By Chamber President Christopher Patrick Bryant & Marketing Advisor Valerie A. Hoffman

In the Chamber’s 30-year history much has been accomplished with and through our valuable members. As a result, the Chamber has remained an important pillar of the business community, the only organization here dedicated exclusively to promoting economic vitality and healthy tourism growth in the Gorge.

We have never been satisfied to rest on our laurels.  We continually see room for improvement. Thanks to an active and engaged board of directors, we strive to identify new opportunities and concrete objectives every year. More on that below.

The HNG Chamber goes beyond networking to offer its members valuable resources and support in the areas of economic development, education, public policy, and advocacy. Other benefits include marketing and communication, sponsorship opportunities, and exposure through programs and events. Working on behalf of its members, the Chamber strives to promote an atmosphere that encourages visitation, growth for business, and a strong sense of community. We are also the only organization dedicated to long-term deployment of the Hickory Nut Gorge Brand. In short, your Chamber is 100 percent committed to its members and to the promotion of this special place where we live, work, and play.

The importance of your involvement and partnership with us on this endeavor cannot be overstated. To that end, we sincerely appreciate all those who turned out to the Annual Chamber Christmas Gala this year at the 1927 Lake Lure Inn and Spa.

We were blessed with record attendance and more event sponsors than we have ever had before! The evening was made all the more “magical” thanks to the talents of Eriq Shootz performing magic tricks for guests. And Chamber member, Buddy Morrison took photographs to share with attendees as a keepsake from the evening. The event itself takes many months to plan through the work of a highly dedicated all-volunteer committee looking over every last detail.  The event provides a primary source of operational funds for the Chamber.

In the year ahead, our six primary areas of focus are:

  • Hire a new Executive Director for the Chamber. At this writing we have received over 25 applications. The executive committee is reviewing those and interviewing now.
  • Establish, print, and distribute an updated membership directory to be delivered to all members of the Chamber. With your membership renewal, please verify that we have the most current contact information for your business.
  • Increase “technology availability and penetration” in the Gorge through enhanced broadband, cell service, and internet speeds. The Chamber is part of a Technology Consortium, along with The Town of Lake Lure, Chimney Rock Village, Rumbling Bald Resort, Pangaea, and individual community partners.

  • Continue and increase our focus on marketing, social media engagement and PR to promote member businesses and visitation specifically to the Gorge. This also includes website enhancements and regular updates to members.
  • Maintain our standing as the most established online events calendar in Hickory Nut Gorge.
  • Continue to strengthen community events, such as the Sale on the Trail, Dirty Dancing Festival, and the Annual Christmas Gala. These provide funds for the chamber and give our members events to enjoy during the year. Our monthly chamber recharge program will also continue so please let us know if you wish to host a business after hours chamber recharge event at your establishment.

Today, and into the future, the Chamber of Hickory Nut Gorge is re-energized about the opportunity to bring smart innovation and thoughtful progress to the communities of the Gorge.
Your chamber and your board of directors look forward to serving you in the 2019 season!

Want to learn more? Do you have an idea or a suggestion? Send an email to info@hickorynutchamber.org or call us at the office:  625-2725. We’re also on Facebook at @TheChamberOfHickoryNutGorge