Category Archives: News & Publications

Albany Area Chamber recognizes Bishop Clean Care, Open Arms with top honors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 13, 2020

 

Albany Area Chamber Recognizes

2020 Small Business of the Year and 2020 Nonprofit of the Year

 

Albany — The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce recently announced Bishop Clean Care as its 2020 Small Business of the Year and Open Arms as its 2020 Nonprofit of the Year.

 

“Successful small businesses are cornerstones of our community. They create jobs, they invest, they participate, they shape the business landscape and they add to the vibrancy of our quality of life. Our nonprofits likewise play a vital role by focusing resources and providing services to community needs without regard to profit,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “During a year in which small businesses and nonprofits have been especially tested, these two sectors continue to demonstrate their value, their impact and their resiliency, and we as an Albany Area community are stronger because of them.”

Small businesses have big impact, Holmes said. For every $100 spent at a small, locally-owned business, $68 stay within the local economy. Those dollars help create jobs, support families, fund public sector service and programs, provide investment for neighborhood improvements and promote development in our community.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, two out of three net new jobs are created by small businesses, substantiating why small businesses have long been hailed as the backbone of the American free enterprise system, and why the commercial fortitude of communities is often judged by the ability of their small businesses to thrive. In Georgia, 99.6 percent of all businesses are small and employ 43.1 percent of the private sector work force, or 1.7 million people (source, 2020 Georgia Small Business Profile, SBA). Statewide, firms employing fewer than 20 people saw the greatest job gains, with annual net new job creation of 38,017.

Nationally, nonprofits employ 10 percent of the American work force and provide 5.5 percent of our gross domestic product, Holmes said. They provide an avenue for people to dedicate their time, talents and treasure to making a difference. As the regional hub of commerce and service, Albany is home to many nonprofits, and every year, new ones are established; they are a presence in the area’s quality of life and economy.

“Each year we are humbled by the stories of sacrifice, success, impact and resiliency shared by our small businesses and our nonprofits,” said Perry Revell, chairman of the Albany Area Chamber Board of Directors and senior vice president at AB&T. “You make us proud, and we appreciate all you do.”

 

About Bishop Clean Care

Bishop Clean Care is a residential and commercial cleaning company servicing the Southwest Georgia community for more than 65 years. Services include cleaning of carpet, tile, rugs, and drapery as well as mold removal and air duct cleaning.

 

Notable Fact: Ten days after quickly mobilizing their teams to provide emergency services to their customers in the wake of Hurricane Michael, Bishop Clean Care experienced a fire that resulted in the loss of their building. The business relaunched within 48 hours and resumed serving the community in the post hurricane cleanup.  Bishop Clean Care has been in business 68 years, has been an Albany Area Chamber member for 56 years and employs 108 people.

 

 

About Open Arms

It is the mission of Open Arms to bring healing, hope and help to children, adults and their families in need of support, intervention and prevention as a result of child abuse in all its forms.

 

Notable Fact: In the past year alone, Open Arms has moved 206 people from homelessness and abusive homes into safe and stable housing. By providing services and housing, Open Arms helps decrease the community’s costs in caring for this population. Open Arms has operated for 29 years and has been a Chamber member for six years.

 

The awards program is led by volunteers of the Albany Area Chamber’s Small Business Development & Membership Committee. All finalists for the small business and the nonprofit honors were featured in the latest edition of Biz, the Albany Area Chamber’s award-winning magazine.

 

 

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Georgia Power: Southwest Georgia Civic & Religious Leaders Virtual Forum on October 22, 2020

Join us for the Southwest Georgia Civic & Religious Leader Virtual Forum

Thursday, October 22, 2020

10am – 11:30 am

Virtual via Zoom

• Energy industry trends • Energy efficiency • Products and services • Billing Programs

• Payment assistant programs • Community Trends

Register Here https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=LS6gwIYRCkGIlQpKJS6_F4uxZzCzvHBGh6YVPM75OAlUNElVV1REUVUwU1QyOEYwWEhKQkwyUjRBTS4u

 

The Artesian Alliance would like you to complete a survey

The Artesian Alliance includes some of the areas most beloved and well used attractions- Chehaw Park & Zoo, Flint RiverQuarium, and Thronateeska Heritage Center. Even so, we feel that the Alliance is only beginning to glimpse its tremendous potential as a community asset. Evaluation and development of a clear path forward is the most effective way of ensuring continued positive progress towards realizing that potential. In other words, the Artesian Alliance needs a strategic plan. The Alliance hired Felis Consulting to begin the strategic planning process in June. The overarching goal is to develop a strategic business and development plan that will guide staff when making decisions and plans for the future of the organizations. It will ensure that those plans are the best options for community interests, animal care, and the mission of each organization.

