All posts by MitchellCountyChamber

Chamber Launches #wearemitchell to support local businesses

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The Mitchell County Chamber has launched a new website and campaign to support local businesses among the corona virus concerns.

The new website, www.wearemitchell.org was launched on Tuesday, March 17th to encourage the community to support local businesses during the difficult times of the corona virus outbreak and to offer a directory of local businesses that offer gift cards and other ways to support them. ” The Mitchell County Chamber is concerned about our local businesses and wanted to do anything we could to create a place of support and information,”said Patti Jensen, Executive Director of the Chamber. “The website has listings of local businesses with links to their websites, information on how to continue to purchase from these businesses as well as a page of images to share on social media and a place for local, state and federal updates,” said Jensen.

The Chamber is encouraging the local community to continue to be the supportive and strong community that we have always been. “Our neighbors need us now more than ever and we all need to step up to take care of our own,” said Jensen. Mitchell County has always been a place that wraps its arms around those in need. At this time our local businesses, owned by our friends and neighbors, need the community’s support.”

There are many ways to support local businesses during this time who are facing loss of revenue, layoffs and concerns for the future.

1- With the recent executive order from the Governor’s office, customers cannot dine in restaurants, however, restaurants remain open for call in orders and take out as well as gift card orders. Many are offering curbside service. Make a plan to order out a little more than usual during this time and don’t forget to tip!

2-Shops and businesses remain open and it is critical that we continue to support them. Cash flow is a serious concern for these businesses at this time. You can still shop in stores by simply avoiding any crowded spaces. You can support local shops by ordering a gift card or gift certificate by calling the store. You can visit the store’s online shops and order items online for pick up or delivery.( Maybe go ahead and get a jump start on your Christmas list!)

3. Visit local fun spots like gem mines, the Minerals Museum, fishing spots like Springmaid Mountain or campgrounds and lodging locations for a Staycation Spring Break. These are ways you can avoid crowds but still have quality family time and support these businesses who rely on tourism traffic which will most likely be affected this season.

4. Don’t forget about our local non-profits and organizations who have been forced to cancel fund raising events. Give them a call to make a donation.

Visit www.wearemitchell.org to plug into ways to support our local businesses. Share the social media graphics to your own pages to help our small businesses see the outpouring of support throughout our community. Make a plan for your business, family, and church to support our local businesses throughout the coming weeks and months. Follow the Mitchell County Chamber’s Facebook page for updates. Businesses are encouraged to call the Chamber with any updates they need distributed as well as any needs that they are facing. (828)765-9033.

 

 

Tourism Season Is Here: Let’s Make Fact Based Decisions

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A coalition of 150 travel-related organizations, including the U.S. Travel Association, Visit North Carolina and N.C. Restaurant & Lodging Assn., has issued a statement offering “Make Fact-Based Decisions About Traveling. It concerns the latest developments about the coronavirus and safety concerns but also a reminder “for the overwhelming majority, it’s OK to live, work, play and travel in the U.S.” The statement reads:

“For the travel and hospitality industry, the safety of the traveling public, our guests and our employees is of the utmost importance. We are in daily contact with public health authorities and are acting on the most up-to-date information on the evolving coronavirus situation.

“Health and government officials have continually assured the public that healthy Americans can ‘confidently travel in this country.’ While it’s critically important to remain vigilant and take useful precautions in times like these, it’s equally important to make calm, rational, and fact-based decisions.

“Though the headlines may be worrisome, experts continue to say the overall coronavirus risk in the U.S. remains low. At-risk groups are older individuals and those with underlying health conditions, who should take extra precautions.

“The latest expert guidance indicates that for the overwhelming majority, it’s OK to live, work, play and travel in the U.S. By seeking and heeding the latest expert guidance – which includes vigorous use of good health practices, similar to the preventive steps recommended for the seasonal flu – America’s communities will stay strong and continue to thrive. The decision to cancel travel and events has a trickle-down effect that threatens to harm the U.S. economy, from locally owned hotels, restaurants, travel advisors and tour operators to the service and frontline employees who make up the backbone of the travel industry and the American economy.

“We are mindful of a guiding principle that long predates this current public health situation: without the safety and security of travelers, there can be no travel. The travel industry will maintain lines of contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, and will remain vigilant for any changes. Collectively, we are taking enhanced steps to ensure both the safety of travelers, guests and our own employees.”

