Although the Hopkins County Regional Chamber of Commerce ended 2021 strong, they are always looking for new ways to support local businesses.
Chamber President Libby Spencer said this year’s tag line is “Believe in Hopkins County, Belong to the Chamber.”
“Everything that we are doing is going to have that tag line of working together for the betterment of Hopkins County,” she said.
This year the chamber is looking at things in a whole new way, she said. Before the chamber was trying to be all things to all people and this year decided to have one plan and one vision.
“To be a proponent for business and our members in our community first and foremost and to make sure they are successful,” said Spencer.
This year the chamber has changed how their events will go. She said a lot of what they plan on doing is morning breakfast meetings.
“We found that that is what people said they wanted,” said Spencer. “They wanted morning time events as opposed to lunchtime events.”
They have a new event series called Eye Opener Breakfasts, which will be monthly breakfasts that will hit on topics like tourism, arts and culture, and education.
“We are going to have special guests around each one of these topics,” she said. “That is going to be our monthly series for members.”
Another new series this year is A Summer to Remember, which is a membership campaign.
“We haven’t had one in probably 10 plus years,” said Spencer. “Our goal is to go from 502 members to 650 members. I’m kind of excited because we are stronger together.”
She said another new program launching this year is, Propel, a free five-week board training program.
“It is important for anyone who wants to serve that they have an understanding of what it is like to be a board member, so this will be a great opportunity to explain the non-profit, how to read financials,” said Spener.
Along with the new events, the chamber will still have the favorites like the State of the City and County, where the community can hear from the Mayor and Judge Executive. The chamber will also have its golf tournament in June and the Farm City Breakfast in November.
One event that is a little different this year is the Tim Thomas Community Prayer Breakfast in May.
“It is going to be in his honor and memory,” said Spencer. “He started this event last year, and I could not let it die.”
She said the chamber will have the Leadership Hopkins County this year, as normal. It is a 12-month program that the chamber had to cancel last year due to COVID. Spencer said she was excited to bring it back.
The chamber is also planning to bring back Evening of the Stars around March or May. She said it is a large event because all 502 chamber members are invited, and it is hard to find a space big enough.
For 2022, Spencer said the chamber is planning on expanding its retail recruitment through its relatively new retail committee.
“This committee is going to be really important for our future,” she said.
As for the chamber as a whole, their focus will on business retention and expansion this year. She said infrastructure projects for the community will be very important too. She hopes legislation will come out that makes starting a business easier.
“Anything that makes it easier for someone to open a business, to create a business,” said Spencer. “I think advocacy is going to play a big role this year.”