The Clayton Chamber of Commerce's TRC is a valuable tool for you to use to get your business in front of new customers and in front of your peers in the Clayton and Johnston County business community. By utilizing the vast number of CCOC connections and relationships, The Total Resource Campaign allows you to put your business in front of your target audience through CCOC's initiatives and award-winning events.
As part of the Clayton and Johnston County business community, I believe in the mission of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce and the ways in which it seeks to grow our business environment for businesses both small and large. Each year builds upon the previous year and we begin “Living our Legacy” year after year.
When you have a Vision for success and you achieve it, you have achieved Victory one step at a time. Our Vision for this campaign is that we continue, “Living our Legacy” – a legacy of quality, member-inspired programming, and we claim “Victory in our Vision” when you help us continue to build and improve Clayton and Johnston County.
In the coming weeks you will hear more about TRC - but for now – I hope you will begin to think about the ways in which you can participate that are meaningful for you. Your business will benefit from your investment!
Living our Legacy - Victory in our Vision - Make it a great day!
10 Ways to Get More Business Reviews
According to an article on SmallBizTrends.com this week, “Small business owners’ expectations for better business conditions over the next six months fell by seven points to a net negative 61%. So far expectations for better conditions have worsened every month this year.” That’s not great news. With rising costs, many businesses are struggling.
When it comes to dealing with these pressures, you have two options to improve revenue: new growth or new marketing efforts. New growth means pursuing new avenues or audiences and expanding. This can be unnerving. New marketing efforts means simply being more deliberate in who you’re trying to reach and how you’ll get there.
Whether you choose expansion of audience or marketing, you need reviews and you need them everywhere. Here are a few ways you can motivate your audience to help.
Get More Business Reviews with These Ideas
Finally, when you get these wonderful reviews, don’t forget to use parts of them on your site as testimonials or make quotes out of them and use them in your marketing collateral and ads.
How does a company move on from over 2 years of a pandemic?
While people may still shudder at the term “new normal” no doubt exists that there is no going back to the way things were in 2020 pre-covid. The re-emerging workforce has some new requests and the leverage to ask for them, forcing companies to get creative to attract and keep a talented workforce.
On Wednesday, June 29, the Clayton Chamber of Commerce's Workforce Development Committee, in conjunction with Caterpillar Inc. and MedicalTraining.me, held a panel discussion as part of its State of the Chamber initiative, one part of a series that discusses the landscapes of Workforce Development, Education, Economic Development, Government Affairs, and Growth & Infrastructure. CCOC's moderator and chair of the Workforce Development Committee Melissa Overton asked four panelists from four different industries to speak on what companies today must consider to attract and retain top-level talent.
“Everyone can afford to build a good culture.”
Those words were first mentioned by Barbara Brothers in her opening presentation of the morning. As Business Engagement Director at Capital Area Workforce Development, Brothers has kept a close eye on how Wake and Johnston Counties have been adapting to the changes in recruitment and retention.
"There is a rising importance of tuition reimbursement and/or professional development opportunities on board," Brothers said, "Not every company can afford to offer perks like that. But everyone can afford to build a good culture."
While wages will almost always reign supreme, it is no longer as simple as the highest bidder getting the prize. Jobseekers have emphasized working from home, flexible schedules, and other non-traditional benefits that companies should consider if they want to attract and retain a talented workforce.
"We've got to be more flexible and more creative now than we have been in the past," said Josh Thompson, VP of the Regional Service Center - Americas at Novo Nordisk. "Companies have to be able to adapt and be willing to meet their workforce halfway if they want them to stick around."
The 4-day work week
"We've been doing a 4-day work week for 25 years," said Vic Baluis, eliciting a couple of gasps from the crowd.
However, what seems like a foreign concept and a model that most companies would not agree to has proven effective for Caterpillar Inc.'s operations manager for the last decade.
"One of the biggest benefits of this model is when it comes to overtime,” explained Baluis, “If our teams need more than 40 hours to get a project done, they're working on a Friday instead of eating into their Saturdays or Sundays. I can't think of a single time since I've been here where we had to work on a Saturday, and you can tell how much that means to our staff."
But the four-day work week is not the magic solution for every company to retain its workforce. Company policy changes, especially ones that drastic, must have the support of the workforce first. Ten hours a day is a long shift, and some employees prefer to have more time in their mornings or afternoons available every day rather than an extra day off. CAT had to introduce the concept by offering both traditional and four-day weeks to their workforce. In the end, four-day weeks became the employees' preferred process, and CAT was able to successfully implement the change.
How to come back from COVID
Because companies were forced to work remotely or virtually, they were developed processes ensuring they remained productive. Technology was updated to allow remote and virtual work, but companies have also placed a new emphasis on the mental well-being of their employees.