Read the statement and view the supporting travel-related organizations here.

NCRLA has created an online Coronavirus Resource Center for Hospitality Businesses that contains webinars with Practical Tutorials for Employers plus Restaurant- and Lodging-Specific Resources.

The Chamber has been in communication with the state tourism office to coordinate information dissemination as well as to collaboarte with the state tourism staff on best ways to continue our marketing efforts during this time while being sensitive to the issues the State is facing. The State tourism office officials concur that we are in a favorable position for marketing at this time with our messaging with an  emphasis on the fact that we are easy to drive to, offer plenty of ways to experience nature and get away from the crowds. We will be adding more marketing and advertising to the mix for the Spring and Summer in those areas within a 2-3 hour drive time.

We encourage you visit the online resources from the North Carolina Restauarant and Lodging Association which includes information for lodging establishments, restaurants, and tutorials for employers.

As we manuever through this time, let’s remember to support local businesses who may experience a loss of business, bookings, reservations, etc. during this time. Support our community by supporting our businesses.

Chamber Launches Mitchell Works Project at Mitchell High School

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The Mitchell County Chamber launched the new Mitchell Works workforce development project at Mitchell High School on January 16, 2020. The entire student body was introduced to the program. Guest presenters from area industries who are also featured in the success story videos on the Mitchell Works website were on hand to talk with students about their career path since graduating from Mitchell High School.

The Chamber is excited to officially launch Mitchell Works, a workforce development project, geared towards our middle and high school students. The goal of this project is to engage and educate our students in Mitchell County schools about the opportunities for careers that they may not be aware of and to build and strengthen connections with our businesses and industries and our school system to create more opportunities for exposure, learning, internships, industry speakers bureaus and more as a way to support what our schools and Mayland Community College are already doing and create new opportunities and pathways for our students to engage with our local businesses and industries

 

Please visit our website at mitchellworksnc.com and for partnering with this organization, give us a call at 828-765-9033.

 

28705 Business Breakfast Topic: Marketing Checklist

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The 28705 Business Breakfast Workshop will be held February 13, 2020 from 8 am-9:30 am (Please come early at 7:30 am for breakfast and networking). Breakfast will be provided by Southern Ridge Cafe.

The workshop will focus on your marketing checklist. Guest spaker Martin Brossman will cover:

  • Marketing Tips to Grow Your Business
  • Social Media Marketing Tactics
  • 28705 Marketing Campaign and Match Grant
  • Bakersville Hashtag Suggestions

This is a Free Event however you need to register. Call 828-766-1295 or register online at https://www.ncsbe.net/workshop.aspx?ekey=310400021,

Location: Historic Courthouse in Bakersville

 

The 28705 Business Breakfast workshops are sponsored by the Small Business Center, Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce, Mitchell County Economic Development Commission.

 

Chamber Announces New Membership Benefit, Free Discount Rx Card

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The Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce is proud to offer our members and your employees,  family/friends a FREE DISCOUNT DRUG CARD. Receive savings of up to 75 percent at over 56,000 pharmacies across the country (savings average around 30 percent). This card is especially helpful if you are uninsured or underinsured. However, even if you have insurance, you can still use this card to get a discount on non-covered drugs. All prescriptions processed through the program are completely confidential (no name required on card).

This program is being provided to Mitchell County Chamber members and your employees and family to help lower your prescription drug costs.  This card can be used as your primary plan and/or it can be used on prescriptions not covered by your insurance plan. This program also includes other value added programs which will be listed on the card. Please enter your name in the box below and we will generate a printable membership card for you (no application/enrollment or eligibility required). This program has “LOWEST PRICE” logic to guarantee that you get the best deal on your prescriptions. (You pay the lower of a discount off Average Wholesale Price–AWP, discount off MAC Pricing or Pharmacy Promotional/Retail price). This card is pre-activated and can be used immediately!

Print a card for yourself, employees, friends and family by clicking here.

 

Chamber launches new workforce development project Mitchell Works

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“One of the missions of the Chamber is to respond to the needs of our members and to try to partner with them to find solutions,” said Patti Jensen, Executive Director, Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce.

After hearing from the  business community of their concerns regarding both their current and future workforce needs and the areas in which they were seeing gaps, the Chamber began looking into solutions they could provide as well as researching what was already being done.

