Attention Ladies: Miss NC to Speak at Fall WOVEN Session

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-Information courtesy the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce

The Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce and the VGCC Small Business Center welcomes Miss North Carolina, Alexandra Badgett to speak at the WOVEN (Women of Vance Empowered Networking) lunch and learn on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, at the Henderson Country Club.

The event will be held from 12 until 1:30 p.m. and will serve as the H-V Chamber’s last WOVEN session for 2019.

The cost is $20 and registration is required by October 11. You do not have to be a Chamber member to attend.

For more information and to RSVP, contact Sandra Wilkerson at [email protected] or call (252) 438-8414.

Players & Sponsors Needed for Annual H-V Chamber Challenge Golf Tournament

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-Information courtesy the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce

The Henderson-Vance County Chamber of Commerce will host the 21st Annual Chamber Challenge Golf Tournament presented by BB&T on Thursday, October 3, 2019, at Kerr Lake Country Club. BB&T has been the presenting Double Eagle sponsor for this event since its inception in 1999.

Eagle sponsors are Duke Energy and Maria Parham Health. Birdie sponsors are 3HC, MARS Petcare, Wake Electric Membership Corporation and Walmart DC #6091.

This Captain’s Choice (Superball) tournament will begin at 12 p.m. with lunch. Following lunch, the event will kick-off with a shotgun start.

Prizes will be awarded for the top three teams, with other prizes being awarded for the longest drive, hole-in-one, and closest to the pin. Hole-in-one sponsor is Charles Boyd Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC of Henderson.

Lunch and an awards ceremony will take place immediately following the tournament.

Sponsoring teams and individual registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis and all Chamber members are invited to attend. A limited number of sponsorships are available for the event and for individual holes. Prize donations are also being accepted.

Chamber members who have golf-related or similar promotional items that they would like to include in “Golfer Goody Bags” that will be handed out to players and volunteers at the event should contact the Chamber to register those items. The rate for a four-person team is $440, which includes cart and greens fees, Mulligan three-pack, goody bag, lunch, complimentary beverages, snacks on the course and awards ceremony.

To register or to express interest in sponsorships, contact the Chamber at 252-438-8414.

Leadership Vance Graduates 14 Community Participants

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-Information courtesy the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce

Fourteen participants have successfully completed the 2019 Leadership Vance program. Leadership Vance is a Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce program designed to create a group of informed and dedicated leaders who will contribute to the community.

The program is organized into twelve sessions which began February 5 with an orientation breakfast at Perry Library in the Farm Bureau Room and concluded on July 9 with a graduation ceremony and dinner at Hillside Farms in Henderson.

Participants are exposed to various aspects of Henderson and Vance County, specifically in regard to city and county government, health and community resources, economic development, agriculture and natural resources, history, media, criminal justice and law.

The Leadership Vance Graduates for 2019 include (left front): Lemondre’ Watson, Sharita Jones, Jason Varner, McKinley Perkinson, Evelyn Harris, Fantasia Johnson. (Left back): Brian Williams, Lee Andrew Faines, Jr., Elgin Lane, Pam Hester, Norman Dickerson, Jr., Sandra Wilkerson, Chamber Events Director and Andrew (Joel) Beckham. Not pictured: Cathy Renn and Ray Gronberg. (H-V Chamber photo)

Supervisors and guests were in attendance to celebrate the achievements of the graduates.

Jason Varner and Pastor Joel Beckham shared reflections regarding the program on behalf of the class. Varner said, “Henderson and Vance County is a great place to live.” He challenged his classmates to use their leadership experience to make Henderson and Vance County an even better place.

Joel Beckham stated, “I have been inspired.” Beckham encouraged the group to take what they have experienced and make a difference in the community.

McKinley Perkinson shared the class project which was a battery collection for smoke detectors to assist the Fire Department in their Smoke Detector initiative.

Chief Steve Cordell and Captain Lee Edmonds of the Henderson Fire Department were present to receive the donations and shared their gratitude to the group for taking on the initiative. The group collected over 350 9 volt batteries to support the battery replacement program for smoke detectors.

Town Talk (07/23/19): H-V Chamber Welcomes Familiar Face to President Role

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Michele Burgess, president of the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce, was on Tuesday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk to discuss her new position and vision for the organization.

