Networking and advertising one’s business are facets of any Chamber of Commerce, but dig down deep and you will uncover other details of what a chamber of commerce brings to the local economy of a community. It is no different for the Emporia Greensville Chamber of Commerce.
“In addition to being the Welcome Center for visitors to our area, we are also the primary source of business referrals in the area and we are a resource for new businesses that come to our community,” Executive Director Nancy Rose said.
The monthly luncheons, Business After Hours events and ribbon cuttings for new businesses are the well-known functions the EGCC brings into the community.
Many are surprised to learn the EGCC is a nonprofit corporation. It is an autonomous nonprofit governed by an independent board of directors. Its support is provided by the dues and the sponsorships collected.
The Emporia Crime Line was started 13 years ago by the chamber under the direction of then executive Director Mary Woodruff. It is still in effect today.
A group of volunteers read to the class and every year the chamber sends the entire class, approximately 90 students, to the Richmond Children’s Museum. In October, the chamber funds a visit to the Allen Pumpkin farm where each child is allowed to select a pumpkin to take home. In addition, the chamber sponsors each school party held throughout the year.
Plans are already in the works for the next big event just a little more than two weeks from now.
“On July 4 each year the chamber sponsors an ‘Evening in the Park’ for the entire community of Emporia-Greensville,” Rose said. “The Chamber Board of Directors provides free slices of watermelon throughout the late afternoon and evening. Live music is brought in to entertain — then at 9 p.m. a large fireworks show provided by the chamber is the highlight of the evening. This is all done by the chamber with your support.”
The EGCC brings signature events to the community throughout the year. Administrative Professional Day is in April. The EGCC hosts the Administrative Professionals’ Day Luncheon at the Golden Leaf Commons — bringing approximately 250 guests to the event.
Live entertainment is brought in to perform and vendors come to the celebration to promote their businesses and sell their products.
The four-day Virginia Peanut Festival in late September brings anywhere from 10 thousand to 15 thousand people to Emporia and the EGCC plays a big role in the event. Rose said the work on the Virginia Peanut Festival is a year-around endeavor. Maxi Moore also plays a significant role lining up the entertainment for Emporia-Greensville’s signature event.
Promoting area businesses and providing them with assistance in their growth is still the primary function of any chamber of commerce. Rose said the cost of annual membership is based on the number of employees. A business of five employees or less pay $125 annually — slightly more than $10 a month. Churches and civic groups pay only $50 per year.
Rose said she was recently asked by a business owner that said their business was doing great and did not need referrals. Why should they join the chamber? Rose replied, “then why not give back to the community that has supported you?”
Ribbon cuttings, monthly luncheons and business after hours events are a part of the EGCC activities, but is only part of the EGCC activities.
“This has always been and will continue to be a very busy chamber,” Rose said. “I am most proud of the fact that the dues and sponsorship support received by this chamber goes directly back to the Emporia-Greensville community.”