Category Archives: Chamber News

112th Annual Meeting

The Albany Area Chamber is excited to host its 112th annual meeting, a tradition that celebrates accomplishments, shares how the Chamber will continue to move businesses forward throughout the year ahead, and shines the light on the Chamber’s most engaged leaders and those who have worked to make a positive impact on Albany and the Albany Area.

The 2022 event will be held outdoors on April 21 on the Bricks at Thronateeska, in downtown Albany. A band, taste of Albany food vendors and a unique atmosphere will complement the celebration.

The 2022 annual meeting will include the transfer of the chairman’s gavel; honor the Chamber’s Lifetime Service Award recipient; and announce the 2021 Albany Under 40 Young Professional of the Year.

In-person tickets, tables and limited sponsorship opportunities are now available for purchase here.

Tickets are $85 per person. Tables of six are $1,000 and include logo placement.

Registration open through April 14 >> https://bit.ly/112thAnnualMeeting

Albany Area Chamber leads local delegation in “Albany-Dougherty Day” in state capitol

For Immediate Release
Contact: Reedi Hawkins Mabrey
rmabrey@albanyga.com
(229) 434-8700

February 25, 2022

 

Albany, Ga. – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce this week led a diverse delegation of local leaders from the public and private sectors to Atlanta as part of the Chamber’s long-standing Albany-Dougherty Day, a government affairs advocacy program that uniquely positions the community’s priorities and opportunities and showcases the impact of its leadership and collaboration.

The legislative event included meetings with the Office of Gov. Brian Kemp; Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan; the Georgia Chamber of Commerce; University System of Georgia; Technical College System of Georgia, Georgia Department of Agriculture; and members of the Albany Area Legislative Delegation, in which state leaders touted Albany-Dougherty County’s spirit of collaboration, and its tenacity in facing challenges presented by the pandemic, having developed innovative solutions and partnerships in work force, health care and industry.

“Albany-Dougherty County is well-recognized as the hub of Southwest Georgia and a statewide leader in exemplifying the power of partnership, which was demonstrated this week through the diverse delegation of local leaders engaged in discussions at the table,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “The Albany Area Chamber is the region’s largest business advocacy organization, connecting and convening nearly 800 area businesses and community partners, and facilitating the representation of their legislative priorities on the local, state and federal levels. The Albany-Dougherty Day legislative event is our annual opportunity to present a collective front to state lawmakers and key influencers, demonstrating shared vision and community support on priorities most vital to the long-term success of Albany and its surrounding counties.”

The Albany Area Chamber’s 2022 pro-business legislative priorities include expansion of the health care professional pipeline to ensure Georgia has the work force to provide the care and services citizens need, and supporting telemedicine to increase access to care for rural Georgians; investing in rural broadband and rural innovation, which is critical to supporting educational attainment, economic growth and utilization of telehealth services; supporting incentives and initiatives that remove barriers for small businesses and expand access to resources; and increased investment in transportation infrastructure to support Georgia’s distribution and logistics industries. Additionally, the Chamber is advocating for state appropriations to support the health professions simulation lab at Albany State University; the expansion of the diesel mechanic and auto collision center at Albany Technical College; and doubling capacity of pre-K slots within the Dougherty County School System.

The local leadership delegation included representatives from the City of Albany; Dougherty County; the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau; the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission; Albany State University; Albany Technical College; the Dougherty County School System; Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany; Albany Area Primary Health Care; Phoebe Putney Health System; and private sector businesses in agriculture, small business and industry. The program is further supported Adams Exterminators, AT&T, Georgia CEO, Georgia Power, Horizons Community Solutions and McLendon Acres.

Albany-Dougherty Day is a component of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Division, comprised of member business representatives, and chaired by Bridges Sinyard, vice president of Adam’s Exterminators.

 

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Deerfield-Windsor School’s Harrison Young Smith Named 2022 Dougherty County STAR Student

Albany – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce today announced Deerfield-Windsor School senior Harrison Young Smith as the 2022 Dougherty County STAR Student, earning the recognition for academic achievement and performance on the SAT. Smith recognized Dr. Jake Clawson of Deerfield-Windsor as his STAR Teacher. Smith will represent Dougherty County at the March 15 regional competition in Thomasville.

The PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program is sponsored and managed by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) and the PAGE Foundation. Since its inception in 1958, the STAR program has honored nearly 27,000 students and the teachers selected as the most influential to their academic achievement. High school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average to qualify for STAR nomination.  The Albany Area Chamber serves as the local program sponsor and host of the luncheon recognition event.

“The Albany Area Chamber – through our Talent, Education and Leadership division – has identified talent development and retention as a top priority for the long-term success of Albany and Southwest Georgia, ” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, the local STAR program sponsor. “Today, we have recognized incredible talent right here in the Albany community, and have celebrated them alongside many of our business partners; as corporate citizens, we should be encouraged to continue supporting these, and all our students, to ensure they reach their full potential.”

PAGE and the PAGE Foundation honor outstanding students and educators and encourage academic excellence through competitive academic programs such as PAGE STAR, the PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades and the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon.

Honored at today’s recognition luncheon were the school-specific STAR students from throughout Dougherty County, and from among which the countywide STAR student was selected. Each student selected his or her STAR teacher.

The school-specific STAR students and teachers are:

  • Parker O’Neal Freeland, student and Ms. Kimberly Lawhorn, teacher – Byne Christian School
  • Harrison Young Smith, student and Dr. Jake Clawson, teacher – Deerfield-Windsor School
  • Zion R. Heard, student and Mr. Leonard McCrary, teacher – Dougherty Comprehensive High School
  • Kyla Tracy Randall, student and Dr. Jennifer Clark, teacher (Robert A. Cross Middle Magnet School) – Monroe Comprehensive High School
  • Victoria Vega, student and Mr. James Byrd, teacher – Sherwood Christian Academy
  • Joshua Bernard Pratt, student and Dr. Roy Eaddy, teacher – Westover Comprehensive High School

STAR begins each year in participating Georgia high schools when the STAR Student is named and chooses a STAR Teacher to share in this recognition. The students and their teachers are honored by their schools and receive special recognition in their communities from one of the more than 165 statewide civic organizations and businesses that serve as local sponsors of the STAR program. Students then compete for school system recognition as the top STAR Student, and those winners compete for region honors. Region winners contend for the honor of being named State PAGE STAR Student. STAR Teachers continue on with their STAR Students at every level of the program.

Georgia Chamber welcomes business prospects for annual ‘Georgia Quail Hunt’ in Albany

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 10, 2022

CONTACT: Reedi Mabrey

Albany, Ga. – This week, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce hosts its 33rd annual Georgia Quail Hunt in Albany, as business leaders representing state recruitment and expansion prospects joined local and state economic development officials, including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, to learn about the benefits of doing business in Georgia.

The Albany Area is recognized as one of the world’s premiere destinations for quail hunting, with the industry producing an estimated annual economic impact of more than $145 million. This week’s recruitment event utilizes various hunting preserves throughout Southwest Georgia and is based out of Albany.

“Albany and Southwest Georgia provide an outstanding quality of life, a low cost of doing business and plenty of opportunity for growth and expansion,” said Jana Dyke, president and CEO of the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission. “These are just a few of the recruitment assets we market during the hunt, and the event allows business prospects and state officials the opportunity to experience what we have to offer, first-hand.”

Since its inception in 1988, business guests of the Georgia Quail Hunt have invested upwards of $2.5 billion and created more than 8,500 jobs in the state as a result of corporate relocations or expansions.

Industry locations in Albany-Dougherty County such as Outdoor Network Distribution and Manufacturing, PowerSports Plus and WebstaurantStore are local projects facilitated through the hunt.

“Georgia has established itself as the nation’s top state for business, and this event allows us the opportunity to showcase Georgia’s people and business friendly environment,” said 2022 Georgia Quail Hunt Chairman Daryl Ingram, chief external officer and senior vice president of Electric Cities of Georgia. “Economic success, to a large part, is due to collaboration between public and private entities coming together to create opportunities for businesses to thrive, and therefore creating thriving communities along with them. This event is a perfect example of the collaborative atmosphere businesses can expect when they choose to locate or expand in Georgia.”

