2018 Shakespeare Project

August 8, 2018

Copy of Julius CaesarThrough grants and community contributions, this summer, we’ve hired our professional production team and cast, developed classroom resources, and produced a 90 minute abridged performance of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, set in a more modern setting and dress to aid in comprehension.

William Shakespeare’s JULIUS CAESAR


At Anniston Performing Arts Center (Anniston High School)

Wednesday, August 15, 9:00 A.M. & 12:00 P.M.

Thursday, August 16, 9:00 A.M. & 12:00 P.M.

Friday, August 17, 9:00 A.M.




Friday, August 17, 7:00 P.M.

Saturday, August 18, 7:00 P.M.

Sunday, August 19, 2:00 P.M.

All tickets are FREE and available at the Calhoun County Area Chamber & Visitors Center in Anniston or will be available as first come first serve at the door. For tickets, call (256)237-3536 or email emilyd@calhounchamber.com.

Each 90 minute performance will be followed by a 30 minute Q&A and preceded by a “Green Show” as audiences arrive.


Partners in Education

July 27, 2018

Partners In Education LogoPartners in Education is a group of Chamber members, local government representatives, and administrators from every school in the county. This committee shares ideas and looks for ways to promote and strengthen education within our community. Members of this committee help with everything from finding job shadowing opportunities for high schoolers, mentoring elementary and middle school kids, participating in career fairs and school club days, organizing hands on efforts for schools such as clean up days, and even serve as a part of our speaker’s bureau list.

If you are a school with specific needs that area businesses can assist with, please contact Krychelle Smith, the Chamber’s Program Director, with details and information to share with businesses and find partners to help meet your needs.

If you’re a business or volunteer who would like to become involved or assist with area schools’ needs, you can also contact the Krychelle Smith at the Chamber at 256-237-3536 or email her at krychelles@calhounchamber.com.

Invest in our future now, so our community can reap the benefits later.


Calling All Businesses

July 20, 2018


The Calhoun County Area Chamber currently has more than 1100 members and is eager to expand its number. Businesses of any size in any city or town are eligible to join. Business in Calhoun County and surrounding areas who want to grow their business are encouraged to join, increase their community visibility, and make valuable new connections all at the same time!

This August, our Board members will be reaching out to business owners who want to connect, engage and expand their community connections as part of the Chamber’s 2018 Membership Campaign.


The Campaign is designed to attract companies from every industry and profession, who do business in Calhoun County. If you know someone ready to take the next step with business growth and you would like to volunteer and make calls, let us know at (256) 237-3536.

Membership includes a broad range of benefits including educational workshops, networking opportunities, marketing, facts on pending legislation, business referrals and social events. In addition, the Chamber will be celebrating all of our members at our Annual Member Appreciation Day and Corporate Challenge on Friday, September 7, soon followed by our Business to Business EXPO on October 16.

saveChamber membership is a smart, affordable investment, and is a great way to make new business contacts and build your business connections.

Interested in gaining exposure for your business and helping us recruit members to the Calhoun County Area Chamber & Visitors Center? Volunteers will be calling August 7, 15 and 23, so if you’re interested, contact the Calhoun County Area Chamber’s Membership Director Kim Boyd at kimb@calhounchamber.com, or at 256-237-3536.

By: The Public Affairs Committee of the Calhoun County Area Chamber & Visitors Center

IMG_7544In a recent event held by the Chamber, a representative from the Alabama Attorney General’s office came to discuss a lawsuit against the Census Bureau surrounding the issue of counting illegal immigrants for the sake of congressional representation on the 2020 Census. The duo spearheading this lawsuit include Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and Alabama Representative Mo Brooks (R). “Congressional seats should be apportioned based on the population of American citizens, not illegal aliens,” Brooks said in a recent press release. The duo claim that the rule of counting all those who reside in a specific population, whether legal or illegal citizens, for the distribution of congressional representatives is a violation of the 14th amendment—granting citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States.
DSC07291Their argument also outlines that this rule is inconsistent with other federal laws and is
inconsistent with the constitutional goal of equal representation. “The Constitution does not permit the dilution of our legal residents; right to equal representation in this manner,” Marshall said in the press release.

