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March/April 2014

MOUNT PLEASANT

Everything Texas Mission: To build economic prosperity by engaging businesses and the community.

BUSINESS REPORT

ISSUE 08

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BI-MONTHLY BUSINESS REPORT


Vision: “We will be Everything Texas.�

Values: Trust Economic Prosperity X marks the spot Awareness Sustainability 2


PARTNERS CREATIVE DISPLAYS SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING FORT SHERMAN DAYS FACEBOOK HASHTAGS B2B INSIDER

EAT LOCAL CHAMBER CALENDAR 3


Partners continuing to take Everything Texas to the next

LeveL! January –February 2014 8TwentyOne Boutique AA's Treehouse Advantage Copy Systems Al Riddle Alan G. Carter Allen Scrap Metal American National Bank Automotive Sales & Salvage, LLC Bates Cooper Sloan Funeral Home Brown's GlassSuper Plaza Buddy Marshall Cannaday Business Services Champion Auto Chili’s Tennison City of Mount Pleasant Conroy Tractor Country Cottage Crazy 8’s Creative Catering Curry's Pools Cypress Bank Dekoron Wire and Cable Dennis Cameron Dr. Don Lutes Dynamics Health & Fitness East Texas Broadcasting East Texas Children’s Dentistry, P.A. Electronic Security Engage Concept Development ETMC Pittsburg Firmins Office Supply First Baptist Church Greater Hope Church of God in Christ Hale Electric

Heritage Park Village Herschels Restaurant Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Hyland Park Hy-Marks Pet Service IntegraCare Home Health It's a Small World Jim & Karen Harmon John L. Greene DDS Just a $1.00 Kasseighs La Quinta Inn & Suites Lauras Cheesecake Lori Chism Luminant M.P. Seventh-Day Adventist Church Mardi Gras Seafood Mark Lesher Mason True Value Hardware Matkin Chiropractic, Inc. McGuire-Dyke CPAs & Investment Group Medical & Surgical Dermatology Mount Pleasant Burgers & Fries Mount Pleasant Habitat for Humanity Mount Pleasant Lions Club Mount Pleasant Quality Inn Mount Pleasant Recycling & Scrap Mt. Olive Baptist Church Newly Weds Foods, Inc. Northeast Texas Pump Services Open Imaging of TRMC Outlaw's BBQ Patriot Auto Paul Meriwether

Pediatric Clinic Pilgrim’s Priefert Logistics Quality Trailer Products R & R Marine Randy's Burgers Rapid Furniture & Appliance Redfearn Property Management Redfearn Real Estate Region VIII ESC Rustic C Sandlin Motors Inc. Servpro of Paris Simply Skin Stansells City Cleaners & Laundry Inc. Suddenlink Communications Super 1 Foods Super 8 Motel of Mount Pleasant Texas A&M Texas Helping Hands Inc. The 80 Acres Tim Taylor Titus County Cares Titus County Fresh Water Supply District Tri Special Utility District Trinity Baptist Church TRMC Tumey Funeral Home Vaughn's Visiting Angels Wal-Mart Welch Gas Wood Air Conditioning Inc. YGM

New Partners IT-oLogy All NEEDZ Plumbing Arby’s Texas Country Farm Supply Mount Pleasant Animal Clinic Secure Computer Networks Noodle Grill

Designs by Lisa Blalock Bar-B-Que Homeboy Sportswear Mills Flower Shop Edward Jones-David Patterson R/C Rentals & Sales, LLC Kathryn C. Dunn, DVM

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The Ark Ministries Rustic C Northeast Texas Pump Services Mount Pleasant Animal Clinic H&R Distributors


2014 Shannon Norfleet, Chairman Titus Regional Medical Center Richard Witherspoon, Chair-Elect Herschel’s Restaurant David Hooper, Vice-Chair Echo Publishing Brian Niblett, Treasurer American National Bank Martin Bell, Past-Chairman Guaranty Bond Bank Faustine Curry, CEO Mount Pleasant/Titus County Chamber of Commerce Directors: Beverly Austin, Northeast Texas Small Business Administration Rob Hedges, Republic Services Diana Kennedy, Century 21 Landmark Matt Klump, Expert Computing Brad Lowry, Pilgrim Bank Dennis Newman, Newman’s Electronics Tommy Shumate, Sisk Motors Mitchell Walker, Dekoron Wire & Cable Jey Yancey, Offenhauser Insurance