Georgia’s competitive advantages in site location include tax environment, availability of talent and access to training, and quality transportation infrastructure. Area Development magazine has recognized these assets – along with many others – and for eight years running, has named Georgia the nation’s “Top state for doing business.”

Event organizers say the hunt has been successful in promoting these assets and recruiting businesses to the state.

“For more than 30 years, the Georgia Quail Hunt has helped facilitate the creation of thousands of jobs and tens of billions in investment in Georgia’s economy,” said Chris Clark, president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber. “Hosting the event in Albany provides an incredible opportunity to showcase Southwest Georgia as a premier destination for business, giving guests a first-hand look at the region’s high quality of life and exposing them to local and state leaders who are eager to help them take their business to the next level.”

The hunt is sponsored by the Georgia Allies, the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission and Locate South Georgia, along with corporate sponsors Bergara, BPI Outdoors, Glock, Kia Georgia, Inc., Molson Coors, PowerSports Plus, Remington Firearms, Taurus Holdings and Trulock Choke Tubes.

 

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 About the Georgia Chamber of Commerce

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce is the state’s largest business advocacy organization that focuses on state and federal issues. The Chamber has worked to keep, grow and create jobs to make Georgia a better state for business. The advocacy, policy and thought leadership help ensure Georgia’s economic competitiveness, attract new investments as well as promote growth and prosperity for all businesses.

Albany Area Chamber of Commerce earns state accreditation

For Immediate Release

Contact: Reedi Hawkins Mabrey

rmabrey@albanyga.com

January 13, 2022

Albany, Ga.The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce has been awarded reaccreditation through the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (GACCE) “Georgia Certified Chamber” program.

Chambers must meet standards in organization, service intent and capacity, professional administration, financial management, communications and advocacy in order to achieve the designation. The certification program promotes continuing excellence in the Chamber of Commerce industry and helps to foster a pro-business environment across the state of Georgia.

“Reaccreditation from GACCE serves as a stamp of approval that we’re on the right track, in terms of organizational excellence and service delivery,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, the region’s largest business advocacy organization. “The Albany Area Chamber has implemented a three-year strategic plan, ‘#ImpactABY2023,’ which provided many of the directives evaluated in the accreditation process. Through implementing this plan, we have been able to grow as an organization and better serve the Albany Area in our mission to foster an environment for business and community success.”

Out of more than 150 Chambers of Commerce in Georgia, 16 are distinguished as 2021 Georgia Certified Chambers.

The following Chambers of Commerce make up the 2021 class of Georgia Certified Chambers:

  1. Albany Area Chamber of Commerce 
  2. Carroll County Chamber of Commerce  
  3. Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce  
  4. Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce
  5. Columbia County Chamber of Commerce
  6. Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce
  7. Douglas County Chamber of Commerce 
  8. Douglas-Coffee County Chamber of Commerce 
  9. Effingham County Chamber of Commerce
  10. Fayette Chamber of Commerce  
  11. Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce
  12. Pickens County Chamber of Commerce 
  13. Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce 
  14. Rome Floyd Chamber of Commerce 
  15. Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce 
  16. Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce  

The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce also holds the distinction of being a nationally accredited chamber through the United States Chamber of Commerce. Of more than 7,000 chambers in the U.S., 200 are nationally accredited, with the Albany Chamber’s 4-star rating landing them in the top tier of chambers of commerce in the country.

 

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About the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce

The Albany Area Chamber, founded in 1910, is leading a multi-year strategic effort to advance business success and economic opportunities in Albany and the Albany Area. Learn more at www.albanyga.com.

 

About the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives

GACCE is the professional society of Chamber of Commerce executives and staff in the State of Georgia. The mission of GACCE is to engage, educate, and empower Chamber of Commerce professionals.

Albany Area Chamber Announces 2021 Albany Under 40 Category Winners

Albany Area Chamber President & CEO Bárbara Rivera Holmes, left, and Albany Area Chamber Chairman Matt Reed, right, announced Thursday the 2021 Albany Under 40 category winners, pictured here, during an evening awards reception honoring emerging leaders and young professionals representing the area’s diversified talent pool and economy.

