It is difficult to believe that we are so quickly approaching the end of 2017 as well as the always exciting beginning of a new year – 2018! This is a time not only to reflect back on the challenges and successes of the past, but to look forward to an exciting new year in which we hope to accomplish even greater things.
For the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce, one of the major things we find ourselves reflecting on is THE MARKETPLACE, through which over the past five years we have helped to meet several needs which were lacking in our community: shopping, food, beverages, entertainment, and especially a one-stop shop for locally sourced food. From that first evening in 2012 when we were so excited to open THE MARKETPLACE with six vendors though the close of the 2017 season when there were over twenty vendors, so much good has happened in our community through this venue, which became “the place to be in the New River Valley on Tuesday evenings” during the season. Not only have the vendors, which are truly “micro-businesses,” enjoyed a new level of profitability, but at least two new businesses (The Blue Ridge Fudge Lady and Lizard Licks) got their start at THE MARKETPLACE. A number of community organizations, entertainers, and food and beverage providers have benefitted, as well as the greater sense of community that has developed among the participants and attendees.
The Chamber is also pleased that, after three years of research and organization, we have been able to lay a strong foundation for Pulaski On Main, an initiative designed to revitalize our downtown area by building collaboration among businesses, organizations, and government to promote the quality of life and the business interests of the Town of Pulaski while raising the profitability of the district. A presence has been established through the opening of the Pulaski On Main office as a one-stop shop where existing and potential downtown businesses can go for information, direction, and assistance.
Having established a strong foundation for these two initiatives in Downtown Pulaski, the Chamber has now been presented with an opportunity to be even more effective and leave an even bigger positive footprint in Pulaski County as a whole. In light of this, the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce announces that, at the end of the 2017 season, it has turned over the management of THE MARKETPLACE to the Town of Pulaski. The Town will also assume management of Pulaski On Main at the end of the 2017 calendar year. The Chamber and the Town are working to make both transitions as smooth as possible, with both these initiatives now having a solid base to build upon.
In light of this announcement, current Chamber President Danielle Hiatt stated, “The Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce has always been the leader in development of ways in which we can enhance business and quality of life for our community. Our involvement in THE MARKETPLACE and Pulaski on Main initiatives demonstrate our commitment. We are so happy we had the opportunity to be part of these programs which have made a very positive impact.
“The Chamber is so excited about the expansion of our goals which will further strengthen business, talent retention, and tourism in our region. There are no limits to the accomplishments we can make in Pulaski County. There is no better time than the present!”
“The Pulaski County Board of Supervisors is excited about the Industrial Development Authority exploring the opportunity to strategically partner with our Chamber of Commerce to embark on a new ‘Community Experience’ initiative focused on talent retention/recruitment, bolstering visitor commerce, and enhancing the overall community experience,’ stated Jonathan D. Sweet, Pulaski County Administrator. “We trust that these efforts will successfully yield an increase in investor and consumer confidence, a stronger sense of place and community pride, our visitors staying longer and spending more, and folks of all kinds falling in love for the first time or all over again with the many extraordinary things Pulaski County is —- Pulaski County is…Community Experience.”
Peggy White, Chamber Executive Director, would like to express the Chamber’s thanks to everyone who has helped in any way to make THE MARKETPLACE and Pulaski On Main so successful up to this point, and challenges the entire community to continue to build on these firm foundations to make them even better in the future. She also encourages every citizen of Pulaski County to get excited about and actively participate in the new Pulaski County is………. Initiative, which will be officially kicked off in the near future. We must all work together to make Pulaski County an even better place to live, work, and play!
SUBMITTED BY SHEILA D. NELSON
On Behalf of the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce