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August 2008 Chamber Insights: Complete edition

In the August Issue
  • President's Message from Donna Stotts
  • New Member Highlights
  • Labor Day Events
  • What makes September Special
  • Helping Existing Business, By Dan Koger
  • Four crucial rules to delivering winning customer service
  • As Gas Prices rise, so do number of scams
  • Did You Know? Recycling Facts

Welcome to Chamber Insights - August 2008

The monthly newsletter of the Columbia-Adair County Chamber of Commerce. Editor and feature writer:Sue Stivers
President's Message: Donna Stotts Feature Writer: Dan Koger, LWC /Communications Professor

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
"Plant flowers in others gardens and your life becomes a bouquet".
Volunteer and See the Flowers Bloom

President's Message

The Chamber has excellent monthly meetings and the August meeting was no exception. Guest speaker, Eric Churchill, Director of Development, Kosiar Charities gave an outstanding presentation of how Kosiar Charities help children in every community of Kentucky. He also praised the Chamber for their "Wish List" project on helping the Ronald McDonald Houses in Lexington and Louisville which is scheduled to take place in September and October. We were happy to have many of the local Shriners with us as the President's guests.

A special "Thank You" to the Columbia United Methodist Church for providing the Chamber a place for their monthly meeting when needed. We are grateful to you!

The Wares Fair held at Lindsey Wilson College was a huge success. Approximately 60 business men and women set up booths showcasing their business to students, faculty and staff. The Chamber expresses thanks and appreciation to Ron Heath, LWC Vice President for Advancement for bringing the idea of a Wares Fair to our Chamber and for the outstanding job he and his staff has done for the past 3 years in planning and managing this event. Hats off for a job well done. Ron will retire from his position at Lindsey at the end of the month, but will continue to serve on the Chamber Board of Directors.

Festivals and special events will be coming up in the near future. It's time to start working on these, The Folklore of the Old West, Downtown Days and Christmas In Columbia Week-End. The call is out to all volunteers who are interested in participating to make the festivals a great success. Anyone who has a desire to work on any of these exciting projects for our Community is urged to call the Chamber office at 384-6020 or stop by the office at 201 Burkesville Street. We are always looking for new ideas, so come and join us. Let's make these events the best ever.

The next monthly Chamber meeting will be held, Tuesday, September 16 beginning at 11:45 am at the Roberta Cranmer Dining Center, Lindsey Wilson College. Dave Adkisson, Kentucky Chamber President and CEO will be the guest speaker. Every Chamber member is encouraged to attend. Let's give him a big "Adair County Welcome". Our Chamber is very fortunate to have him come to Columbia. See you there!!

New Member Highlights

The Chamber would like to Welcome 2 new members to the Columbia-Adair County Chamber of Commerce.

  • Home Town Wireless - Owner Jim Ferrie - 1419 Campbellsville Road - 384-1506

  • Fun Fair Bouncers, LLC - Inflatable Rentals - Owners Rodney & Amy Thompson - 2189 Bull Run Road - 384-9445<

By joining the Chamber, you become a part of an organization that is dedicated to the economic growth and prosperity of Columbia and Adair County. Your investment in the

Chamber means an "investment" in "your community". This is your Chamber...your voice in our community...helping to make Columbia-Adair County "A Good Place To Call Home".


7:00 AM - 4:00 PM
(Arts, Crafts, Antiques, Food)


Sponsored by Green River Kruzers

What Makes September Special?
September is the month when we honor previous generations with Grandparent's Day and Recognize the American workforce with Labor Day. It's also Constitution Day, International Peace Day, Autumn Equinox and the season for High School and College Football.

September blooms such as goldenrod, evening primrose and iron weed make this month a great time to plan trail hikes and wildflower walks. We are also reminded that the Fall Season is just around the corner.

Fall is a great time to travel. Businesses and attractions may want to use catchy marketing efforts for the week-ends such as "Don't Stay Home and Work...Enjoy the Week-end...Come Out and Play or Let Us Work for You". The lodging industry...motels, bed and breakfasts, cottages and campgrounds may want to offer grandparents special rates. It is also the season for families to travel, enjoy the scenery and recreation for the entire family.

