Monday, August 3, 2020 at 11 a.m.

Zoom webinar - Registration required  
*Access details will be sent once registered

Join Burr Forman’s Emily Mack as she discusses key issues employers need to understand to ensure they avoid pitfalls and litigation as they navigate the “new normal.”

The presentation will cover topics such as:
  • Best practices for office protocols and employee safety
  • Permissible Screening Procedures
  • Return-to-Work Rules
  • Enhanced Safety Measures
  • Avoiding legal pitfalls related to COVID-19
  • Required leave
  • Accommodations for high risk employees
  • Issues on the horizon – COVID litigation

This is a free event, but advanced registration is required. 
The Political Pop-In video series is online. It is important to the Blount Partnership that candidates that are on the August 6 ballot have every opportunity to get their message out to the public. Because of this, we allowed candidates on the ballot the opportunity to record a 2-3 minute message about their platforms and what they plan to accomplish if elected. You can view here
For 2020 only, the Tennessee General Assembly has approved a sales tax holiday weekend for restaurants to help Tennesseans save money and support the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The sales tax holiday weekend focusing on restaurant sales begins at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 7 and ends 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9. During this time the retail sale of food and drink by restaurants and limited service restaurants, as defined in Tenn. Code Ann. § 57-4-102, is exempt from sales tax.    
For more information about the sales tax holiday weekends, visit
The Summit is an opportunity to network with and engage business leaders from across East Tennessee. Imagine many of the things you enjoy at in-person conferences: engaging speakers, practical seminars, expanding your business network with professionals outside of your area, vendor booths (and swag!). 

Now imagine all those things in a virtual platform. The Summit is our response to a changing world. Most in-person large conferences are projected to be postponed until late 2021. The lack of large scale networking and educational opportunities has added to the weight many businesses are feeling during this time. Join hundreds of other professionals from the East Tennessee Region for our area’s first virtual conference and trade show.

As a Blount Chamber member, you can receive a $100 discount
for vendor registration.
Use Code: blountsummit2020
Learn more about the Blount Chamber and the many opportunities that go along with being a member. Learn how to make the most of the benefits afforded to you by joining our webinar Tuesday, August 11, 2020 10-11:30 a.m.

Register in advance for this meeting

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

R E M E M B E R !
Your membership is a corporate membership. Please encourage co-workers to get involved, educated, network and promote your company via Blount Chamber events and opportunities.
The Blount Chamber is hosting AM Connect on Friday, August 14 at 8:15 a.m., sponsored by  Ullrich Print Plus .

For those who have never participated in an online meeting, here's some useful tips.
  • Please include your name and company name
  • Use the option to meet others in a small group setting by participating in our breakout rooms
  • Limited to 100 guests

Housekeeping Items:
  • Keep microphone muted when you aren’t speaking
  • Raise your hand (virtually) for a turn
  • Chat is available for questions
  • Look into the camera instead of looking at yourself talking on the screen 

Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
The following Q&A is reproduced from an email sent by Pellissippi State Community College on July 30, 2020.
Small business have been severely impacted in the recent months by COVID-19. We met with  Laura Overstreet, Director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center  (SBDC), Knoxville office to discuss how the SBDC has responded to the current situation and plans to grow in the upcoming year. The Knoxville office serves communities in Blount, Claiborne, Cocke, Jefferson, Knox, Sevier and Union counties.

What have the last few months been like at the SBDC?
Traditionally, the SBDC provides assistance to local businesses in just about any area – from starting a new business to succession planning, obtaining capital, analyzing financial and management performance, marketing and more. We deliver assistance through training workshops and one-on-one consulting.

Over the last few months, most of our services have been assisting clients with disaster loan applications and providing guidance through that process. New guidance is released often, so we have spent a great deal of time staying up-to-date and understanding the language of the Cares Act as it relates to disaster loans. 

Have there been any common skills or competency areas that businesses are needing the most right now?
We are seeing through surveys that marketing strategies, cash flow concerns, and recovery business plans are strong needs. As more businesses sought out our services, we recognized some businesses struggled to qualify for disaster loan assistance because financial records weren’t in order. We’ll place more focus on sound record-keeping practices in the future. 

How do you think your approach to small business development and assistance will change moving forward?
There will always be a need for in-person training and face-to-face consulting. But we’ve learned virtual training will be offered more because it provides certain flexibilities both for the participants and the presenter. We’ll also continue to offer more virtual one-on-one consulting to free up time to meet with more clients. We’ve learned that when we meet with clients virtually, we accomplish more in less time. 

