In my December column I reflected on all the change that took place with the Chamber in 2019 and mentioned we have a lot of exciting things planned for 2020 that will allow us to better serve our members.
In the fall we surveyed our members. We wanted to learn things from them like how engaged they are, if they’re aware of some of the lesser known Chamber benefits, if our communications are reaching them and are effective, what their goals are with being a Chamber member, whether we’re meeting those goals and what additional benefits they would like to see.
We received a lot of positive feedback and great suggestions. A couple of those suggestions pertained to additional networking events, including early morning options before work. That type of networking event has been in our idea bank for quite some time, and we were thrilled to see our members were looking for something along those lines. That was the fuel we needed to begin executing our plan.
In January we launched our new monthly morning networking breakfast, the Morning Mingle. The format for this event provides each attendee 30 seconds to introduce themselves and tell the group about their business, a promotion, a new product/service, an upcoming event or whatever it is they’d like to share with the audience. Attendees are entered into drawings for giveaways provided by members and following the event they each receive a scan of all attendees’ business cards. Members pay just $1 to attend and prospective members are welcome as well for $15.
We just completed our second Morning Mingle and the response has been fantastic so far. Each Morning Mingle is sponsored by a Chamber member. They pay a small sponsorship fee and provide breakfast. In exchange they get 10 minutes to present to the audience. We were pleasantly surprised to have sponsors lined up for our entire year of events after just one event. We partnered with the Fairfield Inn & Suites to host all Morning Mingles in 2020, which they are graciously doing free of charge. They are even providing the coffee and water for no fee.
There were other suggestions from our member survey that we’ve noted and plan to address, some of which we’ve already started. One recommendation was to try to do more publicity for small businesses and promote on social media. Another was related to pushing people to shop local.
Earlier this month we did our first-ever Facebook giveaway with the goal of giving exposure to our local member businesses. Members had the chance to donate items for giveaway baskets that took place for 7 days leading up to Valentine’s Day. We called it the ‘Lovin’ Local Giveaways.’ We had about 40 members participate in this promotion, which reached more than 35,000 people, garnered 1,650 reactions, 1,481 comments, and 440 post shares. Plus, we had 7 very happy locals who won gift baskets worth between $315-$580. It was so successful that we plan to do 2-3 more this year.
These are just a couple examples of what I meant when I said we had exciting things planned for 2020. Our team is constantly working to improve the return on our members’ investments. There are more great things planned and rolling out soon that we expect will do just that. Be on the lookout for a new website in March, as well as a new membership database with a more user-friendly backend for members to submit news and job postings, register for events, pay for membership dues and more. All of this is to better serve our members and to live up to our new hashtag -- #ConnectingTerrell -- and to support our mission statement: To build the prosperity of businesses and industries through economic development and improve the quality of life in our community.
| August 4, 2019
According to the U.S. Census data estimates earlier this year, Kaufman County ranks third in the nation in percentage of population growth from 2017 to 2018 for counties with more than 20,000 people. When families are looking for a place to call home, they aren’t just looking for a house in a nice neighborhood. They’re looking for more than that.
We believe the reason people are choosing Kaufman County, and the city of Terrell in particular, is because people desire to have a sense of place. In other words, they want to become part of a community with unique qualities. One where they not only live, but where they can work, shop, eat, and play.
They are looking for a place where their children can get a high-quality education from a school district that demonstrates continuous academic improvement and offers free Dual Credit college courses for high school students. A place that offers summer learning programs and recreation programs through facilities like Terrell ISD’s Excellence Center for Enhanced Learning (ExCEL) and the Riter C. Hulsey public library. A place where kids can participate in extracurricular activities, from youth sports to music to theater. A place where families can stay entertained with concerts, drama performances, museums, movies, bowling, arcades and more. A place where they can fellowship at church or get involved with an organization or civic club. A loving community where you know your neighbors.
People moving to Kaufman County want a growing community that still has small town charm and all that entails, from the sights and sounds of Friday night lights to having someone carry your groceries out to the car. A town where you can still enjoy annual, family-friendly events like the Heritage Jubilee and the Fourth of July fireworks display. An established town rich in history that connects us to the past with historic homes and a historic downtown that is home to many small businesses.
Citizens benefit from a cohesive local government who cares about the residents and betterment of the community. A leadership working together to grow our historic downtown district, the Crossroads at Terrell retail development, and business parks to continue to bring jobs, services, shopping and dining options to residents.
Residents of Terrell also enjoy convenience. In just 30 minutes they can be in Dallas to attend professional sporting events or enjoy a special night out and be back home to sleep in their beds without incurring hotel expense.
Terrell offers all these things and more, and we are working feverishly to keep up the momentum to continue to provide residents a sense of place. We strive to create a place where people want to be.
The Terrell Chamber of Commerce and Convention Visitors Bureau, the Terrell Economic Development Corporation, local government, and Terrell ISD all work together to create growth for the city of Terrell so that our current and prospective resident families will have a place with jobs, retail, restaurants, amenities and organizations that meet all their needs. Providing these conveniences close to home allows residents to avoid commuting, saving precious time and money…giving them a sense of place.