Looking Ahead......

Next Monthly Chamber Meeting - Tuesday, September 16...11:45 am at Cranmer Dining Center, Lindsey Wilson College. Guest Speaker will be Dave Adkisson, President & CEO, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. All members are urged to make a special effort to attend. Let's give President/CEO Dave Adkisson a big Adair County Welcome.

Downtown Days & Folklore of the Old West Festival...October 10 & 11th

Christmas In Columbia - December 5th, 6th & 7th

These are 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 greater place to live. To volunteer call Kathy or Sue at the Chamber office (384-6020) or stop by the office located at 201 Burkesville Street in Columbia.

Helping Existing Businesses
May Be First Key To Area Economic Development

By Dan Koger, LWC Communications Professor

There are lots of theories about how to stimulate economic development in rural areas such as Adair County.

A favorite in the past has been to build lots of infrastructure, then try to attract branches of big companies to your local industrial park, something Adair County has been working on for several years, so far with limited success.

Another, gaining favor among rural and small-town development gurus, says local leaders should build on businesses, large and small, that are already here, through training programs, workforce development efforts and other support for local firms and would-be entrepreneurs.

Among members of the Board of Directors of the Columbia-Adair County Industrial Development Authority, discussion is leaning toward helping your own first. This doesn't mean development officials will stop competing for branches of big global companies. But the emphasis, at least in the early stages, would best be focused on strengthening what's already here.

The logic is simple. Trying to entice big companies into the area may seem like a good way to increase jobs and stimulate the local economy. But, board members agreed at a recent meeting, this can also be expensive, after you give such companies big incentives and local tax breaks. And even then, they might leave at any time.

Moreover, board members agreed, there's enormous competition among rural areas all over the country for those job-rich branches of big companies. Unfortunately, lots of effort can be expended, in time and dollars, often with slim results.

"Buying jobs that way may not be the best immediate short-term approach to the challenge of local economic development", one board member said.

A better way: combine the best of both development styles. Continue looking for large companies to bring branches to your area. At the same time, use available resources, such as Lindsey Wilson College, state development agencies, visiting experts, and development grants to help area businesses and encourage local entrepreneurs.

In backing such an approach, the board joins a growing number of experts in rural economic development who say you should start your stimulus efforts by building on what you have instead of competing with hundreds of other areas in the country for the few available branches of mega-companies.

One such expert is Al Cross, a veteran Kentucky journalist, journalism educator and co-founder of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky.

Cross outlined his four elements of successful rural economic development during a visit to the Columbia-Adair County Chamber of Commerce and Lindsey Wilson College a few months ago.

First, said Cross, encourage people in your community to become entrepreneurs. Use local college faculty and other resources to provide training and guidance on the best ways to start a business. Such entrepreneurs, he said, not only generate new local jobs and added economic activity, but they also educate others who want to start their own businesses.

Second, he said, take a look at your existing businesses and start local programs to give their operators knowledge they need to keep the doors open, grow larger and prosper, while also encouraging people to buy locally whenever possible.

Third, he said, urge college students from your area to return home after graduation and add their expertise to the local workforce.

Finally, he said, city and county leaders should pool their economic-development resources with surrounding cities and counties. This can bring added clout in competition for government stimulus programs and also enhance your appeal to big companies.

We'll have more from the experts on rural economic development in future columns. Meanwhile join the Columbia-Adair County Industrial Development Authority in finding creative ways to support the economic resources we already have.

Four Rules Crucial To Delivering Winning Customer Service

Rule # 1. Listen!
When customers complain there is a reason. More importantly, it is an opportunity to learn something, so hear them out without interrupting or arguing.

Rule # 2. Don't take it personally.
Customer complaints are about products or service that did not live up to their expectations or the marketing hype. Taking it personally, getting defensive, or getting angry only make the situation worse.

Rule # 3. Offer a sincere apology for the inconvenience.
Put yourself in your customer's shoes. Remember what it feels like when something you have purchased did not do the job it was supposed too or caused an ever bigger problem than the one it was supposed to solve.