Beginning her third term as the head of the chamber, Burgess’ first official day serving under the title of “president” was July 22, 2019. She previously served as executive director from 1982-88 and 1995-99.

Burgess succeeded Vanessa Jones, who served as interim president in the months following former president John Barnes’ resignation earlier this year.

In discussing her local connections, Burgess said she is excited the chamber’s board chose a Henderson native as their leader.

“I live in Vance County and I love Henderson,” Burgess said. “I love where I live. This is my hometown and I’m proud of it.”

For her first task, Burgess said she and chamber staff will be focusing on membership. “We are going to look at who is a member and who is not a member. We want to reach out to those who maybe couldn’t afford the membership dues when they first opened but are a little more established now and could benefit from our services.”

As far as current members, Burgess said she wants to introduce herself, or in some cases reintroduce herself, encourage continued community involvement and to set the tone for her “hands-on approach” to the chamber’s mission.

Burgess believes, much as she did in her previous chamber roles, that the key to growing the community is to think outside of the box and get creative with strategies to help small businesses. “A large majority of our members are small businesses with 50 or less, and many with 20 or less, employees,” she explained.

Acknowledging that attending popular chamber events such as Business After Hours, Meet Me in the Street and various networking sessions aren’t feasible for all business owners, Burgess said the question then becomes, “What can we do to help you?”

Some of the ways the chamber can help small businesses, according to Burgess, include offering relevant training for employees and advocating for their particular industry.

“We [the chamber] can do that,” Burgess reiterated. “We are an organization that serves businesses; it’s all about building businesses. The chamber is all about relationships.”

Further emphasizing the importance of relationships, Burgess explained the connections that are often made at H-V Chamber-sponsored events serve business leaders and their staff well in the future.

“You do business with people that you like and trust,” Burgess said. “The way to do this is to be involved in your community, and especially to be involved with your chamber.”

To hear Burgess’ Town Talk interview in its entirety, please click the play button below. Listen live to WIZS’ Town Talk Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on 1450AM, 100.1 FM or online at

Register by Friday for Year’s Third WOVEN Event

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– Information courtesy the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce

The third WOVEN (Women of Vance Empowered Networking) event of 2019 is scheduled for Tuesday, July 16. The luncheon will begin at 12 p.m. at Kerr Lake’s Satterwhite Point Glass House, 269 Glass House Road, Henderson.

Lieutenant Jessica West with the Henderson Police Department will be the keynote speaker. Cost is $20 per person and includes lunch.

Discover ways that each of us can help make our communities safer and more unified places to work, play and live. From simply speaking up when you see suspicious activity, to setting up community watch groups, everyone can take part.

Please RSVP to Sandra Wilkerson at the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce by email at [email protected] or by calling (252) 438-8414. The deadline to register is this Friday, July 12. 

WOVEN: A Safe Community Starts With YOU

— courtesy of the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce

Sandra Wilkerson, Director of Admin and Events, told WIZS News, “The 3rd WOVEN (Women of Vance Empowered Networking) is scheduled for July 16th. Lieutenant Jessica West, Henderson Police Department, will be the keynote speaker. Ladies, you don’t want to miss this enlightening topic…’A Safe Community Starts with You.’ ”

Call or email to register. $20.00 per person in advance.

[email protected] — 252-438-8414

Second & Final ‘Meet Me in the Street’ of 2019 Set for June 13

-Information courtesy the Henderson-Vance County Chamber of Commerce

Henderson-Vance County Chamber of Commerce’s second and final “Meet Me in the Street” concert for 2019 is set for Thursday, June 13, featuring “The Konnection Band.” This band is a local favorite and is one of the East Coast’s premiere party bands, specializing in a variety of music including Top 40, Rock, Country, R & B, Beach and Oldies.

This concert is free to the public and will be held at the corner of North Garnett and Breckenridge Streets in Henderson from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m. Come enjoy good music, food, fun and kid’s activities.

Reminder: First ‘Meet Me in the Street’ of 2019 Set for Thursday!

-Information courtesy the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce’s March/April 2019 Focus newsletter

The 2019 “Meet Me in the Street” series begins with a Thursday, May 16 concert featuring The Castaways. This year’s concert events are presented to the local community by Presenting Sponsor NC Towing & Recovery.

