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Guest Speaker: Small Business Development Center Staff
Member of the Week

General Electric Company

General Electric is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in New York and headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. As of 2016, the company operates through the following segments: Aviation, Research, Healthcare, Lighting, Power, Renewable Energy, and Capital which cater to the needs of Financial services, Medical devices, Life Sciences, Pharmaceutical, and Engineering industries.

Nonprofit of the Week

Lovejoy Baptist Church

Amid this pandemic, Lovejoy Baptist Church continues to offer online service via Facebook Live each Sunday at 9:00 AM.

You can also view the service live on their Facebook page or via conference call
Dial (605)-313-4830
ACCESS CODE: 988130#

Small Business of the Week

Talley Insurance Services, Inc.

Talley Insurance Services, Inc is an Independent Insurance Agency representing many different companies for your insurance needs. As independent insurance agents, you have the ability to choose the best carrier for your insurance needs. That is the main advantage to using an independent insurance agency, we work to satisfy your needs.

Chamber Advantage Deal
Grinderz Stump Grinding - 10% off. 

Would you like to offer a discount? Email Thomas Kislat at for details. For a full list of Chamber Advantage discounts,  click here.   
Hey Mr. Fix-It
Kindred at Home
Law Office of Jeffrey B. Kelly, PC
Lazarus Tribe Wellness
McAlister's Deli
Olea Olive Oils & Wine
Relentless Chiropractic LLC
SkyTop Lodge, LLC

Check out the most recent podcasts on Business Radio X.

Rome Floyd Chamber Small Business Spotlight – Courtyard Rome Riverwalk, Lazarus Tribe Wellness, and Wayne Davis Concrete
We had an interesting group on this week's Rome Floyd Chamber Small Business Spotlight. Do you need a place to stay or host an event? Tayesha Lytle and Barbara Reeves of Courtyard Rome Riverwalk can take care of your needs. Are you experiencing anxiety? Rachel Newman of Lazarus Tribe Wellness can help you. Are you undergoing a construction project? Richard Davis of Wayne Davis Concrete is ready to support your build.

Part of our mission is to celebrate businesses and let them share their stories. We also hope to create connections. Some connections are there before we even realize it. For example, Wayne Davis Concrete poured the concrete for the Courtyard Rome Riverwalk when it was built!

Rome Floyd Chamber Small Business Spotlight – Olea Olive Oils and Wine, Pruitt Health Hospice and Palliative Care, and Relentless Chiropractic
We discuss quality of life in this episode of the Rome Floyd Chamber Small Business Spotlight. Katrina Stavely joins us from Olea Olive Oils & Wine. Brook Shell from PruittHealth is here. Dr. Sean Ostrowski from Relentless_Chiropractic is with us also.
The SBA has released new applications for First Draw and Second Draw for the Paycheck Protection Program.

The program officially reopens this week, contact your SBA approved financial institution to apply.
Get to know our Chair...
Georgia Power’s Regional Director
Bridges Magazine

At seven, Cassandra Carter (Wheeler) moved with her family from Detroit, Michigan, to Mobile Alabama. By the time she reached high school, she had already been recognized as an outstanding student, where she ranked 6th in her graduating class of 200.

With a penchant for math and sciences, she had thought of going out to state to pharmacy school, but her family wasn’t entirely on board. She had also considered joining the US Air Force but would need her grandmother’s support to convince the family. She was an only child, and by her admission ‘very independent,’ so after much discussion, her family agreed to her enlistment. 

Cassandra says her military career was an awesome and invaluable experience and proved to be the launchpad to her future career. She would serve six years with her primary job as a B-1 Bomber Electronics/Avionics technician. When she was stationed in Grand Forks AFB in North Dakota, she became a member of a highly skilled team charged with the responsibility of maintaining the system that keeps the flight crew safe during missions over hostile territories.

With her military obligation behind her, she graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. She had worked part-time for Mead Corporate Engineering and in 2001, she had become a full-time design engineer with the company.

Her performance and skills did not go unnoticed, and she was encouraged to apply for an administrative position with Alabama Power, and was hired. She became the Operations Team Leader for the Miller Steam Plant in Quinton, Alabama, as well as the Maintenance Team Leader. She was selected as the Assistant to the Executive Vice President of Generation for Southern Company in 2003, and named Assistant to the Vice President of Governmental Affairs in Washington, DC, in 2005. In 2006 and 2007, she served as Operations Supervisor and Compliance and Support Manager at the Gaston, Alabama, plant. She also added an MBA from the University of Alabama in Birmingham to her resume.

In 2012, Cassandra was named the Plant Manager of the Gadsden Steam Plant, becoming the first African American woman to become a plant manager in Southern Company history. Two years later, she became the manager of Plant Hammond in Rome.

