Pooler, Georgia, is carving out a very unique spot on the map. Growth is happening on nearly every corner and the mix between housing options, entertainment and shopping is the perfect draw for many people. From its humble beginnings as a railroad town, Pooler is now a destination city and home to those who still want the small-town feel with all the conveniences of urban amenities. Pooler has plenty to offer including Tanger Outlets, restaurants that please any palate, coffee shops, gyms and much more. Houses and apartments continue to fill in the empty spots as more and more people are calling Pooler home. If you have been around long enough (or even just passed through), you might hear someone say, “It’s cooler in Pooler!”
The Pooler Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, Inc. will surely tell you that it is way cooler in Pooler. Since the organization’s inception 10 years ago, they have been providing the platform of growth necessary for the area to truly flourish. The organization is dedicated to aggressively marketing Pooler’s assets, maximizing economic impact while providing excellent visitors services. The organization is also dedicated to helping those businesses who set up shop in the city.
“Pooler is the fastest growing city on the East Coast,” says Whitney Balish, director of Membership & Development, Pooler Chamber of Commerce. “It is important to know we are now a destination city with four new hotels on the horizon. It is absolutely a great benefit to open a business in Pooler.”
The main goal of the Pooler Chamber is to support businesses and the economic growth of Pooler. With a population of nearly 24,000 residents, there’s plenty of reasons why a business owner may consider joining the Chamber. The Chamber offers many benefits that can help a company grow. “We advertise your business with sponsorship opportunities, your “Name in Lights” program, social media and more. Business networking is another main focus with our business referrals, Business After Hours events, and ribbon cuttings,” adds Balish. The Pooler Chamber also puts an emphasis on community involvement with various events throughout the year, and the Chamber-Sponsored Student Scholarship Program.
Take it from Daniel Cloutier, owner of Molly McPherson’s Scottish Pub and Grill. He has benefited greatly from being a member. “The Chamber is great, they really are. Become a member of the Chamber. Get involved, allow the chamber to help you, to give you advice, things like that. Allow them to use their advertising to promote your business,” says Cloutier.
Ten years ago, the Chamber started with around 100 members. Today, there are more than 400 members and the membership list is steadily growing, and that means a bigger support system for businesses. No matter the size of your business, every type is welcome. “We offer memberships for a one-person business to a business with over 500 employees. While the majority are businesses/business owners, we also have individual members as well,” says Balish.
Joining the Chamber allows one plenty of access to other businesses and a wealth of support in terms of advertising and promotion. A membership investment also allows the Chamber to also promote tourism through community events such as the Sip & Savor/Casino Night, Food Truck Fest & Marketplace, Hearts for Heroes Gala, and more.
These events are very successful. This year’s Food Truck Fest & Marketplace will take place on Saturday, October 5. Last year was the first Food Truck Fest and Balish was blown away by the support from the community with their attendance. “This year we are making it bigger and better, combining the festival with our Fall Marketplace. The Food Truck Fest & Marketplace will have over 30 food trucks, rides for all ages, entertainment, and vendors,” says Balish.
The Hearts for Heroes Gala (a Black-Tie Affair) has been noted as the most prestigious event in Chatham County. The support from sponsors and attendees has allowed the Chamber to donate to the beneficiary for that year. Last year, $30,000 was donated to the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire. Balish says they are proud to be able to present this event as well as other great events.
If you’re interested in joining the Chamber, the membership application is available online or you can pick one up at the Chamber’s office. Membership is broken down by tiers. Non-business and non-profit memberships start at $100 for the annual membership. Pricing for businesses is based on how many people the business employees.
“Being a chamber member has grown my business through just networking with connections. It’s really enabled me to make better decisions as a business owner in the city and to have other people to talk to about how their business has gone over the years,” says Steve Thomas, managing partner, Texas Roadhouse. “It’s extremely important to become involved in the Chamber. Give yourself the most competitive advantage you can and join
an organization that is here for you, here for your business. They want to help grow your business, promote you and help you reach your goals as a business owner.”
While Balish has only been with the Chamber for a short time, she’s always been supportive of what the Chamber does. She focuses on fundraising and sponsorship, as well as new membership information and enrollment. “I enjoy visiting businesses and learning more about your company. I am here to help members connect with other members, and promote the Pooler Chamber of Commerce,” says Balish.
Steve Larson, owner of Pita Pit knows firsthand what it means to have the Chamber working for him. He opened his Pita Pit Pooler location last September and the support was tremendous. “The Chamber has been a great entity for me. They do amazing grand openings, and I’m very thankful for them to help me build this business,” says Larson.
The Pooler Chamber of Commerce is located at 404 U.S. 80 West.
You can call the office at 912-748-0110, or visit the organization online at www.PoolerChamber.com.
You can also keep up with Chamber events by following the Chamber on Facebook at Facebook.com/PoolerChamberofCommerce.