Albany Chamber celebrates 100 years, looks to future -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany Chamber celebrates 100 years, looks to future

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  2010 promises to be another difficult year for businesses. The government announced Tuesday that nationwide unemployment will likely remain above 10-percent all year.

The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce has seen tough times before. It's celebrating its 100th anniversary with new plans to help businesses succeed.

The business world is similar to a game of golf. One minute you're doing good and other times bring a much different story. "Not what we would really like," said All American Fun Park Owner Rheda Hall.

Rheda Hall and her husband have been in the game for some time now. "52 years," said Hall.

These days things are up and down. "We can see a slight decline in our business," said Hall.

Even with a decline, the All American Fun Park still can pull in a crowd. However, not everyone has money like they used to for recreation. "We're feeling it just like other businesses. It's the economy, the loss of jobs especially in Albany we have lost quite a few jobs," said Hall.

"2009 was a difficult year, certainly for businesses across the United States and here which means a difficult year for Chamber too," said Albany Area Chamber of Commerce President Catherine Glover.

The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce is celebrating 100 years of working to help businesses achieve success. Glover says despite the setbacks, they're weathering the storm.

"Our retention rate of our membership was about 81 percent and if you compare that to other national chambers, that's actually a few percentage points above the norm," said Glover.

To raise the bar even more, there will be more of a focus on something called regionalism. "It's working more closely with the Lee County Chamber of Commerce, stopping that divide, that geographic divide that just shouldn't be there," said Glover.

The chamber will also have more targeted goals and objectives as they move into their second century of service. "And the businesses, in particular the smaller businesses, we're going to be launching some initiatives this year that will help them free of charge to succeed," said Glover.

"We're hoping the chamber will get on the ball and we'll soon have some businesses to occupy those buildings," said Hall.

Mrs. Hall has high hopes for 2010 after a good weekend in sales. "Probably from the tax refunds. But we hope not. We hope that's a continuing thing," said Hall.

She'll just continue to go with the swing of things and hope the game stays in her favor.

In honor of their 100 years, the Chamber has published an anniversary book entitled "Reflections". It takes a look at historic moments over the past century.

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