The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce has been busy this winter preparing for a fun and prosperous 2022, starting with Thursday’s (March 31) inaugural “Friends Night Out,” event.
“Grab your favorite friends and come see us,” said Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Julie Donaldson about Friends Night Out, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. “This is a wonderful way to support local businesses, enjoy some terrific deals and meals, purchase some unique items, and enter to win the big shopping and dining frenzy with over $300+ worth of gift certificates.”
Participants will start their journey at the Chamber, where they will pick up a free Tote Bag (while supplies last, courtesy of 828 Printing) and register at the Chamber, before making their way to the following participating businesses and checking out all their fun offerings (each purchase is an entry into the drawing): B&B Gifts, Balsam Falls Brewing, Baxley’s Chocolates, Black Balsam Outdoors, City Lights Bookstore, Creekside Oyster House & Grill, The Cut Cocktail Lounge, End of Main, The Farmhouse Mercantile & Coffee Bar, Fusions Spa, Jackson’s General Store, Krismart, Mad Batter Kitchen, Natalie Nicole Boutique, The Paper Mill, Southern & Sunkissed Boutique, and Sassy Frass Consignment. The Chamber will also host a few pop up shops on the lawn including 828 Escape & 828 Printing, Maddie’s on Main, Scentsy, and Mountain Fairy Hair.
“We will announce the winner of the Frenzy around 7:30 p.m., on Thursday, March 31 on the Chamber’s Facebook page,” Donaldson added.
Earlier this year, the chamber welcomed new staff member Belinda Bryson to the team as Office Manager. “Belinda brings a wealth of knowledge about the area to our chamber that will be valuable to us as a staff, as well as our chamber members and visitors,” said Executive Director Julie Donaldson. “We’re so lucky to have someone on board with her expertise regarding small business training and coaching, as well as providing local resources and connections.
Speaking of experience, the chamber is also proud to announce the addition of part-time employee Tom Frazier. “Tom is known to a great many of our local residents and chamber members through his stellar career at Western Carolina University,” said Julie Donaldson. “When he retired and expressed an interest in part-time work, we were thrilled to add him to our team. He’s already proven to be above and beyond our highest expectations. Visitors and chamber members will love working with Tom.”
The chamber has stocked its Gift Shop with new Jackson County branded merchandise for the season, including NC Trout Capital and WNC Fly Fishing Trail gear. “We recently worked with an artist to provide a rendering of the 28779 zip code, featuring landmarks and locally known events. We’re very pleased with how the branded 28779 products turned out”, stated Office Manager Belinda Bryson, who spearheaded the new retail products.
“We want to provide exclusive merchandise for our visitors and residents that showcase our area,” said Bryson. “We always encourage shopping throughout downtown Sylva, Dillsboro and our other Jackson County communities for unique items”.
The chamber has teamed up again with the Town of Sylva and the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department for a full slate of 15 Concerts on the Creek events, starting May 27 and continuing each Friday through Sept. 2.
“It’s a fun lineup of some fan favorites and new faces as well,” said Jackson County Assistant Director Kelly Donaldson. “We have several different genres of music featured this year, from Ska, to bluegrass, Americana, pop, rock, country, beach and classic hits.”
The chamber also produces the eighth annual July 4 Fireworks Festivities on Monday, July 4. This year’s event features music by the band Crocodile Smile from 6:30-9:30 p.m., before the fireworks display at dark (9:30-9:45 p.m.) There will be food trucks and children’s activities as well.
The chamber staff is busy working on their monthly STIR Business After Hours events that should continue throughout the year. “These are always a great opportunity for a host-member to showcase their business to the rest of our chamber membership, but also serves as a wonderful networking opportunity for all,” said Kelly Donaldson.
The chamber will host its third annual Holiday Fireworks in downtown Sylva on Friday, Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m., just after a 6:30 p.m. holiday-themed concert on the chamber’s front porch. “Last year, Ol’ Saint Nick made a special appearance and we hope he comes back to Sylva for this year’s event,” said Frazier.
Earlier this month, the chamber published its two annual publications for distribution. The 2022 Our Town community guide and relocation brochure, which also serves as a chamber directory, is available to read online or to pick up in person at one of the chamber’s visitors centers in Sylva and Dillsboro. The 2022 Eating Out in Jackson County Dining Guide is also available. Both feature area chamber member businesses and are among the most popular items given each year at the Jackson County visitor centers.
The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce is located at 773 West Main Street in Sylva. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and select Saturdays during the Spring, Summer and Fall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 828-586-2155, visit www.mountainlovers.com or the chamber’s Facebook page.