Burke County Chamber of Commerce
Ad Sales Underway for 2015 Chamber Directory

Ad Sales Underway for 2015 Chamber Directory

magazine-thBusinesses and organizations that advertised in the 2014 Chamber Directory know a good thing when they see it. They are renewing their ads for the 2015 Directory that is now in the planning stage and is set for December delivery. Most of the 5,000 copies of the 66-page full color, glossy magazine will be placed directly in the hands of persons and businesses looking to relocate to Burke County. “That said, we will also hold copies in reserve for Chamber members to use as part of their own marketing, recruiting and public relations plans,” said Jerry Davis, the Chamber’s Interim President & CEO.  Advertising rates for the 2015 publication are the same as this year. Nick Yankosky is the Project Sales Director contacting Chamber members about advertising opportunities for the next directory.

Members Nominate 16 for Cornerstone Awards;  Ceremonies Set for May 20

Members Nominate 16 for Cornerstone Awards; Ceremonies Set for May 20

Cornerstone Awards - TrademarkA panel of judges from the community will soon begin deliberating applications from 16 Burke County businesses and organizations that were nominated for this year’s Cornerstone Awards. Award winners will be announced at special ceremonies on May 20 at the Community House in Morganton (look for details soon). The nominees – all Chamber members – are vying in three Cornerstone Award categories: Foundation Awards (small, mid-size and large business of the year); the Diversity Award (minority-owned and operated business of the year) and the Impact Award (community-minded business of the year).

Belk Charity Sale on May 3 to Benefit Community Non-Profits

Belk Charity Sale on May 3 to Benefit Community Non-Profits

BelkLogo_4_colorBelk of Morganton will be holding a private ticketed event with proceeds from ticket sales supporting non-profit organizations and schools in Burke County.  Charity Sale Tickets are only $5 and will give ticket holders access to special discounts of up to 70% on rarely discounted brands from 6-10 am on Saturday, May 3, at the new Morganton Heights store.  (You’ll need to show your ticket to the sales clerk to claim the special discounts.)The Chamber has a limited quantity of the tickets, so stop by or call our office to purchase yours any time Monday through Friday from 8 am-5 pm. Tickets will also be on sale at the May 1 Business After Hours at Phifer Wellness Center. Last year, Belk raised more than $10 million for education, women’s health and community organizations through the ticket sales.

Learn How to Create   The Excellent Experience  at May 9 Business for Breakfast

Learn How to Create The Excellent Experience at May 9 Business for Breakfast

It’s a question that’s never far from our thoughts: “How can I build excellence in my business and in my personal life?”
On Friday, May 9, at the next Business for Breakfast, the Burke County Chamber of Commerce and Caterpillar, Inc. will proudly present Morganton native, consultant and writer C. David Crouch who will share his acclaimed guide for mapping a clear path toward leading yourself and others toward excellence.  David is the author of the new book, The Excellent Experience – A Blueprint for Organizational, Team and Individual Success. 
Steven M. R. Covey, one of the business world’s best-known advisors on trust, leadership, ethics, and high performance, has said, “Nobody understands the science of excellence like David Crouch.”

Following his presentation, David will participate in a panel of leaders from several Burke County businesses who will share some of their tactics for building excellence, dependable service, customer loyalty and high quality in their products and services.  Copies of The Excellent Experience will be available for purchase and inscription by the author following the program

The event will be held from 8-930 am in the Ervin Community Room at Grace Ridge Retirement Community, the 2014 sponsor for the quarterly Business for Breakfasts.    A large crowd is expected, so early reservations are encouraged. The event is free for Chamber members but reservations are required, so please e-mail djolly@burkecounty.org or call the Chamber at 437-3021.

The Excellent Experience provides a model for creating excellence that resembles building a house. There are four main sections – the raw materials, the foundation, the structure and the roof.  The raw materials include effective leadership, the right people on the team and a strategy for execution. The foundation of the “house” includes a mission, a vision, principles and standards of behavior. The structure depicts five pillars of performance that guide strategic planning and provide balanced clarity of focus: quality, service, people, growth and finance. The roof represents three levels of performance that must be measured – individual, team and organization. When these elements are effectively assembled and deployed, the excellent experience emerges.

Originally from Morganton, NC, David currently works with Caterpillar Inc. in Peoria, IL, as a senior consultant helping organizations around the world create environments of excellence.

