Something the chamber takes pride in is retaining our local businesses. It’s a team effort and we need your participation. August 15 Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce and Fort Payne Main Street will host a Small Business Workshop at the Coal & Iron Building in hopes of providing helpful information to our community businesses.

It’s a free workshop with breakfast and lunch provided. Thanks to Wilson Funeral Home & Crematory and Roadside ‘Que, there is no reason you shouldn’t be there.

What’s it all about?

We have three sessions with breakfast at 8 a.m. followed by information about effective marketing plans and strategic planning along with how to become a great community partner. Learning more about why marketing and networking should be a huge part of your business plan and not just an afterthought it’s necessary. Our experts are looking forward to helping you with all things marketing and public relations.

Our next session will focus on finance, bookkeeping, payroll and sales tax. I know, it sounds super fun, but it is necessary. Just go ahead and commit to knocking it out and taking some tips back to help you be more effective and accurate in your reporting and payroll within your business. We have great speakers with years of experience who are excited to provide you with information you can take back and apply immediately.

The final session will focus on healthcare. There is finally an insurance plan focused on small businesses that has the potential to offer affordable premiums for your employees and yourself. You will also hear why healthy employees are important to your bottom line and what you can do to save money in the long run. This could mean a healthier community too, and that means more folks out shopping and participating in community events. I say that’s a win for everyone.

Our keynote speaker for lunch is Mary Helmer, Director, Main Street Alabama. Mary will share with our community the economic impact of a thriving downtown and how we all play a part in making our community a place other people want to visit and live in. This is your chance to learn more about Fort Payne Main Street and Alabama Main Street.

Our speakers include: Dr. Beth Garfrerick, Associate Professor, Public Relations at the University of North Alabama; Matthew Roeder, CPA, MDA; Dr. Chad Williamson, DeKalb MD; Darlene Rotch, President, Panorama Public Relations; Marty Vice, Manger, Iron ReHealth BC/BS; Joe Grimes, Business Advisor, JSU SBDC.

You can sign up for only the sessions you are interested in (hopefully more than breakfast and lunch or the entire workshop, it’s up to you. We do need you to register online at and click the ‘All Things Business’ link under upcoming events. You will find detailed information there and have an opportunity to register. Should you have questions please call us at 256-845-2741. We look forward to seeing you there.

— Jennifer McCurdy is director of the Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce. You can email her through the chamber’s website at

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