Joseph Duke, Communications Coordinator

joseph web“My name is Joseph Duke, and I am a lifelong resident of Calhoun County. I recently graduated from Jacksonville State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Marketing. In my spare time, I enjoy watching and participating in all sporting activities, backpacking, and spending time with my family. In addition to graduating from Jacksonville State, I have also worked as the Junior High Youth Pastor at Hill Crest Baptist Church for two and a half years and interned with JSU’s Public Relations department. Now as the Communications Coordinator for the Chamber, I look forward to working alongside our amazing staff to help the Calhoun County Area and the businesses we serve thrive.”

Abbie Patterson, Public Affairs Coordinator

abbie web“Hello Chamber members! My name is Abbie Patterson and I will be working to send out the Advocate Bulletin, as the new Public Affairs Coordinator. I am currently a Senior at Jacksonville State University double majoring in Political Science and Public Relations. In Fall of 2018, I interned at the Chamber, working under the areas of Public Affairs and Communications. My goal is to help inform Chamber members and encourage active participation in our government, specifically around business and industry issues. I am very excited to begin this position and want to help you in any way that I can. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. abbiep@calhounchamber.com.”

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2019-2021 Strategic Plan

December 27, 2018

  1. Be an effective business advocate
    Establish the Chamber as the leading advocate in the Calhoun County Area, Region and State for public strategies that benefit the prosperity of our area.
  • Fully execute the Chamber’s Legislative agenda
  • Maintain consistent presence with elected officials at city, county, state and federal levels
  • Empower and educate members to act on issues that impact business
  1. Market the Chamber, the region & the resources within
    Increase awareness of the region to grow new businesses and investments.
  • Enhance our regional relationships
  • Fully implement marketing initiatives
  • Internal Marketing Campaign
  1. Ensure workforce and talent are well trained and retained
    Engage education leaders and businesses on talent development needs and diversity.
  • Develop programming to support employer needs in the classroom
  • Provide opportunities for collaboration between our businesses and schools
  1. Serve as the Regional Facilitator
    Drive collaboration efforts on a local and regional level, between economic development groups, organizations, institutions, businesses, communities, chambers, etc.
  • Broaden events to have regional reach
  • Enhance our reputation as the go-to place for location information and community relationships
  1. Foster & develop leaders of the Chamber & community
    Develop more opportunities for citizens who are interested in community service and engagement.
  • Leverage partnerships in the community to provide programs that advance community and business betterment.
  1. Enhance the value of membership
    Provide opportunities for businesses to cultivate a positive business environment.
  • Create value that will exceed member investment and ensure retention and growth through educational programming, networking opportunities and advocacy.
  • Identify segments of the community that would enrich the existing membership base and further the Chamber mission and offer specialized opportunity.
  • Develop new business growth programs to educate and inspire members
  1. Encourage Innovation
    Stay abreast and educate members of industry trends, especially those that affect the organization’s mission and services.
  • Identify chamber work and forms of communication to ensure message delivery
  • Capture more information to better manage and serve membership to improve member experience
  • Develop innovative membership outreach tools

 

Thank You on #GivingTuesday

November 26, 2018

Over the last year, we’ve had so many Chamber Members and their employees give back to the community through fundraisers and events, so we wanted to take a moment on Giving Tuesday to say “Thank You” for all you do in our communities.

Just last month, Eastman sponsored a Hammer Build Project for 5th graders at Randolph Park Elementary, Golden Springs Elementary and Tenth Street Elementary.  They built a 15’ X 18’ building while learning about team work, safety and fractions.  Each student was given an Eastman tool apron to take home, and they learned to work with power drills.  The students loved participating and were so proud of their accomplishments.

If I Had A Hammer

When the devastation of a tornado ripped through our community and hit our beloved college, Jacksonville State University,  Rosa Lee jumped to business immediately. Through social media plea’s to its nationwide customers, Rosa Lee and its customer base provided clothing, laptops, essentials, food, gift cards totaling upwards of $8-10,000.00. Rosa Lee invited the women who were enrolled at JSU who lost near to, or in fact everything, to come for a normal day of shopping within the walls of its store while also receiving essentials and gift cards before leaving. This opportunity provided over 30 women with basic and extended needs during one of the most tragic moments of their lives.

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Since June 2018, Feeding Alabama has distributed over $255,000 of food products to 21 agencies, having a great impact on the people of Calhoun County, Cleburne County, Clay
County , Talladega County, Randolph County , Cherokee County, Etowah County and St Clair Counties. Feeding Alabama is making great strides in reaching the Agencies surrounding Calhoun, but if you’d like to help make agencies aware and help this organization have a greater variety of can goods available, visit or call them any time at 256-624-6303.

