Granville Chamber Banquet January 29th

— News Release


MONDAY, JANUARY 29, 2018; 6:30 PM


Featured speaker:  Adrian H. Wood, PhD.: “TALES of an EDUCATED DEBUTANTE”

In celebration of 76 years, the Granville County Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors announces Adrian H. Wood, PhD., author of “Tales of an Educated Debutante” will be the featured speaker.  “She is a rural Eastern North Carolina mother of four – one with extra-special needs – past preschool teacher, nanny, children’s ski instructor, early interventionist, college professor, early childhood researcher, wife and full-time mama.  In writing after a twenty year hiatus, she offers personal glimpses where satire meets truth, faith meets irony, despair meets joy and this educated debutante escapes the laundry and finds true meaning in graceful transparency.”

The evening will once again include the presentation of the Chamber’s most prestigious award, the John Penn Citizen of the Year Award, recognizing outstanding community service.

A buffet dinner will be provided. Tickets are $40 each.  Corporate tables of 8, with reserved seating, are available for $300.00.  Corporate tables of 10, reserved seating, are available for $380.00.  Reservations  are required prior to the event.  Checks or credit card payments are accepted by contacting one of the Chamber’s offices –  919.693.6125/Wanda, [email protected] or 919.528.4994/Toni Anne, [email protected].


Granville Chamber Has New Website

— press release


The Granville County Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors announces that their new website, has just been launched. This project has spanned several months of research and planning by Chamber volunteers and staff. Cecilia Wheeler/Dean of VGCC’s South Campus and Chamber Board member, along with Melanie Diehl/Melanie and Company, spearheaded this project, working with the Chamber staff and the website designer.

The sponsorship of Chamber members made this project a reality. Gold sponsors are CertainTeed and Wake Electric Membership Corporation. Silver sponsors are Century 21/Hancock Properties, Duke Energy, Floyd Management and Realty, Granville County Tourism Development Authority, VanNess Chevrolet and Winters’ Storage.

The website is designed to provide easy-to-obtain information about Chamber members and their services, as well as information about Granville County. The Membership tab lists member benefits, joining information, volunteer opportunities, etc. The Chamber’s recent “Granville Today” publication is available to download via the website. There is easy access about Leadership Granville and the John Penn Citizen of the Year information and nomination form. Visitors’ information contains business, relocation, utilities, maps, civic groups, places of worship, government offices and other county sites. There’s event and activity information. And, of course, there’s information about Chamber member businesses.

In early 2018, the Chamber will be offering several training opportunities for Chamber members to learn details of all of the perks to take advantage of with the new website.

Students learn about careers at VGCC Manufacturing Day

— courtesy VGCC

Vance-Granville Community College held a “Manufacturing Day” celebration on Thursday, Oct. 5, in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus in Vance County. Nearly 200 high school students from Franklin, Granville, Vance and Warren counties attended, along with VGCC students, educators and other members of the community. They learned about how manufacturing has changed, local career possibilities in the field and options for education and training related to careers in the industry.

“Manufacturing Day is a national event meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers and expose them to modern manufacturing trends,” said Tiffani M. Polk, an academic and career coach with the TechHire program at VGCC. “Our industry partners described the students as highly engaged and inquisitive. Together, I think we were able to reframe what manufacturing is for our future workforce.”

Participating employers included Altec of Creedmoor, Boise Cascade of Roxboro, Carolina Sunrock of Butner, Dill Air Controls of Oxford, Edwards Inc. of Spring Hope, Fastenal of Raleigh, Glen Raven of Norlina, Home Care Products of Oxford, Mars Petcare of Henderson, Novozymes of Franklinton, Plastic Ingenuity of Oxford, Revlon of Oxford, and Superior Tooling of Wake Forest.

Students talk with, seated from left, Revlon representatives Bonnie Garrett and Wendy Grissom at Manufacturing Day in the VGCC Civic Center. (VGCC photo)

VGCC technical programs were represented, including Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology, Automotive Systems Technology, Electrical Systems Technology, Electronics Engineering Technology, Mechatronics Engineering Technology and Welding Technology. A representative from the Kerr-Tar Workforce Development Board was on hand, as well.

Attendees also learned about the North Carolina Triangle Apprenticeship Program (NCTAP), which partners with colleges like VGCC and employers to prepare a skilled workforce. An alternative to the traditional four-year college degree, the program takes a student from high school through a two-year community college program like Mechatronics Engineering Technology, with the guarantee of a job at the completion of the program.

Sandy Whitfield from Altec talks with students at Manufacturing Day in the VGCC Civic Center. (VGCC photo)

Reflecting on the event, Revlon representative Bonnie Garrett said that “it was nice to get to introduce high school students to our company and to careers in manufacturing that they don’t often think about. We rarely get an opportunity like this.”

