Our recent ‘first frost’ brought many to the stark realization that summer 2017 is over and Thanksgiving’s here.

From the perspective of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce (SMLRCC), representing 750 members, our community has much to be thankful for. According to many business owners this year, by the numbers and upbeat attitude of clients and customers, it’s been an encouraging year.  Fall and winter bring a whole new set of opportunities and obstacles to be addressed by the ever-growing number of small businesses in our region. The SML Chamber is continually working behind the scenes to promote business all year round.

The seasonal decrease in visitors should be offset by local support.  Now is a great time to reap rewards through customer service and community involvement.  ‘Shop Local’ is one initiative which encourages communities across the nation to support their neighbors.  In our region, people have taken this program to heart, making it a mission to stop by as many businesses as possible and shop locally.  At the same time, businesses will ‘roll out the red carpet’ with inviting displays and friendly service. Beyond increased business, the dynamic of this program is repeat business with a passion. If customers feel appreciated and walk away with a joyous experience…they’ll be back.  Everyone appreciates, well, being appreciated.  Potential customers need to be reminded your business exists, what you have to offer, where to find you and a one button access to call you. It may bring a smile to your face knowing that the chamber can have you covered on all points listed above.

The SML Chamber is first and foremost a business membership organization.  Its mission is to promote tourism (bringing outside dollars in) and grow business in our region.  We know a lot about communication. Getting the word out on our member’s products, specials, services, hours and easy access to information is faster than ever. The proliferation of networking and electronic communication tools aimed at linking business-to-business and everyone seeking information on local business.  Take, for example, the SML Chamber App.  Anyone with a smart-phone can download the app and have 24/7 access to all chamber businesses in the palm of their hand.  Even businesses that don’t consider themselves ‘computer savvy’ are fully represented through the app. It’s marketing marvel, which also measures response, is included with chamber membership. This communication service, a comprehensive member web-site presence with photos and logos, community calendar, brochure and card displays at the SML Visitor Center are just some of the value-added services SMLRCC provides to reflect its mission.

Even during the perceived ‘winter slow season’ we, the SML Regional Chamber and the business community have the tools and connectivity to grow business.  While the SML Chamber produces public events such as the Wine Festival, attracting 10,000 people and The Fall Chili Festival, an affordable family fun event extending the late fall season, throughout the year, these public events encourage visitors to choose Smith Mountain Lake for their vacation or quick get-away. Events represent a fraction of what SMLRCC does to grow business. Membership orientation, computer training, educational programs, Connect meetings are well underway.  Committees are currently setting goals and strategies for 2018.  To learn more on how you can get involved,  contact the SML chamber at 540-721-1203 and let’s set a time to discuss how our business services can help you.   Chamber members are a community team with the common goal of business success. Together, our accomplishments have no limit!  Wishing you the very best this holiday season. 

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