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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Small Business Impacts Local Economy

By Linda Cheek, President of Wilkes Chamber of Commerce
Over the past three months, Wilkes Chamber of Commerce held 16 ribbon cuttings celebrating the opening or expansion of small businesses throughout the County.  Ribbon cuttings are an excellent indication of business growth and job creation.   This is evident as you observe the remodeling of supermarkets, opening of new and expanded retail stores, renovated and new dental and doctor offices and urgent care centers.  Many of these business owners are entrepreneurs, venturing into a personally owned business for the first time.  Jobs are being created during this new development, the money flow increases and the sales tax revenue to the county and towns rises.  Supporting small business development and job creation places an even greater emphasis on the Chamber’s “buy local first” campaign.  We encourage all citizens to consider making their purchases, utilizing services, and supporting local business first. 

Small business development is gaining attention across the State of North Carolina.  In the recent North Carolina publication, 2011 State of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Governor Beverly Perdue states the report clearly demonstrates the importance of small businesses in our economy.  Small businesses account for a very large part of our gross state product and provide a substantial number of jobs.  Governor Perdue appointed the state’s first Small Business Commissioner in 2011 reflecting the State’s recognition of the importance and the dynamic role small business plays in job creation.  Perdue has encouraged important tools and resources available to help “small businesses” grow and create jobs.  A leading example is the BIZ BOOST initiative providing direct support and resources of existing to medium-sized businesses, helping them to sustain existing jobs and identify growth opportunities.  Another supportive opportunity is the State’s expanded small business CAPITAL ACCESS PROGRAM, creating $46million available in federal funding.  North Carolina is the first state to launch this program to take advantage of recent federal funding, an initiative to lower the risk of small business lending.  Over the next months the State is expected to deploy allocated federal funds to leverage nearly $800 million in bank lending to small firms.

In 2007 there were an estimated 821,189 small businesses in North Carolina in 2007, indicating 47.9% of North Carolina’s 3,686,552 employees.  The rural workers equaling nearly 95% go to work each day at a small business.  The NC economy and the rural economy are dependent on these small businesses to create jobs and provide stability for rural people, their families and communities.  In fact, small businesses were responsible for creating 70% of new jobs in the state from 1990 to 2000.  The North Carolina Rural Center reports that small business is BIG in rural North Carolina as 95% of all establishments in rural NC employ fewer than 50 people, 80% of these employ fewer than 10 people.  These rural businesses, with fewer than 50 employees, generated $14.5 billion in wages and provided jobs for 614,000 people in 2007.  Small business out performs large businesses in job growth.  While the largest establishments of 100 employers and more were losing jobs, many small businesses were creating and adding to payrolls. 

Small businesses are critical to the survival of rural communities and owners of small businesses are more like to live in the community in which their business is located.  Owners of small businesses bring money and wealth into the community.  Money that is recycled through the community, boasting other local businesses and contributing to the local tax base. 

The North Carolina District Small Business Administration (SBA) office processed 1,221 small business loans totaling almost $312 million in FY 2010 (33% higher than in previous years).  Also in 2010, venture capital investment increased for the first time since 2007. In North Carolina, venture capitalists invested $456.3 million in 57 deals in 2010. 

Wilkes County, with over 2500 established small businesses is known for its “spirit of entrepreneurialism,” is in need of jobs and an improved economy.  Be supportive, buy local, keep your dollars in the county, help retain local sales tax revenue, and most importantly, support local business.  This support can and will lead toward job creation and economic growth for Wilkes County.     

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wilkes Chamber of Commerce Welcomes New Members for August 2011

The Wilkes Chamber of Commerce would like to welcome our new members for the month of August. Please visit our website directory to find out more information on these and other businesses in Wilkes County. Business Directory Link
2nd Street Barber Shop
Accessory's On the Go
Action Specialties, LLC
Airgas National Welders
Canter Construction
Customized Storage
Express Computer Clinic
Farm Bureau Insurance - Wilkesboro
FastMed Urgent Care
Green Mountain Outdoors, LLC
Living Waters Home Care, LLC
Mike's Bait & Tackle
North Wilkesboro Lion's Club
Second to Nature
Shape Up
Showcase Your Home
Sloop, Lisa - Cabi Independent Consultant
Sloop Properties
Spectrum Painting, Co.
Steppin Out Studio, Inc.
The Candy Company
Thank you new members for supporting the Wilkes Chamber of Commerce! If you are interested in becoming a member or have a general membership question, please email Jamie Lakey at