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Each Year, the NobleBank Foundation hosts the Martha Vandervoort Memorial Golf Classic, and this year, with $60,000 in proceeds given to local, faith-based charities! Please help us congratulate the 2018 non-profit recipients; Cheaha Valley FCA, Interfaith Ministries, Habitat for Humanity- Calhoun County, Sav-A-Life and Common Thread.

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Denise Webb and other community members joined together as “Broads in Boas” to raise money for JSU Women’s Athletics and in an effort to restore dressing rooms destroyed by last April’s tornado.

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One of the biggest supporters of our schools is SAMCO, and each year, owner Sam Mousa has shown his support of local school systems through financial contributions and fundraisers.

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Many volunteered their time and hands to recovery efforts in Jacksonville and surrounding areas after the devastation of the 2018 tornadoes, and one of those volunteers who went above and beyond was BBVA’s own Sonde Coleman, volunteering at the EMA’s Volunteer Center.

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There are so many more stories to share, so if you’d like to recognize someone or organization for their work in 2018, please email details and images to emilyd@calhounchamber.com.

Shop Small Holidays

November 21, 2018

Beginning Shop Small Saturday, November 24, and running through Christmas Eve, local small businesses will be offering holiday deals.
However, to receive these deals, you must follow us on social media to see where our “Buddy” the Elf is hidden. Find him, and you’ll receive the holiday deal!
On Saturday, November 24:
JC Morgan (324 Snow Street, Oxford)
  • One Free Card with any $75 Purchase
  • Prints: Buy One, Get One Half Price
  • Art Supplies: 10% Off
  • $20 Mugs
 
November 26 – 30:
Bluejay’s Outdoor Power Equipment LLC (125 Anniston Street, Weaver)
  • Husqvarna Chainsaws (select models) $50-75 off
  • Chainsaw case $30 Off, when they purchase select units
  • All Husqvarna Backpack Blowers 350BT, and above have $50 off.
  • Husqvarna Pole saws (fixed) and Extendable are $75 off.
  • All commercial grade Zero Turns and Walk Behind equipment 10% off.
  • Walker Mower H38i Demo Mower $3000.00 off Offer ends once unit is sold.
  • All Arborist Climbing line and Rigging line buy 2 or more and get 10% off all bags.
  • Husqvarna Battery Powered Hand Held blowers also $50 off.
  • Husqvarna Battery Powered Chainsaws $50 off. (Select Models)
 
Saturday, December 1
Nunnally’s Noble Frame & Gallery (1014 Noble St, Anniston)
  • 10% off up to 75% off
  • Extended hours from 10am-4pm
 
December 3-5
Tans Down Under (1716 Hamric Dr E #1, Oxford)
  • 20% off on product
 
December 6-8
Tyson Fine Wines & Things (3326 Henry Road, Anniston)
  • 10% off
 
December 10-12
Oxford Lumber (1400 Barry St., Oxford)
  • Pro 20 Grill Now $499 ($200 off deal)
  • 50% 240 Piece Mechanics Toolset (Now $115)
  • 168 piece Toolset $80
 
December 14 & 15
Escape Zone (1945 Barry St, Oxford)
  • Buddy will be hidden within The Naughty List game. Each player of the teams who locate Buddy will receive a voucher for $3 off any game during Open Booking hours in the month of January.
 
December 17-21
Smallcakes Cupcakery (100 Ali Way, Oxford)
  • buy 3 get 1 free special

Start this holiday trend and use #BuddyShopsLocal when you share pictures, tweets and posts.Untitled design

Shop Small Holidays!

November 21, 2018

Untitled designBeginning Shop Small Saturday, November 24, and running through Christmas Eve, local small businesses will be offering holiday deals.
However, to receive these deals, you must follow us on social media to see where our “Buddy” the Elf is hidden. Find him, and you’ll receive the holiday deal!
Start this holiday trend and use #BuddyShopsLocal when you share pictures, tweets and posts.
For more information, follow us on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter, or visit CalhounChamber.com.

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 emilyd@calhounchamber.com. 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

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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.

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Best Lunch: Hubbard’s Off Main

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Best Pizza: Mellow Mushroom’s Funky Q

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Best Chicken: Zaxby’s Big Zax Snak

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

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

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Best Staffed Exhibitor: Calhoun Pickers

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Most Innovative Exhibitor: AOD Federal Credit Union

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

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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 emilyd@calhounchamber.com.