Two Mount Airy businesses have been tapped as the first-ever winners of the city’s Chamber of Commerce Business Booster Scholarship Program Award, an honor that could have far-reaching impact on their future.
Following the Chamber Board of Directors’ annual retreat Friday at Cross Creek Country Club, Chamber President Betty Ann Collins announced that Commodore Trading Company and Mayberry Toy Company were winners of the inaugural award.
The two businesses will receive a year’s membership in the chamber as well as assistance growing their companies.
For this year’s scholarship program, the chamber has joined forces with the Surry County Economic Development Partnership, Surry Community College, the city of Mount Airy, Pine State Marketing, WSYD/WPAQ, Surrey Bank and Trust and McHoward Business Coaching.
Collins said these entities will provide consultations and/or services to the businesses including assistance with a business marketing plan, professional small business counseling, assistance with available resources and work on potential expansion.
But one of the less tangible benefits is the networking opportunities available through the city’s Chamber of Commerce.
“The program focuses on building business-to-business relationships, providing consultations and services from our partners in the program, while educating our local community on available products and services these businesses offer,” Collins said.
She said it just makes sense for the chamber to invest in entrepreneurship.
“Small businesses are the core of our local economy,” she said. “It takes approximately two to three years for a newly-formed business to become profitable and viable, so they might not be able to join the Chamber in their early critical stages.”
Commodore Trading Company and Mayberry Toy Company competed against multiple other businesses before being chosen, and were vetted by members of the Chamber’s Business Development Committee.
While John Underwood of Commodore Trading Company was unable to attend the awards ceremony due to a family emergency, Paul Stroup of Mayberry Toy Company said he was humbled by the selection of his company.
“It’s just a great recognition of our being a member of the business community,” he said shortly after receiving the honor. “I’m big on shopping locally, and it’s great that the Chamber shares that vision with me.”
Stroup echoed Collins, saying the networking opportunities are invaluable.
“For me, that is the most important benefit of this award,” he said. “Developing more local contacts while our store continues to evolve will offer me more resources to choose from. This is a great way to stimulate growth.”
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.