Rule # 4. Never say, "It's not my job or my department or my responsibility".
If you work at the business that sold the is your job! Make a personal commitment to do whatever it takes to fix the problem even if it is not in your job description.

In the end, only those businesses with an on going commitment to listen and serve can consistently keep their customers delighted.

As Gas Prices Rise, So Do The Number of Scams

Gas prices are reaching all time highs. So too is the volume of advertising for "gas - saving" products, designed to appeal to consumers looking for ways to improve fuel efficiency. Although there are practical steps car owners can take to increase gas mileage, the Better Business Bureau warns consumers to be wary of gas-saving claims for automotive devices or oil and gas additives. While some of the gas-saving products have been proven to work, the savings are small, at best. What's more, you could end up with serious engine problems or a voided manufacturer warranty by adding after-market devices to your engine.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends being particularly skeptical of the following kinds of advertising claims:

"Product improves fuel economy by 20 percent"
The Environmental Protection Agency has evaluated or tested more than 100 alleged gas-saving devices and has not found any product that significantly improves gas mileage. In fact, some "gas-saving products may damage a car's engine or cause substantial increases in exhaust emissions. Some of these products include Air Bleed Devices, Vapor Bleed Devices, Liquid Injection, Fuel Line Devices, Mixture Enhancers, Internal Engine Modifications and more.

"I got an extra 4 miles per gallon with your product"
Although ads may feature glowing customer testimonials, consumers should keep in mind that few people have the ability or the equipment to test for precise changes in gas mileage after installing a gas-saving product.

"Approved by Federal Government"
No government agency endorses gas-saving products for cars. However, the EPA has reached certain conclusions about possible gas savings by testing or evaluating the product.

Instead of searching for miraculous gas-saving products, the BBB recommends that consumers consider taking one or more of the no-cost or low-cost actions that can help drivers save on gas consumption. The most important place to start is at the gas pump; buy only the octane level gas you need. Check your owner's manual to determine the right octane level for your car.

Here are more tips from the BBB to help you get better gas mileage:
  • Drive more efficiently. Stay within posted speed limits. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 miles per hour.

  • Avoid "jackrabbit" starts and stops. Accelerate slowly when starting from a dead stop. Don't push the pedal down more than one-quarter of the way; this allows the carburetor to function at peak efficiency. You can improve as mileage up to five percent around town if you avoid jerky starts and stops.

  • Use overdrive gears and cruise controls when appropriate. They improve the fuel economy of your car when driving on a highway.

  • Keep windows closed when traveling at highway speeds. Open windows cause air drag, reducing your mileage by 10 percent.

  • Avoid rough roads whenever possible. Dirt or gravel can rob you of up to 30 percent of your gas mileage.

  • Remove excess weight from the trunk. An extra 100 pounds can reduce a typical car's fuel economy by up to two percent.

  • Properly maintain your car. Keep the engine tuned, tires inflated and aligned, change the oil on schedule, and check and replace air filters regularly. Replacing clogged filters can increase gas mileage up to 10 percent.

Did You Know...Recycling Facts

Aluminum can recycling in the U.S. made the largest gain in 10 years last year. The recycling rate was 53.8 percent with 54 billion cans collected in 2007. That's 2.2 percent more used beverage containers that was collected in '06.

Slightly more that 34 cans equal one pound.

The cans recycled in '07 conserved equivalent of more than 15 million barrels of oil. Kentuckians recycled 50,035 more tons of common household items in 207 compared to '06, including cardboard, glass, newspaper, mixed residential and office paper, PET and HDPE plastic, steel and aluminum cans.

Cardboard collection increased almost 25 percent, accounting for 32,000 tons of the overall increase. Other big increases include mixed residential paper, 13,000 more tons and newspaper 8,000 more tons.

Aluminum can collection fell by more than 7,000 tons in 2007 when prices have been at historic highs during both '06 and '07.

Every individual is encouraged to "recycle". It's the thing to do!!

This story was posted on 2008-08-25 15:05:30
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