The SBDC also has a new entrepreneurial development program?
Yes, we do! We've been busy organizing a Cares Act entrepreneurial development program to offer additional assistance to small businesses beyond our core mission. We now have eight subject matter experts on staff to assist small businesses affected by COVID-19. The consultants provide services in the areas of disaster loan processes, financial analysis and guidance, digital marketing and human resources. The program has also allowed the bandwidth to provide additional training programs aimed toward overcoming disaster-related challenges. We are currently in the planning phase for that segment of the program.
Take advantage of training opportunities with the SBDC at no cost. Most workshops are currently being offered virtually. View a full list of  upcoming workshops and trainings  with the TSBDC or  request a free advising  session.
This feature is a question-and-answer session with a new Blount County Chamber member. So, here we go with our 159th installment visiting with Yvonne Smith of Creative Spark Studio which offers people from all creative abilities the opportunity to be successful artists. We have a variety of fun DIY projects to stir up their creative sides and inspire their inner artist. 

Describe more about what we can find at the studio.
We have dreamed owning a creative studio space for our community, a place where people from all creative abilities can come and be successful artists. We provide all the tools, materials, and all the cleanup. We have a large variety of popular projects including painting pottery, glass fusing, acrylic pours, string art, alcohol ink tiles, spin art, rock painting, dream catchers, and wood sign projects such as family calendars. We also have the Spatter Vault, a place for our customers to come throw, fling, and flick paint at a canvas. We also have a rental space for celebratory events as well as meetings and classes.

Describe your customers.
Our customers will be people from all over Blount County, all ages. We will welcome all skill levels and will facilitate our customers success in making art. There is something for everyone at Creative Spark Studio.

What do you enjoy most about your business?
It makes our heart happy when our customers come in and see our space and are eager to try something new.
Please vote in the August 6 primary which includes the State Primary, County General, Friendsville, & Townsend City Election.

Please complete the 2020 Census and we ask that your family and friends do the same. Blount County has a response rate of 67.8% which is below the 71.6% response rate in 2010.

The process is simple and can be completed online .

There are 12 easy questions and no citizenship questions.
Why is this important?
The 2020 Census will determine congressional representation, inform hundreds of billions in federal funding every year, and provide data that will impact communities for the next decade.
The August 21 edition of soft skills classes offered by the Blount County Public Library is quickly approaching.

This Zoom Webinar session is entitled "Empowering and Motivating Employees." Here, you will learn to empower employees and enable better performance. Learn strategies to help employees be their best.

All participants will earn .5 CEUs per session for participating. They will also receive an email survey two months after workshop participation to assess application of new ideas.

August 7 from 9-10:30 a.m.
Do you feel empowered to respond effectively to the change in your life?
The Tennessee Small Business Development Center is hosting a myriad of online training webinars to assist you in all facets of your businesses. Take advantage of training opportunities with the SBDC at no cost.

Get the Facts on PPP and EIDL
Hear from SBA every Monday and Friday at noon ET until December 21. Find out what is a myth and what is a truth on SBA loans for small businesses.

August 11 from 9-10:30 a.m.

August 12 from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

August 13 from 9:30-11 a.m.

August 13 from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Success in 90 Seminars
Creating the Resilient Firm of the Future
Sept. 2 at 8:30 a.m. |  REGISTER HERE
In this session we will discuss business continuity and pandemic planning and the steps that your company can take now to protect your employees, make informed business decisions for returning to the workplace, working with clients and ensuring organizational resiliency and profitability. Presente d by Kathryn Scourby, CBCP of KNS Consulting.

As businesses reopen across the state, Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group released guidance for businesses . The Tennessee Pledge guidelines recommend capacity limits, spacing requirements, and frequent sanitization, among others.
The full guidance offered by the state can be  found here as well as printable guidelines .
If you aren't following us on social media, you must. We are constantly updating information as each day progresses. So, give us a like and stay up-to-date as we move through this crisis.
And follow tourism updates here:
Here's a great way to offer Member-to-Member deals using your chamber member account. Check the deals .

Members can post Coupons and Discounts to this page at no charge.  Click Here
Topping the Billboard Top 100 this week in 2000 was "It's Gonna Be Me" by NSYNC . It was the only NSYNC song to peak at the number one position, despite six of their singles charting in the top 10.