Chamber Chat - 2017 Review

Dec 31

By Meg Moss

 

Have I really written fifty-two Chamber Chat articles this year?  The year has gone by in a flash. From articles on local non-profit organizations, new businesses opening, community happenings, to the outlook on the economy, Chamber member information, and statistics on holiday shopping, I enjoy spending time each week sharing information with you, the readers of the Sanford Herald.
 

And as is the tradition of so many at the end of the year, I’d like to reflect on 2017 just a bit. During the year, we held twenty-six ribbon cuttings for new or relocating businesses in Lee County, which represents 116 new jobs that were created in the small business sector. We also held over sixty networking events for our members!  But what exactly is the benefit of all this networking for my business?
 

Networking is great for sharing ideas and knowledge. Whether it’s asking for feedback or discussing your point of view, it will help you expand your knowledge and allow you to see things from another perspective. Remember that when networking, you are not just gaining exposure to the people in the room, you are building connections with their network too. If someone they know has a need that matches your business, and if you have made an impression, you will likely get a referral. And I try to remind our members, it’s not just a one-way street. If someone in your network matches a business you encounter at an event, don’t hesitate to share their details. It will only strengthen your relationship.

 

The Chamber Committees were quite active this year. The Membership Committee, which is made up of the Ambassadors, is the volunteer arm of the Chamber. Collectively, the twenty ambassadors spent over 500 hours volunteering for the Chamber this year. They volunteered by working at 12 AM Buzz events, 12 Public Policy luncheons, 4 Business After-Hours, 26 ribbon cuttings, the Chamber Banquet, the Sanford Area Growth Alliance Annual Meeting, the Business Showcase and the Chamber Clays Championship.
 

Additionally, the Chamber Board of Directors and Membership Committee worked to refer potential new Chamber members to SAGA staff, resulting in a record number of Chamber members! We are thrilled to end 2017 with the highest number of Chamber members to date in Lee County – 591.
 

And there is so much to look forward to in 2018. The Downtown Sanford Streetfest and Fireworks is slated for April 14th. What started in 2017 as a celebration of the completion of the streetscape project, will continue for a second year due to its success. To expand on the celebration of our downtown, you will see the addition of a second stage for additional music, more food trucks to lessen the lines, and more activities for the kids. Once again, the city will cap off the evening with fireworks over Depot Park.
 

And then there are the discussions revolving around upgrades for local parks and trails, the Kendale Shopping Center, and the addition of a splash pad. And surely you’ve heard the news about the breweries that will be opening in 2018. I feel confident that good things are coming. Maybe in this upcoming year we could see even more than the twenty-six ribbon cuttings that we saw for small businesses this past year.
 

Cheers for a great 2017, and here’s to an even better year ahead!



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