The Chamber Ambassadors honored Tickle Me Pink-The Academy with a ribbon cutting on April 10, 2019 to present the new academy and celebrate their accomplishments.
Tickle Me Pink-The academy is an expansion of the daycare and early child learning center. The academy is an innovative school created to offer an environment for students to learn, embrace and build educationally and socially.
“Our goal is to expand early learning for Pre-K through second grade for students and families that are not ready for public schools,” said Pam Cater, owner. “Our goal is to provide a healthy, smaller learning environment that prepares the student and their families for our public and or larger private schools in our community.
TMP is the 2019 Small Business of the Year for the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce and has received other awards and recognitions for their excellence.
TMP is a proud and active member of the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber.
“The Chamber has helped our presence in the community and our desire and ability to educate early learners in a quality setting,” said Carter.
The Chamber Ambassadors honored South Georgia Chiropractic and Wellness with a ribbon cutting on April 1, 2019.
Using chiropractic care to improve the health and wellness in her clients, Dr. Lashasta Robinson uses the “whole person” approach to detect the underlying cause of the disease, discomfort and pain.
The organization provides a quick and friendly environment for their clients.
South Georgia Chiropractic and Wellness is a proud member of the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber.
“The Chamber has increased my network of professional and social contacts to help promote and grow my brand,” said Robinson.
Dr. Robinson chose to have a ribbon cutting to educate the community about the benefits of chiropractic care.
The Chamber Ambassadors honored Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe, Inc. as the Leading Business of the Week for April 1, 2019.
Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe, a family owned and operated business, is known for their “famous Dutch taste” potato rolls and bread.
“Martin’s Potato Sandwich Rolls are the number one branded hamburger bun in America,” said Scott Munger, director of production operations. “Freshness and quality are important to Martin’s Famous Potato Rolls and Bread.”
Martin’s family history and values contribute to the company’s success.
“Martin’s story starts in the 1950s, in the heart of “Pennsylvania Dutch” country, in the kitchen of Lois and Lloyd Martin,” said Munger. “It was there that they perfected their potato roll.”
According to Munger, expanding the Valdosta bakery will give them the ability to reach more customers.
Recognized for their dedication and commitment, Martin’s received the Best of Southern Georgia-Best Industrial Employer award.
Martin’s is a proud member of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber.
“The Chamber has always been supportive of Martin’s, even from the earliest days of our decision to build the bakery in Valdosta,” said Munger. “We are proud to be a member of this organization.”
Munger appreciates the support provided by the Chamber.
“The Chamber actively supports and promotes local businesses community, said Munger. “They are an advocate for issues that are important to all of us.”
The Leading Business of the Week program is designed to recognize members who have partnered with the Chamber for at least five years. Marcotek Digital Office Solutions proudly sponsors the 2019 Leading Business of the Week program. For more information, visit www.ValdostaChamber.com/Leading-Business-of-the-Week
Commercial Banking Company (CBC) is proud of being the only locally owned community bank in Valdosta.
CBC takes pride in providing the utmost customer experience and building a strong rapport with each person that enters their business.
“We provide customers the total customer experience and relationship for all of their banking needs,” said Ashley Mock, marketing coordinator.
Passionate about serving and giving back to the community, CBC spotlights and financially supports a non-profit organization in the Valdosta-Lowndes County community.
“We love getting to know these organizations, helping raise awareness and volunteering,” said Mock.
CBC is a proud member of the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce.
According to Mock, the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber has provided CBC an opportunity to meet new and existing businesses through involvement with the ambassadors, business after hours and other events.
“We are a big family and have a great time being Valdosta’s community bank,” said Mock.
The Leading Business of the Week program is designed to recognize members who have partnered with the Chamber for at least five years. Marcotek Digital Office Solutions proudly sponsors the 2019 Leading Business of the Week program. For more information, visit www.ValdostaChamber.com/Leading-Business-of-the-Week.
