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.
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!"
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.
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.
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.
Founded in 2012. Edge Printed Products provides almost any type of printed product you can think of! We offer screen printing, embroidery, direct to garment printing, sublimation vinyl, athletic vinyl, signage, and e-commerce fulfillment. Nick Santopietro with Edge said "One of the things we pride ourselves on the most is understanding the importance of building relationships with our clients and seeing the value in the long term vision, rather than just thinking about every project or client in the short term. We love to value and understand every person we work with as an individual and their different wants and needs." Edge Printed Products provides other CCOC investors with this advice: "Clayton is an amazing and rapidly growing community. We would advise everyone to take advantage of all of the great opportunities, business and not, that Clayton has to offer!"
The CCOC Expert Edge Article is a paid sponsorship.
The Longleaf Wealth Advisory Group of Raymond James is a full service Financial Advisory practice with locations in Wake and Johnston Counties. They joined Raymond James in 2015 from Davenport and Wells Fargo Advisors. Now, the office consists of four advisors and two support staff.
James Forrester of the Longleaf Wealth Advisory Group provides this weeks expert edge on how to offset taxes with retirement account contributions. Click here to view the article filled with strategies and tips that could be useful when planning for taxes. Another piece of advice that James provides is to "seek advice from peers and professionals. There are many resources available and plenty of people willing to help if you ask."
--James Forrester, Longleaf Wealth Advisory Group of Raymond James
Longleaf Wealth Advisory Group of Raymond James
919.784.8300 // 800-688-4380// F 855.824.7380
3515 Glenwood Avenue, Suite 200 Raleigh, NC 27612
310 Bridge Street, Smithfield, NC 27577
Raymond James & Associates, Inc., member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC
This CCOC Expert Edge article is a paid sponsorship.
This expert edge is all about how to leverage your CCOC benefits to best market YOUR company. If you are currently an investor with us, this will be a great reminder about many of the beneficial things included in your investment. If you are not an investor with CCOC, read about some of the benefits that you could be utilizing as a member of the chamber. These tips and tricks are coming straight from Samantha and Sara, CCOC’s investor relations coordinators, so if you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to them!
As an investor with CCOC, what should I do first?
We recommend that all of our investors consistently check the online CCOC Calendar to plan out which events you want to attend. As a new investor, If you’re not sure which event to visit first, let us recommend our Friday morning events: Good Morning Clayton (GMC) and Chamber U. At GMC, you will have the chance to enjoy breakfast and coffee while networking with other CCOC investors. One of the perks of GMC, is that each person in attendance has the opportunity to give a 20-second commercial to the group. Immediately following GMC, is Chamber U, where Sam and Sara sit down with a small group to go over everything CCOC-related and answer any questions you may have. Coming to a Chamber U session is a great way to get more detailed information on how to utilize your online portal through the CCOC directory. The directory (located on the CCOC website) provides you the opportunity to include information about your company in order to increase brand exposure, harness search engine optimization and leverage the CCOC referral platform. In order to maximize your investment, it is crucial to make sure your portal stands out by adding links to your company’s website, social media, any available coupons you are offering and photos!
How do I access and edit my portal?
In order to access your portal, go to the CCOC website. Under the Directory/Login tab (in the top right-hand corner of the home page) click login. Enter the username and password that was in your welcome email from the chamber. If you do not remember or need a new password, call the chamber or email Samantha <firstname.lastname@example.org> so she can provide you with a new one. You can change your password manually at any time by going to the “Change Username/Password” section of your portal.
What are the first three things a new investor should add to their portal?
According to Samantha and Sara, after adding the basics (address, phone number, email) the first three things you should add to your portal are:
How many people will see the portal?
In 2018, there were 500,000 investor referrals from CCOC’s online business directory. On average, each investor receives 829 referrals a year. As you can tell, this CCOC benefit is always working for YOU! These referrals help your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and provide brand awareness. They can also convert into clicks, conversations and ultimately clients/customers.
If you have any questions, reach out to Sara <Sara@claytonchamber.com> or Samantha <email@example.com>.
CLAYTON, NC -- Glow Yoga, founded in 2017 by Tiffany Pridgen, provides group and private yoga, Pilates, meditation classes, workshops, teacher trainings, reiki energy healing, crystal healing, holistic health and wellness coaching, and sound healing. The Clayton Chamber of Commerce spoke with Tiffany about advice she has for fellow business owners. Here is her expert edge: “As entrepreneurs, we often discover that our passion for growing and expanding our impact in the community supersedes our own personal desires for growth. Many business owners face challenges of burnout and fatigue as they "burn the candle at both ends." One of the most effective tools for managing stress and preventing burnout is our own personal acceptance that we are our business, and our self-care is imperative for success. If we [as small business owners] take ownership of our own personal well-being, our businesses will thrive as well.”
Tiffany uses her yoga background to provide some tangible ways to take ownership of your well-being, including “setting aside quiet time every morning for meditation or intention setting, blocking off time from your calendar daily or weekly to recharge and reconnect to your sole purpose through yoga, meditation, journaling, self-reflection or spending time in nature. Staying connected to your core values will keep you grounded and focused. This will help you to achieve more as you grow personally and professionally.”
Tiffany adds to her advice by encouraging others “to celebrate your small victories and focus your energy there. Business owners face many challenges and often find themselves wearing many hats; accepting challenge after challenge becomes second nature. Our drive for continuous improvement often overshadows the small day to day wins. I use a daily planner that includes a "victories for today" section. I like to fill that in at the end of every day. It keeps me focused and reaffirms that I have all the tools I need to grow my business successfully, regardless of any challenges I may be currently working through.”
--Glow Yoga, Founded 2017, Tiffany Pridgen
This CCOC Expert Edge article is a paid sponsorship.