Kasseigh’s on the Mount Pleasant Downtown Square is one of the local shops doing it right. Owner Linda Norris says she and co-owner and daughter Krisan Norris-Sears change the window displays frequently to keep the

products and the theme fresh. “We change the large window every two months and with the seasons and the smaller one once a month,” she said. “You have to keep everything fresh. If not, people think, ‘It’s the same old thing. Are they going out of business?’ It’s really important to display new products.” One of their most eye-catching displays was their Christmas 2013 window display that featured three large snowmen in a whimsical winter wonderland. “Krisan put new lighting in the window, so everybody in town that had never noticed the window before noticed those windows,” Norris said. “That was the most successful one we’ve done. Krisan is very good at that and that’s really nice.” Seasonal themes draw a lot of attention and pull people in, but don’t overlook the main objective: displaying your wares. “Putting product in there helps people know what’s in the store. Some people don’t know we have a bridal and baby registry or a kitchen area unless they go all the way through the store, so we try to do some unique things with those items,” Norris said. The creativity can’t stop at the storefront windows, though. It has to flow throughout the store with themes that showcase the different types of products.

Executive Board

CREATIVE DISPLAYS DRAW CUSTOMERS OFF THE SIDEWALK

Want to turn window shoppers into paying customers? One of the keys is to create an eyecatching window display that entices them to come inside.

It’s the same old thing... Are they going out of business? It’s really important to display new products.

Norris says flow and convenience keep the customer moving through the store. “You should group types of products together. Display home décor how you would decorate at home. If you throw it all over the store they can’t see it visually in their home,” she said. “Give them visual styles grouped with things that go well together.” Creating the displays does not have to be expensive either.

www.mtpleasanttx.com

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“Krisan goes dumpster diving for old wood, old shutters and windows from houses and makes interesting displays with those,” she said. Norris, whose gift boutique has been in business for 21 years, says the biggest mistake is clutter. She said uniqueness and simplicity are the most important aspects of creating successful displays.

Keep it simple and keep up with the times and let people see what you have. “Something that’s not real busy will catch a shopper’s eye. If it’s too busy, it’s like a billboard. You can’t see everything in it,” she said. “Keep it simple and keep up with the times and let people see what you have.” Of course, Norris said the most important thing in business is to make the customer feel welcome when you get them in the door.

Tips to Create Eye-Catching Product Displays

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Tell a visual story with your products.

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Keep the focal point at eye level.

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Create a single focal point.

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Make a quick impression.

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Merchants have, on average, only 2.5 seconds to grab a shopper’s attention. So it’s important that any display is attractive and well-lit. Change window displays regularly. Moving merchandise to a different place on the showroom floor often results in repeat customers taking a second look at existing inventory. If you don’t use a window display, turn large storefront windows into billboards. Use attention-grabbing vinyl window films. Businesses with large-paned windows can create eye -catching murals easily seen by those driving by. 6


Social media monitoring crucial for today’s customer service Think of your social media business pages as your reception desk. Are you ignoring the phone ringing and letting it go to voicemail? You wouldn’t ignore a customer that walked through your front door. Why would you ignore the customer prompting Facebook, Twitter or Instagram notifications? That box in the right-hand column of your Facebook page “Recent Post by others” or a private message in your inbox could have a critical message that you need to address. Even when it’s not a direct post on your timeline, Leslie McLellan writes in a July 2013 article on TourismCurrents.com that organizations and businesses “must monitor their social media channels and respond when spoken to.” “It seems pretty obvious, but it does not happen as often as you’d expect,” she said. Jodi Weber, director of marketing and public relations at Northeast Texas Community College, understands the art of listening and responding on social media. “It’s not uncommon for me to answer questions [on social media] at 11 or 12 o’clock at night,” said Weber, who has NTCC’s page notifications set to alert her on her phone. “If you’re going to do social media, you need to commit to doing it well or stay out of it completely,” Weber said. “If you put the page out there and neglect it and do nothing with it, it harms your reputation.” While small businesses and one-person offices aren’t expected to be on social media 24-7 and still get their jobs done, it is a critical component to customer service in 2014. Just like checking phone messages and emails, checking your social media messages have become a must-do on your task list throughout the day. Turning on notifications helps, but there are also tools, like TweetDeck on your desktop or laptop and the HootSuite phone app that let you manage multiple social media accounts in one place. Weber said she still manages the college’s social media pages manually and leaves them on her computer in the background, checking them periodically throughout the day.

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“Between your smart phone, your computer and free monitoring tools, you can rock your online world.”

“I never let more than a day go by without checking social media,” she said. She said she recently received a private message on Facebook from a student who needed help with a financial aid question and didn’t know where to get an answer. “I immediately got back with her and checked with the folks in that department and we got it worked out,” Weber said. “Within 30 minutes the student was totally happy.” While Weber is not a frontline employee, she says “it’s really about meeting your customers where they are. Once I see it, I have to take responsibility for it.”

Weber says some people don’t ever make a phone call and only ask questions on Facebook. “Even when I don’t know the answer, I tell them ‘I’m going to have to look into it and get back with you.’ I always answer them and that immediately makes them happy.” And, it isn’t just messages or posts to your page that you should pay attention to. Monitoring and responding to certain hashtags or tweets that mention your Twitter handle is also part of today’s social media world. McLennan, from Tourism Currents says, “Not many of us can afford a staff for listening and responding on social media, but that’s not a deterrent to providing good customer service. Between your smart phone, your computer and free monitoring tools, you can rock your online world.” 8


Take a trip...

Visitors to Lake Bob Sandlin State Park will seemingly jump through a time portal in late March during Fort Sherman Days. They’ll be transported to pre-settlement days when Caddo and Choctaw Indian tribes dotted the Northeast Texas landscape. They’ll also witness the Republic of Texas era when Fort Sherman, the first community in what is now Titus County, was an active frontier military outpost.

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back in time.

Photo courtesy: Hudson Old

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Fort Sherman Days Established in December of 1938, the fort is believed to be located within the boundaries of the state park, where the second annual event set for March 28-29, will be held. John Shaffer, a member of the Titus County Historical Commission and the Titus County Historical Preservation Society (TCHPS), has worked closely with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to verify the fort’s boundaries, a project that is still in progress. “Rich Mahoney, the original archeologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife is convinced now that the site is inside the confines of the park, but we don’t know exactly where” Shaffer said. “The last time we talked with him he was trying to put us high on the list to use ground penetrating radar to survey what we think are the most likely areas where the fort might have been located and find the foundations of the fort.” Fort Sherman was active from 1838 to 1841 providing protection for the early settlers living along the Cherokee Trace. After its initial construction approximately eight or nine families, including the Bell, Blundell, Harris, Coots, Dial, Dragoo and Gibson families, lived at Fort Sherman, according to the Texas State Historical Association. After it was abandoned, the fort continued to serve the community as a voting place for the 1842 and 1844 Republic of Texas elections and, after annexation, the U.S. Congressional elections of 1846. The inaugural Fort Sherman Days celebration was a oneday event held in June 2013 that drew about 500 people. Hosted by the TPWD and the TCHPS, the event was moved to March this year to provide a cooler climate and to coincide with Texas History Month. The added weekday on Friday, March 28 was included to provide a field trip opportunity for student groups studying Texas history. “The homeschoolers association is very interested and we’ve sent information out through Region 8 [Education Service Center] to all of the social studies teachers in the area and we hope to have a number of school groups come through,” Shaffer said. The student day will include a reenactment of a Buffalo Soldiers detachment and educational workshops. Both days’ activities will also include Caddo and Choctaw Indian demonstrations, campfire cooking, demonstrations on flint knapping, which is the art of making arrowheads, vintage children’s games and a cannon firing demonstration. “My favorite thing about this event is the firing of the six pound cannon. Most kids have never seen a cannon firing. It’s most impressive. It’s a loud boom and everybody gets a kick out of that,” Shaffer said. The Texas history buff encourages people to attend the event to dig into the area’s long and rich history. “We’d like to show everyone in Titus County that this area was part of the Republic of Texas and was one of the earliest settlements in Northeast Texas. “Come out, walk around and enjoy the sights and learn a little bit about the history of Titus County.”

