It is a pleasure to announce the start of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Membership Drive 2004. This year's motto is "Let's Do Business," and will kick off at the new Fatz Caf on North Belair Road at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. Fatz Caf has become our first new Chamber member as part of our 2004 drive.
Tommy Norris, Chamber Board member and chairman of the Chamber Membership Services Committee, is the chairman for Membership Drive 2004. More than 110 volunteers have been assembled on 16 teams, with each volunteer pledging to one hour of Chamber training and securing three new Chamber members. The Drive begins Tuesday and runs until June 30.
The Columbia County Cham-ber has grown more than 75 percent over the past nine months, from 300 members to more than 530 members. The Membership Drive 2004 target is a minimum of 200 new members, which will bring the Chamber to a membership level equal to counties in Georgia such as Fayette County with similar population, demographics and growth to Columbia County. However, the pledge by each volunteer to secure at least three new Chamber members during the two-month drive creates vision for even greater results.
The mission of the Columbia County Chamber is to be the voice of business and includes building and sustaining a vibrant economy and superior quality of life. Some of the benefits of Chamber membership include:
Members become part of the business voice of Columbia County;
Ribbon cuttings and grand openings, including a color picture and caption in the Chamber newsletter that is included monthly in The Augusta Chronicle;
Significant discounts on BlueCross/ BlueShield health insurance discounts and workers compensation rates: 5 percent and above discounts for health insurance and 7 percent discounts for workers comp;
Access to networking events, including SuCCess and Not Just Coffee events with maximum business exposure;
Chamber references to other Chamber members;
A Chamber newsletter and Web site; and,
Inclusion in the Chamber's membership directory.
The success of Membership Drive 2004 will provide the Columbia County Chamber with the resources to greatly expand business programs and services for Chamber members, and Columbia County businesses benefit overall.
Columbia County businesses have jumped on board to support the Chamber Drive. There are six grand prizes for the top six individual finishers, with prizes ranging in value from $800 to $1,200 from Columbia County businesses including K Bee Jewelers, The Wicker Barn, Renaissance Fine Furnishings and Going Places Travel. Regions Bank has also contributed a check towards one of the prizes. Many other businesses have contributed weekly prizes of $50 to $100 in value. The top-performing team will receive individual prizes (each team has seven or eight volunteers) valued from $100-$200.
Chick-Fil-A at the Kroger on Washington Road has committed one free combo meal as part of their "Be Our Guest" promotion to every new Chamber member, as well as the same free combo meal certificate to the volunteer who secures each new Chamber member. Chick-Fil-A has been a strong supporter of the Chamber for the past six months, providing a chicken nugget platter to each new Chamber member ribbon cut during that time.
I am thrilled with the support our Chamber and Chamber Drive has received from Columbia County businesses and companies. I urge businesses in Columbia County who are not Chamber members to listen carefully to the volunteers urging them to join. A strong Chamber in Columbia County is important to Columbia County, so "Let's do business"!
(Gordon Renshaw is executive director of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce.)
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