09 18 2014

Annual Chamber Luncheon Set For March 21

The Wills Point Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the Annual Civic Awards luncheon, titled the Wills Point “SACK” Awards 2013 sponsored by ONCOR, on Thursday, March 21 at noon at the Wills Point Church of Christ.
This luncheon is for all of the Chamber of Commerce family of membership. Rotary Club and Pilot Club of Wills Point will be presenting their club awards along with the Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year and other awards.
Wills Point is a rural community and farmers are a big part of the economy in this area. The Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize the American farmer with the luncheon theme and all local farmers are invited to attend, as well.
“We want to be very mindful to the needs in our community. In an economy that has struggled, our families have been forced to reach out for help to feed their families and keep their homes running,” stated Wills Point Chamber President Jennifer Ross.
The chamber board chose to be good stewards of the sponsorship money received through ONCOR by being creative with the theme and decorating in a way that will allow them to give back by donating all items used to the Wills Point International Outreach food pantry that services 100 plus families every week more than 60 tons of food per year.
“This luncheon is our opportunity to thank our supporters, recognize some of our outstanding citizen’s and share our future plans with our membership,” said Ross.
When asked what the goals of the chamber are the obvious answer is community development. Attracting wealth to our community through assisting with small business development, retention and expansion; tourism programs and increased awareness of the impact shopping locally can make to our community are key to our future success.
However, beyond the cookie cutter answer there is a much broader scope to what the goals of the chamber are. Connecting our community in a positive way so that we are all working towards a common goal is in our top three goals. Identifying the strengths, weaknesses and future needs for Wills Point to thrive is a priority.
Every community member or organization has their niche, their strength. No one person can do everything, but together we can accomplish great things and experience success in a big way.
It is a focus of the chamber to identify those strengths and help to encourage and nurture them and get our community motivated to participate to improve the quality of life in Wills Point. When we are approached with a concern or request, rather than working from within to meet the need, it is our job to look to our community and find the strongest avenue for involvement.
“When I was approached by EDC Board member Dyde Manning about a community clean-up effort I tried to identify what organization best fit that niche. Keep Wills Point Beautiful immediately came to mind. What better way to keep our town beautiful than to clean it up? One phone call to Viki Arnold, KWPB Representative, and they were off and running with a plan to involve the entire community. I am so proud of them the job they have done. The willingness to work together is what it takes to be successful!” stated Ross.
The chamber is very proud of the growth we can see in Wills Point. One clear sign of positive growth are the sales tax revenue numbers. 2012 ended with an 8.24 percent increase over 2011 overall. The latest numbers (March 2013 deposit) shows an 11.46 percent increase so far in 2013 over 2012.
A large part of this growth can be attributed to our small businesses. We have several new businesses and some of our established businesses made positive additions to their facilities, products and services. Programs like the “CASH MOB,” the 3/50 Project and growth in our Chamber events have also attributed to these numbers.
The increased income ($22,279.44 so far in 2013) comes directly to the city of Wills Point. This helps to answer the question “what does the chamber of commerce do for our community?” Though all the growth can’t be attributed to the chamber, a good portion can and the chamber will continue the work to achieve it.
Looking to the future, one chamber focus is to equip their leaders through education. Recently, Ross participated in year one of the Texas Community Development Institute.
This course is designed to equip community leaders with the skills and tools necessary to succeed. The curriculum included study in community development, community assessments, vision/strategic planning, marketing tools, community partnering and much more.
This is a three-year commitment on behalf of the chamber to build a strong foundation in successful community development for the future.
“In order to be effective in competing with other cities for business we need to be proactive rather than reactive to our changing economic climate. The world is changing fast around us and we better be prepared adapt, keeping and respecting the historic significance of Wills Point while integrating new, fresh ideas into our plans for the future,” stated Ross.
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Bobbi Byford, added, “The Wills Point Chamber of Commerce through the efforts of Jennifer Ross, president, and its members was and continues to be committed, active and thriving. The chamber is about the business of unifying the businesses and the public in a likeminded community spirit.”
The chamber membership is at 125-plus business members as well as additional individual members. Business membership rates begin at $12/months or $144/year, individual membership is $25/year and non-profit membership is $99/year.
Every local business or citizen is invited to participate in the Chamber through membership or volunteering. When asked “what can the Chamber do for my business?” there can be a multitude of answers.
Beyond the basic marketing and connection to the community, attending to the task of growing Wills Point is vitally important and all growth has a positive impact on local business! Support from the business community is what allows the chamber to continue that work.
Anyone interested in receiving more information about membership is invited to contact the chamber at (903) 873-3111 or visit www.willspointchamber.com and click the membership link. Wills Point Church of Christ is located State Highway 64.
Any chamber member planning to attend the “SACK” Awards luncheon is asked to RSVP on or before March 19 by phone or email.

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