shake handsWhat to do and what not to do? That is the question…. When you begin networking you may have 100 question, but here are basic suggestions for getting started.

What to do?

  • networking“How can I help?” – Don’t start by thinking what they can do for you. Make it memorable by offering to help them first.
  • Offer a hand. As you introduce yourself, extend your hand for a handshake.
  • Don’t be a wallflower. It’s easy to approach anyone standing alone first.
  • Don’t forget your business cards, and ask for their card to follow up.
  • Take notes, either on the back of their card or on your phone.
  • Include others that want to join your circle, and maybe start with “we were just saying…”
  • Have fun! Smile more!


What not to do?

  • Stick to your norm. If you realize you’re standing amongst friends, spread out to meet new people.
  • Technology Foul. Don’t check your email, texts or take calls while you’re networking.
  • “I forgot my name tag!” We’ve got you covered at Chamber events, but make sure you wear it on the right side, so it’s easy to read when shaking hands.


October 17, 2017, more than 1500 attendees perused 95 exhibitors, including 15 restaurants, at the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center’s 33rd annual Business to Business EXPO.

Exhibitors raved about the great contacts and customers they met, while visitors were overwhelmed by the variety of businesses represented and the helpful people they met.


Thank you to our sponsors for making this the biggest and best year yet!


Best of Show: Tempforce

Best 1st Time Exhibitors: Home Advantage

Best Giveaway: J. Brittain Associates

Most Fun: Abbey Carpet & Floor and New Leaf Marketing

Best Staff: Action Industries/Highland Health


Most Innovative: AOD Federal Credit Union

Voted Best Lunch & Best Dinner: Peerless Saloon & Grille

Best Customer Experience: Artisanal Baked Goods

Best Pizza: Wiseguys “Chicago Don”



Best Chicken: Heroes “Voodoo Chicken”

Best Wings: Thai One On “Thai Curry Wings”


Best Sandwich: Honeybaked Ham “Tavern Club”

Best Dessert: Artisanal Baked Goods “Kouiqn Amann” (Queen Aman)

Best BBQ: Golden Corral

Barrel of Spirits: Brook Comfort & Mandi Lee

Network Advice 102

October 13, 2017

networkCold-calling is pretty miserable, so why not take 60 minutes of your time to attend a Chamber event with the sole purpose of connecting with others and building a new list of potential customer contacts.

We try to accommodate everyone’s time commitments. We know, not everyone is a morning person or they may have to take their child to school; however, we offer, the first Thursday of every month, Business & Biscuits at 7:30 A.M. This event we move around the county, so no one continually has to come out of their way. The second Wednesday of every month at noon, we host Lunch & Leads at various member restaurants. Everyone takes a lunch, so why not make the most of it and try to connect with new prospects too.

network 1

The third Tuesday of every month, beginning at 5:30 P.M. we present “Business After Hours” for those that prefer after work events. This opportunity remains our largest monthly opportunity, with 100-200 members attending each month.


The Chamber is a great way to get your name publicized in the neighborhood. The Chamber strives to be the #1 source of information, with resources that included our community calendar of events, hot deals and job posting opportunities.


If “networking” or crowds make you nervous, we’re here to help. The Chamber staff and volunteers will help with any introductions, but we ask for you to ready with any basic key questions, such as:

  • engageTell me about you (or your business).
  • What’s your most recent success?
  • What projects are you working on now?

Practice makes perfect. Success doesn’t come overnight. Follow up those introductions with phone calls, emails and thank you notes. Make the introductions memorable and set yourself apart. In the age technology, we want immediate answers. The more you get out there, meet people, help people, the more will come back to you and your business.


People do business with people they know. As the Chamber “Connections” tagline reads, “Connect – Engage – Prosper.”


Connections are vital to any business; however, there are people that enjoy it and those that do not. It’s important to recognize this in your employees and allow them to thrive at what they enjoy, but none the less, if you like networking events or not, we all could improve.

Think of it being as easy as C-D-E, Communicating, Developing and Exchanging.


Communicate does not mean just talk. It means conveying a message through words and action to make sure it is understood. There’s a slogan that sums it up, “pretend as if your audience knows nothing.” So often, we use lingo and assume we’re being understood. Define things the average joe wouldn’t know.

Develop new relationships and grow old ones. So often referrals and word of mouth marketing, from peer to peer, is the most effective. Remember “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you want referrals, give referrals. If you want likes on Facebook, give likes on Facebook, etc.


Don’t think of networking as just shaking hands. Think of it as an opportunity to exchange ideas to benefit your business and community. It’s sometimes awkward to go up and introduce yourself to strangers. Our staff, ambassadors and board are there to help with those introductions, and that window allows you to strike up conversation.

Don’t miss a key element of business, people. We’re here to help you “Connect” with fellow businesses and people, “Engage” in the community, and “Prosper” into a successful business and region.

Attention to orders!

September 29, 2017

“On this the 26th day of September 2017, the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce Spirit Stick is hereby promoted to Private 1st Class and has been properly decorated with the Fort McClellan Training Center memorabilia in order to remember her past. Private First Class Spirit Stick will now be reassigned to the Center for Domestic Preparedness. May her time in the military ranks of the Alabama National Guard be well preserved and help her in her future endeavors.

You may now go at ease and give a hand to the spirit stick for a job well done.