Joel Bailey of Edwards said it was his company’s first time participating in a VGCC Manufacturing Day event. He noted that Edwards, a full-service industrial general contractor with a specialty fabrication shop, has many job openings and was particularly interested in recruiting graduates of VGCC’s Welding, Electrical Systems and HVAC programs.

Steve Tsotsoros from Dill Air Controls shows some of the products manufactured by his company to students attending Manufacturing Day in the VGCC Civic Center. (VGCC photo)

The TechHire grant program at VGCC organized Manufacturing Day, with support from the Advanced Manufacturing Skills Training Alliance (AMSTA), a partnership of VGCC and local K-12 school systems. The North Carolina TechHire program supports advanced manufacturing and information technology training. VGCC is one of four partnering community colleges in the North Carolina TechHire Alliance, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. For more information on TechHire, contact Tiffani Polk at [email protected] or (252) 738-3291.


(Vance Granville is a paying advertising client of WIZS.)

Joel Bailey from Edwards Inc. (center) talks with VGCC Welding student Cedric Rodebaugh of Franklinton at Manufacturing Day in the VGCC Civic Center. (VGCC photo)

VGCC agricultural initiative highlighted at local food economies meeting

— courtesy VGCC

Vance-Granville Community College’s Main Campus served as the host for a late-September gathering of community leaders from throughout the region interested in local food economies.

The meeting, entitled “Innovations in Economic Development through Local Foods,” was organized by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), a partnership of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and North Carolina State University. Laura Lauffer of CEFS said that the organization had conducted the same event at two other locations elsewhere in North Carolina before VGCC, but that this was their best-attended to date.

As she welcomed participants to the college, VGCC President Dr. Stelfanie Williams said, “We are excited about the opportunities ahead for this region of North Carolina, and we are happy to be a partner in economic, agricultural and environmental stewardship.”

The first part of the meeting consisted of presenters sharing innovative models related to entrepreneurship and supporting local farmers that could be replicated in other communities. First up was VGCC Small Business Center Director Tanya Weary, talking about the college’s “NC REAL Agricultural Entrepreneurship” program. Lauffer said that Weary and VGCC are “pioneers in leading agriculture business classes and promoting agriculture in the community college system.”

Tanya Weary, director of the VGCC Small Business Center (standing), addresses attendees at the “Innovations in Economic Development through Local Foods” event.

Weary told attendees that the Agricultural Entrepreneurship program, a seven-week, interactive course designed to strengthen the business savvy of community farmers and budding agricultural entrepreneurs, succeeded in part because of strong partnerships. She partnered with the VGCC Human Resources Development department, the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, the Vance County Regional Farmers Market, N.C. Cooperative Extension, local city and county governments, attorneys, banks and other businesses.

“We have worked with other community colleges to share our experience about how we started this, who our partners are and how we’ve been able to grow this,” Weary said. “We have served around 65 students since starting in late 2014, and that’s a real success for this area. We’re very pleased with it.”

She added that the course spurred VGCC to offer other agriculture-related programs. A new free, three-part workshop series, “Planting Your Marketing Seeds for Your Agricultural Business,” is scheduled for Tuesday evenings, Nov. 7-21. Carrie Harvey, the instructor, also taught many of the college’s Agricultural Entrepreneurship classes.

Other presenters included Ardis Crews of the Green Rural Redevelopment Organization; Henry Crews (a graduate of the first NC REAL Agricultural Entrepreneurship class at VGCC) and Jennifer Dietsche, discussing a Vidant Health initiative at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville; Jimbo Eason and John Kimber from Covington Vodka; Eric Hallman of the Piedmont Food and Agriculture Processing Center (PFAP); Mike Ortosky of Orange County Agriculture Economic Development; and Gabe Cummings of Warren County-based Working Landscapes. CEFS has produced a short video on Working Landscapes, which participants enjoyed watching during lunch.

The Harvest Restaurant of Oxford catered a lunch featuring local food for the meeting. After lunch, attendees heard presenters discuss statewide resources, including the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, the N.C. Department of Commerce, the N.C. Rural Center and CEFS projects.

The CEFS “Local Food Economies” initiative is part of the NC Growing Together (NCGT) project. NCGT is a five-year, USDA-funded project that aims to bring more locally-produced foods into mainstream markets, strengthening the economics of small to mid-sized farm and fishing operations and their communities. In addition to research, academic and extension components, NCGT also aims to create an enabling environment for farms and food businesses.

For more information on the VGCC Small Business Center, contact Tanya Weary at [email protected] or (252) 738-3240.


