The Home Mills Area Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Sandhills Chamber have partnered together to increase their offerings and networking opportunities, to help businesses expand into new territories.
Casey Ferris, President of the HMACC said the partnership has been in the works for a few months, but now the two will move forward together with growth for their members being the main goal.
“I proposed to my board, she proposed to her board, and everybody agreed unanimously. What we are doing is, we want to make it easier for the small businesses, in Cumberland County and the surrounding areas, to do business, to find networking events, to find partnerships and sponsorships across the entire County. Because realistically, even if you have a very small business, chances are you want to do business throughout the entire county,” said Ferris.
Ferris added that the Executive Boards for both chambers were given reciprocal board memberships so they can begin to cross promote their events in newsletters and on social media. Chamber members are also being offered a deal to become part of both entities to start building connections in different areas.
“If you are a member of the Hope Mills Area Chamber of Commerce, and you and your business would like to join the Greater Sandhills Chamber, you will receive 25 percent off your membership for joining the Greater Sandhills Chamber and vice versa. And if you're not a member of either and you decide to join both you get 25 percent off both. The Greater Sandhills Chamber is providing its members with a free month as well on their end,” shared Ferris.”
President of the Greater Sandhills Chamber of Commerce Taneshia Kerr said she initially took the position ready to help work with small businesses in the Spring Lake area, and making the price affordable for them is important.
“For a small business $150 or $250 to join a chamber is a lot of money, and they want to get as much bang for their buck as they can. Because we believe in the benefit of developing your chamber network, we wanted to lower the barrier to be a part of multiple chambers,” said Kerr. “So that's why we were doing the joint discount because yes, it benefits our membership but really, we don't want chamber membership to be cost prohibitive. So, if you're a member of this chamber, we believe that there is value in being a part of another chamber.”
Along with traditional networking events, the GSCC also offers a Business Academy, weekly business training for small businesses that will now become available to members of the HMACC who choose to join both chambers.
Past topics covered include marketing, Google's Google My Business, accounting and tax planning, business basics, federal contracting and others. Those classes are available for free for GSCC members, and for a small fee for other small businesses.
“We'll pick topics and bring in trainers for our members and the classes are open to small businesses, anywhere, it’s $10 for any class that somebody wants to attend, and they get a free copy of the replay at the end of the session, along with any handouts that were shared. So we have a training platform that people can access to see the trainings that we've done before, or if they register for a training, to be able to revisit it in case they missed something,” said Kerr.
Both chambers agree that they are stronger together.
“We're trying to combine our resources because both of us believe very firmly in when one of us succeeds, all of us succeed,” said Ferris. “We are all one community. And it should be more of a networking partnership type of feel when the Chamber's get together.”
“We are Pro business, and we encourage our members to leverage their networks in order to grow. And as a chamber, this partnership is us leveraging our network as a chamber to provide more opportunities for our members. And I'm very excited to see this partnership come to life and very excited for the opportunities that it holds for both of our members,” finished Kerr.
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