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The original item was published from 4/11/2014 10:24:54 AM to 6/9/2014 12:05:00 AM.

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Posted on: April 11, 2014

[ARCHIVED] Town, Chamber Working Together in New Ways

The Chamber of Commerce is the new sponsor of Taste of Holly Springs, recruiting local restaurants to participate in one of the Holly Springs Farmers Market's biggest events of the season on Saturday, June 7.

Chamber participation in the Town-operated market’s promotion of local restaurants fits with Chamber efforts to increase its presence in the community. Several Chamber initiatives involve Town staff and officials.

The Town and Chamber have an opportunity and an obligation to join together in promoting Holly Springs to residents and businesses, said LeeAnn Plumer, executive director of the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce.

“Working together to promote economic prosperity, business interests and the community at-large with a strong working partnership is the key to a successful town,” she said. “The Chamber is excited to be working together with the Town on several events to further these goals.”

The current Town budget includes $20,000 for the Chamber of Commerce – half for membership and half for special programs.

“Cooperative efforts between the Town and Chamber are mutually beneficial,” said Mayor Dick Sears.

Chamber participation in Taste of Holly Springs is a boost for the Town’s Planning and Zoning Department, which operates the Farmers Market. The department is swamped with about 60 regular and special market events each year.

The Farmers Market begins its eighth season May 3. It will operate Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. across Main Street from Town Hall. The season ends Oct. 11 with the annual Chili Cook-off.

Given how time-consuming restaurant recruitment can be for Taste of Holly Springs, Planning and Zoning Director Gina Clapp is excited to have Chamber representatives involved.

“They’re doing the legwork and getting the restaurants to sign up, and that’s the hard part,” she said, adding that her staff will handle setup on the day of the event. At the market that day, Clapp said, the Chamber will have its own information booth.

Taste of Holly Springs is only one item on the Chamber’s expanding list of initiatives. These include an ongoing “shop local” campaign encouraging residents to patronize local businesses.

“We want people to know what’s here before they venture on the roads,” Plumer said.
Beyond business promotion, the Town and Chamber have roles in programs benefitting the community more generally.

In February, the Chamber’s annual Partners Breakfast drew more than 60 business leaders, local and state government officials, educators, and other community leaders. They focused on schools, transportation, and other growth issues, plus Rex Healthcare’s plans for a hospital here.

In June, the Chamber sponsors an interactive bus tour and also holds its State of the Town and County. At the latter, Town Manager Charles Simmons will provide the public with an overview of Holly Springs' population and tax base growth, Town finances, Town infrastructure projects, and commercial development. The Wake County manager’s office will have a similar presentation.

This fall, the Chamber plans a new business expo that is intended to foster relationships among businesses in Holly Springs. That event will be in addition to the business expo that the Chamber holds at the Town’s annual HollyFest celebration in October.

Recently, the Chamber began an Educator of the Month award that will rotate through each of Holly Springs’ six public schools. Recipients will receive a plaque and a gift certificate to a local restaurant, Plumer said.

In mid-November, the Chamber is planning an appreciation luncheon for all Town employees. The idea for the luncheon came from Scott Booth, chair of the Chamber’s board of directors.

“We need to work together,” he said, “and we can help each other.”

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