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Leveraging Social Media for Small Business Success

Leveraging social media for small business success is the first in monthly series of articles that will be produced by the Fuquay-Varina Chamber of Commerce’s marketing committee as a service to our members and the community.

Small Businesses face unique challenges when it comes to getting noticed,especially online. Even with limited resources small business can still succeed online by leveraging social media to reach their target markets. Learn what you can do to quickly, easily and affordably build your social media presence to help attract new customers while retaining your existing customers. We’ll share best practices being used by large and small companies alike. After this presentation you’ll have a better understanding of how to leverage social media to promote your products and services.

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Savor Fuquay-Varina 2014 – A Complete Success

Hundreds of people gathered for Savor Fuquay-Varina 2014 at Aviator Brewery last Saturday. They sampled food offerings by local vendors, bid in both a live and silent auction and eagerly followed the proceedings of a reverse raffle! By all accounts the event was a complete success.

There was something for everyone at Savor Fuquay-Varina. More than 20 vendors prepared a wide variety of food and beverage samples and since the chef’s were competing for the coveted Gold and Silver Fork Awards, the food was simply outstanding.  Event goers sampled spinach ravioli, lobster roll, buffalo chicken mac & cheese, panini’s, spinach pie, stuffed chicken breast, truffles, apple cheesecake, voodoo cuban sandwiches, smoked pork sandwiches, Chicago deep dish pizza and much more. Add in a handful of beer, wine, and even a mead vendor meant there were plenty of options to wash down the delicious offerings. (more…)

Chamber Introduces SCORE Workshops

i Feb 15th No Comments by

After a year of offering SCORE counseling for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and prospective business startups, the Fuquay-Varina Chamber of Conmerce is kicking off 2014 by expanding that service to include standard SCORE workshops.

Score-Solo

SCORE is the Service Corps of Retired Executives, and its volunteers lend their expertise in business development to any business owner or individual looking to start a business, as a service to the business community. These counselors have been very successful running or leading businesses of their own and now use SCORE counseling as a way to give back to their communities during retirement.

Beginning in 2013, the Fuquay-Varina Chamber of Commerce began offering SCORE counseling appointments at the Chamber offices on a monthly basis to any business in the community who needed help with expansion efforts, start-up activities, or issues such as attracting clients or marketing. The Chamber felt it was important to offer SCORE expertise right in Fuquay-Varina so that business owners didn’t have to travel to Cary or Raleigh for help. SCORE offered three 1-hour appointments every Wednesday afternoon and has stayed pretty busy all year. These appointments were available to Chamber members and non-members as a service to the community.

With the success of the counseling appointments in 2013, the Chamber and SCORE representatives decided to add their very popular 2-hour workshops to the schedule. Continuing the counseling appointments on Wednesday, the Chamber is also now offering its facility for these additional workshops on Thursdays every other month, beginning February 20th from 6:30-8:30. The topic for the February 20th workshop is “Cash Flow and Taxation for Small Businesses.”

These workshops are already scheduled through June, and will alternate between morning and evening schedules to be as accommodating as possible.

The following are the workshops that have been scheduled so far for 2014:

February 20th, 6:30-8:30pm ~ “Cash Flow and Taxation for Small Businesses”
April 17th, 8:00-10:00am ~ “Small Business Marketing”
June 19th, 6:30-8:30pm ~ “Financing Options”

To register, contact SCORE directly through their website. For more information about this workshop or monthly counseling appointments, call the Chamber office at (919) 552-4947.

Annual Awards Banquet “Raises the Torch”

i Feb 15th No Comments by

“Raise the Torch” was the theme of the Chamber’s Annual Awards Banquet, held Feb. 7th at Bentwinds Country Club. The theme drew comparisons between the positive character traits of Olympic athletes and business professionals who work hard to build successful enterprises in Fuquay-Varina. Table decorations and lapel pins accentuated the international aspects of the modern Olympics. With Greek-inspired appetizers starting the evening off with a bang, the beef tips, baked herb chicken, and scallops in cream sauce were the culinary highlight of the evening, followed by baklava (provided by Neomonde Café) and cupcakes (provided by Stick Boy Bread Company). Shutterbooth of Raleigh provided a photo booth for attendees, complete with props and costumes that provided considerable merriment for the crowd.

Although the mood was festive and attendees visibly enjoyed the food, drink, and atmosphere, the highlight of the evening was the official presentation of awards to individuals and businesses that had a significant impact on our community through the Chamber of Commerce in 2013. Through the tongue-in-cheek flair of MC Eric Hardy, each presentation was offered in a spirit of respect and admiration for the recipient, as a reflection of their hard work over the past year.

