There was a time when the biggest concern a business had was bringing in customers. These days, we know you’re worrying about a lot more. You’re wondering where you will find qualified employees. When you do find them on paper or through an application, you keep your fingers crossed that they will show up for their first day of work, or better yet, the interview. Once you hire them, you hope they’ll come back the next day and the next. You worry about how you will sell items if you can’t get anything on the shelf. And you’re so very tired of hearing your suppliers talk about the supply chain. Two years ago, you didn’t even think about a supply chain in reference to anything more than toilet paper.
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First Responder's were honored on Patriots Day, September 10, 2022 at Warrenton First Baptist Church. Members of Post 96 of The American Legion, Burkhalter Chapter NSDAR, Warren County Chamber of Commerce, and Hometown Warrenton, Inc provided food, goodie bags, and door prizes for this event. Warrenton First Baptist Church and Little Briar Creek Baptist Church joined together to serve the meal. We are so thankful for all the First Responders in Warren County and the counties that surround us!
Warrenton's Area Children's Theatre was awarded the Premier Partner award at the 2022 Georgia Downtown Conference in Downtown Macon for their partnership with Hometown Warrenton, Inc. The Category was in the 2022 Organization Awards.
Pictured (left to right) are Angela Wilkerson- Secretary, Erica Dawson - Chairman, Cindy Rivers-McGraw - Founder, Danyelle Rus - Board Member and Assistant Director; Jeffrey Fowler - Treasurer and Director. Presenting the award is April Norton, president of Georgia Downtown Association.
Warren County detour off GA 16 starts Sept. 6 to replace 85 YO bridge
Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 6, E.R. Snell Contractor, Inc. will close the GA 16 bridge at Short Creek south of Warrenton. This off site detour will remain in place for 120 days.
Please prepare and adjust your daily plans accordingly. The signed detour follows all state highways to accommodate truck traffic.
**Detour map duration listed was for outreach in 2018. The contractual detour duration is 120 days. Penalties begin if it goes past that time.**
Member to Member Discounts
These discounts are exclusively offered by members for members. The chamber works with businesses to bring savings to its members with exclusive deals. Depending on your spending, you could recoup a sizable portion of your dues with this program.
Even if you’re not interested in saving money, being a part of this program will also expose your business to members and discounts could bring you new customers that you wouldn’t otherwise have. This not only brings in new revenue on whatever they spend, but they also may tell friends and family and may return to your business in the future.
The Sticker on the Door
If you have a brick and mortar space and a chamber membership, you likely have some sort of physical designation of your membership. In today’s world where “know, like, and trust” is essential to getting more customers, that designation helps you establish trust before the potential customer has any interaction with your business. The same can be done through an icon on your website.
People often view chamber membership in the same light as a listing on the better business bureau. Their confusion can be a boon to our business. No one wants to do business with someone they don’t trust and that designation helps illustrate your dedication to the community, which makes you trustworthy.
Membership Directory or Town Map
The chamber has a local membership directory and maybe even a town map that provides free, or very low-cost, advertising. These resources are used by citizens, visitors, and those new to town. These lists are smaller than a phone book so you get more exposure. You can upgrade to be featured to get even more views. Your chamber can tell you what their readership or web hits are for their directory but it’s not uncommon for chamber web traffic to be quite large each month because the chambers is widely recognized as the local resource for business.
Being seen by people in a small segmented list, means more customers and you don’t want to miss out on being part of the community list.
Social Media Followers and Connections
The chamber provides its members with exposure on its social media channels. Often the following of these pages is quite large, even in small towns. Being a member means an expanded audience that you don’t have to pay for by buying followers. They’re also more likely to be engaged with you because they are people you know. If you’re not a member, you’re missing out on this nearly free exposure. Exposure and engagement can bring new customers to your business.