What they found was a successful CTE program in the local school system and programs being offered at Mayland Community College to assist students and employers. Also found was a perception that there are no jobs in Mitchell County and that to make a living, local students need to leave Mitchell County.  In contrast to that were the many employers telling Chamber staff of hundreds of job openings going unfilled due to the lack of a qualified workforce. The one thing that appeared to be missing was a central place for information for students and their parents or guardians as well as the “marketing” or outreach to the students about opportunities in Mitchell County that they could learn more about and plan for.

The Chamber staff met early on with the Economic Development Partnership of NC where they learned about a program in Burke County, Work in Burke,  that was also addressing these issues. Bill Slagle with EDPNC ,connected the Mitchell County Chamber staff with them where they ultimately worked with Burke County to adapt their program to fit Mitchell County and our local needs. “We are grateful to Sara Chester and the Work in Burke program for being so willing to share their program with us and to allow us to be the first county in NC to replicate their successful program here,” said Patti Jensen, Chamber Director.

The Chamber began the planning phase by interviewing many local industry leaders as well as the local CTE program staff,  meeting with Mayland Community College staff, the High Country Workforce Development Board staff and others to discuss a new project and get their input.

The Chamber  applied for a Maximize Carolina grant with the NC Dept of Commerce and were successful in their application of a $75,000 grant to begin the project. The Chamber quickly received additional support from others including the Mitchell County EDC, Duke Energy and the NC General Assembly through Senator Ralph Hise and Representative Josh Dobson which the Chamber was truly grateful for. The grant is administered by the High Country Workforce Development Board in partnership with the Mitchell Chamber.

Over the last year, the Chamber staff convened a Steering Committee to begin the early planning of this project consisting of local industries, education, economic development and workforce organizations from across the county and region, surveyed over 600 students in our middle schools and high school, convened a focus group of Mitchell High students who helped us develop the project as well as name the project, partnered with the Mitchell County School system and began to work on a new website which includes industry videos and a slate of career opportunities to learn more about.

The Chamber is excited to officially launch Mitchell Works, a workforce development project, geared towards our middle and high school students. The goal of this project is to engage and educate our students in Mitchell County schools about the opportunities for careers that they may not be aware of and to build and strengthen connections with our industries and our school system to create more opportunities for exposure, learning, internships, industry speakers bureaus and more as a way to support what our schools and Mayland Community College are already doing and create new opportunities and pathways for our students to engage with our local businesses and industries.

The Chamber thanks our Steering Committee, student focus groups, Kim Hodshon and the  CTE program and principals and county school leadership for being such great supporters of the project along with our industry leaders, including BRP, the Quartz Corporation, McManus Microwave, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital, Spruce Pine Police Dept and Buck Stove for being the first to engage and support this project.

The Chamber invites all local businesses to become a partner of this new project by filling out a MW Partner Pledge Form . There are nearly 2 dozen ways that your company can partner and we encourage you to consider it.

For more information contact the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce and visit www.mitchellworksnc.com.

 

 

Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce Announces Shirley Hise Memorial Scholarship Fund

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The Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors announced at their annual dinner the establishment of the Shirley Hise Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of long time Chamber Director Shirley Hise. “Shirley was an integral part of the growth of the Chamber during her tenure as Director and continued her commitment to education and the support of her community throughout her life,” said Patti Jensen, Mitchell County Chamber Director.

In honor of her undying commitment to her community, the Mitchell County Chamber and to education, a scholarship fund has been established to be given to a Mitchell High School student in the Spring of each year. Criteria for the scholarship will be established by the Board of Directors in partnership with the family of Shirley Hise.
The Chamber is providing the seed money to establish the scholarship and announces that anyone who would like to support the scholarship in Shirley’s name is invited to participate. Pledge cards are available from the Chamber of Commerce by calling 765-9033.

The following was read at the Annual Dinner at the announcement of the scholarship.

In October of this year, we lost a very special person to the Mitchell County Chamber and to our county. Shirley Hise served as the Director of the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce for nearly 15 years and led the Chamber with new initiatives, growth and a fierce commitment to seeing Mitchell County and its citizens grow and succeed.