VGCC announces free Small Business Summit with holiday focus

The Vance-Granville Community College Small Business Center has scheduled its sixth annual Small Business Summit for Tuesday, Oct. 24, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., at the Lake Gaston Lions Club in Henrico. Entitled “Making the Holidays Pay Off,” the free event is designed to help local businesses plan ahead for the upcoming holiday season with innovative marketing practices.

CenturyLink is the presenting sponsor for the event. Local partners helping VGCC to organize the summit are the Chamber of Commerce of Warren County, the Warren County Economic Development Commission and the Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center.

Business representatives and interested members of the community are invited to attend. Registration is now open at

The day starts off with registration and networking with attendees and vendors at 8 a.m. The first hour-long seminar will be “Shop Local — Buy Local — Invest Local to Gain More Business for You and Your Area” at 8:30 a.m. Presenter Martin Brossman will help participants get the most out of a “Shop Local” program, including the use of social media.

“Holiday Event Planning for the Small Business Owner” follows at 9:45 a.m. with Lisa Gingue of Vino Oasi in Stem. Gingue will discuss planning events that attract holiday shoppers.

At 11 a.m., Brossman will present “Take Photos like a Pro to Get More Business with Your Social Media.” This session covers the basics of low-cost photography techniques to attract more customers with social media and web marketing.

The keynote presentation, from noon until 1 p.m., will be “Get Social! Grow Your Business!” with Kristen Baughman and Stacey Price Sprenz, both of Raleigh-based Tabletop Media Group. Baughman, the founder of the agency, and Sprenz, a photographer, will teach attendees how to take their social media to the next level using photos and videos. They will offer a few tips and tricks on how to promote participants’ businesses and unique holiday offerings to media outlets and social influencers in their community. Tabletop Media Group is a boutique agency serving clients in the food, beverage, agriculture and lifestyle industries.

Lunch will be provided free of charge to the first 100 registered participants by CenturyLink. For more information, contact VGCC Small Business Center Director Tanya Weary at (252) 738-3240 or [email protected].


VGCC invites community to Manufacturing Day

Vance-Granville Community College will hold a “Manufacturing Day” celebration on Thursday, Oct. 5, from 8:30 to 11:15 a.m. and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus in Vance County. Job seekers and students are invited to attend and to learn more about manufacturing and related careers.

Local manufacturers and equipment vendors will provide demonstrations and information highlighting their products and their employment opportunities. Attendees will learn about career options in the region’s industries and the technical skills required to succeed in such careers.

Participants are set to include Altec of Creedmoor, Boise Cascade of Roxboro, Glen Raven of Norlina, Mars Petcare of Henderson, CertainTeed of Oxford and Carolina Sunrock of Butner, among others.

Representatives of VGCC technical programs, including those that provide education and training related to advanced manufacturing, will also be on hand. These include curriculum programs in Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology, Automotive Systems Technology, Electronics Engineering Technology, Mechatronics Engineering Technology and Welding Technology. VGCC’s Admissions and Financial Aid departments will also have representatives there. Attendees will also be able to learn about the North Carolina Triangle Apprenticeship Program (NCTAP), a four-year program that leads to a student obtaining an associate degree at a community college and paid, on-the-job training at a participating employer.

Event organizers hope to develop a pipeline of highly trained and skilled employees. “VGCC and industry partners are working together to address the skills gap, connect with future generations, and educate them about the outstanding opportunities that manufacturing careers can provide,” said Ken Wilson, project manager for the TechHire grant at VGCC, which supports advanced manufacturing training and information technology training.

The VGCC event is one of many across the country celebrating National Manufacturing Day (also known as “MFG Day”). The annual observance was established by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA), the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Manufacturing Institute (MI), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).

For more information, contact VGCC Academic & Career Coach Tiffani Polk at [email protected] or (252) 738-3291.

Granville County to hold Business & Industry Appreciation Day

The Granville County Economic Development department, in partnership with the Vance-Granville Community College Small Business Center and the Granville County Chamber of Commerce, is planning this year’s “Business & Industry Appreciation Day.” The annual event is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 19, from 4-6 p.m. at the Granville County Expo & Convention Center, located at 4185 Highway 15 South in Oxford.

For local businesses and industries, the event is not only a networking opportunity but also a chance to learn more about services and resources that are available to assist them. Organizations, agencies and businesses that provide services to a business (such as lending or education/training) are invited to set up a table to share information with those in attendance. For information on reserving a table, which is free of charge, contact Lynn Cooper at the Granville County Economic Development department at (919) 693-5911 or [email protected]

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided. A brief program, including remarks to recognize the important contributions made by local employers, will take place at 5 p.m.


The Embers Coming to Downtown Oxford

The Granville County Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the last Alive After Five event of 2017 – Thursday, September 21st – will feature the music and entertainment of THE EMBERS – “truly one of the finest entertainment experiences of our lifetime.” THE EMBERS will soon be celebrating their 60th anniversary, as the band began in 1958.