The students of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), a Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce program, were awarded startup funding to launch their businesses after pitching to a panel of local investors who awarded startup funds based on the merit of the idea and their potential for success. The event took place in the Pound Hall Auditorium located on Valdosta State University’s North Campus on Tuesday, Mar. 19.
The first place winner of the pitch competition was Caleb Hunter, Home School 8th grader. Hunter won for pitching Estate Xposures, which provides framed aerial pictures of small business real estate using drone technology. Hunter presented during his pitch that he already has a customer and used an actual photo purchased to show the investor panel.
Jud Moritz, Regional President, Southwest Georgia Bank, and YEA Superstar Sponsor, kicked off the event with Valdosta-Chamber of Commerce VP of Business Development, Betty Morgan, who shared an overview of the program and acknowledged all program sponsors, mentors, guest speakers, field trip hosts, and service professionals that make the program successful.
YEA! Program Director, DeWayne Johnson presented the event rules for the students and judges prior to introducing the evening’s Master of Ceremonies, Estel Powell, “The Voice of Valdosta State”.
After each student presented his/her business presentation and ask amount for funding, the judges went into deliberation in order to decide the investment amounts awarded and the event winners. Arthur Morin of BrandSouth served as the facilitator for the judges.
As the judges came to their decisions in a separate area, the program continued with Powell interviewing the 2018 Pitch Event Winner, Cedric Montgomery, who is now a senior at Lowndes High School. Montgomery admitted, “this year’s group of students blew us out of the water,” when Powell asked him about his opinion of the 2019 YEA pitch presenters.
Johnson announced that the program is now officially accepting early applications through May 31, 2019, for its limited class seats for students. According to Johnson, the young entrepreneurs program welcomes applicants from local counties such as Brooks, Lanier, and Colquitt.
Once the judges returned, Johnson presented the investment award amounts for the YEA! students and their businesses in the order of their presentations:
Amanda Johnson, YEA Lead Instructor and manager, announced the judge’s selections of pitch winners. As the event’s First Place Winner, Caleb Hunter, the 13-year-old CEO of Estate Xposures, will advance to the YEA! Saunders Scholars national competition to compete “Shark Tank” style for up to $30,000 in college scholarships and a variety of business prize packages.
The competition’s First Runner Up was Emma Micklon, 7th grader at Pine Grove Elementary. Micklon won for pitching Comfy Dogg, a foam filled pad that you put on your lap which helps with the clawing, pet fur, weight, and heat that a dog produces, especially during a car ride. Micklon was also the event’s highest investment award recipient, receiving $1,000.
Second Runner Up went to Laila McWhite, 7th grader at Pine Grove Elementary. McWhite won for pitching Kingdom Quotes, which prints words of inspiration, motivational sayings, and expressions to uplift women on a variety of stationery posts and greeting cards.
“This is the most exciting part of the program,” said DeWayne Johnson. “The students, parents, sponsors, and supporting educators have the opportunity to see the transformation and growth that every student has achieved after participating in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy.”
“We have also been contacted by individuals who either want to invest additional in-kind support for chosen YEA business ideas, share helpful business connections with the students, or purchase products from the YEA! students in the near future.”
At the YEA! Saunders Scholars national competition, Hunter will have the opportunity to present and network with renowned business leaders and connect with like-minded YEA! students from all over the country. The 11th Annual YEA! Saunders Scholars National Competition and Conference will host the brightest YEA! students ages 11 to 18 from across the United States. The students will have just three minutes to present their business plans to a public audience and a panel of executive judges.
The annual event hosted at nationally-renowned Saunders College of Business at RIT with support of the Saunders Foundation is set to take place on Friday, May 3, 2019 in Rochester, New York. Friends, families and communities across the country will be able to tune-in to the riveting experience via a livestream of the Semi-Finals and Finals at saunders.rit.edu/yea-live<http://saunders.rit.edu/yea-live>.
Local companies, Event Point and Motion Wave Productions, provided event production and videography services, respectively, for the pitch competition.
