Thanks to your strong support and commitment, the Chamber continues to enjoy remarkable success. For over a decade, we have followed a vision that was created by the membership and forged into a plan by the Chamber Board of Directors.
The primary points of the vision for the Chamber were:
· Establish a new Economic Development Department: Since its inception economic development efforts have generated nearly $1 billion in new capital investment and over 10,000 new jobs.
· Create a new Tourism Department: Generated nearly 50,000 hotel room nights and over $8 million in sales tax revenue from visitors to our community.
· Lead the effort to secure voter approval for several bond and SPLOST referendums, generating billions of dollars in new critical infrastructure that drives an even more vibrant business climate.
· Establish the Business Advancement Resource (BAR) to directly support Chamber members and growing businesses. The BAR has served the needs of thousands of business people, supporting their efforts to create thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars in new capital investment.
A central theme in achieving this vision is continuing to listen closely to our members, stakeholders and partners – and to respond to the ever-changing needs of our community.
During this past year, thanks to the leadership of the Board of Commissioners, we substantially expanded our partnership with Forsyth County Government to significantly expand our economic development capabilities. The immediate results are impressive:
· Inquiries are up 113% with 66 new project inquiries
· Announcements are up 93% with 28 project announcements
We were also asked to work with our primary stakeholders to facilitate the creation of a new, long term economic development plan for Forsyth County. The presentation of the first draft of the plan was presented to the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners on August 28. The plan will create over 5,000 new jobs in the community and save tax payers over $83 million. I encourage you to take a few minutes to hear the presentation by clicking HERE.
Based on your input, the Chamber is implementing a new and far more robust tourism development plan. The plan is already showing some impressive results in growing the film market. With the launching of the new marketing campaign, Film Forsyth, we have seen 367% increase in film inquiries in Forsyth County. You can learn more about Film Forsyth by clicking HERE.
To focus on growth for our industry focused councils, we have consolidated them under the leadership of a new position, Director of Chamber Councils. We will see a growing quality of programming and membership with each of the councils with the reorganization and focus of attention.
Last year, the Chamber Board asked the Chamber team to do some analysis regarding the Chamber and community brand. The results of that analysis will be presented to the Chamber Board at their September meeting. I anticipate that you will hear more about refreshing the Chamber brand and a renewed focus on the community economic development brand as well.
A New Chamber Office Location:
In short, we are growing . . . and we have outgrown our offices. The Chamber purchased the property and moved into the current location in 2000. It was a great move for the organization. It helped us grow financially and programmatically in ways that would have been impossible elsewhere. For us to continue to achieve your vision and your goals for the Chamber’s future, it is imperative that we have an office that will facilitate a new way of working and improve the way we serve you.
The first step in the process was to sell our current facility. I am pleased to share with you that the Forsyth County Government made an offer to purchase the Chamber office and property. The offer of $800,000 was unanimously accepted by the Chamber Board of Directors. On Thursday, September 6th, the Board of Commissioners voted 4-0 to purchase the property.
We are currently in negotiations for a new office location. It is premature to share details. Please know that I will keep you informed as I have more to share. In the interim, we would very much like to get your input on what you want to see in a new Chamber office and how we can best serve your needs and continue to achieve your vision for the future of the organization. Below is a link to a short survey to give us your input. We will include this in our planning for a new office location.
These are some very exciting times for the Chamber and for the community. Thank you for your continued support and confidence –
All the best –
President & CEO
Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce
212 Kelly Mill Road
Cumming, GA 30040