Chamber announces workshops

An upcoming workshop provided by Southeast Community College’s free workshops known as “Selling to the World” was announced during Wednesday’s Harlan Chamber of Commerce regular scheduled meeting.

Chamber President Flo Asher said the project, which is designed to bring information and training techniques to local entrepreneurs and self-employed business people of the area, will be a wonderful asset to helping people of various trades flourish and grow their businesses.

The project, which is being sponsored by the Harlan Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Cumberland Gap Region Tourism Association, is designed to help all local artisans, crafts people, entrepreneurs, start-up businesses, e-trade businesses, established merchants, or any other type of business owner learn and to receive tips on how to market their business locally, nationally, and internationally.

“We have so many people in the area that are now doing so many things such as quilting, wood working, and even jewelry making, among other adventures,” said Asher. “People are turning to many different types of self-employment in order to bring in extra money. This workshop will be wonderful for anyone who is interested in learning new marketing ideas to help their business grow.”

Asher said it doesn’t matter how small or large the business is and any type of craft or trade is considered a business, noting that all entrepreneurs are encouraged to attend the workshop.

“Anything we can do to bring in good business would help Harlan County,” said Asher. “This workshop will be a great asset to the county’s self-employed business people.”

Carla Reece of the Cumberland Gap Region Tourism Association said in a telephone interview after Wednesday’s meeting while this is the first workshop of its kind in the Harlan area, one was held in Bell County last year and yielded great success for the attendants.

“There was a metal arts shop in the Cumberland Gap area that did really well with its launching after attending that particular workshop,” said Reece. “We are encouraging everyone to attend. I am really excited about it and am so glad it is now extending into other counties.”

The first workshop, which will be the start-up meeting for the actual classes, will be held on Oct. 23 at the Harlan Tourism and Convention Center at 5:30 p.m. with speaker Jeannie Allen of Southeast Community College.

“Anyone interested in this workshop is urged to attend the start-up meeting where Jeannie will be available to answer all questions and help people get started for the classes,” said Reece.

The workshop, which is being funded by a grant for agriculturally distressed counties, is free to all attendants and will run on a yearly basis with classes at least one day per month, possibly two days per month. The classes will be taught by several Southeast Community College instructors and there is a possibility that college credit may be obtained for anyone taking the classes.

“I’m not sure about how that (college credit) will work, but that’s one of the questions that Jeannie will be able to answer at the start-up meeting,” Reece said. “We encourage everyone to attend.”

Other business during Wednesday’s meeting included the announcement that the board election has been postponed until November with the slate of officers to be presented to the board at the meeting on Oct. 26. The positions to be filled will include president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and four at large board positions.

Part time director of the Chamber of Commerce James Epperson, who is in charge of chamber ads and promotions, gave an update, noting he has now updated the chamber’s Facebook page and everyone will need to go to the page and push “like” on the page in order to see the posts on their Facebook Newsfeed pages.

Under the topic of new business, it was announced that transportation officials will be holding a ceremony to name the new bridge at Partridge in honor of longtime chamber member the late Gayle Lawson. The event will take place on Monday at 10 a.m.

Guest speaker Bell County Tourism Director Jon Grace was scheduled to attend Wednesday’s meeting but was not able to attend. However, he did speak briefly through a conference call about possible upcoming projects that Bell County may be tying in with the Harlan County area in an effort to bring more recreational projects to Harlan.