Have “Phun, Phun, Phun” on May 1 at Phifer Wellness Center!

Have “Phun, Phun, Phun” on May 1 at Phifer Wellness Center!

Need some energy at the end of your work day?BC_Busniness-After-Hours-Logo

Then make plans to enjoy a healthy blend of fitness, food, fashion and great door prizes at Phifer Wellness Center for our next Business After Hours.  It’s all set for Thursday, May 1, from 4:30-6:30 pm.  Supporting Chamber members include Belk of Morganton, The Tea Tree in Glen Alpine and Morganton Natural Foods.

“We’re inviting all our fellow Chamber members to bring a friend to Phifer Wellness Center for this special event. Come as you are after work or bring a change of clothes,” said Shea Rostan, the center’s manager.  “We’ll have something for everyone. Whether you’re already physically active or just want to explore how to live healthier, you’ll have a fun and relaxed time at this Business After Hours. It will be a great opportunity to network in an informal setting, too, so bring your business cards.”

“In addition to all the activities we have planned, we will have tours of our 26,000 sq.ft. facility, one of the largest centers of its kind in Western NC,” she added. “We are really looking forward to having Belk of Morganton, Morganton Natural Foods and the Tea Tree join us for this event.”

  • 4:30            Healthy Food  & Drink Demos by Morganton Natural Foods, The Tea                             Tree and PWC
  • 4:30-5:00    “The Eight Natural Laws of Health” with guest speaker Tanya Papuga
  • 4:30-6:30    Fitness Fashions for 2014 by Belk of Morganton
  • 4:30-6:30    Tours of PWC
  •  5:00           Water Aerobics
  •  5:00           Bodybar Strength Training
  •  5:30           Dodgeball  Tournament
  •  5:30           Wallyball
  •  5:45           Yoga

There will also be drawings for some great door prizes, including a one-year member-ship to Phifer Wellness Center, massage sessions, a  juicer, men’s and women’s athletic shoes, personal training and logoed PWC gear. Tickets for Belk of Morganton’s Charity Sale on May 3 benefiting area non-profit organizations and schools will also be on sale. Phifer Wellness Center is located in Morganton on the campus of Grace Hospital (Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge) at Exit 105 off I-40.

Business After Hours is free to Chamber members, but reservations are required to help sponsors plan the event. Please call Dorothea Jolly at the Chamber at 437-3021 by 5 pm on Monday April 28, so you don’t miss out!

Legislative Survey: Mixed Concerns among Chamber Members

Legislative Survey: Mixed Concerns among Chamber Members

Chamber members’ opinions on government are as diverse as their businesses, based on the results of the 2014 Legislative Survey. 

The closest that members came to consensus was that both Washington and Raleigh are moving in the “wrong direction” on laws, regulations, taxation and other government oversight of business. On a 10-point rating scale of right-to-wrong direction, the state, at 6.4, fared slightly better than its federal counterpart at 7.9.

When it came to the top three concerns on the federal front affecting business and industry,  members said healthcare, taxes and regulations/ government waste topped the list.

The top three concerns on the state front were jobs/economic development, education and taxes, with healthcare a close fourth among the priorities.

There was even less agreement among members on one thing the state could for their business to help them create jobs.

To see a broad sampling of these suggestions and to read a more complete report of survey results,

The 2014 Legislative Survey

 During February 2014, the Burke County Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey of the membership to determine their perspectives on the overall direction of state and federal governments regarding the business sector and legislative priorities for Washington and Raleigh. The following report of findings Includes representative comments from the survey on questions 3, 4, and 5.

1) Please indicate on a 1-10 scale whether you believe changes in FEDERAL laws, regulations, taxation and other government oversight of business are generally moving in the right or wrong direction (with 1 being “Right Direction” and 10 being “Wrong Direction”).  

Overall result: 7.9 Wrong Direction

2) Please indicate on a 1-10 scale whether you believe changes in NORTH CAROLINA laws, regulations, taxation and other government oversight of business are generally moving in the right or wrong direction (with 1 being “Right Direction” and 10 being “Wrong Direction”).  

