Columbia County Chamber of Commerce officials are looking to sign up twice as many new businesses during this year's membership drive than the group netted last year.
The chamber will kick off its drive Tuesday, and until the end of June, volunteers will be approaching business owners with the goal to sign up at least 200 new members.
The kick-off event will be at 10:30 a.m. at Fatz Cafe, 464 N. Belair Road in Evans. Tim Clark, operating partner of Fatz Cafe, is expected to announce that the newly opened restaurant will be the first business to join in the chamber's 2004 drive.
More than 110 chamber volunteers split into 16 teams will canvass the county's business community, touting chamber benefits to current nonmembers.
Last year's effort drew 93 new business, and the chamber now has 530 members, said Gordon Renshaw, the chamber's executive director.
"It's more ambitious, more organized," he said about this year's drive. "I believe a better-educated public awaits our volunteers as we explain the benefits of memberships and sign them up as new members."
Though the goal is 200 new members, Renshaw said that drive volunteers have individual benchmarks to secure three members each, which would help the group grow larger than expected.
Tommy Norris, a chamber board member and chairman of the Chamber Membership Services Committee, will serve as the chairman for the membership drive.
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