Carrie Hobrough, senior HR Technology Solutions Advisor for CBIZ Payroll & HR Technology explained what extended time away from the office did to her mental health. "I'm as extroverted as they come," Hobrough said, "So being forced to quarantine and work remote was tough. I found that the more I stayed home, the less and less I wanted to leave. When I realized I was choosing not to go out to see friends or family, I knew something was wrong."
This point often comes across as introverts vs extroverts, with the idea being that introverts celebrate never having to go to the office again. But after two years, even introverts have felt the effects of being isolated from the companies they work for. And with in-person chat around the water cooler no longer available, it not only took its toll on some of the workforce, it also became difficult for businesses to connect with employees regularly. So some businesses adapted.
"We were able to send care packages to our staff at home," Evelyn Sanders, President/CEO of Southeastern Healthcare of NC, Inc. said. "We sent bags of coffee or bottles of wine for a virtual wine tasting. Just something that let them know we are all going through this together and we are still thinking of them."
Sanders says that Southeastern Healthcare of NC has gone almost 80% remote now. Maintaining the relationships with their employees is more difficult because of it, but it is necessary if they want to continue to bring in top talent and retain the workforce they have. Even with a pandemic and mass resignation, Sanders’ staff has exploded from 18 employees to 137. That is no accident considering the work Sanders has done to keep her staff happy.
Employees traditionally haven't had this much impact on company culture and are looking to use their newfound leverage to improve working conditions and advocate for more appealing jobs. The pandemic forced companies to work from home, and the workforce proved that they don't have to commute to work every day to do their jobs effectively. The success of that model, whether intentional or not, has the workforce asking, "What else at work can be improved?"
If you're not considering what processes can be retooled for the benefit of your workforce or what facets of your company culture need to be upheld, you might be risking losing the talent you have and struggling to find new talent in the job pool.
If you would like to be involved with CCOC's Workforce Development initiative, or any of its other initiatives, contact us at 919-553-6352 or visit our committees page to learn more.
Not only do we sell and create beautiful pieces, but we also offer repair and refurbishment services. We know how heartbreaking it can be when precious stones are lost or a sentimental piece of jewelry or a watch is damaged, and we want to ensure that your jewelry is taken care of. Jewelry Design Services & Repair handles stone resetting and loose diamonds, watch repair, and full-service jewelry repair. We want to ensure that the pieces that mean the most to you are kept in pristine shape, and the broken pieces that are brought to us are restored to their original condition.
We invite you to visit our website https://www.jewelerjohnstudio.com and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/jewelerjj/ to learn more, and please feel free to visit the store in-person at
417 E Main St, Clayton to discuss having something custom made, a current piece you have redesigned, or just take a look at our current pieces. We know there is something here for everyone with any budget.
3 Solutions to Common Hiring Problems
Employers across the country are posting signs asking for patience with their existing employees because the business is understaffed. In fact, there are hiring managers who are scheduling interviews only to have no one show up! You can’t hire people who don’t even come to an interview.
So what’s a business to do?
Some people blame the business. They believe that the average person wants to work but can’t afford to because of minimal wages and expensive childcare. But the numbers don’t entirely speak to that. 30% of US households are “married without children” in 2020. Single-person households are 23% of the population. So for over half, children aren’t a concern.
So, what can you do to combat the 3 common hiring problems these days? Here are some ideas.
Employment Hiring Challenges Post-COVID
If you brush wages aside as the main reason people don’t show up for interviews or first days for that matter, what are you left with?
Working from Home
It’s the elephant in the room. Why would a worker want to work behind a counter when they can sit at home and work (or sit by the pool or in a coffee shop, etc.). An unparalleled number of businesses created work from home scenarios, and many will stick to those protocols long after COVID. Work at home is no longer a perk. It’s an expectation and it’s hard to compete with that.
Solution: If your business is entirely in-person, it’s not like you’ll never be able to hire again. But it may take some creativity to appeal to workers. Things you might be able to do include flexible shifts (such as working around a child’s schedule) or floating start times within a window of time. The clue here is to get creative with the allowances you can make.
Ghosting Is the Norm
Ghosting has become the norm in relationships. Don’t want to deal with a difficult situation, ignore it and disappear. We’re starting to see this trickle down into our workforce. It’s acceptable to just not show for an interview, first day, drug screen, etc.
Solution: This is difficult to do when you’ve only had minutes of interaction with a candidate. However, people are more likely to ghost when they don’t feel a connection or don’t think of the employer as a person but rather a large corporate structure as in the “they won’t even notice I’m not there” scenario.
In order to avoid being ghosted, you have to do your best to connect with them in the short time you have. Share details about your life. Maybe you’re interviewing them on a special day and “fitting” them in or “clearing” your schedule. Do it respectfully and don’t force the guilt but try and make an impression. You may still get ghosted, but it will be less likely if they see you as a person with needs and feelings.
Reevaluating the Same Old, Same Old
With our forced downtime this past year, we were exposed to a LOT of marketing messaging and frankly many people are just burned out. They may find it hard to believe the claims of some companies.
