Bradley County Chamber Nearly Doubles Membership Goal

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

“Can we count on you to move this organization to the next level?” Chairman of the Board Steve Robinson, Cleveland Plywood Co., asked in January 2013 at the 87th annual meeting of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce. Then he issued the challenge: “We plan to increase our membership to 1,000 by year’s end.”

And with the enthusiastic help of nearly 14 chairmen, 81 team captains and 317 volunteers on Oct. 1-3, the Chamber surpassed that ambitious goal and now boasts more than 1,200 members.

“I’m still coming down off Cloud Nine after last week’s membership event,” Gary Farlow, Chamber president and CEO, said. “By working with Jimmy Cusano and Your Chamber Connection (YCC), and through the competitive leadership of our event chairs, team captains and 317 volunteers who understand our mission and support our programs, we are now number one in Tennessee and third in the country in YCC membership-event results!”

The theme for the October event was “Chamber World Series: Batting a 1,000.”

“The Cleveland/Bradley Chamber set a goal that would make most chambers blush—300 new members in hopes of being a thousand-member Chamber following this membership event,” the YCC staff noted. “But by early morning on day two, they shattered their goal and continued to rise.”

By the conclusion of the event Thursday afternoon, the Chamber had an impressive 558 new members—nearly double their original goal.

Mr. Farlow added, “Visitors who dropped by the Chamber last week probably thought we had lost our minds. Jimmy is a high-energy Italian who trained the volunteers who were here to make calls with ‘hands up’ commands, high fives, passionate explanations about the role of the Chamber in the community, and reminders that ‘it’s not about me—it’s about US.’ ”

The Chamber’s conference center brimmed with enthusiastic volunteers on their personal cell phones, making calls, wearing smiles, and encouraging local businesses, regional operations and vendors to join the ranks of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber.

“The energized room was abuzz with dozens of callers telling the Chamber story,” noted Chamber Membership Development Vice President Kevin Moore, AXA Advisors LLC. “Every successful sale was announced with ringing of cowbells—a sound we heard often as the teams worked against the clock and against each other. Competition was in full swing with bragging rights and a stronger chamber the only prizes to claim.”

The Chamber story included reminders that the work of the Chamber encompasses efforts that resulted in $2.6 billion in economic development in the past five years, 1,600 new jobs and 4,000 jobs retained. Efforts by the Chamber’s Convention & Visitors Bureau resulted in a number-one ranking in tourism growth last year for Bradley County out of the 95 Tennessee counties.

In addition, volunteers learned that the Chamber’s education programs help to improve the community’s workforce, particularly the more than 1,100 students enrolled as Tennessee Scholars and the 300-plus students who participate in Job Shadowing each fall.

“Anyone you do business with who benefits from the economic, community and business development advanced by this Chamber of Commerce should be a member,” Mr. Cusano told the volunteers. “When others hear about everything the Chamber does, all of a sudden you have a great deal of enthusiasm for the Chamber and a great deal of support.”

The Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based organization. For more information about membership, call the offices at 423 472-6587.


Scam Phone Calls Continue; IRS Identifies Five Easy Ways To Spot Suspicious Calls

The Internal Revenue Service issued a consumer alert today providing taxpayers with additional tips to protect themselves from telephone scam artists calling and pretending to be with the IRS.   These callers may demand money or may say you have a refund due and try to trick you into sharing private information. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They ... (click for more)

CBL & Associates Properties To Pay Common And Preferred Stock Dividends

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. Thursday announced that its Board of Directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend for the company’s Common Stock of $0.245 per share for the quarter ending Sept. 30. The dividend is payable on Oct. 15 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 30. The Board also declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.4609375 per depositary share for the ... (click for more)

4 Killed, Another Critical After Truck Goes Off Road And Strikes Man Mowing Yard In Murray County

Four people lost their lives Thursday evening when a truck carrying four teens left the road and hit a man mowing his grass on Old CCC Camp Road in Murray County.   The truck was driven by River Sosbee, 18, and included passengers Alexis Pinson, 18, Joshua Roberts, 17 and Chelsea Hullender, 18.  Ms. Pinson survived and was airlifted by LifeForce to Erlanger Medical ... (click for more)

Shooting Of 15-Year-Old Began As Argument Between Teens

According to police, the Tuesday night shooting of a juvenile on Taylor Street started as an argument between the two young men. Terry Marshell Smith Jr., 19, was arrested the following day. Police said the former Hixson High School student shot the juvenile in the shoulder after their argument and then fled the scene.  According to police, Smith admitted to the shooting. ... (click for more)

Better Plan For Walnut Street Hotel

Mitch Patel and his Vision Hospitality Group have unveiled a revised plan for a hotel on Walnut Street. It is much better than the one proposed two years ago. By having no curb cuts on Walnut Street, it makes that special block near the bridge more inviting and safer for pedestrians. Deliveries would be off Riverfront Parkway and hotel access (valet parking) would be off Aquarium ... (click for more)

Thanks For Making The Southern Brewers Festival A Success

Now that the dust has settled I'd like to thank Chattanooga for supporting the Southern Brewers Festival and making it yet another very successful event.    For those who do not know - the SBF benefits the Chattanooga chapter of Kids on the Block and the Chattanooga Community Kitchen.  As a partner helping the SBF with volunteers, sponsorships and the overall production ... (click for more)