Category Archives: Chamber News

2017 Small Business Celebration

Join the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce a Spring Carnival dinner and awards banquet. The 2017 Small Business of the Year will be announced. The event is the highlight of the Chamber’s Celebrate Small Business Week, which promotes the impact of small businesses.
$35 per person | $325 for a table of 10

Industry Celebration Week Rise ‘N Shine Breakfast

Industry RAS Brk_Page_1

Join us for the EDC’s 2017 Albany-Dougherty Industry Celebration Rise ‘N Shine Breakfast. This event highlights the community’s existing industries and recognizes their successes. Preferred pricing ends April 14, after which registration increases by $5. Registration fee is non-refundable after April 14.

April 19, 2017
7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m.
Hilton Garden Inn
$25 members | $30 non-members

Small Business of the Year Nominations

Small Biz of the Year Nom-01

Owning a small business takes perseverance, diligence and courage. Do you know a small business owner that is deserving of this recognition? Nominate that person and/or company that works daily to set high standards that successfully provides an exceptional product and/or service, and that represents the very best of business in the Albany Area.

Award-eligible businesses must be:
• Member of Albany Area Chamber of Commerce
• Member of Albany Area Chamber for minimum of 1 year
• Have fewer than 100 full-time employees

Nomination Deadline-March 24th

Click Here to complete a editable pdf form.


Storm Recovery: Federal Aid Programs for Georgia





Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Trump’s disaster declaration issued for the State of Georgia.

Note: may not immediately reflect federal disaster declaration.

Assistance for Affected Individuals and Families and  Small Businesses Can Include As Required:

  • Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable.  Initial assistance may be provided for up to threemonths for homeowners and at least one month for renters.  Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
  • Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
  • Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs. (Source: FEMA funded at 75 percent of total eligible costs; 25 percent funded by the state.)
  • Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals. (Source: FEMA funded; state administered.)
  • Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance.  Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses.  Loans available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
  • Loans up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster’s adverse economic impact.  This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $2 million. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
  • Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence. (Source: Farm Service Agency, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.)
  • Other relief programs: Crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster; income tax assistance for filing casualty losses; advisory assistance for legal, veterans’ benefits and social security matters.

How to Apply for Assistance:

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).  Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

Assistance for the State and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:

  • Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for debris removal and emergency protective measures taken to save lives and protect property and public health.  Emergency protective measures assistance is available to state and eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis. (Source: FEMA funded, state administered.)
  • Payment of not more than 75 percent of the approved costs for hazard mitigation projects undertaken by state and local governments to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural or technological disasters.  (Source: FEMA funded, state administered.)

How to Apply for Assistance:

Application procedures for state and local governments will be explained at a series of federal/state applicant briefings with locations to be announced in the affected area by recovery officials. Approved public repair projects are paid through the state from funding provided by FEMA and other participating federal agencies.

Follow FEMA online at,, and Also, follow Acting Administrator Bob Fenton’s activities at

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Storm recovery: Use caution when hiring business services

Download the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Consumer Protection Resource Guide for helpful tips and resources to protect yourself in the wake of natural disasters.

In the aftermath of this past weekend’s storms, the Better Business Bureau urges the public to exercise caution when hiring a contractor to repair damages. Natural disasters can bring out the best in people; unfortunately, it also brings out con artists looking to capitalize off other’s grief.

“Property owners will want to make repairs to their home or business as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, unscrupulous contractors or scam artists may take advantage of the post-disaster chaos to scam unsuspecting property owners out of money, or provide shoddy materials or sub-standard work,” said Kelvin Collins, President/CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving the Fall Line Corridor. “Make wise decisions and don’t let someone separate you from your hard-earned money.”

