Robert Gatlin, one of two remaining original members of Raeford Fire Department that first formed on December 30, 1925, told of the fire that caused six stores in downtown Raeford to burn December 30. At a dinner of firemen and their guests he addressed this event.
Joshua Bain moved to Raeford three years ago and loves its small-town atmosphere. He enjoys meeting neighbors at grocery stores and taking strolls around town in the evening, sharing pleasantries with fellow residents.
The Chamber’s Purpose
Chambers are groups of business owners who come together to support one another in expanding their businesses and advocate for policies that benefit the business community as a whole. Some chambers cater exclusively to certain industries or types of businesses while others may offer membership for all.
Many chambers provide training and educational sessions for their members, which helps them run their businesses more efficiently and effectively. Furthermore, chambers may host networking events so their members can connect – usually free or discounted rate events are usually provided to members.
Chambers also play an essential role in representing their members’ interests in local government, especially if new regulations, fees, taxes or costs introduced by local officials could have an adverse impact on businesses in their area. Chambers frequently meet with officials in these jurisdictions and inform them about potential issues so they can be addressed before having a detrimental effect on local business communities.
Chambers are nonprofit organizations usually operated by business owners or a board of directors, not part of local government but working closely together with them to promote business interests in a community. Chambers may work alongside tourism or economic development teams that also collaborate within this regard.
The Chamber’s Mission
A chamber’s mission is to promote its members and the local community at large. Additionally, they act as a catalyst for economic development while leading community improvement initiatives – examples include marketing the community as an attractive business location; supporting local and expanding businesses alike; offering networking opportunities; lobbying on legislative matters that directly affect members; as well as lobbying against legislation which might adversely impact them.
Additionally, chambers offer their members facilities for networking, hosting events and conducting business meetings; access to loans through relationships with banks; HR services like benefits administration, training and security assistance as well as accounting consultation services are also often provided by chambers.
Some chambers of commerce operate charitable foundations as non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations to further their missions and goals while also serving as an intermediary for businesses making tax-deductible donations to local charities.
Brad Calloway hails from Raeford, North Carolina and currently owns Raeford Hardware, established by his grandfather and father back in 1973. A member of the Chamber of Commerce for eleven years and serving on its Board of Directors; now serving as Director of Raeford/Hoke Economic Development allows him to combine both passions for business and community involvement in one position.
The Chamber’s Vision
The Chamber’s vision is to strengthen local economies, support business development and growth, and foster an optimal business environment at all levels of government. Members are the driving forces for change within their communities, working tirelessly without seeking glory or public office titles – they’re known simply as Chamber volunteers and staff.
The Chamber’s mission is to support businesses of all kinds and sizes through advocacy, networking and campaigns; providing access to experts and consultants; business referrals; listing on its website for visibility purposes – these services and more make the Chamber an indispensable partner.
Since 1912, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been the world’s leading business federation. Representing businesses and free enterprise, its advocacy extends to Congress, White House, federal agencies, regulatory bodies, foreign governments and more globally.
Raeford Hoke Chamber of Commerce’s Expo has been postponed due to pandemic, but will now take place this month at the County Parking Lot. Chamber Director Liz McNeill states that this Expo will enable local residents to connect with area employers and find employment opportunities, with local companies being able to set up booths in exchange for providing informational materials about themselves.
The Chamber’s Values
Chambers offer more than networking; they also provide services that help their members prosper, such as marketing opportunities, access to facilities and financial access. Chambers advocate on local issues that impact businesses; they often work alongside tourism groups or economic development teams in the community.
Values form the cornerstone of a chamber’s mission and vision statements. They set the standard for how it should operate and what initiatives should receive support, while they also serve as a basis for how members of its community should interact with it and its members.
To define its values, chambers engage in strategic outreach to community stakeholders – including neighborhood-based organizations, local businesses, nonprofits, economic development organizations, and cultural organizations – so as to build partnerships among them that may lead to increased business and employment opportunities within their locality while improving both the chamber’s standing as an organization and its members’ reputations.
When choosing a chamber, it’s essential that you understand its board of directors and executive council members well enough that you can understand their backgrounds and contributions, enabling you to select one best suited to your business needs. Make sure you attend several chamber events where members are present so you can gain more information and see how it could potentially benefit your venture.