YEA! is a 20-week, after-school program made possible by the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce, helping to build the next generation of business leaders. Early applicants are currently being accepted through May 31, 2019, for the limited student spots avail-able for Fall 2019. For information about how to register area middle school and high school students in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, contact Program Director, DeWayne Johnson at email@example.com or (229) 588-0866.
Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce VP of Business Development, Betty Morgan, YEA! Lead Instructor, Amanda Johnson, (second from the left), and YEA! Program Director, DeWayne Johnson (on the far right) stand in support of the 11 YEA! students that presented during the 2019 YEA! Investor Panel Pitch Event. The students range from 11 to 18 years old and represent public, private, and home schools.
The Chamber and Renasant Bank presented Event Point, LLC with the March Small Business of the Month award.
Whether you have an exciting message to share or need to host an outstanding event to ensure it is communicated clearly and effectively, Event Point is a must. Event Point provides quality audio visual services for any event that you host, from business to social events. . Event Point’s goal is to create flawless events with enthusiastic customer service!
Established in 2006, Event Point recognized the need in the Valdosta-Lowndes County community for quality live events while focusing on serving the clients with the utmost respect and service.
“One of our biggest priorities is to listen to our clients as they share the passion they have for their event, and taking that passion and translating it into a big success,” said Chris Shelton, project manager.
Event Point places great focus on creating affordable options for those wanting to host an event with limited funds. Event Point has provided discounted services to a select clients to ensure their message and event is of the highest quality, according to Shelton. Since their expertise is centered around events, the Event Point staff prides themselves on providing a fair service to everyone.
Shelton state, Event Point partners with each client to walk them through the process to ensure the final goal is achieved.
Passionate about working in the Valdosta-Lowndes County community, Event Point believes the bar has been raised tremendously for the quality and clarity for the businesses, organizations and individuals they work with.
Watching the stress and worry about all the aspects of an event begin to diminish as Event Point works with the client to plan out each and every part of an event—this is the true reward.
“We want Valdosta-Lowndes County to not just be another city people pass through on the interstate on their way to Florida or Atlanta, “said Shelton. “We want it to be a destination city that people seek out because of the quality of services and available resources we have here.”
Event Point is located 708 N. Oak Street, Valdosta. For more information, call 229-563-5278.
What is Chamber Spectrum Benefits? Chamber Spectrum Benefits is a collaboration between the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce and Taylor Insurance to provide affordable health benefits to small and mid-size businesses who MAY not be able to provide affordable and quality health benefits to their employees otherwise. This is possible by underwriting them and rating them as if they were large businesses under the umbrella of the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber. The business must be a member of the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce and have two or more employees to qualify.
Chamber Spectrum Benefits will provide an opportunity for businesses in Valdosta-Lowndes County to offer a comprehensive, ACA-compliant health insurance program that provides cost saving for the employer and employee. Chamber Spectrum Benefits offers the “traditional” plans that people are accustomed to receiving. There is no maximum number of employees; however, all businesses must be a member of the Chamber.
More than 400 employees in the Valdosta-Lowndes community are covered under the Chamber Spectrum Benefits program, and have experienced a savings of over $1 million. That is money that is being saved by local businesses and employers to hire new employees and keep skilled employees. Several businesses have received savings as much as 300-500 percent.
Chamber Spectrum Benefits offers an integrated wellness benefit. This benefit help an individual earn up to a $500 credit off his/her deductible for completing a wellness initiative centered around improving an employee’s health behaviors.
The Chamber and Taylor Insurance will continue to build awareness with all business in Valdosta-Lowndes County and the surrounding counties that are searching for exceptionally affordable health benefits.
For more information about Chamber Spectrum Benefits, please contact Sandy Beal at 229-247-8100, ext. 229 or visit www.valdostachamber.com.
The Chamber Ambassadors honored Pure H20 with a ribbon cutting to celebrate their grand opening in the Valdosta-Lowndes County area.
