Chamber hosts ‘Business After Hours’

Published 9:30 am Friday, July 2, 2010

GATESVILLE – One month shy of its first birthday, the Gates County Chamber of Commerce is proving to its critics that not only can it survive, it can grow as well.

Chamber members came together here Tuesday evening to enjoy its first-ever “Business After Hours” event. Hosted by Chamber Board Chairman Jack Owens (Owens Financial Services), 22 members gathered in an informal setting to share business strategies and enjoy each other’s company.

Not only was this inaugural gathering hailed as a success, the Chamber also picked-up a new member at the event – Linda Lewis with William E. Wood & Associates Realty of Chesapeake, Va. Lewis is a Gates County resident.

“For our first time in staging an event such as this, I thought things went extremely well,” said Jonathan Jones who serves as president of the Chamber. “We were hoping for about twenty people to come out on a weekday afternoon and we wound-up with twenty-two.”

Jones was appreciative of Owens and his wife, Denise, for hosting the two-hour event. Mrs. Owens prepared the snacks, including homemade pimento cheese and chicken salad along with ham biscuits.

“When we started planning for this, our main objective was to bring together our business owners so they could interact with one another,” Jones noted. “Functions such as this serve as an avenue for our businesses to expose their respective services. It’s the Chamber’s job to promote these businesses; allow them to interact, learn what these companies have to offer….all in an effort to keep local money flowing through local businesses. That’s even more critical during these tough economic times.”

Jones added that plans are already underway to stage another Business After Hours event in the near future.

Since officially forming with 63 members on August 13, 2009, the Gates County Chamber of Commerce membership roster has now grown to 75.

Other than Owens and Jones, the Chamber’s leadership positions are held by Ed Morgan (Vice-Chairman), Marie Allen (Secretary) and Dan Askew (Treasurer).

Since its inception, the Chamber has developed and launched a website –

Those interested in joining can do so on the website or by contacting Owens (357-2300), Morgan (465-8616), Jones (357-6566) or Allen (252-506-1592).

The Gates County Chamber of Commerce is open to businesses and individuals. Annual dues are Business ($75), Business Associate ($20), Individual ($40) and Spouse Associate ($25).

Those carrying full membership are eligible to vote in Chamber decisions, serve on committees and hold office.