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Welcome to Chamber Insights: Complete July 2008 issue

In the July 2008 Chamber Insights issue
  • President Donna Stotts' message
  • Looking ahead: Calendar items
  • August: What makes August special?
  • "Want to start a business?" by Dr. Dan Koger,with quotes from Chris Wilson, Dr, Max Downey, Darrell Overstreet, Jim Hadley, and Pat Bell.
  • How well do you know your customers. 7 Steps to held
  • Are you ready to jump in? Tourist attractions in area

The monthly newsletter of the Columbia-Adair County Chamber of Commerce.

Editor: Sue Stivers
President's Message: Donna Stotts
Feature Writer: Dr. Dan Koger

The Purpose of the Columbia-Adair County Chamber of Commerce is to Promote and Enhance the Business, Cultural, Educational and Civic Well Being of Columbia and Adair County.

Thought for the Month: Would YOU do business with YOU?"

President's Message: Donna Stotts

As we approach the end of July, it's time to stop for a moment and catch our breath. Summer is fun, but also comes with hectic schedules. Juggling family vacations, ball & band practice, County Fairs, and an endless supply of garden vegetables, that leaves many to wonder where the summer has gone.

The guest speaker of the July monthly meeting was Sarah Warner, Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House in Lexington, Kentucky. Sarah captivated those in attendance on the impact of the families that stay at the Ronald McDonald House. Norma Scott was the President's guest due to her fundraising event that brought in over $6,000 for the Ronald McDonald House in Louisville. She sets an example for all of us to follow. The Chamber encourages all members to start a collection of pop tabs. These may be dropped off at Lee's Famous Recipe or McDonald's.

School will start in Adair County on August 7th, be sure to travel with extra caution. These children are our future; let's keep them safe so that they will always remember that "Columbia, Kentucky is a Great Place to Call Home".

Corporate Sponsor of the Month - McDonald's of Columbia

A special "Thank You" to McDonald's of Columbia for being Corporate Sponsor of the month for the July Chamber of Commerce meeting. Owners are David Branscum of Russell Springs and his daughter Pam Hancock of Columbia. It is businesses such as McDonald's that help to make your Chamber a great organization. You are appreciated!

The following talk was given by Pam Hancock at the monthly meeting:

In 1955 Ray Kroc opened the First McDonald's restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois - - he was a salesman who invested his entire life savings to become the exclusive distributor of a five-spindled mile shake maker called the Multimixer. Hearing about the McDonald's hamburger stand in California running eight Multimixers at a time, he packed up and headed west. This was in 1954. He was 52 years old.

Dick and Mac McDonald were brothers who had the hamburger stand that Ray went to see. He pitched the idea of opening several restaurants to them, convinced that he could sell eight of his Multimixers to each of the new restaurants. "Who could we get to open them for us?" Dick McDonald said. "Well", Kroc answered, "what about me?" And that is how McDonald's began.

McDonald's of Columbia opened July 16, 1992, 16 years ago. My father, David Branscum owns 5 McDonald's restaurants - - Russell Springs, Monticello, Edmonton, Albany and Columbia. My sister and her husband have 5 restaurants, 3 in the Corbin area, Williamsburg and Barbourville. I began my career as store manager here in Columbia for eight years. I then supervised Columbia and Edmonton for 3 years and for the last 5 years have been the Business/Deployment Manager for all 10 stores as well as teaching ServSafe for our organization. I am currently overseeing my fathers 5 stores as the Director of Operations. I am also serving as the People Team Chairperson for the Lexington Co-op, which consists of rewards and recognition of Managers in 64 restaurants in Central and Southeastern Kentucky.

Looking Ahead...

Ribbon Cutting - Friday, August 1, 2008 - 11:00amCT at Hometown Wireless, located at 1419 Campbellsville Road, Columbia.

Next Monthly Chamber Meeting - Tuesday, August 19, 2008 - 11:45amCT at Columbia United Methodist Church. Catered meal. Make reservations not later than noon on Friday, August 15th. Guest Speaker will be Eric Churchill, Director of Development, Kosair Charities and will be introduced by Robert Flowers, President-CEO, Bank of Columbia.

Wares Fair - Wednesday, August 20, 2008. at Biggers Sports Center. This event will showcase our community to students and faculty at Lindsey Wilson College.

Folklore of the Old West and Christmas In Columbia - will be two major events for our community. Would you like to volunteer to serve on a committee? Your help is needed. These events require a lot of planning and work in order to be successful. Enjoy being a volunteer and help make your community a better place to live. To volunteer, call the Chamber office at 384-6020 or stop by the office located at 201 Burkesville Street in Columbia.

August: What makes August Special?

August is just around the corner and it is typically our hottest month of the year. However, some may want to disagree as we have had some hot and humid weather this summer. It's a time for last-minute vacations, Back-to-School preparation and the beginning of a new school year.