Bring the kids out to enjoy the Kids Zone sponsored by Country Snacks Manufacturing and Wise Snacks. There will be a variety of food vendors to enjoy – Frostbites, Da Real Deal, Jerry’s Footlong, Chewly Delicious, Next Door Bistro, and J D Tacos. Adult beverages will also be available.

A reputable band known throughout the South, The Castaways possess over fifty years of experience in the beach music industry. From it’s beginning in Durham, NC in 1961, The Castaways have been pleasing audiences with their unique flavor of Beach, Soul, and Rock N’ Roll for generations of fans. With eight members on stage, The Castaways bring a full sound that includes live horns, versatile vocals covering a variety of music and high energy. Don’t be surprised if you hear some current country, Top-40, or a little southern-rock as well!

The second and final concert for 2019 is set for Thursday, June 13 and will host “The Konnection Band.” This band is a local favorite and is one of the East Coast’s premiere party bands, specializing in a variety of music including Top 40, Rock, Country, R & B, Beach and Oldies.

Presenting sponsor for this year’s concerts is NC Towing & Recovery. Other sponsors for the 2019 series are Duke Energy and Maria Parham Health – Gold Sponsors; Wake Electric Membership Corporation and Walmart DC #6091 – Silver Sponsors; 3HC, BB&T, Benchmark Community Bank, Carolina Sunrock, Express Employment Professionals, MARS Petcare and Waste Industries – Bronze Sponsors.

Contributing Sponsors are Auto Connection, Brewer Cycles, Franklin Brothers Nursery, Planet Fitness, TCS/Thermo King, United Sports Automotive & Tire Shops #1 & 2, and Woodforest Bank.

Advocate Sponsors are Henderson-Vance Economic Development Commission and Union Bank. Promotional Sponsor is Servpro.

All concerts are free to the public and will be held at the corner of North Garnett and Breckenridge Streets from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting the Chamber at (252) 438-8414 or email [email protected]

Local Chambers Recognize 2018 Small Business of the Year Recipients

The Henderson-Vance County Chamber of Commerce, along with the Franklin, Granville and Warren County Chambers and the Vance-Granville Community College Small Business Center, hosted the seventeenth annual Small Business Luncheon at the Henderson Country Club on Thursday, May 9, 2019.

The 2018 Small Business of the Year award recipients included Holland Industrial, Vance County; US 98.3/Lakes Media LLC, Granville County; Focus Design Builders, Franklin County; and Hardware Café, Warren County.

Holland Industrial receives the 2018 Vance County Small Business of the Year award. Left to right: Patrick Brame, Bobby Powell, Charles “Charlie” Brown and Vanessa Jones, interim president, Henderson-Vance Chamber. (WIZS photo)

Duke Energy was once again the presenting sponsor for this event. Tanya Evans, district manager for Duke Energy, thanked the small business owners and staff members for their contributions to the community and for their level of commitment.

“As a small business owner, you don’t get to turn it off at 5 p.m. and go home. This is a way of life for you and takes dedication and commitment,” Evans said.

Keynote speaker John Alston, owner of A&S Pest Control and winner of the Warren County Chamber’s 2008 Small Business of the Year award, spoke on his 42 years of success as a local small business owner.

“Success is not about how much money you make, it’s about the relationships you form and your enjoyment of the job you are doing,” Alston explained.

Alston said he felt blessed to have started a company that allows him to do what he enjoys while also providing financially for other families.

After hearing from Alston, Vanessa Jones, interim president of the Henderson-Vance Chamber, presented the 2018 Vance County award to electric motor and mechanical repair facility Holland Industrial.

Focus Design Builders receives the 2018 Greater Franklin County Small Business of the Year award. Left to right: Jonathan Williams, Paul Eitel and John Barnes, executive director, Greater Franklin Chamber. (WIZS photo)

Located on West Montgomery Street in Henderson, the “employee-owned” company was started by Charles S. Holland, Sr. in 1952 and has expanded to include 35 employees and a 150-mile sales territory today.

Now in its third generation of management, Holland President Charles “Charlie” Brown thanked the Chamber for their support and said he hopes Holland will be around to celebrate their 100th anniversary in a few decades.