Another thing people may have done is reevaluating things in their lives that just aren’t working. Some people may have decided that life is too short to work at an unfulfilling job. Others may have seen this pandemic as a kick in the pants from the universe to start their own job. Maybe they saw how being a loyal employee can still result in a lay-off or furlough. Whatever the cause of their employment ennui, people have changed, and you’ll need to too.
Solution: find out what your existing employees want (and what makes them stay with you). Use that in your job marketing. Ask employees for referrals. Reward them for their loyalty and they’ll talk about how great you are to their friends.
Employers are facing an unparalleled time right now, finding it very difficult to recruit good people. For many businesses, it’s difficult to get interest let alone keep someone after their first day. In order to be competitive in the job market, you need to stand out. These tips should help you do that. But you’ll need to go beyond them to think of some creative experiences for new employees. While you’re at it throw a few in for your customers. You never know. A loyal customer may just want to become part of your team.
But that's just the beginning.
Buying a home is one of the biggest events of someone's life, especially if they are first-time homeowners. The process is imposing, the paperwork can be confusing, and the finances can be overwhelming. The Mortgage Firm ensures that home-buyers understand the buying process and feel comfortable with their investment.
Throughout the lending process, our talented staff will provide regular updates and progress reports so you know exactly where you stand, in person or online. It is important to us that our clients' remain well-informed and have a firm understanding of what we are handling, and what their next steps are, because nothing is worse than being left in the dark when it comes to home buying.
Visit www.themortgagefirm.com or call (866)404-1249 for more information on how the Mortgage Firm can help you make home buying easier, so that you can spend less time worrying about mortgage rates and more time worrying about what color you're going to paint the bedroom.
On Tuesday, May 3, the Clayton Chamber of Commerce hosted a graduation event to celebrate the completion of its inaugural LaunchJoCo program. This program offers Johnston County entrepreneurs the opportunity to receive training in business concepts such as small business financing and cash flow, basic bookkeeping, labor laws and tax essentials, building a credit score, social media and marketing, etc.
Participants of LaunchJoCo were paired with leaders from the Johnston County business community to help guide them along their business journeys. The LaunchJoCo participants were also given a 6-month membership to CCOC, courtesy of an anonymous benefactor.
Dana Wooten, CCOC President CEO, said, “I am proud of the opportunity, tools, and resources that Launch JoCo has given this 2022 class of entrepreneurs and small business owners, and I am excited to see them take their businesses to a new level. The collaborative spirit of this program was undoubtedly evident Tuesday night, and the students’ testimonials moved many people during the receipt of their certificates. It was also very gratifying to see business leaders willing to give their time, expertise, and resources to this group as mentors. LaunchJoCo is a program that changes lives, and I’d like to thank everyone who made this graduation possible.“
Melissa Overton, owner of Medical Training.me and LaunchJoCo had this to say about graduation, “Tonight was a huge success, as it demonstrated diversity and collaboration at its best. The future is bright for the graduates and the LaunchJoCo program that will continue to bless and inspire people for years to come. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.”
Applications will be accepted beginning in August of 2022 for the LaunchJoCo class of 2023.
for newly built homes. This is to identify any issues that may have arisen since purchasing the home before the builder’s 1-year warranty expires.
Another resource we like to provide our clients is seasonal maintenance checklists. Whether you are a first-time buyer or a seasoned pro, you can use these checklists to help maintain your home. Some items on our Spring Maintenance Checklist include:
It is important to us to provide our clients with a one-stop-shop. Not only do we provide quality home inspections, but various auxiliary services as well. Rzany Home Inspections also specializes in Radon testing, water quality services, and air quality testing. We are even FAA licensed drone pilots, allowing us to evaluate roofs that cannot be safely accessed to identify issues that can’t be seen from the ground.
In today’s competitive market, purchasing and maintaining a home can be challenging. It remains essential for people to have a qualified professional evaluate a home before closing, or shortly after, to help protect one of life’s most significant investments. Rzany Home Inspections is that high-quality professional for you to have peace of mind that your home will remain safe.
Visit us at rzanyhomeinspections.com or call/text us at (919) 228-8611 to learn more about our services and prices.
EXPERT EDGE; Keep Your Cool!
The March Expert Edge is provided by Monique Neville, Owner of Clayton Blinds and Designs.
It's going to be 98° outside soon, but your energy bill doesn't have to know!
Windows are one of the main culprits of heat and air conditioning loss in your business. Many businesses have no idea how much they can cut down on their energy bill and carbon footprint simply by selecting the proper window treatment. Our new cellular shades insulate your windows and reduce this loss by as much as 64%. Not only that, our solar shades can block 99% of the UV rays and glare from coming into your office, cutting down on your AC usage even further.
We can even program your shades to rise at sunset automatically and then close again overnight so that your office benefits the most from their insulating value.
