Business is good in Elbert County but it could be better, says Beverly Durant, the executive director of Elizabeth's Chamber of Commerce.
So with the goal of identifying new ways to juice commerce around the county, Durant invited more than a dozen area business leaders and government officials, including Elbert County Commissioner Larry Ross and Elizabeth Town Administrator Dick Eason, to attend a Sept. 19 meeting of the Elbert County Business Alliance.
Held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Elizabeth Town Hall, the meeting was called to reconvene and jump-start the unofficial business group, which was formed a year ago by Durant and Kyle Fenner, who is now Elbert County director of community and development services.
“With all of her new responsibilities with the county, Kyle is not going to be able to be as involved with the group,” Durant told those who attended the most recent meeting. “Hopefully, other people will step up.”
Admitting that attendance at the few business alliance meetings held over the summer “tapered off pretty dramatically,” Durant added: “We had a lot of people coming at one time. So it's good to see so many people came out for tonight's meeting.”
Durant explained that the ECBA was originally formed to “contribute to the success of local businesses through promotion, coaching, networking and advocacy efforts that foster both a vibrant community and additional economic development.”
During the Sept. 19 meeting, Durant requested that the more than dozen business owners in attendance sign up for one of four committees that will be formed to support the ECBA's overall mission.
The stated goals of each committee — promotion, coaching, networking and advocacy — were chosen to reflect the alliance's overall purpose and mission, Durant said.
Ross said he would work to support the group. “This is a great dynamic to have in our community and I really encourage you,” the commissioner said. “These meetings are a great vehicle to bring out good ideas and leverage the assets and attributes of the county for economic advantage and I will support your efforts any way I can.”
“We need to find ways to grow our own business and to encourage new businesses to come to town,” said Margie Ammons, who together with her husband, Cliff, operates a photography business in Elizabeth.
Among the topics brought up at the meeting:
• How to take advantage of the influx of construction workers coming in and out of the county every day to build the new school in Elbert.
• How to promote Elbert County as a “destination” for activities and events without having a motel or hotel in Elizabeth, the county's largest town.
“I think the meeting went very well,” Durant said afterwards. “There were some great ideas and it appeared people were ready to work together and solve some challenges.”
Durant believes the business alliance can only be successful if “we all exchange ideas and have an open dialogue. I think the group will continue to grow in size as the word gets around to the community.”
The next meeting of the Elbert County Business Alliance is scheduled for Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. at the Elizabeth Town Hall.
For more information or to join the group, contact Durant at 303-646-4287 or firstname.lastname@example.org.