Discounted Business Tools and Services
Are you interested in the latest tools to grow your business? Look online. What will that kind of learning cost you? The chamber provides very low-cost learning sessions and best practices to its members. It may also provide space or copier services for less than it would cost you to get a larger office (or an office in the first place) or rent a copier. Businesses succeed when they grow “smart.” If you want to expand but aren’t quite in the place to move to a larger office, go to that social media conference, or purchase the office equipment, a chamber can fill those gaps for you and still allow you to grow. Or you could continue at the level you are and miss out on that additional revenue. The chamber can provide you so much for a very small dues payment. But it’s not just the dues payment you’re out when you don’t use the membership to the fullest. It’s all the additional revenue you can generate through participation. Are you willing to throw that away?
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.
Hometown Warrenton, Inc is hosting our next Market on Main Summer: Grill Off. There will be a variety of different vendors, from food to crafts. We hope you will join us downtown on Main Street. A family friendly event that begins at 10AM. This event will go until 2PM. There will be a little for everyone of the family to enjoy. Come Join us.
Is it worth it to join your local chamber? How do you know? Calculating the return on investment for chamber membership can be quite simple once you decide how you plan on measuring success. Here’s what you need to think about:
Return on investment is calculated quite simply. According to Investopedia, the calculation is:
ROI = (Gain from Investment - Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment
Not hard to figure out. Your gain from your chamber investment would be any new sales you made due to membership. Subtract what you paid for membership from that and divide it by that same amount.
You can calculate it as a one-off sale and one year of membership, or if you know what your average customer is worth over their lifetime, you can calculate it over several years. That calculation is easy enough if your new customer has identified themselves as someone who found you through the chamber or if you connected with them at an event and you know they’re from the chamber. But it’s not the only way to calculate return. Here are a few other ideas.
Specialized Discount Code
Many businesses circulate the same types of discounts in multiple places like the welcome packet, visitor’s map, phone book, or any number of other local spots. It’s the same 20% off coupon or the same savings code that tells them very little about where it came from. If you’re going to offer member-to-member discounts, provide a special code just for that source. If you’re providing discounts for directory referrals, make sure you are tracking them differently than through a generic coupon or discount code. Creating unique discount codes or coupons is essential to understanding which referral sources are working and which ones aren’t. Plus, you’ll have a more accurate look at your return on investment. ROI should also depend on what your goals are for chamber membership. If you simply want more customers the ROI equation presented earlier works with a couple of additional qualifiers like the discount code. But it’s not the only thing you can calculate return on.
Your goal may not be about new customers but increasing brand recognition first. For people to buy from you, they need to know, like, and trust you. If brand recognition is important to you and a goal for your chamber membership, then you need to track brand awareness to figure out your return. An increase in brand awareness will be evident in Google Analytics by looking at direct hits to your website. This figure tracks people who typed in your URL to get to your site directly. If you see an increase over time, this says more people are thinking about you specifically, not getting to you by searching for keywords. But if you want to know how much of your brand awareness is chamber related, go to Google Analytics, click on the acquisition tab on the left, select all traffic, channels, and look at the center of the page. It should show you a list of other URLs that have referred traffic to you. This is not full-proof because the chamber could conceivably refer clients to you and make people aware of you outside of coming through their site but this gives you a basic idea of the kind of traffic you’re getting from them.
Calculating ROI can be done through direct referrals and web referrals but in addition to being known, you may have a goal for chamber membership that involves building trust. To build trust, you have to get involved. The chamber is a well-established brand and according to the Shapiro Study, people associate chamber membership with organizations that use good business practices. The chamber can make it very easy to be known as a member through plaques or window clings for your business, being listed in the chamber directory, or even being featured in their newsletter, but your ability to extend that reach comes from other benefits of membership like presenting at the chamber, teaching and mentoring other businesses, possibly even guest blogging. When you give freely of your knowledge and expertise, people will have a more favorable opinion of you and want to get be a part of what you are offering. If you’re able to share your expertise with the larger group, don’t be sales-y, but do check with your chamber to see if you can share your contact information at the end. If you have a free electronic download that will provide them with additional information, ask if you can share it. If you can, make sure you ask for an email from the person downloading it. Building your email list by creating a chamber-specific landing page and then tracking referrals from there is a terrific way to calculate your return on investment as well. Speak to your chamber about the opportunities out there to serve other members and the community. The return on that is astronomical.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, Association Tech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.
