Development commission joins forces with chamber Group will continue to foster business growth

November 01, 1996|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

Mount Airy's Economic Development Commission has become part of Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, but the group's role in the community is not expected to change.

The merger was recommended by Mayor Gerald R. Johnson, who was instrumental in forming the commission two years ago. The commission was created to promote business and downtown Mount Airy and to attract new businesses to the town.

Under the merger, the commission will become a standing committee of the Chamber of Commerce.

"I feel that basically the economic development people are business people, and the chamber is [made up of] business people, and they will have like interests," Johnson said.

"Besides, it will give the EDC some structure," he added.

The Economic Development Commission has operated without a chairman, opening its meetings to free-ranging discussions.

Chamber of Commerce President Denny Ahalt said the merger will give the commission, which often had low participation, a broader base. The chamber has about 60 members.

Ahalt said he foresees no change in the commission's function or its name. He hasn't appointed a chairman because he has only two months remaining as president of the chamber and wants to leave the appointment to his successor.

Irene Brown, a commission member and owner of Natural Accents, a flower and jewelry store, said the chamber didn't send a representative to the commission's October meeting, so details of the transition haven't been settled.

She said the commission has scheduled a meeting at 8: 15 p.m. Nov. 14 at Mount Airy Brewing Co. and Firehouse Grill, 233 S. Main St.

The commission's most recent project was extending downtown business hours on Thursdays to attract commuters and other customers whose jobs don't allow them to shop during the day.

Brown said the later hours have resulted in some increase in foot traffic.

"It's not going to happen overnight, but once people get in the Christmas mode, I think that will spur some people," she said.

Pub Date: 11/01/96

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