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Shelbyville - Bedford County Chamber of Commerce

Posted Thursday, July 8, 2010, at 8:41 PM

Not long ago I requested that readers bring topics to me that they wanted to see discussed in the blog format. One topic that came up more than a few times was the Chamber of Commerce. Some wanted a better definition of their mission statement, which made me look for this on their web page. Does anyone know if it is on there? If not, do you have a copy? I will put it out here?

When I first operated a business in Shelbyville during the mid 70's, the Chamber was my lifeline, mentor, friend, and social conduit to the business community. All of that was delivered to me through one particular person, Evelyn McGrew. If not for Evelyn, I probably would have buried myself in the business and never come out until I was burned up and gone. I thanked her in person numerous times, but I might as well use this venue to say it publicly, THANK YOU!

I should know how many years Evelyn served the Chamber and this community, but I left town chasing the ever elusive "success" up the corporate ladder and never knew when she retired. Maybe someone knows, but thinking about this also made me realize that in the past few years the person most of us interface with on a daily basis has changed quite a bit. They all seemed competent, aggressive, helpful and certainly friendly so....what's up? In case you don't know, the position is vacant again.

Another topic was what is the direction of the Chamber's growth? The new "after hours" activity is a positive step to all that I spoke with and they are wondering what more can be done?

The Middle Tennessee Business Network (MTBN) is working well with the Chamber and what will that stimulate?

What are the plans for the Ambassador program?

The comments I see occasionally on this blog are mixed about what the local merchants and businesses have to offer our neighbors. Some say they go to Murfreesboro, some to Tullahoma while comments just today were how pleased they are with the community and yes there is room to improve but they really would not want to live anywhere else. The only way this will improve is for US to talk it out and support our community.

Some say nothing has changed, but over the past 30 years, I have seen a lot of change! Mostly good, with a chaser of 'could be better' but I have no interest in packing my bags. Leaving will not help change anything.

What do you say Bedford County? What do you want to see from the Chamber, what new things do you want see?

I understand that a few of the Board members are retiring, which leaves vacancies. We don't need names here, but what type of person needs to on there? If you have a name, be sure to nominate them. If you are not a member, join or find a member who will make your thoughts known.

Have other thoughts?

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

It is interesting that I am getting some comments from e-mail but not on here. Not sure what that says, but I might start adding the comments ( without sources)in the form a question later this evening.

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Jul 9, 2010, at 10:05 AM

I've noticed increasing support of retailers--the Chamber hosted a free session on marketing with the presenter offering continued info on resources. Lots of good information. Unfortunately the room wasn't full.

Also, in the T-G and from Chamber leadership I am aware of efforts to build tourism. I've been told that tourism is the second fastest growing industry in Tennessee. A honeymoon couple from Wisconsin asked me for suggestions for things to do in the area. They weren't interested in big theme parks, just interesting things to see and do. There are people who travel to find what we have here at home and the money they spend helps local businesses and supports services through sales tax.

-- Posted by jbillswms on Fri, Jul 9, 2010, at 8:49 PM

Funny you should mention tourism. I thought there were other groups covering that but apparently the Chamber has it all. Seems like a LOT to try to cover.

I had to cancel on that free session at the last minute. Were there notes or info sheets left behind? Most of the folks writing to me would like to help but not sure how or if the help would be accepted.

What I am not understanding is why they write to me and not here. It is not really negative comments but maybe they are concerned it will be misinterpreted. Constructive comments can sometimes seem that way.

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Jul 9, 2010, at 10:41 PM

Could the reason we have problems in the Shelbyville/Bedford County marketplace be because of APATHY? Who know?, Who cares?

-- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Jul 11, 2010, at 10:08 AM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.