Today, Cassandra Wheeler serves as the regional director for Georgia Power’s Northwest Georgia Region. Her responsibilities include general operations, sales, customer service, economic and community development. She directs external affairs and activities for 15 counties with over 170,000 Georgia Power customers.

Cassandra has worked in basically all departments and many positions during her 20-year career. She has moved six times within the latitude of the company—which may not be unusual considering the size and scope of the Southern Company, one of the nation’s leading energy providers. 

Along with her daily administrative duties, Cassandra believes it is imperative for her to ‘give back’ to her community when she can. One of the ways she does so is by mentoring one day each week with teens who have difficulties at home. “The girls I work with need serious guidance. Counseling and meeting with them and developing ways to help them reach positive decisions is rewarding,” she says. “I was a very fortunate growing up with empathetic family members and having life-long friends who encouraged and supported my thinking and smart decisions. “My grandmother would not except a grade that was not obviously my best. It is so important to have that kind of support, but If a child can’t find it at home, I feel it becomes our responsibility as a community to do what we can. It helps in shaping happier lives and gratifying futures.”

As well as being mentor for the Communities in Schools program, she also serves on the boards of the Georgia Northwestern Technical College, the Open Door Home and the YMCA.

Cassandra’s husband, Major, is also an engineer with Georgia Power driving each day to work in Atlanta. At home, Cassandra loves to bake and has been known to cook up some 200 cookies for the entire plant. The family enjoys traveling when they can, and daughter, Mila, an active 2 year old, already loves to fly. 

Cassandra is a member of the board of the Rome Floyd Chamber of Commerce and Chair-elect for 2021. Although times have been exceedingly tough, she is optimistic about the future. “We have faced an unprecedented and unexpected physical and economical obstacle, but it is a challenge we will overcome. We will do our part and we will give our best— for all our members, for all our small businesses, for all our community. We will succeed.”  
Schroeder's celebrates 40 years on Broad Street
Rome-News Tribune:Schroeder’s New Deli, not exactly a newcomer, will celebrate its 40th anniversary Saturday. The restaurant at 406 Broad St. was one of the key features in the renaissance of downtown Rome four decades ago.
“They were the leaders, they as well as Hal and Mimi Richards,” said Jan Hackett, a former downtown development director and currently president of the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce in Blue Ridge.
“(Schroeder’s) renovation was one of the first and they led the way for everyone else.”
Hackett said the restaurant was critical to the efforts to bring people back to downtown Rome.

Charles Schroeder recalls that it was not an easy journey at the start.
He was living in the Stone Mountain area at the time and, for the first six or eight months, was splitting time between his job in Atlanta and helping start up the restaurant in Rome.
In 1981, Charles recalled, his brother John came to him because the business, like many new, small businesses, needed an infusion of cash.
“We were able to get a small loan; it was $8,500 from the Bank of Walton County,” Charles said. “The bank that we worked with here said that we would just be losing money if they loaned us that, for opening on Broad Street.”
For a time, he was splitting the management with John.
“A lot of people don’t remember I did that,” Charles said. “At one point I knew how to do all the cooking and sandwiches, although John has always done the soups and sauces and those kind of things.”
The wives of John and Charles were both pregnant at that time and Charles remembers them all — including the ladies and friends — hand-building tables, painting and cleaning to get everything ready.
“Then I backed off to take care of the financial side, pay all the bills, insurance and payroll,” Charles said.
John Schroeder served as the primary day-to-day manager for most of the 40 years, but decided to put away his chef’s apron early in 2019. At that point, Teresa Haney, a longtime employee, temporarily took over the operational leadership for the restaurant.
The restaurant has been owned by Charles and John Schroeder all along and is currently being operated by Charles’ daughter Caleigh.

Caleigh had worked on and off in the restaurant since 2002, but after getting a degree in biology, she spent five years working in a microbiology lab in Kennesaw.
But when it came time for Caleigh to settle down and buy a house, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, she decided there was no place like home. In her case, Rome.
Her father and uncle asked if she might be interested in taking over the family business and she said it was a pretty easy decision to make.
“She jumped right in and took over completely at the first of (last) year — and then COVID hit,” her father said. “She’s really dealt wonderfully with it.”
John Schroeder told the Rome News-Tribune last year that Caleigh is the same age he was when he started the business.
Haney stayed on for a while to ease the transition and help with management issues that Caleigh had not been exposed to during her time on the wait staff.
John still comes in from time to time, to visit with his former customers and offer any help that Caleigh might need.
“I’ve still got a lot to learn from him,” Caleigh said.
Caleigh said the toughest part of taking over the family business was probably learning to order supplies, food and equipment; the things she didn’t do in her younger years.
It didn’t take her long to realize the time commitment that is involved in operating a restaurant.
She said that keeping a small restaurant open during a pandemic has not been easy. She had to completely shut down for about six weeks at the outset and, after reopening, she had to go back to curbside service on occasion late in the fall.