 

December 3, 2021

 

Albany Area Chamber announces ‘Albany Under 40’ category winners  

 

Albany – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday recognized the finalists and announced the category winners of the 2021 Albany Under 40 Awards, a program that celebrates the Albany Area’s emerging leaders and professionals in a variety of business sectors, each representing a component of the area’s diversified talent pool and economy.

 

“The Albany Area is home to young leaders who are making their mark through excellence in their professions, through their innovation and through their commitment to building a stronger region,” said Barbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “We’re honored to recognize these diverse, outstanding professionals and proud they’ve chosen to live, work and invest in the Albany Area.”

 

Category finalists were announced in November and honored at Thursday’s evening awards reception at Pretoria Fields Brewery in downtown Albany. Category winners, selected from among the finalists, were announced at the event:

 

  • Arts, Entertainment, Culinary Arts, Events, Tourism & Hospitality: Kirstin Collins, American Peanut Shellers Association
  • Civics, Defense, Government & Public Affairs: Ronnie Alvin Pettiford Jr., city of Albany
  • Financial & Insurance Services: Allison Daniels, Marcus, Inman & Daniels Wealth Advisors
  • Innovation & Start-Ups: Maria Carr, Body Perfection Studio
  • Journalism, Marketing & Public Relations: Kori Phillips Foy, WALB News Channel 10
  • Manufacturing, Service Industries, Energy & Architecture: Brandon Senn, Mosquito Source
  • Medicine & Health Care: Cindreka Marshall, The LEGACY Case Management
  • Nonprofit Services: Don R. Johnson, The Challenger League
  • Youth & Education: Dr. Koosh Desai, Medical College of Georgia — Southwest Georgia campus

 

The 2021 Albany Under 40 is sponsored by Albany Air Conditioning & Heating; Colony Bank; Southern AG Carriers; and Hughey & Neuman.

 

The 2021 Albany Under 40 Young Professional of the Year, selected from among the category winners, will be announced at the Albany Area Chamber 112th annual meeting next spring.

 

 

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Shop Local, #ShopABY this Small Business Season

There is nothing more convenient than whipping out your phone, typing in a URL (or opening an app), perusing offerings, and hitting a few buttons to buy something…anything…everything. We even get our groceries that way these days. But as convenient as online shopping seems, there are many reasons to shop local.

In person is the way to go this Small Business Season. We’ll explain why.

Our Favorite Reasons to Shop Local During Small Business Season

Yes, online shopping is convenient. You don’t have to change out of your PJs and it’s always open. But in the t-chart of holiday shopping options, there are a lot of reasons to shop local.

Here are a few of our favorites:

You’re supporting your neighbors.

When you support Small Business Season and shop local, you are supporting your neighbors and they are more likely, in turn, to keep the money you spent with them local as well (for every $100 spent locally, $68 of it stays local).

You are able to get in-person advice.

Not sure of the right size, color, or other option? Maybe you want to buy something but don’t know what else you need to make that purchase complete (like buying a fishing rod without any hooks or lures). An in-person shopping experience can help you straighten out the choices. Small business owners offer complete information and suggestions and you can ask questions about those suggestions. Doing that via chat online can be cumbersome and delayed as they are answering questions from several other shoppers at the same time.

You know what you’re getting.

Have you ever ordered something online only to be disappointed when it arrives? Maybe it’s smaller than you thought or the color is just too much. Online images can be very hard to discern. (Remember that dress a few years back? What color was that any way?) If you don’t read the description carefully, your item may be smaller (or larger) than expected and may not include things you had assumed came with it. Even when you do read the description, some items are sized differently or have unexpected variations. Don’t even get us started on what happens then.

For every $100 spent locally, $68 of it stays local.

Local yields easier returns.

Even though you have a clear understanding of what you’re buying when you buy in person, sometimes you need to return your purchase. When you do, it’s easier to do it locally than to send something back to an online store. Between paying for shipping to going to the post office and insuring it, bringing it back to a local business is generally easier than online returns.

