Matthews, North Carolina Chamber Programs Help Local Small Businesses Succeed

The Matthews Chamber of Commerce has developed two new programs that are contributing to the success of local small businesses.  The Matthews Chamber office is located in a historic railroad depot in downtown Matthews, North Carolina.  The Town of Matthews is located in the rapidly growing suburban Charlotte metro area and currently has a population of over 28,000.

The Matthews Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1985 and currently has more than 430 members from the greater Matthews area.  Although the membership includes a number of large regional businesses, the majority of members are small businesses with one to four employees.  Tina Whitley is the Executive Director and she has been leading the Chamber staff for the past 11-1/2 years.

One new program, Go2 Matthews with Go Bucks, encourages Chamber members to do business with other members and for members to refer business to other members.  The Go2 Matthews program has generated a documented $400,000 in extra business for small business members in the past year.  The incentives for participants in this program include the potential for more business from other members as well the ability to win prizes at the monthly luncheon meetings when the results of member-to-member business and referral business are reported.

Another new project is a group-mentoring program where businesses in similar industries mastermind with each other on business practices that are working or not working.  As an example, one group includes home services industry members and they may discuss best practices and experiences in advertising and other ways to improve their businesses.  One other benefit is referral of business among members where opportunities are observed to refer business to a complementary service provider.

“If you want to meet Matthews business owners and do more business in Matthews, the Chamber is a great group to be a part of, not only for networking, but for getting the word out about your business,” says Tina Whitley, Executive Director.  “When you come to a Matthews Chamber event or meeting, you’re talking to the decision makers because they are the people running their businesses day after day,” continues Whitley.

Whitley is proud of the Chamber’s partnership with local non-profit organizations, which represent 75 of the Chamber’s members.  Non-profits pay minimal dues and they receive a number of benefits including free advertising tables at the monthly luncheons and Business Expos.  There will be a special luncheon in September on how businesses can partner with non-profits, making that part of a member’s community outreach initiatives.

Members are very active participants in the Chamber activities.  The monthly luncheons attract between 125 and 200 member participants.  The recent Greater Matthews Business Expo, organized by the Chamber, had about 100 vendors and non-profits exhibiting and almost 1000 visitors attended the Expo looking to do business with Matthews area businesses.

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