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Press Release - US Cellular Calling All Communities


2011 Campaign to Feature Bigger Cash Prize and Potential Rewards for School Supporters

CHICAGO (August 15, 2011) –U.S. Cellular (NYSE: USM) today announced exciting enhancements to its third annual $1 million Calling All Communities campaign. In May, the company revealed that it was increasing the number of winners from 10 to 18 schools in the community-driven campaign that awards thousands of dollars to schools to enhance learning opportunities for students across the country. Today, U.S. Cellular announced that the school garnering the most votes will receive $150,000. The next 17 runners up will receive $50,000 each. Schools won’t be the only winners in this year’s campaign. Supporters will have more opportunities to vote and enjoy some cool rewards. 

Between Sept. 9 and Oct. 6, anyone 18 years or older can visit any U.S. Cellular store and ask an associate for a code to vote for their favorite school at Each online voting code gives people the opportunity to vote once daily until the campaign ends. The voting cards will feature a peel-off that gives thousands of lucky supporters a chance to cast two votes a day or be one of 18 people to win one year of free
U.S. Cellular wireless service. In addition, 2,000 randomly-selected voters will be awarded a $25 U.S. Cellular debit card simply for supporting their schools.

"We wanted to reward more schools with much-needed funds and the people who work so hard to support them," said Carter Elenz, executive vice president of sales and customer service for U.S. Cellular. "Each year, we’re amazed at the power of a few determined individuals who get the ball rolling in their community and the creativity of large and small schools across the country as they rally to win."

Public and private schools, kindergarten through high school, are eligible to win a share of $1 million that can be used any way the schools see fit. Past champions have said that while the money was an educational boon for the schools, the campaign to win stimulated an equally rewarding and lasting sense of community.

"Winning the money was great, but the way our community came together and got involved was priceless," said Greg Clark, principal of Seymour High School in Seymour, Tenn. The 2010 champion shared its winnings with other schools in the Seymour School District. Seymour High School used $40,000 for technology upgrades and gave $20,000 to the middle, intermediate and primary schools that channeled their support to the high school to help it win.

No purchase is necessary and you don’t have to be a U.S. Cellular customer to vote. The winning schools will be announced in October and November. For more information about U.S. Cellular, its cutting-edge phone lineup, high-speed nationwide network and Calling All Communities, visit or U.S. Cellular’s Facebook page.
About Calling All Communities
Since Calling All Communities began in 2008, U.S. Cellular has awarded $2 million to 20 schools throughout the nation. Voter participation in the 2010 Calling All Communities campaign reached 430,000 votes cast for 6,800–plus schools. Last year's champions included six public and four private schools from small rural and large urban communities in Iowa, Illinois, Oregon, Washington, Missouri, Tennessee and North Carolina. Past Calling All Communities champions have used their winnings in a variety of ways from outfitting their classrooms with new computers, Promethean boards or other technological advancements to renovating gymnasiums, school kitchens and science labs. Others have used the donation to make building infrastructure improvements, such as replacing outdated electrical systems. A few even paid portions of their proceeds forward, giving college scholarships to graduating students and donating to non-profits around the world.

About U.S. Cellular
U.S. Cellular rewards its customers with unmatched benefits and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier has a strong line-up of cutting-edge devices that are all backed by its high-speed nationwide network that has the highest call quality of any national carrier. U.S. Cellular was named a J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Customer Service Champion and received PC Magazine's 2011 Readers' Choice Award. To learn more about U.S. Cellular, visit one of its retail stores or To get the latest news, promos and videos, connect with U.S. Cellular on and

For more information:

LaTrina Blair Shepherd
U.S. Cellular
(773) 355 - 3364

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Your Chamber Connection - September

Stay connected with the events happening at the Wilkes Chamber, with a look at our September Monthly Mailer. This is a great resource for new businesses in Wilkes County as well as community events. Find out more about our BUY LOCAL campaign and see the benefits in action of being a Wilkes Chamber Member. And while you're there take a look at the deals and specials are Chamber Members are offering!

Click Here for September Mailer

If interested in being a Chamber Member, contact Jamie Lakey at 336-838-8662 or by email to, If interested in advertising in "Your Chamber Connection" contact Tonia Perkins at 336-838-8662 or by email to