At Clayton Blinds and Designs, we care about you! We care about local, and we care about environmentally safe products that promote energy efficiency. Most of all, we care about giving the homeowners and businesses of Johnston County the most innovative, best quality products at the best price. With the building and growth in our area, many homes and businesses suddenly lack privacy. Along with protection from the elements, our products provide privacy and security as well.
Clayton Blinds and Designs can present innovative offerings promoting health and wellness to bring happiness into your home. Whether you are interested in a house of simple Blinds, designer Motorized Shades or the most custom Plantation Shutters, we can help.
You support NC manufacturing, NC workers, and Clayton residents when you support us. Our Plantation Shutters are manufactured in High Point, and our blinds are made even more locally in Dunn. Because our focus is local, our lead times are short, and we can service clients quickly.
We have a showroom on 2nd street in the old Civitan building. You can choose to come in, have a cup of coffee, and check out our display samples and fabric swatches. Or you can set up an appointment with our design team, and they will meet you at your home with all the samples and selections you will need to find the right solutions for your project.
Visit us at https://www.claytonblindsanddesigns.com to see our products or schedule an appointment today.
The September Expert Edge is provided by Melissa Overton, Owner of MedicalTraining.me. Founded in 2013, MedicalTraining.me is your local provider for life saving and leadership training. Our instructors have real life experience in management of emergencies and the communication/conflict resolution skills to make a difference when seconds count. We host training in our Smithfield training center or we can come to you to train your group. Set the date and then come relaxed and ready to learn with interaction and humor.
As a a Certified John Maxwell Trainer, Speaker and Coach with over 20 years of leadership experience, Melissa provided CCOC investors with both leadership and life-saving advice.
"Leadership Advice: Work with your team on conflict resolution skills. Today more than ever, we are seeing a world that is tired and less patient. Short fuses lead to regrettable actions. Make sure your team is aware that this is happening everywhere and extra effort is needed to prevent and diffuse unwanted conflict.
Life-Saving: Bad CPR saves lives every day! Everyone should know how to do CPR as the majority of cardiac arrests happen at home and work. Call 911 and listen to the dispatcher who will talk you through how to respond. If nothing is done prior to EMS arriving, odds are, the person will not survive."
Melissa added, "We offer American Heart Association and American Red Cross lifesaving classes including First Aid and CPR AED. We can teach this in your business or in your home/church for groups of 5 or more. We also offer classes on a continuous basis." She can meet with you to assess your organization's learning needs and then customize courses for professional development. Her expertise is development of communication/conflict resolution skills that incorporates training on bias and generational/cultural/personality differences.
Go to www.medicaltraining.me and click Book Now to find a course.
Childcare Network in Clayton provides high quality childcare for working families. Because they know that "choosing the right childcare for your family is challenging" They have established a checklist for you to use to help you evaluate childcare centers. Check this out on their website.
District Manager, Jamie, said "The need for high quality affordable childcare is critical for the success of our community. We are proud to provide this service and help grow our local economy."
We support working families by providing safe high quality childcare. We know how precious every child is and we are committed to helping every child reach their potential. We are committed to the growth and development of children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old. Our goal is to provide exceptional care so we can support our working families in their careers and grow our communities. Please contact us at 866-521-5437 or https://www.childcarenetwork.com/
Childcare Network, founded in 1988, provides high quality childcare for children from the ages of 6 weeks to 5th grade. This summer they are excited for the EPIC Summer Camp. Children will get to explore the world around them including a walk on the wild side, underwater abyss, and the cosmos, to name a few. In Clayton they are located at 209 Winston Rd, 622 S. Barbour St, 100 East School Rd and 55 Hawkesburg Dr.
Jamie Hairston, District Manager at Childcare Network, said "Access to high-quality child care improves children's opportunities for a better future. At Childcare Network we are committed to providing this high-quality of care at a reasonable price."
To add, she said "we provide affordable and exceptional childcare for working families. Our EPIC summer camp will provide children with opportunities for fun, games and learning. To you, the working parent, every dollar is important, and no child care program delivers better value than Childcare Network! We have very high standards of care, safety and education – plus a whole lot of fun, at a far more affordable price. We help your child get ahead in life, while helping your budget, too."
Learn more about Childcare Network at https://www.childcarenetwork.com/ or contact them today at 866-571-KIDS.
This month, Gabriella Woodson with Chefella's Catering and Event Planning is providing an expert edge for anyone looking to plan an event, host a celebration or order catering soon. The advice she has to provide to other CCOC investors all follow along the lines of adding personal touches makes your event special, plus, with the innovative ideas that Chefella's provides, they can help save you money!
Chefella's Catering and Event Planning, founded in 2017, is a full service catering and event planning company that specializes in special touches and details! What sets us apart is our attention to detail and our all inclusive concept! We start with obtaining your vision for your event or catering and integrating all the needed components in a one stop process! We remove the stress by working with vendors all over NC. We don't just take care of the catering, we handle the linens, planning, rentals, china, floral, DJ and more!