Overall result: 6.4 Wrong Direction

3) In order of importance to you, please list your top three concerns or issues at the FEDERAL level affecting your business or industry. Results in order of prevalence:

Healthcare  – Including “ObamaCare mandates,” overall costs; impact on small businesses, complexity; uncertainty, no real competition for plans in NC, mental health disparities, cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, “both parties need to work together” )

Taxes – “excessive,” complex, “business killing taxes and regulations,” disparities between salaries/benefits of federal vs. state employees

Regulations/Government Waste (Tied for third) – Cost to business, lack of clear direction, complex, too many regulations, regulations not keeping pace  with changes in technology, influence peddling, too many incentives not to work, minimum wage proposals, environmental regulations, regulations on financial services

4) In order of importance to you, please list your top three concerns or issues at the STATE (i.e., NORTH CAROLINA) level affecting your business or industry. Results in order of prevalence:

Jobs/Economic Development – Lack of direction in economic development, need greater focus on creating job skills,  need long-term solution to  unemployment benefits and cost to business,” unfavorable laws to commercial and industrial development,” oppressive/unfavorable zoning and environmental laws/regulations, failing to address deteriorating infrastructure, economic development process needs streamlining, film incentive should continue, under-funding of Department of Tourism, “red tape” running off businesses, concerned over regulations limiting offshore drilling, taxes still to high to attract “:mega-industry,” economic stagnation in rural areas, too many regulations

Education – Teacher salaries and raises, cuts in education, need more accountability for school systems budget and curriculum, need more options for students who are not college-bound,

 Taxes – Concerns over shifting tax burden to local governments, sales tax more fair than property tax, government waste, “additional sales taxes plus 5.8% income tax equate to more than I used to pay,”

A close fourth on this question was Healthcare – Costs, failure to expand Medicaid hurting business, need to implement Medicaid reform, Medicaid  inefficiencies, lack of mental health reform leaving people homeless/without care/crowding emergency rooms, cherry-picking of insured patients from non- profit hospital by groups exempt from CON under proposed changes to law,  completion of Broughton Hospital project, concerned over ObamaCare, assault on tax-exempt organizations, potential loss of tax-exempt status for non-profit hospitals, “Medicaid fiasco=less disposable income”

5) If the North Carolina General Assembly and/or the State of North Carolina could enact one change that would have the most positive impact on your company’s ability to create jobs, what would that change be?

  • Stabilize funding for education and training programs that attract new jobs and meet the needs of existing business and industry.
  • Adopt and stick with a proven business model for mental health that will survive changes in state administrations.
  • Continue to lower the cost of doing business, including corporate tax rates, with the goal to becoming the most business friendly state east of the Mississippi.
  • “Get rid of Obamacare.”
  • “Stay out of my business.”
  • Lower healthcare insurance rates and limit annual increases.
  • Reduce state approvals needed in all areas of business.
  • Enact true change in the economic development delivery system recognizing that to be competitive we need to move at the speed of business and create programs that businesses can actually use.
  • Streamline major state departments – they are too cumbersome and offer very little customer service.
  • Take out uncertainty in healthcare laws.
  • Restructure economic development in our region by holding grant and award recipients accountable for funds taken and jobs not created. Funds could then be used for business development that is sustainable and growing.
  • Run a campaign to current/potential businesses to waive state taxes for 8-10 years if they open a $XXXXXXXXX business in NC (similar to NY and MI)
  • Expand Medicaid.
  • Lift the dry county ban on Burke County.
  • Provide increased coverage for special needs care. Current system is supposed to allow for this in reality it does not.
  • Education reform.
  • Workforce training and development.
  • Incentives for buying American-made products.
  • Medical malpractice reform.
  • Focus more on trades training with funding and start at the high school level. The jobs are there and open but no one to fill them now. We need a skilled work ready work force to attract jobs.
  • Give teachers a 10% pay increase.
  • REGULATIONS!!!! From toilet paper makers to care giving, we are continuously hit with new and time consuming changes made by someone at the state level that does not even know the job at hand.
  • Increase Medicaid rates to hospitals.
  • Reduce the NC tax rate on capital gains.
  • Fund Medicaid.
  • STEM schools – more focus on math and engineering.
  • Concentrate on providing internet access in rural areas.
  • Eliminate corporate income taxes.
  • Tax incentives to increase new industry in Burke County.
  • Make Western Piedmont Community College into a four-year school, so that our young people could stay in our community upon graduation from high school.
  • Continue tightening up the requirements to receive unemployment benefits.

Respondent Mix;


Small Business or Organization         –     44%

Medium-sized Business                      –     15%

Large Employer                                    –     29%

Other                                                     –     21%



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