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spotlight on Morgan County

2013-2014 annual report Madison - Morgan County Chamber of Commerce 2013-2014 ANNUAL REPORT PAGE 2



mission statement:

The Madison Morgan County Chamber of Commerce is organized for the purpose of promoting the total economic development of the Madison-Morgan County trade area. Total economic development is defined as meaning commercial, industrial, agricultural, civic, tourist and cultural development.

Morgan County is in the spotlight. Our economy continues to strengthen, businesses are expanding and we are attracting new industry while our tourism efforts continue to grow, putting Madison and Morgan County on display to a worldwide audience. Your Madison-Morgan Chamber of Commerce and its members are invested in harnessing the talent in our community to create even more opportunities in economic development and tourism, and to maintain a community that is attractive to businesses and residents alike. We encourage you to get involved and take advantage of our existing programs and events: PAGE PAGE 22

Chamber Activities • Partners In Education builds a strong workforce; • Business After Hours creates exposure for our local businesses; • The annual Taste of Madison event and bi-annual Holiday Tour of Homes generate much-needed funds for our Chamber efforts; • Women in Business provides a network forum to support women-owned businesses and female executives; • Ribbon-cutting events celebrate our new businesses and introduce them to the community; • The annual Chamber Awards Banquet and Annual Meeting celebrate our business leaders and progress. MADISON-MORGAN MADISON-MORGAN COUNTY COUNTY CHAMBER CHAMBER OF OF COMMERCE COMMERCE



“This year has shown demonstrative proof that the economy has and continues to rebound from the Great Recession.” - Bob Hughes

A Letter from the PRESIDENT A year ago, I said that we were in a time of discovery and recovery. Well, we continued to work to help our area recover and guess what? It worked. This past year has shown demonstrative proof that the economy has and continues to rebound from the Great Recession. The State of Georgia has seen unprecedented growth in new business locations and Georgia is now Number One in the nation in attracting new businesses. That growth is also being felt here in Morgan County. We have had the privilege to work with the State and with Mannington Mills as they sought to “on shore” their Luxury Vinyl Tile production from China to the US. This project will result in the expansion of the Amtico building adding 90,000 square feet and 200 net new jobs and $50 million of new investment. This competitive re-location proved to be a joint effort of the Chamber with the City of Madison and Morgan County. We have also seen the expansion planned at Flambeau that will add three new molding machines and 100 net new jobs. Rema Tip Top, which has expanded steadily over the last few years, is adding rubber production to their list of products made here and is quickly becoming the company’s North American manufacturing headquarters. Baxter continues their construction program with a workforce growing from 600 to over 2000 as the work shifts from steel erection to finishing out the inside of the million-square-feet plus manufacturing campus. Morgan County has also seen an uptick in housing sales in both resale and new construction. The City has also been working with developers as they work to meet the housing needs of our citizens. Commercial development has also picked up with the location of a Steak ‘n Shake restaurant, a Dairy Queen restaurant and a Dollar General store opening in Rutledge in 2014 to name a few. Morgan County has also seen the announcement of two new tourist attractions which will begin increasing visitation in 2015. These two developments will continue to grow over time creating new jobs and investment in the County and we anticipate a ripple effect throughout our hospitality and tourism segment. The Georgia Zoo & Safari Park is expected to add 40 new jobs over the next 12-18 months and it will generate $3 million in new investment. The combination of the Farmers’ Market with the agritourism facility planned by Keith Kelly will provide another anchor for our tourist draw while providing an outlet for segments of our agricultural economy. These developments with our existing tourism draws will provide a critical mass that will make us into a destination for tourism activities for the entire family. 2013-2014 ANNUAL REPORT PAGE 2

To meet the demands all these developments will have on our labor pool, the Chamber has partnered with other agencies to bring workforce development to our citizens at several levels from fundamentals to advanced manufacturing. The workplace fundamentals class is targeted to help those without workplace certification to demonstrate to prospective employers that they have what it takes to succeed. The advanced manufacturing is being provided by our Technical College through the Georgia QuickStart program. We have also been working to improve all aspects of our Chamber and were recognized at the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives as meeting the criteria of a Georgia Certified Chamber. The Certified Chamber program is designed to promote public awareness of the intent of the Chamber of Commerce brand as a not for profit community developmentbased membership organization by providing a peer review process of generally accepted organizational benchmarks. Through 2013, there are only 41 chambers of the state’s 160+ that have attained this status. We also had the opportunity to work with the motion picture industry including a major production by Sony Pictures. While this movie required the temporary relocation of our Welcome Center, staff and visitors alike made the temporary inconvenience into a seamless activity to meet the needs of those people visiting Madison and Morgan County. Our Welcome Center continues to be the face of Madison in that it is sometimes the first impression that our visitors see. We have interacted with over 13,000 visitors from over 30 states and 10 foreign countries. Our web presence and media placement certainly help our existing reputation as a place to see when you are in Georgia.