Many times people think catering and hosting events is expensive and will break the bank. That is not true at all. We provide our clients with money saving ideas to cut cost, yet have the event they always wanted! For example a helpful money saving tip is to host more events in your home. By having a gathering, dinner or event in your home you are saving on venue fees, cleaning fees, security fees that may be required by some facilities, etc. This also allows us to work with items you may have in the home to cut down on cost as well. For example, instead of ordering a floral centerpiece for your food table which can get pricy, we can use décor pieces in the home that fit your theme and place them on the food table. It gives the table a personal touch and cuts the cost. By having a small catering or event at home it also saves you money on china rentals and allows you to break out your favorite china and show it off. By adding our service staff, we ensure your china is properly handled, cleaned once the event is over and put away. Service staff is a great way to add style and elegance to any home events yet very inexpensive and necessary.
Having events in the home or just in general can be challenging. We are finding people are itching to get out and be with family and friends again to celebrate milestones and occasions. Our COVID safety plan allows you to have these small gathering permitted under the COVID regulations in a safe and fun way! Hosting small events outdoors is what we are seeing to be most popular. By hosting outdoors you are able to spread out more yet have the components you want such as food and dancing. Service staff, especially now, is more important than ever for safety and sanitation purposes. All of our services we offer can still be provided during the pandemic in a safe and sanitary way!
A final piece of advice is to not forget yourself, your family or your business! Many of times when we think catering or event planning we think large functions, weddings or parties. Catering can be done on any scale...small to large! Catering is one of the best and safest ways to show appreciation to your team or even your family. By ordering catering for your team just once a month shows them just how much you care. This also goes for your family. In the world we live in today, most homes are cooking more than ever. Give your loved ones a break and order dinner for them once or twice a month just to show appreciation. If your team is working from home, we can still cater for them. Have us deliver a meal to the home to spread the love or perhaps a gift basket or pie box. The saying, "Bonding over Bread" is real! Food connects people and brings them together. We need unity and togetherness now more than ever.
This month's Expert Edge is from Joe Pessolano of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. Fairway was founded in 1996 and still today they provide clients with individualized services to meet their needs. Whether clients are looking to buy their first home, a move-up home, vacation home, investment home or their forever home, Fairway Mortgage has products to meet the needs of almost every client. They make it easy by giving clients the option to apply and communicate online, on the phone or in-person. This is something that online-only lenders just can't do and sometimes it is necessary to meet face-to-face to truly make sure that our clients have the best experience and understand the process.
Joe's best piece of advice spurs from the fact that self-employed borrowers are often the most challenged borrowers when it come to qualifying for a home purchase. Joes says "If you own a business and think that you might want to purchase or refinance a home within the next 24 months, it is a good idea to consult with one of our Loan Officers and/or a tax professional to make sure that you are not impeding your ability to qualify due to the way that you file your taxes. Tax returns can be one of the most important items in determining your buying power and when you are not a standard salary employee it pays to know how to maximize your buying power through accurate tax filings."
Joe added, "many believe that all mortgage lenders are the same. This couldn't be further from the truth." Knowing what fees you will be paying for and working with a Loan Officer that can walk you through the process in detail are very important. Some lenders may charge higher fees that other lenders consider optional when it comes to buying down interest rates. At Fairway, we offer our borrowers very low closing cost loans. That means we leave more money in their pockets to buy things for their new home!
Learn more about Fairway Mortgage here.
Due to the current trajectory of regulations in North Carolina, and in order to keep our community safe, the Clayton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, staff and the Town of Clayton have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 Spring Fling Festival (previously the 2020 Harvest Festival) scheduled for April 21-25, 2021.
All parties are hopeful that the 2021 Clayton Harvest Festival will continue as normal this Fall starting October 27 through October 31, 2021. For this reason, all vendor booths, registrations, etc. for the 2021 Spring Fling Festival will automatically be transitioned to the 2021 Clayton Harvest Festival, with the same benefits. No action is needed for vendors (including Main Street Businesses), Food Trucks, Car Show registrations or Squealin on the Square cook team registrations that had previously singed up for the 2021 Spring Fling Festival. If you had not registered already for the 2021 Spring Fling Festival, you will be able to get registered as a vendor for the 2021 Clayton Harvest Festival soon!
More announcements coming soon. Follow CCOC on Facebook at @ClaytonChamberNC to stay in the loop, or subscribe to our weekly newsletter where all updates will be communicated.
