UShopLocal when you share pictures, tweets and posts.

November 6th

November 2, 2018


Have You Done Your Research On What Is Going To Be On Your Ballot November 6th?

New in 2018, instead of the traditional public forum, which requires you to be a certain place at a certain time, the Calhoun County Area Chamber & Visitors Center launched an online public forum. This video platform engages the candidates in a dynamic conversation. All of these forums are on our YouTube Channel, “Calhoun Chamber,” as a playlist. Our hope is that this allows a larger audience to learn a little bit about the candidates, their positions and their platforms.

Beyond Networking: Advocacy

October 25, 2018

legislative montgomeryWhen local businesses and companies think of joining their local Chamber of Commerce, the main reason is often networking. Truthfully, there are many more opportunities and programs besides networking. In our newest blog series “Beyond Networking,” we are exploring the other benefits of being a member at your local chamber. From legislative representation, savings, member-only sponsorships and education opportunities, there are other major benefits.

The Calhoun County Area Chamber and Visitors Center stands neutral and advocates for issues that pertain to our members, our communities and our future to all parties at local, state, and federal levels. For many Chambers, the heart of the matter is advocacy for all members. Public Affairs 8-9 forumAs an element of our Plan of Action, advocacy is also listed under benefits, and it was once the heart of the Chamber’s tagline “The Voice of Business.”

The Chamber also strives to educate members of all the candidates running for office, like our recent online video forum. Members of the chamber are also given the opportunity to express their concerns at the various levels of government to elected officials at events, forums and roundtable discussions. Similar to a ladder of management in a business, individuals holding office that represent our communities, our local businesses and our organization are our voice to the higher government. They are able to address and shed a light on laws and regulations that also influence communities, cities, and counties over all.

public affairs

The benefit of advocacy is just one benefit for a member of the Chamber. The Calhoun County Area Chamber and Visitors Center membership covers a large portion of Alabama. This advantage also allows the elected representatives or officials to speak to a large fraction of the working class and local businesses that call our area home.

EXPO Recap

October 19, 2018

October 16, the Chamber & Visitors Center hosted our 34th Annual Business to Business EXPO at the Anniston City Meeting Center, with more than 90 exhibitors and hundreds of visitors and members attending.


Best Lunch: Hubbard’s Off Main


Best Pizza: Mellow Mushroom’s Funky Q


Best Chicken: Zaxby’s Big Zax Snak


Best Customer Service & Best Wings: Wiseguys Pizzeria & Bar for the Sweet Red Chili Wings


Best Catering & Best Sandwich: Local Joe’s for The Club


Best Staffed Exhibitor: Calhoun Pickers


Most Innovative Exhibitor: AOD Federal Credit Union


Best in Show: Abbey Carpet & Floor / New Leaf Marketing


People’s Choice Best Booth: Golden Corral

SAVE THE DATE for the 35th Business 2 Business EXPO Tuesday, October 15, 2019 To be added to our exhibitor waiting list, email

34th b2b EXPO

October 4, 2018

DSC05753Our Expo can be the biggest sales opportunity a business will have this year. Even as a non-exhibitor, at the largest networking opportunity in the region, there is a great opportunity to meet more people in one day than you might see in an entire month!

So, how do you stand out in the crowd of businesses?

  1. Make a Booth that Grabs Attention

Have an activity that makes people stop in their tracks.

  1. Stop Trinket Grab & Run

DSC05760Use it as an opportunity to collect business cards.

  1. Make Giveaway Relevant to Business

Make their introduction memorable and give them a reason to reach back out to you.

  1. Use a Theme

Think about things that are trending and creative.

  1. Invite Your Customers

DSC05827They can tell their friends to come meet you too!

  1. Advertise that You’ll be There

People do business with people they know, so it’s a chance for people to come meet you and verify your service or product.

  1. Introduce Something New or Run a Demo

Videos are a great and simple way to do this, but any samples or hands on activity is memorable too.

  1. Make Your Booth Open

Do not create a wall in between you and the customer.

  1. High Signs

With the crowd, it’s helpful to have high signage, so customers can find you easily.

  1. Have Staff Identified

Set your staff apart from others, so potential customers can easily see who they should speak to.

  1. Don’t Sit, Eat, Chew Gum, & Stay Off Your Phone

If you sit, you’re bored. Didn’t your mother teach you not to talk with your mouth full? Look up for opportunity.

  1. Be there and have Fun!!!


Tuesday, Oct. 16, 10 A.M.-6:00 P.M.

34th Annual B2B EXPO

10 A.M.-3:00 P.M.

Open to General Public

3:00-4:00 P.M.

Exhibitors Only

4:00-6:00 P.M.

Members Only After Hours 

For more information, visit 

Active Shooter Training

September 28, 2018

ACTIVESHOOTERTRAININGIs your workplace prepared for a potential active shooter? If not, planning is an essential component in response.

Wednesday, October 10, from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM, the Chamber in partnership with the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office is presenting an Active Shooter Training course, which includes:

  • – Building Relationships with local responders
  • – Developing Communication & Incident Plans for employees
  • – Learning how to protect yourself in the event of an active shooter

This event is free, but seating is limited. Please RSVP to (256) 237-3536.

How to Write a Business Plan

September 21, 2018

A business plan is the foundation for a business. Would you or someone you know like to learn how to write a business plan quickly and efficiently?


Tuesday, October 2, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 (Noon), the Chamber is partnering with Gilbert Creative Services and the JSU Small Business Development Center to present a workshop, which includes:

  • – Reasons for a Business Plan
  • – Benefits & Risks
  • – Categories of Business
  • – Elements of a Business Plan

The event will also provide worksheets to get you started. This event is free of charge, but there is limited seating. Please RSVP to (256) 237-3536.

Chamber In The Classroom

September 14, 2018

BAE System (Adopt) schoolInspire our future workforce through the classroom of today and engage with area  schools to enhance soft skills and learning! Although some businesses provide funding for specific school needs, the greatest benefit to education is derived from the personal involvement of volunteers in schools. Partnerships provide an opportunity for students that improves levels of academic achievement, self‐esteem, and understanding of the expectations of the work world. If you would love to have a part in our Chamber in the Classroom Program, we have monthly & quarterly opportunities for you to assist high school students in learning valuable employ-ability skills.


The Chamber & Visitors Center strives to connect businesses to our community through various opportunities. Some of the opportunities include, but are not limited to:

volunteerA. Volunteer For Chamber in the Classroom

“I want to put a ding in the universe” – Steve Jobs Are you ready to put a ding in the universe too? If so, we would love to have you as part of our Chamber in the Classroom Program. We have monthly & quarterly opportunities for Chamber Member representatives to assist high school students in learning valuable employ-ability skills. If you are up to the task, email or call (256) 237-3536.

committeeB. Join a Chamber Committee

Our committees make the world go round. These volunteers help plan and orchestrate events, visit members, and advocate for our schools and businesses. Our committees include, but are not limited to: Military & Security Affairs, Public Affairs, Small Business, Partners in Education, Business EXPO, Salute to Industry, and Ambassadors.

mentorC. Mentor a Small Business

From up and coming entrepreneurs at Jacksonville State University and Gadsden State to retirees pursuing a dream, we have so many creative community members beginning their journey as a business owner. If you’re interested in mentoring a small business owner, call (256) 237-3536 and let us know.