Input from the public is a critically vital first step in the development of this plan. Your participation in the questionnaire linked below will provide valuable information to the strategic planning process. It will help us understand residents’ and tourists’ likes and dislikes of our current leisure time attractions, and allow you to make suggestions about our future. Feel free to share with others and thank you for your continued support and participation.

Click Here to Complete Survey

We have a new way to collect your feedback for our Master Plan through a unique virtual workshop! Thank you for any feedback you’ve already provided through our previous questionnaire. This is a different survey that dives a little deeper into what you’d like to see at each organization.

Click Here to Complete Virtual Workshop

Password: alliance

Albany Area Chamber-led campaign supports safety, expands business resources

 

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:

Bárbara Rivera Holmes

(229) 434-8700

bholmes@albanyga.com

 

August 27, 2020

 

Albany Area Chamber-led campaign supports safety, expands business resources

#StrongerTogetherABY engages public, unifies economic recovery tools

 

Albany, Ga. — The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce today launched #StrongerTogetherABY, an action-led campaign that encourages resident and business participation in recommended guidelines known stop the spread of the coronavirus and that expands access to business resources and training that support return-to-work guidelines and the sustainable reopening of the economy.

The goal of the campaign is to drive participation in safety guidelines in order keep people healthy and restore the economy. Businesses that make the promise at www.StrongerTogetherABY.com commit to being a partner in stopping the spread of the virus by providing a safer environment for their employees and their customers. Participating businesses will receive face masks, hand sanitizer and free access to the Unified Standards COVID-19 safety training for their employees, along with marketing materials to promote their business as a #StrongerTogetherABY partner. The campaign invites consumers to positively support businesses that adhere to safety guidelines.

“The economic recovery of Albany and Albany Area depends on the health and safety of everyone in our community. The comeback begins with us; every person and every business is accountable to do their part,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, the region’s leading business organization. “#StrongerTogetherABY fosters a healthier community by driving participation, providing businesses with PPE and expanding access to work force training that creates safer environments and boosts consumer confidence. Through this initiative we aim to mobilize residents and businesses to combat the pandemic, together. To advance our economic recovery and build our resiliency, together. To move forward, faster and safer, together.”

The communications component of the campaign includes a new website with resources and support for businesses; public service announcements in local media outlets; donated advertising space from corporate partners; donated PPE; publicity and social media programs to involve residents; and support from local governments, businesses and agencies to share the message.

#StrongerTogetherABY was developed by the Albany Area Chamber and is supported through collaboration from numerous public and private partners, including The Levee Studios and its Unified Standards training program that’s designed to work within the state-mandated requirements for 17 business sectors and create basic online training for safe work operations amid COVID-19. Unified Standards brings all essential requirements together in one easy-to-download app. It is built on the latest virtual training technologies and delivers a dashboard of video programs, testing documents, recommended best practices and detailed strategies to help businesses expedite their reopening, follow guidelines and spur economic recovery.

“Employers and employees need to know the guidelines and how to follow them in order to create a safer environment that restores work force confidence and consumer confidence,” said Blake Cook, co-owner and co-founder of The Levee Studios and Unified Standards. “Unified Standards provides easy-to-implement work force safety training that adheres to the guidelines now and as they evolve.”

The Albany Area Chamber and Unified Standards have also partnered with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce to launch #StrongerTogetherGA to engage businesses statewide and support Georgia’s economic recovery.

“The Albany Area Chamber’s #StrongerTogetherABY call-to-action campaign packages the resources and education that businesses and communities need to move forward safely and reignite their economies,” said Chris Clark, CEO of the Georgia Chamber, the state’s largest business organization. “Strong local economies support a strong state economy. By partnering on #StrongerTogetherGA, we’re exponentially expanding the actions and access to resources that will advance our state’s economic recovery and support its long-term resiliency.”

To learn more about the campaign and the resources available to businesses, visit www.StrongerTogetherABY.com. To learn more about Unified Standards, visit www.UnifiedStandards.com, where reprensentatives are available via chat to answer questions.