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“My favorite thing about this event is the firing of the six pound cannon. Most kids have never seen a cannon firing. It’s most impressive. It’s a loud boom and everybody gets a kick out of that,” -John Shaffer

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Did You Think Facebook Hashtags Did Not Matter? Think Again. By Erin Ryan, business2community.com contributor Many businesses may not see the value in Facebook hashtags, even though there was an outcry for them from general Facebook users. Some think that hashtags aren’t useful or may even hurt their posts on their Facebook Pages. The truth is, there is a right and wrong way to create hashtags and depending on how you use them they can either be helpful or hurtful. The wrong way to use a Facebook hashtag is by making up a word. This will definitely be useless to you and provide no value. Using hashtags that are of popular subjects and topics is the right way to gain attention to your post as well as, have it seen by the appropriate audience. A hashtag can be useful as it creates an almost automatic RSS-like feature on Facebook and allows others (even those outside your page) to follow a specific topic that was created into a Facebook hashtag. As you can see this screenshot was taken not from a Facebook page, but instead, my Facebook newsfeed. If you look right above the post, you will see #marketing and the amount of articles that have been associated with that particular Facebook hashtag. As seen #marketing was used within the text of the post and now displays as a resource to other like-minded people wanting to know more about the topic. Remember that adding repeated hashtags to every post is not necessarily going to have you obtain more social actions nor is it a guarantee that your post will become popular. With that said, you will gain exposure. Never under value exposure, since not only in this instance will using a Facebook hashtag help you gain exposure on Facebook, but it too is displaying your brand amongst the appropriate targeted people.

Social Media & The Chamber

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Business2Business Insider Top Tax Issues for 2014 Filers BY Alan Carter Alan Carter is a Certified Public Accountant and Professor of Accounting at Northeast Texas Community College in Mount Pleasant, TX.

Obamacare Most tax preparers are in a very difficult position in trying to advise and help their business clients plan for the future or comply with the law. The good news is that only the businesses with over 50 full-time employees will be directly affected by this law in 2015. However that does not mean that their employees will not be affected now. Any individual that is not covered by a health care insurance plan will be required to pay for insurance or be penalized with a tax. That penalty starts low for 2014, but will increase each year to a much higher tax or penalty. Some lower income individuals will be able to receive tax rebates or credits to cover their penalty.

Net Investment Tax For higher income individuals - $200,000 for single taxpayers and $250,000 for married taxpayers - the new "Net Investment Tax" and the additional Medicare Tax rates may impact a few taxpayers. Business owners and individuals should discuss these two new tax issues with their tax preparer for a better understanding of how they will impact them.

Enhanced IRS Scrutiny

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Audit Procedures for large corporation The IRS plans to change audit procedures for large corporate taxpayers. This means that enhanced documentation will be required by the large businesses and the Information Document Request process will result in penalties and other enforcement procedures if the process is not followed or due dates are missed.

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Small business owners and individuals in Real Estate or Agribusinesses.

Beginning in 2014 every business with fixed assets (almost all manufacturing, residential & commercial real estate, and farming) must comply with the new "Repair Regulations." Basically, these new regulations impact major repairs made to existing fixed assets. If the repairs add years of usefulness to the business, the repairs must be capitalized and expensed as depreciation over several years based on the depreciation rules in the tax codes. In the past, businesses have simply expensed those repairs as a current year operating expense and reduced their taxable income. This new measure will not be as friendly to the taxpayer.

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Small corporations taxed as a Sub Chapter S-Corporation

More and more small businesses are sole proprietors, partnerships or regular corporations have elected to be "S-Corporations" for several tax advantages. The profits and losses of S-Corps have been allowed to pass through to the stockholders and reported as income or losses to them individually. In addition, the S-Corp status allowed the income to be exempt from the social security and Medicare taxes, unlike wages and selfemployment income. The profits of the S-Corp could be drawn out of the business without any tax effect. However, the IRS now views the profits of the S-Corp not only being taxed for federal income taxes, but also as being subject to the social security and Medicare tax if withdrawn from the business. Therefore, to avoid the IRS audit of S-Corp, we are instructing stockholders to pay and report wages from the business that are subject to all payroll taxes as any other employee or business owner. We are seeing this scrutiny now and expect it to increase in years to come. I estimate that this will impact approximately one third of the small corporations in our community. 17


