Toccoa is on The Map!
If you’ve spent much time around the Chamber, read the local paper or listen to local radio you’ve probably heard me say a few things more than once.
From my first day on the job it has been, “our privilege at the Chamber to be your advocate and community partner to promote, develop and support commerce & tourism in Toccoa-Stephens County.” What does that look like on a day to day basis at The Chamber and how do we accomplish this goal, you might ask?
“Our privilege at The Chamber” – What an honor and joy it is to represent Toccoa-Stephens County on every front. This is such a wonderful place to live, work and play. It is certainly our privilege to be the cheerleaders for our community.
“Your Advocate and Community Partner” – We are thrilled with every given opportunity to share the good news about our community everywhere we go to serve as spokesmen and representatives of our business community. At local, regional and State gathering, we are so proud to share to many success stories of continued business growth in Toccoa-Stephens County because of the willingness to work together to put our best foot forward. It takes a village, teamwork!
“To promote, develop and support commerce” According to Webster, “generally, commerce refers to the exchange of goods, services or something of value, between businesses or entities.” We are certainly able to accomplish more together than we can divided. Having a local Chamber of Commerce supported by the investment and involvement of our local businesses allows us to reach farther and more consistently because we pool our resources and our efforts travel far beyond the boundaries of our local community. With our invitation to bring business to Toccoa-Stephens County.
How does the Chamber support our local business/industry? The Chamber drives a grassroots effort to invite new business retailers to our community. We celebrate new business, communicate with our members and supporters daily to encourage involvement in our local events and activities. We host Industry/ Business Manager round-table discussions and Lunch & Learn gatherings to discuss requested relevant topics.
Through our Leadership Toccoa-Stephens County Program we pour into our existing and upcoming business leaders to help educate and expand their knowledge of how our local organizations and government work hand in hand through collaboration to promote growth and development. With our Youth Leadership Program, we make certain to expose our graduating SCHS Seniors to the many careers and job opportunities existing right here in our own backyard. We plant the seed deep of one day returning to Toccoa-Stephens County to open a business, build a career, invest, raise a family and give back.
“To promote, develop and support tourism” So how is tourism tied in with the local business community? Tourism is economic development. When we welcome visitors into our town, they spend money! Their investment into our local economy has a direct impact. At the Chamber, we maintain a focused effort to reach beyond our County lines with the news of Toccoa, a hidden gem. We want Toccoa on the map and work diligently to spread the word. Just in the past two months alone, you will find the spotlight of Toccoa-Stephens County twice in the Georgia Trend magazine and on the inside back-cover of the Georgia Travel Guide (700,000 in distribution). We are on the map!
Another contributing factor to our local economic growth has been the six times over the past three years, film production companies have chosen to cross the State lines into Georgia and right into Stephens County. That’s right, Toccoa-Stephens County has been home to six movies made in our community in the past three and a half years. The impact each of those projects has here is tremendous. With each visit to our community the production teams, cast and crew of 60-100 require accommodations, food and gas, supplies to build sets and props, extras, etc. Every time a movie is filmed in our community the financial investment with our local business community is anywhere from $80,000-$400,000, depending on the size of the project. And every single time that unanticipated and unbudgeted bonus directly affects our local tax revenue stream in a most positive way.
From our very own Toccoa Falls and Currahee Military Museum, Travelers Rest, Camp Toccoa at Currahee our beautiful Tugaloo River, just to name a few of the many reasons people come to visit. Over the years Toccoa-Stephens County has transitioned from a stop along the way, to a destination. We will do all we can to further the cause and spread the word, Toccoa-Stephens County is a great place to do business and a greater place to do life!