Health is a top concern across the world for all mankind, but locally owned small businesses have a bit more on their shoulders at this time.
The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber recognizes that these businesses rely on a steady flow of customers and consumers that have recently come to a halt.
Over 80% of businesses in Lowndes county fall into this category.
Social distance and limited contact has been advised to all and while it is the best practice for our health, these small businesses need our attention through alternate avenues.
In just the short period of time since COVID-19 has reached our area, these businesses are already feeling a hit.
Sue Cox, owner of Covington’s Dining & Catering and 306 North has come up with options to continue to feed the community in a safer, more distant way.
Like many other restaurants, they are offering take-out and curb-side delivery options. Even with these limited contact options, both restaurants are continuing their top-of-the-line hygiene practices provided by the Lowndes County Health Department.
“We continue to train and update our employees to do everything we can for your public safety and the freshness of our food,” stated Cox.
Cox expressed that “all small businesses need the community’s help right now, and we look forward to being here to serve the community at this time, too.”
Thacker Dermatology, like many others have already adapted and made necessary changes.
Though she understands the financial concerns, owner, Dr. Betsy Backe “can’t emphasize enough the importance of staying home.”
The office is only open for high-risk appointments at this time. They are rescheduling all routine appointments or encouraging them to use TeleDerm, a form of video consultation.
For those that must come in, Dr. Backe has “instructed the staff to wear face masks and wipe down exam tables, chairs and door handles between each patient,” Dr. Backe shared.
In addition to taking precautions with her employee’s while in the office, Dr. Backe is making sure they are taken care of financially as well.
Working with a “skeleton crew” to keep numbers down, many of Thacker Dermatology’s employees are not working at the moment.
“I have come up with a policy so our workers can get paid even when they are not here,” explains Dr. Backe.
Gift certificates and skin products are currently available to the public and can be purchased through curb-side delivery.
Stephanie Smith, owner of L.S. Smith Photography has also looked for the “windows” in her business that are “geared towards keeping clients’ experiences awesome” in a safe way.
“Being flexible is key,” Smith states.
While primarily a portrait photographer, Smith has created an outdoor “booth” providing a more spacious, safer environment to capture the same professional look of an in-studio portrait.
Smith is also encouraging seniors to plan ahead for their portraits and purchase a gift certificate available on her website.
Some businesses have no choice but to keep running, such as local accounting firm, Fowler, Holley, Rambo & Stalvey, PC.
Though tax season has been extended, people need to “get their financial reports completed and their taxes filed, but also they need help analyzing how this pandemic will affect their business,” according to Curt Fowler, a CPA at the firm.
Through this busy time, the firm’s goal remains to keep clients and staff safe and do their part to stop the spread of the visrus.
All in person meetings have been suspended and clients are encouraged to drop off their materials rather than come in.
“This is a big change for us,” Fowler admits. “We traditionally have many clients in our offices this time of year, but instead, we are utilizing web and tele-conferences to communicate. We are prepared and ready to work from our homes if that is required.”
Our daily lives may be shaken, but as we are trying to do new things at home, we must get creative to support our local business community. The community can be wiser and stronger than COVID-19 with a few modifications and smart practices.
VALDOSTA, GA – In January, THBoyd Communications won the 2016 Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan Competition. The business plan presentation was based on creating and publishing the South Georgia Business + Culture Magazine, which launched its inaugural issue last month.The editorial content of the magazine is focused on creating an awareness and synergy about South Georgia’s economic impact, business opportunities, entrepreneurship and research, as well as the vibrant cultural growth within the region.
“This magazine would not be possible without the support of my partners at Southwest Georgia Bank, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce, and University of Georgia Small Business Development Center at Valdosta State University,” said Thressea H. Boyd, CEO of THBoyd Communications. “The magazine presents a regional message to a statewide audience.”
Complimentary copies of the magazine are distributed to business and industry leaders, governmental representatives, and key influencers throughout Georgia. In 2017, three issues are scheduled for publication.
“When people read the magazine, I want them to be amazed at what we have here in South Georgia,” Boyd said. “The economic impact found through industry, agriculture, tourism, and workforce development in South Georgia, along with the rich cultural prominence, plays a tremendous role in making South Georgia a great place to live and work. It’s time we tell our story!”
