Expending time and energy to market a business just as much — if not more — than operating the business itself may be the key to a community’s economic success, according to Andrew Davis.

Davis is a bestselling author and keynote speaker who aims to teach business leaders how to grow their businesses, transform their cities and leave their legacy. He served as the keynote speaker during the 70th annual meeting of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce on Aug. 1 — presented by Skyline/Skybest and Red Moon Catering.

A room full of people listened to Davis’ presentation and left the room wondering, “What if we stake our claim?” This was the basis of the message that Davis shared with attendees. Davis explained that by an area staking a claim, it tells its story that leaves a place in people’s hearts and owns a corner of their mind to attract people to that place.

To explain this concept, Davis used locations such as Warsaw, Ind. (the orthopedic capital of the world), Muscle Shoals, Ala. (the hit recording capital of the world) and Hamilton, Mo. (the quilting capital of the world). He gave examples of people who started businesses in these areas to create location envy — “an emotional belief that one’s success is defined by the location of their work.”

He said Boone leaders should be looking to see what the area should stake a claim in, whether that be a claim to an area of the world, or smaller such as the county, state or southern region of the nation. The area should do so by keeping three laws of “attraction” in mind — the cornerstone, the origin story and the visionary. The cornerstone would be the area’s claim to excellence, an explanation or origin story of how the area came to be this claim and a visionary to bring the area’s potential into fruition.

Boone Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO David Jackson said a group of local officials were meeting with Davis the following day to further discuss topics he mentioned at the meeting and brainstorm ways to present Boone and Watauga County outside of its borders.

“As we think about staking our claim, we’re going to have to lean on local leaders … to help keep this conversation moving forward throughout the year,” Jackson said.

Attendees also heard from speakers such as Justin Hukill on behalf of Appalachian IMG sports marketing, App State’s Vice Chancellor of Business Affairs Paul Forte, a representative of SkyLine/SkyBest, Anthony Brumfield of Cornerstone Summit Church for the invocation and Chamber board member David Still.

The chamber plans to host a few other events moving forward. Jackson mentioned a two-day event on Sept. 4-5. The first day will consist of a seminar on executive presentation skills to improve public speaking and perfect a business elevator speech. The second day will be a sales communication training to build interpersonal skills and learn how to train a staff on proper business communication. Registration for the event starts on Aug. 5.

For more information on the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce, visit www.boonechamber.com.

Chamber award winners

Ray Lutz accepted the Sue W. Wilmoth Award for the Advancement of Tourism award on behalf of the Valle Country Fair at the Aug. 1 event. Celebrating its 40th year in 2018, the Valle Country Fair is an authentic fall festival and juried arts and crafts show, featuring food, mountain music and crafts. According to the chamber, last year’s fair channeled $40,000 to High Country organizations that will serve people in need.

Tara Stollenmaier collected the Dan Meyer Community Partnership Award on behalf of the Back 2 School Festival — an annual event that aids Watauga County families in gathering school supplies for children. In 2018, nearly 1,200 children were served by the program, and it is funded largely by business, nonprofit and faith community support and volunteer hours. This award recognizes a community leader for their efforts to bring multiple parties together for a common cause.

Given the Ben Suttle Special Services Award for Volunteer Leadership award was Cindy Wallace, the chair of the Western Youth Network Board of Directors.

This award recognizes the spirit of volunteerism in the community. Wallace has been a part of the Boone community for over three decades, and joined the WYN board of directors in 2016. In her year as chair, she assisted in organizing efforts to aid WYN staff in administering events, projects and programming, according to the chamber.

Lane Robinson, owner of Creekside Electronics, won the Wade Brown Award for Community Involvement. Robinson has been involved with numerous High Country organizations such as the Boone Sunrise Rotary Club, the Southern Appalachian Historical Association Board of Directors and the Western Youth Network. The chamber stated that he frequently donates items from his family business, Creekside Electronics, for silent auctions and fundraisers for local nonprofit organizations.

Grace Plummer and Kim McAulay accepted the everGREEN Award for Sustainability on behalf of Cove Creek School for the school’s solar array project. The project consists of a 5 kilowatt photovoltaic array that was installed at the school that will supply the school with a portion of its power, and is also equipped with a weather station and allows for real-time monitoring of the system’s output and performance. The award is presented to a business, organization, project or person who has furthered the inclusion and integration of sustainable development principles, the chamber stated.

Carolyn Clark, the founder of After Ever Communications LLC, was named the Baker/Jones Woman of the Year Award. The award — named after Gillian Baker and Susan Jones — honors an inspiring member who exemplifies the qualities of leadership, mentorship and community involvement, according to the chamber. Clark started her own public relations firm to assist international business brands with corporate communication strategies. The chamber stated that Clark serves as a member of the Silicon Hollar Advisory Board, assisting local entrepreneurs in the High Country with growth planning and ideation.

The winner of the Alfred Adams Award for Economic Development award was Booneshine Brewing Company — owned by Tim Herdklotz and Carson Coatney. This award recognizes individuals and/or organizations who have worked for the orderly growth and development of Boone and Watauga County. Established in 2015, Booneshine increased its production capacity from 1,500 barrels of beer per year to over 4,000 after the move to the east Boone community.

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