Some of the most common “after-disaster” scams involve your auto, home and yard repairs or clean-up. The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to homeowners who suffer auto and property damage in the wake of a natural disaster:

  • Check with your insurance company about policy coverage and specific filing requirements. Save all receipts, including those for food, temporary lodging, or other expenses that may be covered under your policy.
  • Although you may be anxious to get things back to normal, avoid letting your emotions get the better of you. Don’t be pressured into making an immediate decision with a long-term impact. Be pro-active in selecting a business and not reactive to sales solicitations. Make temporary repairs if necessary.
  • For major permanent repairs, take time to shop around for contractors, get competitive bids, check out references, make sure the contractor is properly licensed and check out their business review with the Better Business Bureau at
  • Be wary of door-to-door workers who claim to have left-over materials from a job “down the street” or who do not have a permanent place of business. If sales people go door-to-door,check to see if your community requires them to have solicitation permits.
  • Be leery if a worker shows up on your doorstep to announce that your home is unsafe. If you are concerned about possible structural damage in your home, have an engineer, architect or building official inspect it.
  • Require a written contract agreement with anyone you hire. It should specify the work to be done, the materials to be used and the price breakdown for both labor and materials. Any promises made orally should be written into the contract, including warranties on materials or labor. Be sure their name, address, license number, if applicable, and phone number along with a start and end date for the work are included in contract. Read and understand the contract in its entirety and don’t sign a blank contract. A copy of the signed contract should be given to you at time of signature.
  • Once you have found a contractor, request proof of a current insurance certificate covering workman’s compensation, property damage and personal liability.
  • Insist that the contractors pull all necessary permits. Unscrupulous contractors will ask the homeowner to pull the permits because the person acquiring the permit is responsible for ensuring that the work meets local and state codes.
  • Never pay in full for all repairs in advance, and do not pay cash! While many businesses may ask for a deposit, BBB suggests that no more one-third of the job be paid up front. Be sure the contract specifies the schedule for releasing payments to the contractor.
  • Be wary if a contractor asks you to sign an estimate. Many unscrupulous contractors have you sign what you think is an estimate but in reality, is a binding contract.
  • When seeking the services of a cleaning and restoration firm, remember that flood-soaked carpets can be saved but must be professionally sanitized at the cleaning firm’s plant. Any furniture that has been completely submerged in floodwater will need to be re-upholstered or refinished.
  • Thoroughly clean out mud and residual material from heating and cooling units and let the units dry out before determining whether the equipment is functional or needs repairs.

Disaster victims should never feel forced to make a hasty decision or to choose an unknown business. Start with trust! For trustworthy information, lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by industry and BBB Business Reviews on local businesses, visit

Tips and information for debris removal

Debris is hazardous. It often has sharp or rough edges; it may cause falls; it may contain hazardous material such as asbestos, lead or fiberglass; and it may have been contaminated with chemicals or germs by the flood or storm.

When cleaning up debris, one of the first steps is to assess the types of waste you are dealing with, and what the disposal procedures should be. They usually fall into four main categories and can be disposed of in the following ways:

  • Branches, trees and vegetative wastes can be separated from the other debris and later can be sent to a community burn pile. These wastes can also be sent to a permitted disposal site.
  • Construction debris – the structural materials from houses and buildings, such as concrete, boards, shingles, windows, siding, pipes, etc. – can be taken to the closest construction and demolition (C&D) landfill or a permitted municipal solid waste landfill. After a disaster, many municipalities may establish pick up schedules.
  • Other household wastes, such as trash and furniture, should be sent to a permitted municipal landfill.
  • Hazardous wastes – If you believe the waste contains regulated hazardous materials, more care and caution is needed. These wastes should be containerized, labeled, and ultimately sent to a facility that is permitted to store, treat or dispose of hazardous wastes. In these instances, it is important to contact the landfill to discuss proper disposal procedures.

Items Requiring Special Disposal

  • Pool chemicals
  • Tires
  • Bicycles
  • PVC pipe
  • Explosives (ammunition, re-loading equipment, black powder, military ordinance, fireworks)
  • Fuel containers, metal or plastic
  • Pressurized gas cylinders/tanks (propane tanks, acetylene tanks, refrigerant containers)
  • Containers of petroleum based liquids, solvents, chemicals, etc.
  • Large household appliances (refrigerators, freezers, stoves, washers, dryers, etc.)
  • Off-road, gas-powered equipment (lawn mowers, tractors, edgers, leaf blowers and other lawn equipment, chainsaws, 4-wheelers, etc.
  • Lawn and garden supplies (fertilizers, pesticides, etc.)
  • Radioactive waste
  • Industrial/commercial hazardous waste
  • Medical waste
  • Automobiles
  • Electrical transformers

Any appliances that could potentially contain Freon or other chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) cannot be disposed of until they have been certified as being free of Freon or CFCs.