M The annual Taste of Madison was festive, fun and delicious

Steak ‘n Shake’s Seth Salzman and Benjamin Carter Jr. cut the ribbon.

Partners In Education worked with the Morgan County School System to host Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader event.

The Chamber hosted at tour of Williams Dairy in Morgan County.

Business After Hours at United Bank attracted some 75 Chamber members.

chamber events

Chamber Board members were celebrated for their service at last year’s annual meeting.

The Madison-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce hosts events throughout the year and throughout Morgan County to highlight our vibrant businesses, our rural heritage and our educational efforts.

Business After Hours at The Backstage Wine Bar at Ricky D’s was a big success.


Amici Italian Cafe celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Chamber’s Annual Meeting celebrates Morgan County’s progress.




jobs & education Economic development and workplace training efforts are paying off.

(above left) Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal was on hand to celebrate the Georgia BioScience Training Center at Stanton Springs. (above right)

(Photos to Left) In February, Flambeau Inc. announced that it would immediately add 100 new jobs to its Morgan County site. Flambeau is an injection molded manufacturing plant that was awarded a contract to produce the HVAC system for the 2014 Corvette. It also has standing orders with Caterpillar Inc., Honda and Cadillac.

(Photo to Right) In October, Mannington Mills announced it would add 200 jobs in its Madison operation and invest $50 million in the expansion of Madison’s Amtico plant and at its facilities in nearby cities. The expansion will double Amtico’s footprint. (Photo to Right) Georgia Piedmont Technical College is partnering with Morgan County School System and our Chamber to train our workforce.




“This expansion (Mannington Mills) will generate an investment in Morgan County of between $40 and $50 million.” - Sherry Alexander

A Letter from the chair This last year has been a very successful one for the area economy with expansions announced and planned in all segments of our economy. In addition to the Baxter facility in Stanton Springs the State broke ground on the Georgia Bio Science Training facility across the street from Baxter. This facility shows the commitment that the State has made to our area and this facility will be THE training center for the State for Bio Science manufacturing. This training facility will be partially dedicated to Baxter and Athens Tech will be

Our agricultural segment is maintaining its position as a prime driver for our county and there will be a new boost to that segment with the opening of the Farmers’ Market. The beauty of this development is that there is a tourism piece of the project that will generate additional visitors to Morgan County. The Chamber continues to work with this project that should help our local farmers and provide an additional tourist draw. We will continue to work with the Georgia Zoo & Safari Park as they move from the conceptual phase to the construction phase of that development to make sure our marketing efforts include that tourist attraction in our program of work. These two developments have the potential to transform Morgan County into a tourist destination which should help all aspects of our hospitality segment.

Mannington Mills, which is adding more than 200 employees in Morgan County, is also giving back to its community.

using it as we see increased emphasis on high tech manufacturing. In addition, we have seen our local manufacturers going through expansions as they ramp up to meet the resurging demand for their products. Mannington Mills is adding 90,000 square feet and will employ an additional 200+ new employees. This expansion will generate an investment in Morgan County of between $40 and $50 million. This project is bringing jobs back to the United States and will help increase the number of manufacturing jobs in Morgan County. In addition, Flambeau has seen an increase in demand for its products and will add 100 new jobs during 2014. PAGE PAGE 62

All of this growth will place additional strains on our existing workforce and infrastructure in the years to come. We have initiated discussions with the school systems and economic developers in our surrounding counties to make sure that we will be able to meet the needs of our expanding local industries and any new businesses coming to our area, I have enjoyed working with leaders in the community to meet the challenges of the last year and I am looking forward to continuing to help shape the future of Morgan County.

Sherry alexander chair



M Goosebumps transformed Madison’s West Jefferson Street into a monster-attack set for two days in May. The movie is set to be released in August 2015. photo by j. connelly


Town Park in Madison is a popular tourist destination, and center for town events.

Tourists from the Atlanta area pose for a picture outside of the Welcome Center before their shopping adventure.


Morgan County’s future farmers market development is projected to draw in shoppers from surrounding counties.

Coming attractions will send tourism numbers soaring. The 400-acre Georgia Zoo & Safari Park, scheduled to open in the spring of 2015, will eventually draw 500,000 to 800,000 additional visitors to Morgan County. In addition, Morgan County citizen Keith Kelly is building a huge farmers market development on Eatonton Highway in Madison that will rival Georgia’s largest and most famous farmer’s markets. It will also support Morgan County’s agriculture industry and take advantage of the ever-growing farm-to-table movement taking the country by storm. 