John Barnes, executive director for the Greater Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, presented the Franklin County award to Focus Design Builders, a construction-based company offering a single point of contact for design and construction services.

Founded in 2010 during an ebb in the construction industry, CEO Paul Eitel said it was faith that prompted him and his two business partners to start a construction business.

Three months into the business with $8 million in sales, Eitel said that faith paid off. The company now estimates 300-400 families benefit from the revenue generated by their small business alone.

Jonathan Williams, project developer for Focus Design Builders, also mentioned the education he received at Vance-Granville Community College before transferring to a four-year university.

US 98.3/Lakes Media LLC receives the 2018 Franklin County Small Business of the Year award. Left to right: Aurora Birch, Tom Birch and Sandra Dean Pruitt, president of Granville Insurance Agency. (WIZS Photo)

“I’m proof that you can receive a quality education here locally,” Williams said in support of VGCC.

Granville County’s award recipient, US 98.3/Lakes Media LLC was presented their award by Sandra Dean Pruitt, president of Granville Insurance Agency.

Tom Birch, president, accepted the award on behalf of the organization. Launched in Oxford in 2005 and expanding to South Boston in 2006, Birch said the station has approximately 45,000 listeners today.

Birch also proclaimed that “radio is alive and well” and is still the most effective medium of all reach platforms, including television, in the constantly-evolving communications game.

Warren County Chamber Chair Kathleen Derring presented the Warren County award to Hardware Café manager Haley Paynter.

Hardware Cafe receives the 2018 Warren County Small Business of the Year award. Left to right: Haley Paynter and Kathleen Derring, chair of Warren Chamber. (WIZS Photo).

Located in downtown Warrenton, the previous hardware store, now affectionately known by locals as the “red and black” café, has quite the history, including a recent change in management with Paynter at the helm.

Derring said this award was “a long time coming” for the Hardware Café and explained that as a small business owner herself, she knew that loving what you do is essential for success.

Held in conjunction with National Small Business Week, the annual luncheon highlighted and supported what Henderson-Vance Chamber Chair Nancy Wykle referred to as “the backbone of our community and our economy both nationally and locally, small business.”

Jones Talks Search for Next H-V Chamber President, Opportunities

Vanessa Jones, interim president for the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce, was on Thursday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program to discuss how the Chamber has fared since the resignation of former president John Barnes in February.

“Things are going very well,” said Jones. “We have a great, well-trained staff that keeps operations moving along smoothly.”

The process of hiring the Chamber’s new president is well underway, according to Jones, with job applications and resumes due Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Jones estimated that the Chamber has received approximately 20 applications for the position thus far.

Acting as the Chamber’s Work First program coordinator since 2015, Jones previously served as chairwoman of the Chamber board during her tenure as dean and vice president at Vance-Granville Community College.

Her extensive knowledge of Chamber operations, coupled with the expertise of the Chamber’s membership director Jay Andrews and administration and events director Sandra Wilkerson, serve the Chamber business members well.

“Our goal is to promote and help our current members grow while attracting new members,” Jones said.

In this spirit of economic growth and development, Jones echoed the sentiment expressed by other community partners who have been interviewed by WIZS recently – it takes a village.

Jones acknowledged the close working relationship that the Chamber has with organizations such as the Vance County Tourism Development Authority, Henderson-Vance Downtown Development Commission, the City of Henderson, Vance County Government, Henderson-Vance County Economic Development Commission, Maria Parham Health, Vance-Granville Community College and many others.

“The Chamber works with these entities to ensure our community is an investment for new businesses and a great place for people to live and visit,” explained Jones.

In addition to working with businesses, the Chamber offers individuals an opportunity for community involvement via its ambassador program and annual Leadership Vance class.

Chamber ambassadors regularly network and connect with businesses and attend various Chamber events, such as ribbon cuttings, throughout the year.

Leadership Vance is an intensive, months-long training program that exposes participants to all aspects of the community, ultimately strengthening leadership skills and increasing knowledge of the inner workings of Vance County business.

Those interested in learning more about the Chamber and its various events and programs may call (252) 438-8414. Additional information may also be found on the Chamber’s website at

To hear the Town Talk interview with Vanessa Jones in its entirety, click here.