Some of the things that make August Special is...Kentucky State Fair, National Watermelon Day, Family Fun Month, National Catfish Month, Yard Sales, National Golf Month, Seeing the students arrive at Lindsey Wilson College and knowing they will become a part of our community and school buses on the roads with the opening of the Adair County Schools. You can begin to feel the excitement in the air!

Even though the economy is slow, as a business owner, you may want to think of ways how you can market your business to increase traffic and sales. One idea is to offer Back-to-School packages such as kids stay free, kids eat free, specials on school supplies, hands on workshops and activities. Why not offer a "Rest and Relax" teacher special by partnering with local businesses such as hair salons, massage therapy, nail salons for manicures and pedicures, coffee shops, book stores, clothing and shoe stores, etc. Be creative and think of new ideas for marketing your business.

Always remember a warm greeting and friendly smile go a long way in making your customers and visitors feel truly welcome and know that their patronage is appreciated.

The Chamber welcomes Dr. Dan Koger, Associate Professor of Communication at Lindsey Wilson College to "Chamber Insights" as our new feature writer. A special thank you to Dan for sharing his time and talents with us. The following is his first article entitled:

"Want to Start a Business?"
By Dr. Dan Koger

Want to Start a Business?

Try Tapping Into The Entrepreneurial Spirit of Adair County

Realtor Chris Wilson isn't shy in his views of Columbia-Adair County as a place to start your own business. To him the area is "the entrepreneurial capital of the world".

Whether this can be numerically verified is beside the point for Wilson, who started his successful real estate business in Adair county several years ago.

Just look around at all the small businesses here, he says, many of them began in the past few years.

And while you're looking, says Dr. Max Downey, who started a large optometry practice here, think about the history of Columbia and Adair County.

"We have an entrepreneurial way of life here," he said. "It's like the rest of the country was in the 50's and 60's. And don't forget some of the inventors who started businesses here, like the creator of a process for wrapping bars of soap or the inventor of a machine for making corrugated paper board for boxes."

Darrell Overstreet, who started a mortgage business in Columbia, is a life-long resident of the area. He sees lots of forces coming together to bring beneficial change, with small business and entrepreneurship as a key part of the process.

But, he says, having the right attitude is critical. "We've lost some factories, like Oshkosh," he said. "The area can't let that stop progress".

Overstreet, like others, points to the many recent projects that can come together for economic improvement. Among these are the bypass, a big Wal-Mart, a new water plant, expansion at Lindsey Wilson College, a new county-government building and reactivation of the Industrial Development Authority.

What he'd like from all this, Overstreet said, is for a clear vision to emerge that will direct these changes in a productive direction.

"I'm seeing the area blossom with opportunity," he said. "This is the most positive that I've seen in my lifetime. We can't let old thinking slow us down."

Jim Hadley thinks opportunities are there for entrepreneurs in Columbia and Adair County who are willing to take "a calculated risk".

Hadley, founder and President of Majestic Yachts, knows something about risk. His company manufactures big houseboats costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"You have to invest in yourself", he said of his business attitude, even as his firm looks for creative ways to manage the challenges of high gasoline prices.

"Our nationwide sales force is strong and we're always looking for ways to improve and adapt", he said. For example, Hadley's customers can now order their boats with arrays of solar panels installed. His factory, at the intersection of the bypass and the Columbia Parkway, will soon have a large new sign proclaiming his location to passing motorists as the home of "Majestic Yachts".

He, like other area entrepreneurs, would like to see more training and retraining opportunities for the local workforce. He's hopeful that Lindsey Wilson College will join the Columbia-Adair County Chamber of Commerce and Adair County High School in making such learning available to all in the area who want it.

Columbia Mayor Pat Bell points to efforts by his administration to support local businesses, especially entrepreneurial start-ups.

"We have to grow our entrepreneurs", he said. "Look at what we have here. We have to support our existing businesses and help new ones get started".

As attractive as it might be to lure a major manufacturer to the area, neither Bell nor Adair County Judge Executive Ann Melton are waiting until that happens.

"We have to help those businesses that are here", Melton said. "We have to make the best possible use of our existing resources. That means we have to find the best possible use for the Courthouse. We need to make downtown Columbia viable and alive. We need public forums on economic development so the people can tell us what they want for their community".

If the nation's economic-development experts are right, Columbia and Adair County are on the right track.

One of these development gurus, Jack Schultz, author of the bestselling book Boom Town - 7 Keys to Big Success in Small Towns, notes in his Key #5 that community leaders need to "encourage an entrepreneurial spirit".

"Look deeply into any prospering small town, and you'll find an entrepreneurial spirit manifesting itself in any number of ways", Schultz writes. In his view, a town can't have too many entrepreneurs.