 

The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce is strengthening the area’s assets and businesses and leveraging the power of partnerships to create opportunities that establish a new path forward for all. The trends and issues on which the Chamber is focused – small business innovation and entrepreneurship; economic development; advocacy; talent development; recovery and resiliency – are more important than ever. The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1910. Learn more at albanyga.com or call (229) 434-8700.

 

Chamber Chair: A Future-Focused Chamber

A Future-Focused Chamber 

 

When, during its 110th annual meeting in January 2020, I assumed the role of chairman of the Board of Directors of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, I did so with clarity about the responsibility of the role and an appreciation for the expectations of the membership, the needs of the community, the capabilities of our staff and the Chamber’s forward focus. 

“This meeting is a time for us to look back, but it’s also a time for us to look ahead. A time to see what was, and to vision what will be,” I shared then with an audience of business and community leaders. “Twenty-twenty (2020) will prove to be a pivotal year for our Chamber. The Board has worked diligently with staff to think strategically, and to reimagine and redirect the future of our Chamber. Like for many of the organizations we serve, the business environment demands we evolve, so it’s no longer business as usual. The future is ours for the taking.” 

Through extensive research and feedback from our stakeholders, we knew then that the forward issues on which we would focus were the right priorities for our members and our community.  We knew we needed to be more responsive and also more proactive; more strategically focused and also broader in reach. We knew we needed to be a nimbler, more agile organization, in order to meet the needs of the membership and to advance the issues before us.  

Some consistent themes emerged: Being intentionally inclusive across various facets of the business community. Strengthening communications, and our member, community and regional outreach. Providing leadership in small business development, workforce development. Stepping forward as a convener and a purpose-driven organization, with the idea to build on past successes to become more relevant locally, regionally and statewide,” I said. “With a new mission and vision, we can become a future-focused Chamber poised to serve as a key organization, not just today but well into the future. As a result, our priorities are clear and our objectives meaningful as we seek to become a Chamber positioned for future success.” 

And so here we are, well into the fast-tracked future, executing a vision and a strategy we knew then was transformational, and evolving quickly and strategically to facilitate Albany’s economic recovery and to ensure its long-term economic resiliency. 

We, like you — our members, our businesses, our community — have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in every way. And we, like you, have adapted. Our investments in board and staff development, member outreach, relationships, digital communications and technology have allowed us to transition operations and programs from predominantly in-person to a virtual/hybrid model. We’re hosting meetings online, offering our programs and events virtually, connecting you with resources and experts and officials — all from our computers to yours. You’re tuning in, learning, engaging, connecting and providing feedback. We’re developing new programs. We’re leveraging the online platform to expand our reach, be more inclusive, provide our resources to more businesses and to more quickly advance key areas for our members, our Chamber and our community. And we’re doing this not from our traditional work desks. 

Since 1991, our home has been at 225 West Broad Avenue in the heart of downtown Albany.  Since March, our HQ has been 225 West Broad Avenue, but our get-it-done work office has been any address, physical or virtual, that allows us to serve our members, support our community and meet our mission. We’ve worked remotely without sacrificing our responsiveness to our members. We’ve been here. Open. And working for you. 

In 2019, the Chamber Board of Directors and staff committed themselves not just to vision and strategy, but to operational excellence in order to better carry out our mission. With everything on the table, we allowed ourselves to envision a future in which 225 West Broad Avenue wasn’t our home. What 2020 has proven to us, and to you, is that we are an organization without walls. We can serve you, and serve you well, from anywhere. Our commitment to Albany lies not in our physical space, but in our purpose: To create a thriving community.   

 And so, it is with confidence in our present, and with confidence in our future, that we are pursuing the sale of our historic property at 225 West Broad Avenue. Our hope is that its future purpose will be as impactful as its present.  And, while we know we can work from anywhere – even from home, we do appreciate and value a physical presence in our community, a versatile working space, a space to convene, for collaboration, and are exploring options in Albany’s central district. 

In the months to follow, you can expect the Albany Area Chamber to continue serving you while we pursue the sale of 225 West Broad Avenue.  And you can expect your Chamber to continue evolving. To continue innovating. To continue launching. To continue leading. To continue being your advocate and your champion; your resource and your advantage; your connector and your convener. 

This year marks our 110th anniversary.  This year marks our new future.   

I’m grateful to serve alongside you.   

 

Perry Revell is the 2020 Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, and Executive Vice President at AB&T.