Contact the BBB at (800) 768-4222.

ADEDC and Chamber partner in business assistance efforts

The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission and Albany Area Chamber of Commerce have partnered to develop and distribute a business assistance and damage assessment survey to better gauge the needs of the local business community in light of the recent storms.

The survey, which can be accessed online here, will serve to help direct the ADEDC and Chamber in securing resources to aid in businesses’ recovery from the effects of the January 2 and January 21-22 severe weather events.

Survey participants are asked to report information such as the location of their business, type of loss suffered, duration and extent of loss and the event after which the loss occurred.

“In our community’s great time of need, we want to be sure our organizations are providing the assistance necessary to ensure the continued prosperity of our business community,” says Chamber President and CEO Barbara Rivera Holmes. “This survey will provide the information we need in order to adequately source the needed resources.”

The survey goes live beginning today and will remain active through noon on February 1, 2017.





The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission is a public-private partnership whose mission is to foster new investment and job creation through the recruitment, retention and expansion of industry for Albany-Dougherty County.

Since 1910, the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce has been the voice of business and professional community. The Chamber is the only membership organization that is totally involved in the growth and development of the community with a pro business emphasis.

Storm Relief Update for Residents and Businesses – January 5, 2017

The City is continuing its efforts to provide relief and restore power after the widespread devastation.
Updates on those efforts are as follows:
  •  Power has been restored to approximately 1,500 homes as of yesterday.
  •  Linemen from the Jacksonville Electric Authority joined crews today.
  •  Six (6) additional crews have joined the 14 crews already working with debris clean up throughout the impacted areas.
  •  The City has partnered with the Red Cross and they are providing the following shelters.
o Albany Civic Center (100 W. Oglethorpe)
o Avalon United Methodist Church (3018 Gillionville)
  •  11 Good Samaritan shelters have also opened.
The Church at the Groves (25)
130 McIntosh Farms Rd., Leesburg
Contact: 229-439-7056
East Albany Church of God (75-100)
216 Pine Bluff Rd., Albany
Contact: 706-566-3450
Raleigh White/New Seasons (40-60)
2804 Philips Dr., Albany
Contact: 229-432-0222
(Partner Churches: FBC, Albany & FBC, Leesburg)
First Baptist Church of Albany (100-130)
145 Oakland Pkwy., Leesburg
Contact: 229-883-8000
Amazing Grace Baptist Church (150)
(Partner Churches: Forrester, Greenbriar & The Refuge)
2117 Ledo Rd., Albany
Contact: 229-886-4745
Byne Baptist Church (150)
2832 Ledo Rd., Albany
Contact: 229-436-5700
First Baptist Church of Leesburg (30-35)
(Partner Church: FUMC, Leesburg)
135 Main St., Leesburg
Contact: 229-759-6576
Sherwood Baptist Church (100)
2201 Whispering Pines Rd., Albany
Contact: 229-883-1910
Mt Zion Baptist Church (60)
1905 MLK Dr., Albany
Contact: 229-432-6837
Albany Family Worship Center
3024 Kensington Ct., Albany
Contact: Bobby Paul 434-0324
Albany Christian Church
1501 Whispering Pines Rd., Albany
Contact: 436-0416
Victory Tabernacle
32520 Sylvester Rd., Albany
Contact: 344-4630
Cutliff Grove Baptist Church
839 W. Broad Ave., Albany
Contact: 229-344-3199
Trumpet of God Ministries
600 Pine Ave., Albany
Contact: 229-395-6413
The City appreciates the community’s patience during this time. We will continue to provide updates as information becomes available.