Satisfaction guaranteed.

If you’re not satisfied with what you purchased, but it’s not something you can bring back (like a service or a food item), you know how to get in touch with the local provider. Some online sellers make it impossible to speak to a human. Try arguing your point with AI that uses keywords and automated language responses. Talking to the local business owner is much easier and they may be able to suggest something that is more along the lines of what you’re looking for.

Local shopping becomes an experience.

Yes, online shopping is quick, but you also have no memory of doing it. This can lead to overbuying. How many times during the holiday do you come home to find a package on your door step and you can’t remember what you purchased? You’ll remember when you go out. Plus, when you shop in-person or local, you can invite friends, family, or just make a pleasurable outing for yourself. This creates appealing memories of a wonderful seasonal experience.

It brings on the holiday spirit.

When you are out among the sounds and smells of the holiday, it brightens your mood. Who doesn’t love sparkling lights, glitter, snow (real or fake), and all of the happy tunes of the season? It’s hard to get those same smiles shopping online.

You may miss the best things when you only go online.

When you shop online, you do a few searches for things you are looking for. You are less apt to stumble across the perfect gift or item because you are on a targeted mission and only see what the online store presents. When you’re shopping in person, there are a lot of serendipitous moments where something catches your eye and you walk out knowing you found a treasure.

You meet and interact with people.

When you shop in-person, you meet and interact with people. We have been sequestered long enough. There’s something to be said from those chance meetings that occur when walking around town. Who knows–you could meet your next business partner or a former friend. From the warm smile of the business owner to a suggestion, compliment, or affirmation you receive from a fellow shopper, there are many times when these sorts of introductions can be very helpful.

You’ll receive better reviews.

Sure, online reviews are helpful but so are reviews from people around you. Plus, people you meet in person who are commenting on what you’re buying have a personal connection. They are vouching for the item or dish face-to-face. If you have questions about what they’re saying, you can ask. Online reviews are one-sided with very little chance for follow-up from the original poster.

No worries about delivery this small business season when shopping local.

With ports backed up and short-staffing throughout the supply chain, there’s a lot of talk about potential delivery delays this holiday. If you shop in-person, you won’t need to worry about this.

In-person shopping is perfect for procrastinators.

Sure, there are some online mega retailers who can get an item to you same day depending on where you live, but most times–especially as we get closer to the actual holiday–your best bet for last-minute gifts is a local shop. If you’re a procrastinator, feel free to take this reason to shop local as permission. You’ll feel less stressed about waiting , plus you won’t be depending on someone else’s delivery schedule.

Displays help you visualize.

Store displays are better than “you might also like” options in online stores. After all, the online suggestions are based on the buying patterns of others or using products the online retailer links together. Store displays are created (and stores are arranged) to help you find what you need and want. Collections are curated with the shopper in mind. You may find a lot of treasurers browsing that way.

Window shopping can lead to ideas.

When you shop in-person around the holidays you’ll be treated to beautiful window and decoration displays. These could inspire your holiday home décor or help you figure out something for your hard-to-buy-for aunt. A display may also draw you into trying a new business that you hadn’t noticed before. There are so many serendipitous possibilities when shopping in-person this Small Business Season.

You could find your next job.

If you shop in-person, you’ll quickly realize how many businesses are hiring. Who knows. You might decide to work at your favorite shop over the holidays.

One’s couch has never been the setting for a Hallmark holiday movie but Main Street certainly has.

And we all love those movies, don’t we?

We aren’t telling you to never shop online again. Online shopping is simply too convenient and there are many times when you can get things delivered online faster than you are able to clear your schedule and shop in-person. There are also many local sellers that have an online presence so you can buy online and still “shop local.”

Still, there are several reasons to shop local, including the ability to spread some holiday cheer to your local businesses this Small Business Season.

Those business owners would just love to see your smiling face and the serious ones of Mr. Jackson, Hamilton, and Washington.

This Small Business Season, let’s give local and small businesses something to be thankful for.

Let’s give them the gift of our support. Need local ideas? Visit our online member directory at albanyga.com.