The Chamber has always been one of the focal points of economic development in our community. Of equal importance is our focus on developing the infrastructure of Blakely. A crucial part of this development is the support services and benefits that we offer our town’s businesses and institutions, specifically our members.
By joining the Chamber, an individual, business, or other local institution immediately gains a line of communication with local, state, and federal government. We communicate with these entities on a regular basis to help ensure that our community gets the attention it deserves from our legislators. This allows your voice as a chamber member to be heard and appreciated.
One of our fastest growing benefits is exposure through the Chamber’s Facebook page as well as the website that you are reading this blog through. We attempt to share any information that will benefit businesses, schools, and institutions. While this is a service that we offer the entire community, we always make sure that our members are the top priority. The same can be said for the weekly television exposure we provide through WTVY in Dothan on their “Talk of the Town” program. We always try to promote any event that is taking place within our community, but it is always our desire to give our members the spotlight as long as time permits.
Our Member Referral Service is our policy to first refer our members when we receive inquiries for a particular type of business or service in our community. As mentioned earlier, we want to help everyone in our community, but our members always come first. We are also able to hold any promotional materials including brochures and business cards which can be placed on the display racks in the front of the Chamber office. This is just another way that we help get members noticed.
We also offer seminars, workshops, small business classes, forums, and more in the new Herbert and Meade Bynum Conference Center that are designed to educate our membership on subjects that can prove very beneficial to them and our community as a whole. By holding these seminars, we hope that the knowledge gained will be something that carries over into community improvement. The Conference Center also serves as the home to breakfasts, meet-and-greets, business after hours, and many other networking functions that help promote a running dialogue between leaders in our community.
The Chamber is also able to offer discounted insurance rates to our members. Chamber members can receive discounted health insurance such as Blue Cross Blue Shield through Purchasing Alliance Solutions, discounted auto insurance, and they also have the opportunity to receive a 10% discount on long term care insurance through New York Life. We are also the local coordinators of the “Drugs Don’t Work” program. Through this program, member businesses receive a 7.5% discount on their workers’ compensation premiums. These discounts can add up to sizable saving for our members, and the fact that they are offered through insurance agencies which are also Chamber members makes them even more appealing.
There are also many leadership programs that we have in place to develop the leaders of tomorrow, as well as supporting current community leaders. These are programs that are streamlined with our principles of community development that serve as a benefit to community and member alike. Other programs we offer are mentorship, job shadowing, and soft-skills training for our youth. One of the specific programs is the newly created BOSS (Businesses Offering Student Support) program, which offers mentorship and job shadowing in partnership with many community businesses and our local schools. These are very exciting program that we hope will continue to benefit Blakely and Early County.
Apart from specific member benefits, the Chamber organizes several community functions throughout the year. These include our Annual Banquet which is held every January, the Administrative Professionals Luncheon, 4th of July Fireworks, Moonlight Madness, Business after Hours, Christmas on the Square, and much more. We will continue to add events in the future to ensure that Blakely is the fun and exciting town that it has always been.
This is just a brief overview of what the chamber has to offer. It has always been and will always be our mission to make sure that our members are taken care of and receive all of the benefits that we can possibly offer. By joining the only community organization which has a cross section of business, education, government, industry, religious organizations, and retail coming together, your membership helps ensure that Blakely and Early County will be a thriving and growing community for generations to come.