For your local chamber office contact us at 706.465.9604 or Chamber@WarrenCountyGA.com
Photo courtesy of the Thomson-McDuffie Family Y
About three years after a fundraiser provided $12,000 for the Thomson Family Y to begin developing a 20+ acre parcel behind the facility, phase one of that plan is about to get underway.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the process, it provided an opportunity for the Family Y to partner with the University of Georgia’s Archway program to develop plans for the outdoor area.
According to Family Y Executive Director Jennifer Daniels, it was a process that benefitted both the Y and the UGA students. Archway connected a group of UGA landscape architecture students with the Y to develop potential plans for the parcel.
“The Family Y asked our group to help them develop ideas for designing a nature trail and beautifying their property. The Archway Partnership connected the Family Y with Dr. Georgia Harrison, a professor in the College of Environment and Design at UGA, who brought in a class of 19 undergraduate landscape architecture students to develop landscape design ideas for the Family Y over the course of the Fall 2021 semester,” said Sam Perren, Thomson-McDuffie Archway professional. “The students took a field trip to Thomson in October to get a better feel for the site and each student presented a design concept in December.”
Daniels said the 19 resulting designs represented a wide variety of ideas for the Y’s consideration.
“They really came up with different concepts that included what Thomson is. They put together a vision that could become a reality,” said Daniels. “All the concepts were really nice.”
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Written by: Karen Fioretti. Jun 21, 2022. The McDuffie Progress.
TBG RESIDENTIAL TO BUILD 72-UNIT HOME COMMUNITY IN WARREN COUNTY, GEORGIA
$15 Million Facility Will Provide Amenities for Today’s Busy Families
WARRENTON, November 2, 2021 - TBG Residential is pleased to announce their newest affordable housing development, Legion Park, in Warrenton, Georgia. This 72-unit apartment home community will feature amenities that are in demand by today’s busy families.
Legion Park’s success is the result of the collaborative effort of TBG and the City to ensure that the housing needs of Warrenton are being met, in addition to leveraging several of the City of Warrenton’s available resources. The Georgia Department of Community Affairs was a significant partner who awarded the tax credit financing for the project.
“The City of Warrenton worked tirelessly to become a part of the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing (GICH) program and to create an Urban Redevelopment Plan. A cornerstone of Legion Park receiving DCA financing is due to the City of Warrenton’s initiative of implementing both aforementioned community development programs,” commented Mayor Chris McCorkle.
Legion Park will have affordable rents that will meet the housing needs of low to moderate income families and senior citizens whose income is between 40%-80% of the area median income.
“Because the City’s leadership and local economic developers have such a passion for their town and an enthusiastic view of the future, we wanted to locate in Warrenton. The collective energy of their team was contagious and we “jumped in” because of it,” commented TBG Residential Senior Vice President Brad Smith.
The $15 million development will include 1, 2, and 3-bedroom apartments, a clubhouse, playground, laundry facility and community garden. Legion Park will be located on Parham Street and is anticipated to open in January of 2023.
Brad Smith (678) 324-5551
OB McCorkle (706) 832-1601
Warrenton – Legion Park Fact Sheet
WARREN COUNTY - State Route 80 about four miles north of Camak has been reopened to traffic after the recent completion of two bridge replacement projects in the area.
Drivers had been detouring since October 2021 so the aging bridges over Middle Creek and Hart Creek could be rebuilt by Georgia Department of Transportation contractor Gregory Bridge Company. Separated by less than two miles, both bridges were replaced under the same road closure. The route reopened to traffic Friday, May 20.
The two original structures were built in 1957, putting them at a combined 130 years old. Their foundations were at risk for scour, and they both were posted for weight restrictions. Now the bridges stand with wider travel lanes and shoulders along with new guardrails and signage.
Website is home to the Warren County Chamber of Commerce, Hometown Warrenton, Warren County Development Authority, and Warren County Government.