2012 Breakfast of Champions

May 15, 2012

On Thursday, May 3, the 2012 Breakfast of Champions was held at the Courtyard Marriott in place of Business & Biscuits for Small Business Month.

The Breakfast of Champions differs from normal Business and Biscuits because past Small Business of the Year recipients are invited to participate on a panel and share stories of successes and failures. Attendees are able to ask questions, directed toward that panel, so that, while in attendance, they can discover, connect and learn from those business owners.

This year, there were around 80 in attendance, with a panel consisting of Patrick Wigley of Wig’s Wheels, Bill Wakefield of Wakefield’s, Derek Brown of WideNet, Bill Couch of Couch’s Jewelers, and Donnie McClellan of SPAR.

When posed with the question, “What has helped you make it through this economic hard time?” responses included:

Bill Couch, “Service, our follow up, tradition, and family. They see us as trustworthy.”

Donnie McClellan, SPAR, “This is a tough time for all small businesses, and we saw we were going to have to diversify to other markets and vehicles that give us more diversity.”

Derek Brown, WideNet, “We learned lessons the hard way and had to rediscover what many people already know. One of the most horrible things is cold calls. We discovered the power of networking, and the Chamber was the key component to that and opened other doors, serving as a low cost entry point.”

Bill Wakefield, “I think we are successful because we are in Calhoun County. We have so much that we can draw from. We have a phenomenal university, which we don’t utilize enough, and a terrific hospital, that creates numerous jobs. Our Chamber has activities that try to help small businesses. It is a feather in all our caps to be able to call on our Chamber that is so active and excited about helping small businesses do business.”

Patrick Wigley, Wig’s Wheels, “I sell bikes, which promotes a healthy lifestyle. People take that and get into distance riding, as a personal challenge. People challenge themselves for a healthier lifestyle. We are unique, where we have mountains and flats. Trail builders come, with a stereotype, and when they get here, say “Oh, this is a cycling destination.”

Each year, one lucky attendee wins an advertising package, valued at around $4,000. This year’s winner was Andrea Skinner of Autumn Cove.

Thank you to all of those who attended and participated. Also, special thanks to Member of the Month Verizon Wireless and Courtyard Marriott for sponsoring and hosting another great Chamber event.

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