This months Expert Edge is provided by Michael Pagliocca, owner of Elite Travel Planners, which was founded in 2004 here in Clayton. Michael started his expert edge by noting that travel has undoubtedly changed with COVID-19, but he adds "Vaccines have begun, and travel is booming for the second half of 2021 and 2022. We suggest planning your vacation now to take advantage of the many land/cruise offers available." In this article, Michael details many of his best tips and tricks for traveling:
Why use a travel planner? Simply put, we look out for your best interest. Did you know that the average person spends 70+ actual hours online researching, planning, deciding between too many options, without real knowledge of the resort or destination? We do that research for our clients. When planning travel, clarity around what you want or don’t want from a property/experience, is crucial.
Here’s a tip for what we look for when booking a hotel/resort or cruise ship:
Value - Is this a great experience at a reasonable price? Do they add complimentary amenities (breakfast/transfers)? What are the hidden costs (resort fees)? Where is the room? What’s the view like (water or roof overlooking a parking lot)?
Location - Is the area safe? Walking distance to the sights? How close is local transportation, the beach, sights/excursions, etc…
Quality - How great is the food? Overall cleanliness and condition of the property/cruise ship? When was it renovated last? What’s the condition of the furniture, pool areas, are the beaches maintained daily? What type of personal services are offered? What are the room amenities?
Service - Is there a concierge? Are your needs met promptly? Will the size of the resort/cruise ship take away from personalized service, and overall experience? For families, are there kids clubs? Is it coloring in a room supervised, or is it taking them onto the beach looking for turtle eggs? Are there experiences built into the programs?
Overall Experience - Is this an immersive experience, or a laid back resort/cruise vacation? Is there construction next door? When looking at a cruise ship deck plan, what aren’t you seeing? Are there obstructions to the view, does that super cheap rate mean bunk beds, and does it include port charges/taxes? Is the room on a busy deck with lots of traffic day/night.
Elite Travel Planners has decades of travel planning experience with cruises, all-inclusive resorts, custom itineraries, and groups. We stay at, inspect many properties and sail on a variety of ships. We get to know the staff and managers, which helps us to best serve our clients needs.
The travel industry has changed policies allowing cancellations with either refunds or future travel certificates, no change fees, and additional reservation options to protect your travel investment. Michael adds "We are your local personal travel planners, real people vs a .com site. We work to curate an experience for you, not just a vacation. We want you to live your list, not just leave it in a bucket. We save you money, and valuable time. This is what we do. We are experts in travel. Use that time to do what YOU do best, make more money, or spend time with your friends and family. Hopefully not on zoom for much longer!"
The Clayton Chamber of Commerce hosted its 2020 Annual Meeting and Community Awards Ceremony, presented by McCullers, Whitaker and Hamer, on December 17, 2020 on YouTube. Congratulations to all 2020 award winners listed below!
2020 Award Winners
Ambassador of the Year Award - Michael Pagliocca (Elite Travel Planners)
Super Star Teacher of the Year Award - Lachandle Nowling (West Clayton Elem)
Innovator of the Year Award - Carolina Youth Theatre (Wes and Nikki Dyke)
Committee of the year - Legislative & Governmental Affairs (Chair Brad Palmer)
Gratitude Awards Stacy Beard & Nader Aboulhosn (Town of Clayton)
Leaving a Legacy Award - Clayton Chamber Foundation Board
Key Contributor - Ruth Anderson (RNE Consultants)
Citizen of the Year - Stacy Beard
Business of the Year - Leak Locators (Sadie and Blake Brown)
Missed the 2020 Annual Meeting and Community Awards Ceremony when it first aired? Watch it at anytime on the CCOC YouTube Channel.
Thank you to our 2020 event sponsors:
Thank you to our Community Partners: The Clayton Downtown Development Association (CDDA), Clayton Rotary Club, and Clayton Women in Networking (WIN).
EXPERT EDGE: PARTNERSHIPS Provide value
This month we will hear the Expert Edge from CCOC investor and Edward Jones Financial Advisor, Melanie Marlow. She founded the Edward Jones Clayton Office in 2000.
Edward Jones primarily focuses on serving the needs of one type of client: the serious, long-term individual investor. When describing what she provides her clients, Melanie Marlow said "We believe a well-diversified portfolio of quality investments, aligned with a client’s goals and risk tolerance, will be more successful over time. I have been a financial advisor with Edward Jones since 2000. I hold Series 7 and series 66 securities registrations, a NC Life/Health Insurance license, and a NC long-term care license. To better serve my clients, I earned both the AAMS® and the ADPA® professional designations."
Melanie suggest partnering closely with clients and collaborating with those in similar career fields to create a well-rounded team full of expertise to provide to those you serve. She said in her own practice she "starts by asking questions about my clients' families, financial situations and life goals to find out what is most important to them. I partner with my clients throughout their lives to help keep them on track. In order to provide comprehensive and coordinated advice, I regularly collaborate with a team of CPAs, estate and elder law attorneys, and other trusted professionals, always keeping client information confidential. I love helping my clients by providing them with resources and action plans as they transition through major life events such as retirement, divorce and settling the estate of a family member." Melanie added, "Within Edward Jones, I serve as the NC Chair of the Grassroots Task Force, which is dedicated to making the voice of the individual investor heard on Capitol Hill. The Grassroots Task Force serves as a constituent resource for elected officials and their staff to ensure they are well informed on how legislative issues impact clients and the firm."