Prior to coming to the Chamber, Shirley taught in the Mitchell County Schools for over 30 years and there wasn’t a week that went by over the last decade that we didn’t hear from a current business owner or local business person who said that Shirley was their hardest but best teacher they ever had. She cared for her students and worked tirelessly to make sure they had every opportunity to succeed. She cheered them on in the classroom and was a fierce Mitchell High fan in the stands. She continued to support them in any way that she could even after they graduated and after she retired. They knew that Shirley was in their corner if they needed her. If you or your children were taught by Shirley we ask that you stand.

As Chamber Director Shirley was continually writing checks to support student groups, field trips, scholarships and especially students facing hardships. Shirley was a lifelong learner and held several degrees herself including a Masters degree and a Doctoral degree in Education. She loved history and politics and was an avid reader and researcher.

Shirley’s presence is missed by everyone at the Chamber and as a way of honoring Shirley’s service and her love of education and community, the Board of Directors of the Mitchell County Chamber is announcing the Shirley Hise Memorial Scholarship Fund to provide an annual scholarship to a Mitchell High School Student. The Chamber will seed this scholarship and in response to those who have asked for ways to honor her, there is an opportunity for anyone to contribute to her scholarship fund on a one time basis or with a yearly pledge.

For more information, contact the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce at 828-765-9033.

Mitchell County Chamber Announces New Holiday Trail of Lights Promotion

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The Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce has Christmas on their minds these days.  The Chamber is excited to announce a new community event for the 2019 Holiday season, A Mountain Christmas Trail of Lights.  The Trail of Lights will go from the Blue Ridge Parkway to Bakersville and beyond, beginning November 30th and ending on New Year’s Eve.

“This project has been something we have been talking about for a year,” said Patti Jensen, Executive Director of the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce. “We began discussing holiday plans with local organizations and leaders and focused on two things,” said Jensen. “There really wasn’t much planned in the county after the first weekend in December and we knew that if we could build out the month with holiday events, we could not only create a great holiday experience for Mitchell County families but also create an opportunity to bring more people into Mitchell County to shop with our local businesses.”

The Chamber is inviting all businesses, homes and churches along Hwy 226 from the Blue Ridge Parkway to Bakersville as well as businesses in downtown Spruce Pine and Bakersville to sign on to decorate their homes, yards or buildings with lights this year. They aren’t stopping there though, as they are inviting neighborhoods to get together and decorate as well to be added to the trail as extensions. The trail will go from the Blue Ridge Parkway on Hwy 226 to Spruce Pine, travel down Summit Avenue then through downtown, back out Roan Road to pick up 226 N to Bakersville.  The Chamber will be providing a prize to the light display judged as the Best of the Mountain Christmas Trail this year!

In addition, the Chamber will be putting together a full calendar of events for the holidays and is asking for local organizations, businesses and churches who are hosting a holiday event to send their information as soon as possible to the Chamber at [email protected]. “Our hope is that we can create a Holiday Calendar of Events that is packed full of things for locals and visitors to do as well as encourage people to create new holiday events this year from Thanksgiving until New Years,” said Jensen.  The Chamber has met with several interested people from across the county to begin the holiday planning and some are already planning new events. “We are excited to see everyone’s enthusiasm for the trail and for new event ideas,” said Jensen.

The Chamber is asking the public to follow the Facebook page for A Mountain Christmas Trail of Lights and begin to help spread the word. A new website for the project is live and offers information on the trail, dozens of holiday events and more information for planning for the holidays. Visit www.amountainchristmastrailoflights.com.

“The Trail of Lights is a way for our community to come together to celebrate the holiday season and to offer it as a gift to our citizens and visitors,” said Jensen. “We hope that this is the start of something special for our county that will continue to grow for years to come.”

Mitchell County Chamber Director Receives Award

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The Mayland Community College Board of Directors presented their 2019 Distinguished Citizen Award to Mitchell County Chamber Director Patti Jensen at their annual Community Pig Pickin’ and Update event.  The award was presented by Mayland Board member Keith Holtsclaw. “I was both surprised and honored to be selected by the members of the Mayland Community College Board of Directors to receive this recogntion,” said Jensen. “It is my honor to represent the Chamber and work along with community organizations, officials and businesses to help move our county forward.”

 

Chamber to Partner with Small Business Center for Small Business Workshops

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The Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce will be partnering with the Small Business Center to host Small Business/Entrepreneurship breakfast workshops for the merchants and business owners in Bakersville. These workshops will offer workshops in marketing, growing your business, social media, business collaborations and more.  Stay tuned for a workshop calendar!