SPRINGFIELD — The Effingham County Chamber of Commerce is reaching into other areas to help local businesses grab a bigger piece of the economic pie.
Chamber CEO Andy Cripps reported on the effort, entitled “Effingham County, Feels Like Home,” during Thursday’s meeting of the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority.
“We’ve started a tourism ad campaign primarily to rebuild businesses after COVID-19, especially retail and dine-in, to try to help bring people in from outside — about a 40-mile radius — into the county and spend some money here,” Cripps said.
“Effingham County, Feels Like Home” touts Effingham County’s natural beauty, history and recreational opportunities.
“The first print ads will appear in the July and August edition of Pooler Magazine and South Magazine, and and there will be a lot of online ads going out as well,” Cripps said.
Since numerous spring events were postponed until the fall because of the pandemic, Effingham County will have a heavy entertainment slate in the summer and fall.
“We will have our annual jobs fair Aug. 26 at the (Effingham County Parks and Recreation Department) gym on (Ga.) Highway 119,” Cripps said. “The emphasis of that is going to be away from high school seniors and more toward (older) residents. Companies still need workers but high school workers will be moving on to something else so we are going to emphasize our marketing into adults, especially in the post-COVID-19 environment.”
Cripps said the chamber’s annual meeting has been moved to Aug. 28.
“We were hoping we could recreate the formal of last year’s annual meeting with Casino Night as well as our awards banquet,” he said. “We are probably looking at scaling that down because of social distancing and COVID-19. I am not sure what form that is going to take but it will probably be a little bit different format this year and we will hopefully we will return to the Casino Night format next year.”
Cripps also noted that the chamber is publishing a business guide in conjunction with the Effingham Herald that will be released soon.
“We want to make the publication more of a promotional piece not just for the chamber but also to feature demographics and important information about the community — that it can be a tool for newcomers and also businesses looking to relocate here in Effingham County” Cripps said.
The chamber is also set to push for the support of a TSPLOST, a one-percent sales tax designed to fund local transportation needs. The Effingham County Board of Commissioners and municipal governments have been hammering out a list of projects that voters will consider for approval in November.
If approved, the tax is expected to generate $42 million over five years.