For more information on South Georgia Business+ Culture, visit the magazine’s website at www.sgamag.com.
For more information regarding the SEEDS Business Resource Center, contact Betty Morgan at 229-247-8100 ext. 234 or visit the SEEDS center website at http://www.seedsbusinessresourcecenter.com
VALDOSTA, GA – The Chamber Ambassadors held a ribbon cutting for Valdosta Christian Academy recently.
Valdosta Christian Academy is a fairly new member of the Valdosta community, opening just four years ago. Valdosta Christian Academy is the only private school within 100 miles that is Adventist owned. They operate on a condensed school week, Monday through Thursday, and they offer classes for grades 1 through 8. ” We love to train our children for this life by providing a challenging, fun, and authentic curriculum,” says Shanel Marchany of VCA.
Most of VCA’s students are performing at least one grade above their current grade level. The student to teacher ratio is 1:8, so students have the opportunity to receive individualized small group instruction during their learning times.
One of the school’s projects is a book drive where books and stories are donated to members of the Valdosta- Lowndes community. “We were able to donate hundreds of cook books, Biblical literature, and faith stories to Lowndes county residents last year,” said Marchany. VCA also said they are looking forward to continuing the book drive this year.
For more information about Valdosta Christian Academy, please give them a call at (229) 469-5090 or stop by the campus at 2285 E. Park Avenue Road.
Welcome back to 1977, where Lowndes County’s population was a mere 67,500 people and times were much different. Population is not the only thing that has grown for our area over the years. Business and development has too.
In honor of “Throwback Thursday,” we cracked the vault and found this gem, a copy of the 1977 Edition of the Valdosta Promotional book.
Click the link below to take a look!
Valdosta Promotional book by Chamber of Commerce, 1977
Being able to look back on the Valdosta-Lowndes County area in 1977 gives us an idea of how much growth and progress we have made since then. In addition, it shows what a solid foundation was laid for that growth to happen just over 39 years ago.
Maximilian James Wang, a high school senior at Lowndes High School, has been named the 2016 Region Winner PAGE STAR Student for PAGE STAR Region 10. The announcement was made today by PAGE Director of Human Resources Gayle Wooten. Wang selected Mrs. Jennifer Graybeal, AP microeconomics teacher at Lowndes High School, as his STAR teacher.
The PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program, now in its 58th year, is sponsored, administered and promoted by the PAGE Foundation, the charitable arm of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators. Other region-level sponsors include the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Price Gilbert, Jr. Charitable Fund. Since its inception, the STAR program has honored more than 25,500 students and the teachers they have selected as having had the most influence on their academic achievement. To obtain the 2016 STAR nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the three-part SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.
STAR begins each year in participating high schools throughout Georgia when the STAR Student is named and chooses a STAR Teacher to share in this recognition. The students and their teachers are honored by their schools and receive special recognition in their communities from one of the more than 165 statewide civic organizations and businesses that serve as local sponsors of the STAR program. Students then compete for school system titles, and those winners compete for region honors. Region winners compete for the honor of being named State PAGE STAR Student. The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber organizes the Region 10 event in Valdosta, with the help of presenting sponsor, Smith Drug Company.
“We are very proud of Max and Mrs. Graybeal and the academic excellence they exemplify at Lowndes High School,” said Bruce Allred, with director of operations at Smith Drug Company. “They not only represent their school, but they represent our entire community. We are thrilled that their outstanding work has been recognized as part of this prestigious program.”
As a 501(c)(3) organization, the PAGE Foundation supports PAGE, encouraging and receiving charitable gifts that advance the association’s core business and PAGE Foundation programs such as PAGE STAR, PAGE Foundation Scholarships, the PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades, the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon and PAGE TV. To learn more about the PAGE Foundation and to donate, please visit http://www.pagefoundation.org.
The Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE), the parent organization of the PAGE Foundation, is a statewide professional association of more than 90,000 teachers, administrators and support personnel. PAGE provides professional learning to enhance competence and confidence, build leadership and increase student achievement, while providing the best membership, legislative and legal services and support.