The Thomson-McDuffie Chamber of Commerce was decked out in scaffolding last week for it's membership drive, themed "Chamber Under Construction." By Thursday afternoon, the drive had built up the chamber by adding 90 new members.
"I am overwhelmed and pleased at how well it went," said Cindy Cox, chamber board member. "I never thought we would've done that well. I thought we'd get 50 new members at the most, but we had a lot of good volunteers."
Carolyn Gilbert, chamber director, said chamber members were divided into five teams, who competed against each other to see who could recruit the most new members.
"I'm good at calling new businesses that come into town, but people may not join for me, but will join for somebody else. So we had a big blitz that everyone could participate in," Mrs. Gilbert said.
A kick-off party was held Monday evening, in which Ed Rodriguez from Chamber Resources in Florida gave the members recruiting advice. Mrs. Cox said Mr. Rodriguez told them to be more successful, they should call only people that they know. Mrs. Cox was captain of the winning team, which brought in 25 new members.
The top individual producer was Lynn Raybon, who recruited 10 new members. However, Mrs. Raybon said she believes she was successful because she recruited businesses she did not know personally.
"The secret is ask, be persistent, and just follow-up," she said. "I was observant of who were members already, and who were not members. I made myself available to them."
Mrs. Raybon said she believes business owners are not aware of what the chamber can do for them. She said over 20,000 calls come into the chamber each year, and any business that is a member could be a reference for one of those calls.
Mrs. Gilbert said other benefits of membership include insurance, networking, lunches, business after-hours, ambassador program, protection and advancement of the business. After the chamber drive, there are now 350 members to the Thomson-McDuffie Chamber of Commerce. There are 15 board members.
"I want to give a big 'thank you' to all who helped in the chamber drive, it was such a big success," Mrs. Gilbert said.
The chamber is looking for volunteers and sponsors to help with the GreenJackets Back-To-School night on Aug. 6, and the Festival Off Main on Dec. 3. For more information, call 597-1000.