April is EAT LOCAL month! After boasting nearly $20,000 in sales revenue last year, the Mount Pleasant/Titus County Chamber of Commerce and its member restaurants are once again poised to celebrate the Eat Local Challenge in April. The program began in 2012 as a way to help people from stay in Mount Pleasant to get their meals and was met with great response from the public. “What a great time to support our local businesses and a chance to skip the cooking!,” marketing committee chairman Tracie Smith said. “It’s good to focus on what we have here, we don’t have to drive an hour for a good meal.” During the challenge, customers who save their receipts while dining at local chamber-member restaurants during the month have a chance to turn them in at the Chamber of Commerce to be entered in a drawing for a wonderful prize. Last year, the Eat Local challenge winner, received a 40” Sony flat-screen television. While this year’s prize has not been selected, it is sure to be just as great! According to Faustine Curry, Chamber CEO, the Eat Local Challenge is a win-win situation for everyone in Mount Pleasant. “Through this program, we are able to keep dollars here at home in Mount Pleasant and people here will be rewarded for their loyalty to our local businesses,” she said. “It’s just a great situation for everyone involved.”

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CHAMBER CALENDAR 27

MARCH

Two Senoritas, 2601 W Ferguson Rd, Mount Pleasant, TX, 903.572.5057

05 Chamber Marketing Meeting | 8AM

28-29 Fort Sherman Days | Fri. 9AM-3PM | Sat.

Chamber, 1604 North Jefferson. Mount Pleasant, TX www.mtpleasanttx.com, 903.572.8567

10AM-2PM Lake Bob Sandlin State Park, Located on Highway 21 just North of Lake Bob Sandlin, 903.572.5531

06 Ambassador Lunch | 12PM

APRIL

Thai Lanna, 208 Lakewood Dr, Mount Pleasant, TX, 903.577.1500

06 TRC VICTORY CELEBRATION | 5:30PM

01Tourism Meeting | 8AM

The 80 Acres, 495 County Rd 3150. Cookville, TX, www.the80acres.webs.com

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Chamber, 1604 North Jefferson, Mount Pleasant, TX, www.mtpleasanttx.com, 903.572.8567

Ribbon Cutting - Secure Networks | 10AM

02 Ambassador Lunch | 12PM 03 Ribbon Cutting - Family Care Center | 4:30PM

Chamber, 1604 North Jefferson. Mount Pleasant, TX, www.mtpleasanttx.com, 903.572.8567

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1610 South Jefferson, Mount Pleasant, TX, www.titusregional.com, 903.577.6000

Chamber Executive Board Meeting | 1:15PM

10 Chamber Executive Board Meeting | 1:15PM

Chamber, 1604 North Jefferson, Mount Pleasant, TX, www.mtpleasanttx.com, 903.572.8567

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Chamber, 1604 North Jefferson Mount Pleasant, TX, mtpleasanttx.com, 903.572.8567

Chamber Board of Directors | 8AM

11-13 Robert Arellano “Dawg” Fest

Chamber, 1604 North Jefferson, Mount Pleasant, TX, www.mtpleasanttx.com, 903.572.8567

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Motorcycle Rally | Camp Langston 50 County Road 3227 Mount Pleasant, TX, dawgfest.rally@gmail.com

Sweet Charity | 7:30PM

16 Chamber Board of Directors Meeting | 8AM

NTCC Whatley Center, 2886 Farm to Market 1735, Mount Pleasant, TX, www.ntcc.edu/whatley/index.html, 903.434.8182

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Business After Hours | 5:30

Chamber, 1604 North Jefferson, Mount Pleasant, TX, www.mtpleasanttx.com, 903.572.8567

Chamber 101 | 8AM

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Chamber, 1604 North Jefferson, Mount Pleasant, TX, www.mtpleasanttx.com, 903.572.8567

Quarterly Business Breakfast | 7AM Country Club of Mount Pleasant, 1000 Country Club Drive, Mount Pleasant, TX, 903.572.1804

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Mount Pleasant/ Titus County Chamber of Commerce 1604 North Jefferson Avenue Mount Pleasant, TX 75455 www.mtpleasanttx.com info@mtpleasanttx.com (p) 903.572.8567 (f) 903.572.0613

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Mount Pleasant Business Report  

March/April

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