When asked if the lawsuit was insisting that illegal immigrants who are very much so a part of the community should be excluded from the Census count, which is critical to school systems and local and state funding, the representative stated that the lawsuit is aimed only to address counting illegal immigrants in terms of the distribution of congressional representation amongst the states and is not concerned with the funding aspect of the Census.

IMG_7143Alabama is one of the few states that has taken the initiative to file a lawsuit surrounding this issue. Coincidentally, Alabama is one of the only states who will have something to lose from the counting of illegal immigrants. Currently, Alabama has seven seat in the U.S. House and nine votes in the Electoral College. Out of 50 states, Alabama is one of the few states who is projected to lose a congressional seat if illegal immigrants are counted going form seven and nine to six and eight. This means more citizens in Alabama crammed into larger districts of representation, and consequently less representation for Alabama on a national scale. The lawsuit states that in 2010 states including Louisiana, Missouri, and Ohio lost house seats because people in the country illegally were included, while California, Texas, and Florida, with high illegal immigrant populations, gained seats. In addition, Alabama also stands to lose federal funding that is based on the census that would otherwise be used for highways, programs for children, low-income families, and healthcare.

This is why it is extremely important to complete the Census with or without the lawsuit. In order for Alabama to be fairly represented on a national scale, we must have representatives to be our voices in the policy-making process. Filling out the Census is just one step in ensuring that our votes are not diluted and our voices are not over looked. Other ways to get involved is to join our Public Affairs Committee of the Chamber. We have a subcommittee specifically designed to increase awareness of the importance of the Census in 2020 as well as to be involved in other local, state, and federal issues.

rcYou’ve just opened your new business or are planning to commence construction for your new building. You want to celebrate and have the community recognize your business.

Ribbon Cuttings with the Chamber are the perfect way to do that!


The Chamber offers free ribbon-cutting ceremonies for its members!

Ribbon Cuttings are a celebration at the Chamber, and typically, held during normal business hours and featuring light refreshments provided by the business. The Chamber brings the ribbon and scissors and helps publicize your celebration.

20141113_104303For more information or to schedule your ribbon cutting, contact the Chamber at 256-237-3536. Please submit your event information at least a month before your desired event date.

As a business or individual, great opportunities come from learning the language to communicate with all our neighbors, customers and the deaf community as a whole.

It’s all around.


Millions use sign language as their native language. Because there is silence, you may not always notice it. If you’re in customer service or hospitality, those who use sign language love and appreciate when others use it to communicate. If you’ve traveled, you’ll understand, but imagine being in a foreign country and hearing your native language for the first time in a week. It makes your day, your trip, for someone to understand you and give you the opportunity to express yourself.

It’s easy & beautiful. aidb logo

Most foreign languages revolves around sentence structure; however, sign language is very simple and uses many common gestures we pick up quickly. As an individual, knowing American Sign Language is a great marketable skill, and you never know the impact you could have by knowing how to communicate. Instead of forcing co-workers or customers to get frustrated while attempting to read our lips, let us show we care.

Join us on Thursday, July 26, from 9:00 to 11:00 A.M. at the Chamber & Visitors Center for a Basic Sign Language Course with the Alabama Institute for Deaf & Blind. There is no charge to attend, but due to limited seating, register by calling (256) 237-3536.

success conceptPlanning, launching and growing a business can be overwhelming; however, there are many resources available here, locally, to help you navigate any entrepreneurial venture.

The Chamber & Visitors Center organizes “Business Basics” workshops in each municipality to introduce up and coming entrepreneurs to area organizations, who offer resources, counseling and advisement, and meet the points of contact they will need for each step of starting and opening a business.

Plan Your Business

alarm-clock-calendar-close-up-908298From market research and analysis of competitors to calculating costs and writing a business plan, the Jacksonville State University Small Business Development Center has a host of counselors to meet with you and make sure you have everything in order to get your business up and running.

Launching Your Business

Once you’re ready, you still have to choose a location, a structure, and a name. Then, you have to register your business, apply for licenses and permits, get insurance and open a bank account. If you’ve ever considered Piedmont as a possible business location, be sure to join us on Thursday, June 21st for their Business Basics. You’ll meet the very people you will need to speak with for permits, etc.

