National Independent Retailer Month

by Eric Haggart

Eric Haggart

Eric Haggart is our guest contributor to this Shelf Life in the Mountains. Eric writes for the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber recently moved into a new location at 98 Hyatt Road, Franklin.

The month of July is National Independent Retailer Month, and a majority of our member businesses are just that, independent retailers. Being a member of the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce is more than just putting your business’ name in a guide book and on a website. Being a member of the Chamber puts you in a group of local businesses that are all striving towards the same goal: success! By becoming a member of the Franklin Chamber of Commerce, you join a vast pool of resources from which all of our members draw ideas, energy, and networking. The popular quote from Aristotle,  “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”, resonates in the membership of the Chamber. What goods or services one of our members may not offer, another might, and vice versa, allowing customers to keep their dollars local, energizing the local economy and putting more people to work.

Our searchable database of Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce members is here: FACC Member Businesses

Members are highlighted in our information area

The Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce is a non profit organization working to build a healthy economy, improve the area’s quality of life, promote the business interests of our members, and provide tools for your business’ success. One huge advantage to the Franklin Chamber of Commerce is that we’re also home to Franklin’s Welcome Center. Visitors and locals come in looking for information about things to do, places to shop, eat, and stay. Being a member of the Chamber gives you exposure that you won’t get trying to navigate a target audience with a much more involved advertising budget. The Chamber of Commerce also seeks out advertising in regional publications, giving readers a pathway to getting more information about Franklin, exposing them to our website, and driving more customers right to your door.

Tying all of these benefits together, our new facility has provided a more immersive experience for people coming to the area who are looking for restaurants, local shops, and activities. In addition to our “brick and mortar” location, the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce reaches out to interact with our members in many of the most popular social media platforms. A growing presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more, we interact with not only potential visitors, but also with our members who participate in these platforms as well. Sharing upcoming events, specials, dining, lodging, as well as giving our members spotlights and features, puts them in front of even larger audiences than ever before.

By joining other area independent retailers in the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce, you become part of a business community that thrives and succeeds as a whole. Our role in that process is to help facilitate interaction between local residents and visitors, by guiding them to our members to meet their needs. In so doing, the money that is spent locally helps to foster economic growth and prosperity for our members and their employees, which in turn, provides a successful environment for small businesses to thrive.

To request information about becoming a member of the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce, follow the link here – Membership Information & Benefits

Finally, the Fontana Regional Library has resources to support independent retailers, such as these 3 titles (and 495 more):

Managing your business to minimize disruption [electronic resource] : a guide for small businesses in North Carolina.

The great equalizer : how Main Street capitalism can create an economy for everyone / David M. Smick.

How to start your very first business / from the producers of Warren Buffett’s Secret Millionaire’s Club, with Julie Merberg and Sarah Parvis.

With access to the resources of NC Cardinal,  there are over 1200 more titles about this subject available in eBook and print.

“Interesting People / Patrons”

By Don

How many people do you know? Let me ask it this way, how many do you know interesting things about?

At the Macon County Public Library, we have many interesting people walk through our doors. Sometimes I think I would like to get to know all of them, but that’s impossible. On a slow day in February, we may have as many as 400 people visit our library. On a busy day in the summertime, we have over 1000 visitors. And, since I am usually in the computer lab or staffing the reference desk, I interact with only a small fraction of them. Therefore, I have to take every opportunity I can to meet people and get to know them.

Book cover art for Look About by Hildegard SandhusenI was on my way to lunch when I received a reference call, Ms. Patron was on the line. After talking to her for a few minutes and after asking a few standard reference questions, I realized she was inquiring about photographs, poems, and books authored by Hildegard Sandhusen that we might have in our collection. I quickly found two books authored by Hildegard Sandhusen, “Look About” and “Little Journeys” and we had both of them in the stacks. Ms. Patron was happy I found the books.

While I was on the phone with Ms. Patron, I learned that she and Ms. Sandhusen were long time friends. I further learned that Ms. Sandhusen was a world-renowned photographer and writer. She had even been a freelance photographer for Life Magazine among other things.

I spent most of my lunch break, on the phone, getting to know these two women. After the phone call I pulled the two books from shelf and learned even more about Ms. Sandhusen. As I read about her life on the back cover of one of the books, I discovered that she was born in Germany. Despite her father’s desire for her to become a dentist, she followed her passion and became a photographer. She began as an apprentice, and within a short period of time advanced to become a photo journalist for a group of German magazines.

After reaching the top rank of photographers in Europe, she moved to America, fulfilling a lifelong dream. She was a photographer in New York and, as I mentioned, shot freelance for Life Magazine. Later she shot aerial photography in Miami, Florida. In 1980 after visiting Macon County, she decided to move here, and has since called it home.

The book “Little Journeys” is a guide to Macon County, North Carolina. The book takes you to twenty-five sites that Ms. Sandhusen visited in her little journey, and is complete with photos and maps. The book has enough information to help guide you along on your own little journey. You may even choose to  follow the path that Ms. Sandhusen took on her discovery of our beautiful mountain area.

If you spend a little time getting to know the poeple you meet, you might be plesantly surprised. There are a lot of interesting people.