Tourists enjoy Morgan County and its many Georgia Zoo & Safari Park leaders are turning a dream eclectic shops and restaurants throughout the into a huge destination in Morgan County. From L to R; season. Robert Tucker, Michael Vaden, and Bill Kilmer


M Super 8 in Madison celebrated its complete redesign last winter with a ribbon cutting.

Amelia’s located in downtown Madison held a Business After Hours event last fall.

The Georgia Zoo and Safari receives its herd of twenty water buffalo.

Jack Black smiles at the fans during shooting in downtown Madison for his upcoming movie, Goosebumps. photo by j. connely, the morgan county citizen

The movie industry has found Morgan County an attractive venue. Above is a scene from The Originals, a spin-off of the popular TV show, Vampire Diaries. photo by b. hogan

Charcoal Lane celebrated its opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony.


A ribbon cutting was held to celebration Morgan County’s new fire and EMS station.

Tourists enjoy Morgan County and its many eclectic shops, restaurants and special events.

BRAG attracts thousands of riders each year to Morgan County, filling up restaurants, hotels and inns.



“Tourism by itself is among our county’s top revenue-producing industries” - Ellen Ianelli


A Letter from the cvb Visitors to Morgan County make a huge impact. So huge in fact that tourism by itself is among our county’s top revenue-producing industries. Here’s the proof. In the last 10 years alone travel-related expenditures in Morgan County increased nearly 71 percent – from $24.6 million to $42 million. Now that’s big business. To put it in perspective, just last year our county’s tourism spending generated $42 million in direct travel expenditures, delivered $1.3 million in local tax revenue and $1.6 in state tax revenue. The results: jobs, successful businesses and tax relief. That’s right. Each Morgan County household benefited by $435.91 in tax relief – revenue that came from tourism dollars instead of locally paid tax dollars. Now that is huge. And, it’s only the beginning. Tourism is revitalizing our economy and is a significant contributor to our high quality of life. It goes without saying that our restaurants, shops, hotels and inns would not survive solely on the support of local spending. That’s why your Madison-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau is working to ensure a constant and increasing flow of tourism dollars. Today, we are the envy of many Georgia communities. But our strong tourism position doesn’t just happen by magic. People don’t just find us. It takes work. It takes planning. It takes an investment. It takes strategic marketing and public relations efforts. It takes a successful online and social media presence. It takes constant training so that we keep up with the latest industry trends and most up-to-date marketing data and tools. And it takes strong relationships with statewide tourism executives to share best practices to collaborate and to ensure we own a strong, distinct place on the map. There are lots of reasons to be excited about tourism in Morgan County. New attractions and new destinations continue to open or are in the works. And, we are already working to take advantage of each and every new development that can further differentiate Madison and Morgan County from other Southern destinations and expand our already strong tourism industry. Competition for tourism dollars is fierce. Many Georgia cities and counties have a similar tourism product, while tourism trends constantly evolve. Our historic cultural heritage coupled the exploding farm-to-table, agri-tourism movement places Madison and Morgan County at the top of the list for heritage and destination tourism dollars. Together, our tourism brand is uniquely different from the rest and we are using advertising and public relations to communicate just that and to create a constant flow of exposure. 2013-2014 ANNUAL REPORT PAGE 2

The press helps us reach a much larger audience, provides us with publicity that generates millions of consumer impressions, and many times delivers that most trusted third-party endorsement to potential visitors we are trying to reach. This year we saw yet again a great spread of media attention from around the world. We hosted travel writers from as far as Colorado all the way to London and Germany, and continued to work with media/film scouts for potential projects. We hosted 11 Alive News, The Originals television series, Georgia Traveler, the Disney Channel, MTV, VH1, and entertained six months of scouting by Sony production teams, landing the lead destination for the film, Goosebumps. We saw editorial in heavy hitters such as: Southern Living, Garden & Gun, Veranda Magazine, Ladies Home Journal, Atlanta Magazine, Golf Digest, AAA Going Places, Group Tour Magazine, Going on Faith Magazine, Georgia Connector Magazine, EquiWest Magazine, Southwest Georgia Living, Sunsations Magazine, as well as large newspapers such as USA Today, The {London} Telegraph, The New York Times, and the Philadelphia Sun. Your CVB also partnered with the state on two Social Media Campaigns offering both winners Getaway Packages to Madison/Morgan County, with the winner announced at the Fox Theater. Our social media and web platforms are thriving. As of May 2014, we had a total of 45,822 visitors to our website, 34,816 users accessing us through a desktop and the remaining 11,000 operating from a mobile device. Of the 45,822 visitors, 36,251 were new users, and 13,303 were driven to our site through media, advertising and partner referrals. It’s been a busy year and it’s been my pleasure and passion to serve the community in which I was raised in this capacity each and every day. I am proud of our tourism product and of all the organizations director of the that work together to make it convention & so great! visitors bureau