From The Embers’ website:  “There are many bands or groups today yet few that are considered a musical institution.  The Embers have solidified their position as a thriving musical entity leaving their mark on listeners for decades.

The Embers boast numerous albums and single releases that span decades and all the crazes continuing to exhibit top quality showmanship, musicianship and professionalism.  Having been inducted into the SC Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame and most recently the SC Beach Music Hall of Fame, THE EMBERS are honored to carry the moniker of North Carolina’s Official Ambassadors of Music.  They have traveled the country and the world and have performed for every event imaginable from the highest dignitaries to the hottest back yard frat parties.  THE EMBERS were also honored to travel throughout South Korea to perform their Christmas special “Christmas with the Embers” on American Military bases for America’s troops in Dec. 2007 and 2008.  They were awarded Military Coins of Excellence for their distinguished services.

A MUSICAL MARVEL:  THE EMBERS are widely considered a musical MARVEL and have laid the groundwork for what has become known as “Beach Music” in the Carolinas, Virginia, the gulf coast region of North America and every each in between.  They are a true musical tradition with which many Americans have listened to from childhood to adulthood.  THE EMBERS consider the genre of Beach Music as “music with a memory” and have been creating lasting since its inception in 1958.  Simply put – Heart and Soul, Rhythm and Blues, Feel Good Music.

For decades THE EMBERS have been making music by playing a mix of rhythm and blues and heart and soul.  Rhythm and Blues became the foundation and essence of soul music and the Motown sound, but in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Florida and Alabama, the name that applies is ‘Beach Music.’  Bobby Tomlinson, drummer and the leader of the band, believes that Beach Music is music with a memory.  Others believe that Beach Music is simply lyrics that are easy to sing with and simple melodies and pretty harmonies that accompany them.

AN ENTERTAINMENT EXPERIENCE:  THE EMBERS are truly one of the finest entertainment experiences of our lifetime.  Come to their show, and they will put JOY in your step, LOVE in your heart and BEACH MUSIC in your soul!”

This outdoor event is free to attend.  Chamber member concession vendors will be available to purchase food from – Chick-fil-A, A Place to Eat, Jay Boys Hot Dogs, Kentucky Fried Chicken/Taco Bell – with beverages available from Coca-Cola and Long Beverage.

Come early, bring a chair, listen to this incredible music, dance and enjoy visiting with friends.  The last Alive After Five event of 2017 will be a night to remember!

Granville County sees 3% Boost in Tourism Spending

Visit North Carolina announced that domestic visitors to and within Granville spent $47.08 million in 2016, a 3% increase from 2015.

“We are excited to hear that Granville has made a 3% increase in the last two years due to collaborations with area hotels, retail shops, restaurants, farms, parks and recreation, and events to promote our area as a destination for many travelers.” said Angela Allen, Granville TDA Director.

Tourism impact highlights for 2016:

  • Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Granville was $6.02 million.
  • State tax revenue generated in Granville totaled $2.81 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. About $1.33 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced in May that visitors to North Carolina set a record for spending in 2016. The $22.9 billion in total spending represented an increase of 4.4 percent from 2015.

These statistics are from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2016,” which can be accessed at The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by the U.S. Travel Association.

“All eight economic development regions of the state had spending growth of 3 percent or more, and 96 percent of the state’s counties saw direct tourism employment growth from 2015 to 2016,” said Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit North Carolina. “Tourism continues to be major driver of economic development across North Carolina, which is the sixth most-visited state in the country.”

Statewide highlights include:

  • State tax receipts as a result of visitor spending rose 5.1 percent to nearly $1.2 billion in 2016.


  • Visitors spend more than $62 million per day in North Carolina. That spending adds more than $5.1 million per day to state and local tax revenues (about $3.2 million in state taxes and $1.9 million in local taxes).


  • The travel and tourism industry directly employees more than 219,000 North Carolinians.


  • Each North Carolina household saves $497 in state and local taxes as a direct result of visitor spending in the state.

Granville County to host Business and Industry Appreciation Day

Come join the Granville County Economic Development Department in partnership with the Granville County Chamber of Commerce and the Vance-Granville Community College Small Business Center for the annual “Business and Industry Appreciation Day” on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 from 4-6 p.m. at the Granville County Expo and Convention Center, located at 4185 Highway 15 South in Oxford.

For local businesses and industries, the event is not only a networking opportunity, but also a chance to learn more about services and resources that are available to assist them. Organizations, agencies and businesses that provide services to a business (such as lending or education/training) are invited to set up a table to share information with those in attendance.

For information on reserving a table, contact Lynn Cooper at the GCEDD at 919-693-5911 or [email protected]

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided. A brief program including remarks will take place at 5 p.m.