Salute Golf 2017

September 26, 2017

DSC05384This year’s Salute to Industry Golf Outing, or “Chamber Cup” as we like to call it, was bigger and better than ever before, with 136 golfers registered, 18 tee box sponsors hosting each four man scramble, and restaurants and grills catering to each golfer.

Top Teams per flight are as follows:

Flight 1

  1. The Team of R. Hicks, J. McCarson, S. King, and J. Smith
  2. The Team of J. Roman, T. Tedder, R. Howard, and B. Key
  3. The Team of E. Stringer, J. Lindsey, T. Woodward, and C. Thomas

Flight 2

  1. The Team of B. Sherman, C. Alverson, S. Henderson, and C. Houck
  2. The Team of B. Woodfin, L. Deason, G. Kernion, and B. Robertson
  3. The Team of A. Humphries, K. McCullough, M. Whitaker, and T. Woodard

Flight 3

  1. The Team of C. Martin, J. Hunt, P. Wilson, and D. Logan
  2. The Team of T. Towns, N. Pope, J. Cheatwood, and R. Jones
  3. The Teams of T. Worthy, S. Paternostro, D. Castleberry, and H. Hunt

Thank you to our participants, sponsors, and volunteers for making this the best yet!

We can’t wait until 2018!


Recognize Industry

September 15, 2017

02232010 Lab 039Each September, the Chamber recognizes local industries and their contributions to Calhoun County. Events, this year, include the Salute to Industry Golf Outing on September 21 and Corporate Challenge  on September 7.

Calhoun County is fortunate to have a strong and diverse industrial base that helps buffer our community against economic downturn.


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Whether it is transportation, utilities, medical, education, governmental, or other areas of our local community, we are all impacted and supported by industry. Industry remains a cornerstone of opportunity and job creation in Calhoun County. For more information, visit and search our Membership Directory for lists of manufacturers and other industries.

Some of our area’s largest employers include:

Company Number of Employees
Honda 4000
 Anniston Army Depot  3,800
Calhoun County Schools 1400
Regional Medical Center 1020
Jacksonville State University 876 Full Time & 201 Part Time
Homeland Security/CDP 800 Fill Time & 100 Part Time
New Flyer 750
Oxford School System 530
General Dynamics 475
Tyler Union Foundry 462
Bridgewater Interiors 420
AL National Guard Training Center 400
Federal Mogul 362
Legacy Cabinets 350
Anniston School System 330
B.R. Williams 310 Full Time & 52 Part Time
 RMC Stringfellow Hospital 268 Full Time & 157 Part Time
Honeywell 277
BAE Systems 230
Commercial Vehicle Group 224
IAC 218
Lee Brass 200
Alabama Power 197
M & H Valve 190
YKK/Tape Craft Corp 170
Tyco Fire 165
Auto Custom Carpets 140
Aerospace Coatings 121 Full Time & 5 Part Time
Doncasters Southern Tool 119
Super Valu 115
Gnutti Carlo, USA 115
Parker Hannifin 115
Kronospan 112

Healthy Competition

September 11, 2017

DSC05126September 7, the Chamber held its first ever Corporate Challenge, with five participating teams at the Norwood Hodges Community Center in Golden Springs.

In the spirit of team building, camaraderie and health & wellness, the Chamber added this event to Salute to Industry month. This is yet another opportunity to celebrate business and network with neighbors.


There were some fierce tug-of-war battles. Cornhole had some rule reviews. The Co-Op-A-Walk proved easy for some and a struggle for others. The Sponge Relay, from Bucket to Bucket, broke the ice, and dodgeball took us back to grade school. Leadership Calhoun County dominated the competition, especially in trivia.


Thanks to our sponsors:

Alabama Power, EASTMAN, Tyler Union, Anniston Water Works & Sewer Board, Webb Concrete & Building Materials & the YMCA!

Special thanks to our 2017 teams:


LCC Alumni, RMC, BBVA Compass, Alabama Power and F&M Bank!

This is a fun way to develop contacts, so we hope you’ll budget and mark your calendars for 2018! DSC05160

jeanJean Ellison

Owner of The Music Box

Jean Ellison was born in Bronx, New York and is a native of Blue Ridge, GA. She attended Jacksonville State University for her undergraduate degree in Music Education and her Master’s degree in Music. She has participated in over 30 musical productions such as Ragtime, How the Buckner’s Saved Christmas, Merry Wives of Windsor, Pirates of Penzance, The Gondoliers, and many more. She also travels with her Jazz band “The Music Box Band.”  Jean is classically trained and has had the opportunity to study under Dr. Richard Armstrong and Dr. Nathan Wight.  She has also performed seven lead operatic roles during her time at JSU.  Jean is currently writing music and preparing for any role that may come her way!


For more information about the Music Box, or to contact Jean, visit our online member directory. 

Angela AlvarezAngela Alvarez

Ambassador, Past Chair

Agent, Dormon & Reynolds Insurance, Inc.

Angela Alvarez is an agent for Dormon and Reynolds Insurance Agency in Anniston, AL.  They offer services to meet your insurance needs for both personal and business.

She is also the proud mom of two girls and enjoys spending her free time with them. Prior to her insurance career, Angela spent fifteen years as an elementary school teacher.


For more information about Dormon & Reynolds Insurance, or to contact Angela, visit our online member directory.