The first award of the evening was the Chairman’s Award, presented to Jonathan Holland of State Farm Insurance by outgoing Board Chair Steve Tucker, for his hard work and commitment to Chamber initiatives over the past year. The winner of the Horizon Award (for a newcomer to the business scene) for 2013 was Garfield Oates of Subway for his recent contributions to the Chamber as a whole and the Chamber’s Board of Directors. Large Business of the Year for 2013 was presented to the Bob Barker Company for its dedication to social responsibility in the community and within their own company. Small Business of the Year for 2013 was presented to Military Missions in Action for its consistent dedication to improving the lives of veterans in our community. Ambassador of the Year was awarded to Ms. Amy Freeman of Williamson Insurance for her organization and leadership of the Ambassadors in 2013, and the PWLA Woman of the Year was awarded to Ms. Christie Cook of the News & Observer for her commitment to raising scholarship funds for young women in Fuquay-Varina, and for championing networking among women business professionals in the Chamber community.

The awards portion of the evening concluded with the presentation of the Outstanding Citizenship Award.  For almost 60 years, the Fuquay-Varina Chamber of Commerce has presented this distinguished award to a resident of Fuquay-Varina who has demonstrated a long-term commitment of service, with the result of enhancing the quality of life in our community. The winner of this award for 2013 was Ms. Frances Howard. Ms. Howard has spent the past 10+ years facilitating caregiver support groups and providing peer counseling for the family members of patients who are struggling with Alzheimers and other forms of dementia. For many families in Fuquay-Varina and the greater SW Wake community, Frances Howard has been a lifeline of hope and healing. The Chamber is proud to recognize her achievements and her contributions to our community with this prestigious award.

Also recognized at the banquet were outgoing board members: Steve Ashworth, Stephen Peacock, and Tom Williford. All three gentlemen have provided a combined 15 years of experience and leadership in setting direction for the Chamber and we appreciate their hard work and dedication.

Thanks to the planning committee and dedicated volunteers who helped make last night’s event a lasting memory for so many people!  We also thank our incredible sponsors for their help in making this event a success: Presenting Sponsor Williford Funeral Home, Dessert Sponsor Rainbow Home Interiors, Decorations Sponsor Joseph P. Ogburn, Print Sponsor Joseph C. Woodard Printing, Graphics Sponsors Amico Brand Design and TEC Graphics, and Media Sponsors Peacock Creative Services and Amazing Studios.

Annual Awards Banquet Planned for Feb. 7th

i Jan 8th No Comments by

The Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce that its 2014 Annual Awards Banquet will be held on Friday, Feb. 7th at Bentwinds Country Club.  Beginning at 5:30 pm with a social hour and cash bar, the dinner portion of the event will commence at 6:30 pm, with award presentations following shortly thereafter. Known for its thematic awards banquets over the last several years, the Chamber has chosen “Raise the Torch” as this year’s theme in recognition of the Winter Olympics, which begin that same night in Sochi, Russia.

fin_2014CoCbanq_frontMany correlations can be made between the athletic achievements of Olympians and professionals who are working hard to build successful businesses. The Chamber will focus on positive character traits exemplified by the Olympic movement during the banquet. Decorations will complement the Greek and Roman roots of the modern Olympics. While the dress code is business casual, attendees are encouraged to reflect the theme of the evening when planning their attire.

The purpose of this event is to celebrate the prior year’s hard work and successes in the business community and to present a number of awards to very deserving businesses and individuals. The highlight is the presentation of the Outstanding Citizenship Award.  Since 1956, the Fuquay-Varina Chamber of Commerce has presented this distinguished award to a resident of our area who has demonstrated a long-term commitment of service to enhancing the quality of life in our community.  Nominees for the Outstanding Citizenship Award are active in all phases of community life.  Other awards that will be presented at the awards banquet include Large Business of the Year, Small Business of the Year, and the Horizon Award. Details on the nomination requirements and a link to the nomination forms for any and all of these awards can be found below.  The deadline for nominations is January 24, 2014.

Everyone in the community is invited to pick up a nomination form at the Chamber office, 121 North Main Street in Fuquay-Varina, and submit your choice.  The forms are also available below.

If you have any questions, please contact Chamber staff at (919) 552-4947.

Outstanding Citizen of the Year
Horizon Award
Large Business of the Year
Small Business of the Year