“We will work to strengthen our work force and the opportunities for our citizens to find quality jobs in our area without ruining our excellent quality of life.� - Lee Abney

A Letter from the incoming chair The last year has been an exciting time for Madison and Morgan County with promises of a brighter tomorrow through increased jobs, investment and development. All of these things came about due to the hard work of the staff and leadership of the Chamber with a requisite amount of good fortune. My term will bring the challenge of continuing that momentum in the right direction and to recognize those areas for improvement to keep the ball rolling.

Our total trade area will continue to develop and new industries in our surrounding counties impact our citizens just as development here impacts them. We are already beginning to see the impact of Baxter which has a regional impact and as that facility moves towards commercial operation in 2018, we will see increasing emphasis placed on housing, education, commercial and other industrial development in our community. We will continue down the path we are following, always looking for new opportunities and better ways to accomplish our goals. We will work to strengthen our work force and the opportunities for our citizens to find quality jobs in our area without ruining our excellent quality of life.

Aerial view of the Baxter International development at Stanton Springs.

The Chamber plays an integral part in the overall development of our community. Our mission statement stresses the importance in the total economic development of the Morgan County trade area including industrial, commercial, agricultural, civic, tourist and cultural development. It is important that we look beyond our city limits or even our county line because the true growth of a community stems from its surrounding area and we must continue to take a regional approach to development. PAGE PAGE 10 2

I challenge you to become more involved with the Chamber to identify ways that you can add your enthusiasm and expertise to the existing mix of leadership to keep the community one of the best in our region. Contact any board member or staff member of the Chamber to find out how you can be a part of this dynamic effort. Contributing your knowledge through involvement in one of our committees is a great way to show your support. Thank you for your support. The Board and I are looking forward to representing you lee abney throughout the coming year. 2014-2015 Chair




Executive Board

• Sherry  Alexander, Chair ReMax Agents Realty • J oey Lancaster, Past Chair United Bank • L ee Abney, Co-Chair Lambert, Reitman & Abney • J im Boyd, Treasurer Jim Boyd & Associates • R ay Stapleton, Partners in Education Chair Morgan County Farm Bureau • A drienne Smith, Membership Susan Creek Gifts

Board of Directors •C  hris Anderson Bard Manufacturing • J oellen Artz LilyBeth’s •W  ilson DuBose DuBose, Massey, Bair & Evans •C  indy England AFLAC • J ake Grant James Madison Inn • J eff Greeson Central Georgia EMC •K  ip Herndon Bank of Madison •B  urns Warfield Chick-Fil-A • Wes  Holt Sunflower Farm, Inc.

Chamber Staff

•B  ob Hughes, President & Economic Development Director • S hey Daniel, Office Manager • E llen Ianelli, Director - Convention & Visitors Bureau •R  honda Spence, Welcome Center Manager •B  essie White, Information Specialist Weekends •B  obbie Howard, Information Specialist - Weekends

Madison-Morgan County CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 115 East Jefferson Street Madison, Georgia 30650

(706) 342-4454 Madison-Morgan county Chamber of Commerce We are open MON - FRI from 8:30am to 5:00pm.

The Welcome Center We are open MON - FRI from 9am to 5:00pm. SAT 10am - 5pm • SUN 1pm - 4pm. Closed New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Please look for us on the below media outlets. We would love to be your Friend!

Madison-Morgan Chamber of Commerce Annual Report Published by Mainstreet Communications Design & Layout by Becky Snowden




Madison-Morgan Chamber of Commerce Staff: From left to right: Shey Daniel, Ellen Ianelli, Bob Hughes and Rhonda Spence

BENEFITS OF CHAMBER MEMBERSHIP • Take an active role in your community’s economic development and long-term prosperity! • Build exposure for your business or service through our Chamber directories, newsletters and programs. • Increase business by developing relationships with your customer base through various networking opportunities. • Stay informed about developments in your community and priorities of your local, state and federal government officials. • Take advantage of diverse member-to-member discounts from Chamber members. • Participate in various seminars and workshops designed to improve business practices.



Madison-Morgan Chamber of Commerce 2013-2014 Annual Report  
Madison-Morgan Chamber of Commerce 2013-2014 Annual Report