Business Management

achievement-agreement-arms-1068523Local resources like SCORE and SBA also assist already established businesses with managing finances, marketing & sales, preparing for emergencies and more, so even if you want to grow your business, come meet those who can assist you every step of the way. Business Basics, set for June 21 in Piedmont, is open to the public at no charge, but there is limited seating. Please call and reserve your seat with the JSU SBDC at (256) 782-5271.

The Shakespeare ProjectThe Chamber & Visitors Center promotes and sustains the economic growth of Calhoun County’s region. The Chamber Foundation focuses on education, workforce development, marketing & community development, creating programs to enhance our schools & leverage businesses.

The Shakespeare Project

In 1972, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival was established in Anniston, with performances presented in the high school auditorium. In 1985, the Festival moved to Montgomery. In 2018, we are bringing the Bard, William Shakespeare back to Anniston with free professional productions of Julius Caesar August 15 through 17, for our schools, and August 18 & 19, for our community at the Anniston Performing Arts Center, the original home of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

Copy of A film about doomed love

The Calhoun County Area Chamber & Visitors Center, the JSU English & Drama Departments, local schools, Anniston Parks & Rec and local arts organizations, including the Knox Concert Series and CAST, are joining forces to produce these performances FREE of charge. Funding for the Shakespeare Project is made possible by grants from the Harland Jones Fund of the Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama, the Alabama Humanities Foundation our state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, along with many local contributors.

IMG_9411The intent of these performances is to complement the required reading curriculum of high school students reading the play and is meant to enhance their study of not only the work of Shakespeare, but theater and literature in general. Along with the free professional performances, we are also hiring local high school students and college students for apprenticeships, shadowing and learning from our professional production team. We are also partnering with the American Shakespeare Center to offer their “Teaching Shakespeare” training to our teachers this summer.

For more information, follow “The Shakespeare Project AL” on Facebook, call (256) 237-3536 or email emilyd@calhounchamber.com.

JSU - 3

When the Chamber & Visitors Center began a marketing audit, to track and analyze our brand on a regular basis, we knew we wanted to try something new. So, we reached out to our future, engaging JSU students.

The School of Business & Industry

We started the brand review with marketing students in the School of Business & Industry as an outside class project. Dr. Brent Cunningham, Professor of Business Administration and Interim Head of the Management & Marketing Department, brought together Allison Chiaramonti, Jonnisha Norman, Leigh Dyal and Jonathon Clifton. They reviewed everything from brand effectiveness to opportunities for growth. These students helped us define elements of our brand identity and gave us examples for integration. This group of students developed the new tagline of “Your Business, Your Community, Your Playground.”

DSC06935School of Arts & Humanities

Once we had the messaging re-established, we took the ideas from marketing to junior and senior level graphic design students in class with Professor Chad Anderson, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design. This class of Meghan Lee, Savannah Smith, Christian Everhart, Harley Stickney, Gen Ulanday, Kaylee Woodall, Shelby Holman, Paula Oliver, Jesse Michael and Austin Whitt met with Chamber staff members to discuss aesthetics, from color to visuals. Then, each student, individually, developed a proposed logo to encompass the vibes described and the new brand and messaging presented by the marketing students. Even during literal storms, these students continued in their designs and prepared their presesntations. In the end, two logos were selected, and those students collaborated to create the Calhoun County Area Chamber & Visitors Center’s new logo.


Summer Stock

May 31, 2018

alarm-clock-calendar-close-up-908298Summer, while many take vacations and holiday weeks are slower and quiet for some, it’s a good time to work on organization and maintenance in any business.

Clean the clutter

Are there still holiday decorations? Are there boxes in every corner? If so, Summer is a good time to organize, declutter, and straighten up the workspace.


Summer is a great time to check everything from the fire extinguisher to the exit sign lights, from the emergency preparedness plan to the HVAC vents, and the door locks to any needed business renovations.
Ask the Staff
To increase positivity and performance, ask your staff what they need to get the job done or to make their work even better. It may be as simple as rearranging an office, or it may be reviewing organizational structure.

Dare to Try
Summer is a great time to test the waters and new things. So, if you’ve never attended a Chamber Event or always wanted to join the Chamber, give it a try!