In an age of computers, the internet and wide-ranging diversity of location, he writes, top workers can often live where they choose. Small towns, and what Schultz call "Agurbs", often have a strong edge over urban areas as a desirable place for such skilled workers to live and raise a family.

Handling the changes that entrepreneurial activities can bring to small towns won't always be easy, Schultz writes. In fact, they can often challenge the status quo. But communities that want to prosper must be prepared to leave their "comfort zones".

"Towns trying to expand their comfort zones must face two enemies", he writes, "Status Quo and Fear of Failure. Together they make a powerful tag-team intent on deterring expansion into new areas of growth. Those who pay heed to status quo and fear of failure find the pull and sway of these two enemies irresistible; it's like trying to run in a vat of waist-deep, thick, rich molasses. You're not going to get anywhere very quickly".

Community leaders and residents who can avoid these twin deterrents can direct change in ways that benefit everyone.

"Towns that see change as a necessary component of community health will stay a step ahead, remain prosperous or get on the road to revitalization", Schultz writes. "Change is the vehicle that keeps you moving forward on that road to success or revival".

For the many entrepreneurs of Columbia and Adair County this is pretty much business as usual.

How Well Do You Know Your Customers?

As a business owner, how well do you know your customers? Resolve to make a concerted and consistent effort to get to know your customers.

Step One: Be a Good Listener. Don't impose your own beliefs or preferences on your customer.

Step Two:Get Down in the Trenches. Have a personal one-on-one encounter with your customers every single day.

Step Three: Ask the Right Questions. Find out how much customers will pay, what level of quality they desire, how quickly they need your products or services. What they like or dislike about your products.

Step Four: What are the Customer's Alternatives? Know what the customer's alternatives are. Know who the competition is and shop it regularly.

Step Five: Dig Out More Facts. Learn about your customers through demographics, other factual data and most important...talking to them.

Step Six: Buyers Aren't Always Truthful. Don't just listen to your customers but strive to understand their needs. This may require the use of subtle techniques to establish enough of a rapport to get your customers to open up and articulate their wants and desires. The better relationship you have with your customer, the more open they will be with you.

Step Seven: Be Creative. Find new and innovative ways to get to know your customers.Step Eight: Stir the Pot. Don't let the information you have obtained gather dust. Use it to improve your products or services and to create new ones.

"Genuine listening means suspending memory, desire, and judgment...and, for a moment at least, existing for the other person."

Are You Ready To Jump In?

Would you like to "jump in" and travel in the Heartland Waterways Corridor? There are attractions ready for you to see in our corridor counties of Adair, Cumberland, Green, Metcalfe, Monroe and Taylor counties.

Perhaps you need a vacation day or two close to home. Know where to go? Stop by the Chamber/Tourism office and let Sue and Kathy direct you to fun and interesting sites in whatever county or counties that you want to visit.

In Adair County you may want to tour the Begley Chapel at Lindsey Wilson College, visit the Janice Holt Giles House, enjoy a picnic at Holmes Bend Resort, visit David Waltz at the Hearts Image Pottery and Sculpture Studio or Jeff and Henrietta Scott at the Highland Raku Studio and Gallery, near Sparksville.

For example, if you want to leave Adair County, here's what you could do one day in Monroe County. Visit the Old Mulkey Meeting House State Historical Site - the oldest log church in Kentucky, and one of the oldest churches west of the Alleghenies, is located 2 miles south of Tompkinsville in a scenic park that also features tranquil picnic areas and a gift shop offering books on pioneer history, Kentucky crafts and souvenirs. Many Revolutionary war soldiers and early pioneers, including Daniel Boone's younger sister, Hannah, are buried in the church cemetery. The log structure, built in 1804 is the shape of a cross and has 12 corners, probably representing the 12 apostles and three doors symbolic of the Holy Trinity. It is definitely a must see while visiting Tompkinsville.

Other places of interest could be a ride on the Cumberland River Ferry that will take you to scenic Turkey Neck Bend. It's the only 24 hour ferry owned and operated by the Commonwealth of Kentucky and is also one of the last free-floating ferries. It's the only means of crossing the Cumberland River for over 30 miles and is a vital part of travel through Monroe County.

After your ferry ride you will want to dine at one of the 6 different specialty restaurants of "Barbeque". Each has their own recipe for the vinegar-based sauce "dipped or sprinkled" on pork, chicken and other meats, depending on how spicy you like your barbeque.

Don't miss watching a game of Rolley-Hole Marbles, a game unique to the area and the "Marble Dome" near Tompkinsville. It houses one of the only indoor rolley-hole marble yards in existence. The game is played primarily by adult men, shooting marbles hand-crafted of local flint by the players themselves. Visitors are welcome to watch or learn to play. Hours: Daily - 4:00 to 8:00 pmCT.

This is only an example of the many interesting things you can do in the Heartland Waterways Corridor, so Jump In. You'll be glad you did!!

This story was posted on 2008-07-21 20:59:18
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