11/13/06 — Chamber chairman says county business climate strong

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Chamber chairman says county business climate strong

By Renee Carey
Published in News on November 13, 2006 1:45 PM

Wayne County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors chairman Tom Buffkin sees a bright future for county businesses -- large or small.

A solid workforce, available training and a healthy economy are just a few of the reasons interest in economic development is up and so are profits, he said.

"The business climate in the county is very good," Buffkin said. "I just happened to have been asked to serve as chairman when things were going very well."

He added that he knows firsthand what a difference people can make in a company's success. His company, Franklin Baking in Goldsboro, relies on a dedicated and trained workforce 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"We have a wonderful workforce," he said.

The availability of training through Wayne Community College and other local schools also helps businesses get the people they need not only to start production, but to increase output as they build a successful client base.

And while the cooperation between local educators and the business community is strong, Buffkin said there is another way local companies can help each other -- the Chamber of Commerce.

For the last month, Chamber of Commerce members have been reaching out to local businesses of all sizes to get them to join up. Membership allows not only the use of chamber resources, but the ability to network, Buffkin said.

"We are committed to making each other successful," he said. "We would like for everybody in the county to be members of the chamber."

Small businesses can benefit especially from chamber membership by connecting with other firms, large and small, that might need their services, he added.

The chamber is about connections, Buffkin said. And the ability to pick up a phone to talk to others who might be in your business or who might be having an issue you have already dealt with helps, too.

"I have gotten to know many people whom I would not otherwise have known," he said.

Chamber personnel also offer connections not only to businesses that perform certain services, they can also refer companies to people who can help solve the problems they face in setting up and operating an enterprise in the county.

That help can be vital for a fledgling operation, Buffkin said.

A new business can start and fail sometimes before it is even a familiar face in the county, he added.

"So many of us sometimes don't even know what they did," he said.

Chamber membership offers an introduction to the community of sorts -- and with 700 businesses on its active rolls -- the chamber can connect new firms to potential clients and resources.

"We have lots of activities," Buffkin said. "It is all about participation. In a way, it is like going to church, it is easy to be a member, but if you do not get involved, you don't get as much out of it."

In addition to the local business support, the chamber is also very involved in economic development efforts in the county, Buffkin added.

By sharing resources, expertise and referrals, Wayne County can continue to grow its business offerings and bring more jobs and investment to the region, Buffkin said.

"If everybody would spend their money locally," he said. "It would realy help all of us."