One of the results of the pandemic has been a little more staff turnover than usual.
“I lost quite a few and I’ve brought in quite a few,” she said. “It was very hard for a while to hire people.”
One of the things Caleigh had big plans for in 2020 was a return to more use of the courtyard behind the restaurant.
“We did have one rehearsal dinner out there because it was just a small group,” she said. “I still hope in the future to use it for more than just concerts, to have it open more regularly as just a beer garden type place.”
COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into everything, she said, and her main focus has been on keeping customers and staff safe and healthy. The federal Paycheck Protection Program has helped.
“Navigating the PPP loans and making decisions when to open and close have been difficult, but we’ve made it,” Charles said Wednesday. “We just got approved for a second PPP loan and, if things don’t fall apart completely, we’ll make it.”
The menu hasn’t changed a great deal over the years, with many of the same favorites that appeared on the first menu still mainstays in the kitchen today.
Charles said his brother drew on some influence from vendors that had served him well when he was a chef in a kiosk at the back of the old Shannon’s pub on East First Street.
“He started making nachos in the microwave and did rolls for the basic sandwiches, and started giving them those names like Roast Beef Relief and Salvador Deli,” Charles said.
Caleigh had hoped to tweak the menu after she got into a routine but said that just hasn’t been able to happen.

Charles said that during the anniversary celebration Saturday, the prices will be rolled back to 1980 levels for both dine-in and take out, although not for delivery.
Rome Braves GM looking forward to a return to the field this year
Rome News-Tribune: The Rome Braves are looking forward to a return to the field in 2021.
They don’t know when that’s going to happen, and they’re still not sure exactly who they’re going to play yet, General Manager David Cross said.
Apart from not just playing ball, there are many economic ramifications that stem from a lost season because of the pandemic, he told the Rome-Floyd Chamber Economic Development committee Friday morning.
Local hotels probably felt the sting the greatest. Without a season, visiting teams, scouts, umpires and other behind-the-scenes type folks weren’t in town from April through early September.

“Between us and the visiting teams that come in, it’s probably between $150,000 and $200,000 that’s spent just in Rome,” Cross said. The ripple effect is lost hotel and motel taxes, lost revenue in local restaurants and bars in the hotel lounges.
On top of that, the Braves spend upwards of half a million dollars in food that is sold at the stadium during the season.
“We didn’t really buy a whole lot. That affects our food distributor who affects local people who work in the community,” Cross said.
The Rome Braves have over a million in payroll. Players on the Braves roster did receive some compensation during the lost season but much their staff consists of part-time seasonal employees.
“(Those) people don’t have that discretionary income to spend,” Cross said.
Most of those who had already bought sponsorships or season tickets agreed to roll those packages into the upcoming season. While that’s good, most of the funds that came in last year have already been spent on things like salaries for those full-time employees who did continue to work.
On the flip side, material used for field maintenance purchased last year is still, for the most part, available, so those costs might not be as high this year.
The 2021 version of the Rome Braves will bring in a higher level of talent since the Rome team is now the high A affiliate of the Braves franchise.
He doesn’t know the name of the new league yet, but that it will include teams as far north as New York. The Rome Braves may not travel that far this year, since efforts are being made to cut costs, which means that Rome may not play each and every team in the new league this year.

“We’re still looking at the same number of games (140 in the new league),” Cross said. “This year may be a little different.”
There have been hints that Major League Baseball may move back the pre-season action in Florida.
“I’m not in those conversations. But I get the economic impact, because if they can push it back and get to where they can get more people in the seats that’s a greater economic impact for them,” Cross said.
“We don’t have the dynamics of what (our) seating capacity will be this year,” Cross said. “That’s going to affect us economically because if you can only do 50% capacity so that’s only going to be 2,500 people.”
Approximately 40 cities lost their minor league baseball franchises during the shake-up of the past year, but Cross said that many of those communities will have teams in summer collegiate level leagues.
“They do provide a high quality of baseball, but at the same time, and one the things that were striving to do here, is provide a high quality of entertainment for the community,” Cross said.

City of Rome: Congratulations to Keep Rome Floyd Beautiful (KRFB) for receiving the Keep America Beautiful Innovation Award!
KRFB was recognized for finding creative ways to reach local youth due to having limited access to schools because of the pandemic. They launched the KRFBroadcast project developed by KRFB intern staff member, Ross Bryant. He created a series of six animated social media video shorts. Each video features an animated version of Ross sharing on a range of topics from the environment to sustainability.
To view the animated series, visit the Keep Rome-Floyd Beautiful Facebook page and click videos located at
Keep America Beautiful plans to feature award recipients during their 2021 Affiliate Webinar Series on the Keep America Beautiful Website “Do Beautiful Things,” at
COVID Testing Site Changes!