The CCOC Expert Edge is a paid sponsorship.
This Month's Expert Edge is being provided by Angelina Corroo with HomeTowne Realty. She began her career in 2016 and has since garnered a wide range of expertise and success! Read this Expert Edge to learn more about Angelina and the advice she has for fellow business owners.
As a full-time Realtor with HomeTowne Realty, Angelina serves the Greater Triangle and has a wide range of expertise – from new construction to resales, first-time home buyers to investment properties. She is passionate about Real Estate, helping others, and her community. Angelina said "I am fortunate to spend every day doing what I love! As a dedicated CCOC Board member and volunteer it is an honor and a privilege to serve my community and fellow business owners."
When it comes to advice, tips or strategies she has for other investors, business owners or individuals in Clayton that can help address today's business challenges Angelina said "No one could have been prepared for the year that we have had, but it’s always important to remember, especially in difficult times, our relationships are what matter most! People do business with people that they know, like, and trust. What can you do to support someone else? How can you help someone else’s business move forward? Check in with your clients and let them know you are here for them. Reach out a helping hand to those who need it and it will come back to you." Angelina added that now is not the time to lay low and wait for the storm to pass. She gave the following advice: "Be sure to let your followers and community know that you are still out here providing high quality services and goods despite the setbacks of this year. We will get through this together and business can be even bigger and better on the other side."
This CCOC Expert Edge is a paid sponsorship.
CLAYTON, NC – In order to keep the Clayton community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Clayton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Staff, and the Town of Clayton have decided to transform the 2020 Clayton Harvest Festival, originally scheduled for October 28 to November 1, 2020. In lieu of the 2020 Clayton Harvest Festival, the Clayton Chamber of Commerce will be organizing a 2021 Spring Fling Festival to be held April 21 to April 25, 2021.
The Clayton Chamber of Commerce CEO and President, Dana Wooten, said “Although we are extremely disappointed we cannot bring our signature Harvest Festival to Downtown Clayton this fall, we are excited about the opportunity to bring a brand new event to the area in April of 2021. The Clayton Harvest Festival typically brings over 30,000 people to Downtown Clayton over the course of five days. We know that for the safety of this community, and for the financial and planning considerations that take place months in advance, this is the best decision we can make at this time. We are looking forward to bringing this community together again at the 2021 Spring Fling Festival!”
All typical components of the Clayton Harvest Festival including the Midway Carnival rides, Main Street Vendor Fair, Squealin’ on the Square, Car Show, Military Crossroads, Kid’s Village, Hometown Talent Music Stage, and more will be present at the 2021 Spring Fling Festival. All sponsorships and vendor booths that are currently registered for the 2020 Harvest Festival will have the option to transition to the 2021 Spring Fling Festival, with the exact same benefits and opportunities as typically present at the Harvest Festival.
Vendor Registration for the 2021 Spring Fling Festival, brought to you by Leak Locators, is open now. For more information, or to register for the Spring Fling Festival, please visit https://www.claytonspringfestival.com/vendors.html.
In 2021, the Clayton Chamber of Commerce will also be hosting the originally scheduled 2021 Clayton Harvest Festival from October 27 to October 31, 2021. Sponsorship opportunities for the 2021 Clayton Harvest Festival will be available through the 2021 Total Resource campaign, launching September 2020. Vendor Booth Registration for the 2021 Harvest Festival will open in May 2021.
EXPERT EDGE: Just Keep Swimming!
Alligator Steps Swim School, Founded in 2008 (2015 in Clayton) by Larissa Koerschner, offers swim lessons for young children. Larissa created Alligator Steps Swim School while stationed in Okinawa, Japan as a military spouse. She has since opened the business at every location that the Air Force sent her family. The program started as a Music & Movement Class for babies and has since morphed into a full swim school offering swim lessons. Larissa told CCOC about some exciting news: "We recently took on our very first full-time employee. Meghan is our Operations Manager and overseas the entire company while my family is stationed in England." In the next twelve months "we hope to have the blueprints for our own facility and a shovel in our hands ready to dig our first pool!" Said Larissa.
When it comes to advice Larissa would offer to someone starting their own small business, she says it is most important to stay passionate! Larissa said "do what you love and love what you do! If you're passionate about it, follow through and put your all into."
The CCOC Expert Edge article is a paid sponsorship.
Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (CACCE) Presents Communication Excellence Awards for 2020
Communications were recognized in the following four categories:
1 – Advertising & Marketing
2 – Campaigns
3 – Electronic
4 – Publications
One award was presented to the highest scoring chamber in each of the four categories based on the following chamber sizes:
Advertising & Marketing Category
Under 700 Members
Wilson (NC) Chamber – Wilson Means Business Podcast
Over 700 Members
Lexington Chamber & Visitors Center (SC) – 2019 Dining on the Dam
Under 700 Members
Alamance (NC) Chamber – 2020 Alamance Chamber Women’s Symposium – ROAR
Over 700 Members
Greater Winston-Salem, Inc. (NC) – Winston-Salem: Our Time is Now
Under 700 Members
Clayton (NC) Chamber – Economic Development Marketing Video: Think Clayton (View the video below)
Over 700 Members
Greater Summerville/Dorchester County (SC) Chamber – Jena and Kevin Do Things Video Series
Under 700 Members
Richmond County (NC) Chamber – Richmond County Magazine
Over 700 Members
Greater Sumter (SC) Chamber – Membership Directory: Guide to Sumer, SC 2019-2020
About CACCE: CACCE is the professional development organization dedicated to improving the educational opportunities for chamber of commerce executives and staff members in North Carolina and South Carolina. CACCE equips chamber of commerce professionals with leadership skills and tools to build innovative chambers. The organization was formed in 1994 when the North Carolina and South Carolina state chamber associations merged. For more information on CACCE, or any of CACCE’s conferences or programs, contact Tiffany Fulmer Ott at 404.312.0524.
This month's Expert Edge is brought to you by Dr. Melissa Palmer, Audiologist and Owner of High Point Audiological in Clayton. Founded in 2016, High Point Audiological-Clayton offers a wide range of audiological services. They provide comprehensive diagnostic evaluations and individualized treatment plans including:
Dr. Melissa Palmer had this advice for others: "For anyone starting a business, get involved and follow your dreams! Anything is possible!" She adds, "As a health care provider opening a new practice, I was a bit intimidated, as my audiological education offered limited information on how to run a business. As a member of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce, I took advantage of networking, marketing, and educational opportunities for small businesses, which helped me get started and continue to succeed in business! I’ve also enjoyed networking and building friendships through local organizations in the community."
When it comes to protecting your hearing, Dr. Palmer wants to remind other CCOC investors how important this is to your career. She notes, "Difficulty communicating due to a hearing problems can play a big factor in one’s quality of life and can contribute to problems such as fatigue, frustration, depression, anxiety, and social isolation." You may benefit from a full hearing evaluation if the following signs/symptoms are noted:
The CCOC Expert Edge article is a paid sponsorship.
The April Stephens team - RE/MAX One Realty was founded in 2014. The April Stephens team takes pride in providing unparalleled knowledge, service & professional advice to their clients through all walks of the buying, selling or building process. When providing this expert edge, April Stephens talked about the importance of education in this day in age. She has this advice to provide to other CCOC investors and business owners: "It is vital that consumers know all their options. We are not a "one size fits all" generation and the market is constantly changing. I encourage everyone to have a liason they can trust to guide them through any major purchases or decisions to ensure they are making the best decision that works for their situation. Trends always change, ensure you are not making decisions that will be costly to remove in the future." To add, April provided this encouragement: "Trust your GUT & educate yourself on all resources available to you. I have always believed in my gut intuition and trust it completely. If something feels wrong, it typically is." Overall, the expertise April has remind us all to "make big decisions using a combination of gut, research & education."
The CCOC Expert Edge Article is a paid sponsorship.
Starting in April, The Clayton Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Raleigh SCORE Chapter to bring free and confidential business counseling to Clayton!
To make this a success, we need YOUR help. There are two ways to get involved:
APPLY FOR FREE BUSINESS COUNSELING:
Raleigh SCORE is dedicated to providing the best results for you, the client. They provide free counseling to small business clients in all phases of business - from concept to improvements in operations.
Working with a mentor makes the process of starting or expanding a business much easier. Your mentor is a knowledgeable professional that performs the duties of "business advisor and coach" to help guide you through business ownership.
Set up a mentoring session with SCORE mentors if:
a) You are currently in business.
b) You are a beginning entrepreneur and wish to meet with a mentor to discuss and review your idea.
VOLUNTEER AS A SCORE MENTOR:
To make this program a success, it requires dedicated mentors to provide guidance. Over the years, the Raleigh SCORE chapter has grown from a handful of counselors to about sixty dedicated counselors, who have experience in a wide range of industries from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses.
Every year, SCORE volunteers help thousands of entrepreneurs start small businesses in various industries and achieve new levels of success. Volunteering is a way for you to give back, network with business experts, and share your knowledge.
Starting Thursday, April 2nd, SCORE Mentors will provide three 1-hour counseling sessions a week at the Clayton Chamber of Commerce. Signing up to volunteer or receive counseling occurs on a rolling basis, but spots will fill up fast. Be sure to apply soon!
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL THE RALEIGH SCORE OFFICE AT (919) 869-4151.