A self-serve purified water refill store, Pure H20 offers the purest, freshest and best tasting water available for drinking and cooking.
“We take the city’s already EPA approved water and run it through a carbon filter, a dual tank water softener,” said David Mullis, owner. “The result is fresh purified water that tastes better than any water you can buy in the store or from the bottlers.”
According to Mullis, water stores are popular on the west coast of the United States. Mullis wanted to offer a comparable service in Valdosta.
“There is no similar service in Valdosta and there are not many water stores on the East Coast,” Mullis said.
The goal for Pure H20 is to make contributions to build community water wells and offer water that may aid in reducing diseases.
Pure H20 is a valued member of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce.
“The staff is absolutely wonderful,” said Mullis. “They are proactive in helping businesses, whether established or new.”
Mullis stated, “The Chamber provides numerous resources and has been prompt and professional in responding to my many requests for help.
The Chamber and Renasant Bank presented Ray Norton Tire and Auto Center with the February Small Business of the Month award.
For the past 30 years, Ray Norton has strived to offer exceptional auto services to Valdosta and the surrounding cities.
Ray Norton is an independent business offering a nationwide warranty on all the parts and labor they offer.
“We have two full-time Auto Service Excellence-certified technicians, each with over 20 years of experience,” said Sharon Norton, general manager. “We perform all repairs, except for muffler and transmissions.”
Ray Norton takes pride in the service and products they offer to their customers.
“We are Valdosta’s number one Michelin/BFG Goodrich Alliance dealer and can also obtain just about any name brand you’re looking for,” said Norton.
Customer commitment is Ray Norton’s first priority.
“We like to focus on relationships, after that everything else falls into place,” said Norton. “Relationships are important to us, and we to earn their trust.”
For the past 10 years, Ray Norton has been nominated for many awards.
Ray Norton has received awards for Best Auto Repair, Best Tire Store and Best Brake Shop and Valdosta Daily Times, Best of the Best.
Ray Norton is passionate about their involvement in the Valdosta-Lowndes County community.
According to Norton, the business has hosted its annual customer appreciation events for the past 23 years. The event is free to the community and includes food, prizes and entertainment.
Ray Norton is a proud supporter of the military.
“As a NAPA authorized repair facility, Ray Norton was part of a group of facilities that gave away a car to a military member,” said Norton. “We offer military discounts as well.”
Ray Norton are donors to local area non-profits such as LAMP, Options Now, WAFT, and Morningside Baptist Church’s “We Love Valdosta” event.
Ray Norton Tire and Auto Center are located at 2606 Bemiss Road, Valdosta. For more information, call 229-247-1555 or visitwww.raynortontire.com.
The Chamber Ambassadors honored Hair Color & Shears with a ribbon cutting on March 4, 2019, to celebrate and show the community the renovated site. Hair Color & Shears takes pride in helping women meet and keep up healthy hair.
Hair Color & Shears enjoys watching their clients leave happy and with an understanding for hair care. Owner Sharonda Thomas stated, “Hair Color & Shears provides a welcoming and friendly atmosphere, a place for clients to relax and be pampered. We strive to provide prompt and timely service.”
“Seeing each guest walk out with a smile on her face, feeling renewed with an extra pep in her step, and a better understanding of how to care for her hair is why I love what I do,” said Thomas.
In the future, Hair Color & Shears plans to offer more education so their guest can keep up a healthy look in between appointments.
Hair Color & Shears is a new and proud member of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce.
“The Chamber allowed me the opportunity to showcase my business in front of people and gave me leads when opening my salon,” said Thomas. “I’ve had the opportunity to meet and network with other great business owners in our city.” For more information on Hair Color & Shears, located at 5929 Bemiss Rd
Suite D, Valdosta, find the on Facebook or call (229) 630-1892.
PHOTO CAPTION: Chamber Ambassadors celebrate the renovation of Hair Color and Shears