Blount Partnership News and Events

So, here we go with our 137th installment The Dialogue at the bottom of this email. We visit with new Blount County Chamber member Sarah Prater, L.Ac. at Maryville Acupuncture, which provides acupuncture treatments to patients for a variety of symptoms. We also utilize herbal supplements, lifestyle recommendations, and dietary modifications to help you live your best life. We also strive to work alongside our patient's medical teams, as we believe the best approach is when all providers come to the table and work together.
Make plans to attend Avoiding Harassment Claims in a #MeTooWorld on July 10 at 8:30 a.m at the Blount Partnership (201 S. Washington St., Maryville). Chad Hatmaker, a member of Woolf, McClane, Bright, Allen & Carpenter, PLLC, will be presenting. Now more than ever employers need to be up to date on the laws governing sexual harassment. This presentation focuses on how to avoid and, alternatively, limit your potential exposure to harassment claims in a #MeTooWorld.

This seminar has been approved for 1 continuing education unit. RSVP ONLINE.
The 14th Annual ETPA Business Matching & Tradeshow Event will be held July 18 at Rothchild Catering & Conference Center (8807 Kingston Pike, Knoxville) from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. (followed by a lunch for governmental attendees and tradeshow vendors). This premier event showcases East Tennessee and northeast Georgia area businesses, large and small. It's an opportunity for businesses to meet with governmental agencies, create relationships to build future business opportunities, learn about "doing business" with the entities and to meet with private sector vendors. Get registered today.
Dr. Jeff McCord, Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, will present a briefing about the workforce efforts from the state on July 31 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at the Blount Partnership (201 S. Washington St., Maryville).

Before joining the Department, Commissioner McCord spent seven years at Northeast State Community College in Kingsport where he was Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development. RSVP ONLINE.
When you roll out the red carpet for your customers, they run out and tell everyone they know. In today's marketplace, customers have more choices and louder voices than ever before. That's why focusing on excellent customer service is the new marketing! Your customers can be your best source of advertising - if you engage your team to up their game in terms of the experience they create!

During this 1/2 day, interactive workshop we will discuss what it takes to build a culture of service where your team members are excited and ready to roll out the red carpet for your customers. Walk away with actionable ideas for:

- Taking your customer experience up to the next great level.
- Improving the 3 areas of the customer experience, including the WOW Factor
- Enhance customer and team member interactions
- Use 5 steps to building a culture of service excellence

Sponsored by Little Arrow Outdoor Resort, join presenter Donna Cutting of Red Carpet Learning Systems on August 7 from 8 a.m.-noon at the Blount Partnership (201 S. Washington St., Maryville). The fee is $40 for Chamber members (book included) and $50 for non-members (book included). REGISTER ONLINE.
soft skills It's Your Career! That's the focus of a free soft skills session offered in partnership by the Blount County Public Library, the Adult Education Foundation of Blount County and the Blount County Chamber of Commerce.

Registrations are currently being accepted online at
for a class entitled Communicating and Listening Effectively on August 30. 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.

All classes are conducted in the Blount County Library's learning lab located at 508 N. Cusick in Maryville and limited to 50 participants. A complete class description is located on the registration site. All classes run from 8-10 a.m. with networking beginning at 7:30 a.m.
Blount Chamber members can now post their own Member-to-Member deals on this page at no charge. Simply login to your account, Click on the "New Coupon" button, fill out the form and click save. It's that easy.

Click here if you need access to your login information.

Of course, we will be happy to add your coupon. Just email information about the product or discount you'd like to offer to the Chamber membership to Be sure to include an expiration date.

View the latest deals.
Think local first + Buy local when you can = Being a local!
Find what you're looking for in the Chamber Directory.
Is your organization hosting an event in the community? Submit it here on our community calendar. If it's a tourism event or any good news about your business, please send it to us. We'd love to share it with the community.
Topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week in 1967 was "Windy" by The Association. "Windy" was the Association's second U.S. #1, following "Cherish" in 1966. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 4 song for 1967.

The Dialogue

This feature is a question-and-answer session with a new Blount County Chamber member. So, here we go with our 137th installment visiting with Sarah Prater, L.Ac. at Maryville Acupuncture, which provides acupuncture treatments to patients for a variety of symptoms. We also utilize herbal supplements, lifestyle recommendations, and dietary modifications to help you live your best life. We also strive to work alongside our patient's medical teams, as we believe the best approach is when all providers come to the table and work together.
Why acupuncture in Maryville? As a resident of Maryville, I saw a tremendous need for acupuncture in Blount County. In the midst of the opioid crisis, many physicians are recommending non-pharmacologic pain management options including acupuncture, and it just wasn't available here. Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for many different symptoms including pain, headaches, digestive issues, stress, insomnia, and the list goes on. Fundamentally, we are here to support the health of our community.
How did you get started? I became an acupuncturist 10 years ago after seeing first hand how important integrative medicine could be to the well-being of patients. Upon moving to Maryville four years ago, I opened a practice specializing in infertility in Knoxville, but was keenly aware of the need in my own community. Finally, the time was right to open Maryville's only acupuncture practice to serve my neighbors and we made that dream a reality.
What is your background? In order to become a licensed acupuncturist, one must complete a 4 year Master's program in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, pass a series of national board exams and become state licensed. Our training is much more rigorous that most people realize. Personally, I completed my Master's Degree after finishing a BS in Biology from Indiana University. In addition to her Master's our acupuncturist, Kate Sisson, has her RN degree as well and brings that knowledge to the table when treating her patients.
Who is your mentor? I'm going to get sappy for a moment and name my husband, Josh Prater and my main supporter. He has always had unending confidence in my ability to start and run a successful acupuncture practice and encouraged me to open Maryville Acupuncture even though we have two small children at home. He balances being an active partner in the business and letting me run my business very well and is always a solid sounding board for my ideas and visions. I know that I couldn't have done this without his support.
Describe your customers. Our customers come from all walks of life. I would say most of our patients have never had acupuncture before, but are looking for a more integrative, or just different, approach to treating their symptoms. We also work with those who've been receiving acupuncture regularly their whole lives. We take our time to meet our patients where they are, explain our treatment recommendations, what they can expect, and how to contact us with any questions.
What environments impact your business? The biggest influencer in our business currently is the the opioid crisis. I don't know a single person who isn't directly or indirectly affected by this and the medical system has taken notice. One large way that we can help to prevent anyone else from becoming addicted to opioids is by finding other ways of treating pain. Acupuncture has been well documented as a safe and effective way to treat pain and is being recommended by the FDA, VA, and other government entities as an option to try before using opioids. Additionally, more and more insurance companies are following suit and covering acupuncture treatments. We see this as a huge, and wonderful, shift in the medical establishment and look forward to doing our small part in stopping the opioid epidemic.
Name three things you wish you knew when you started. 1. I wish I had started Maryville Acupuncture sooner! The idea didn't occur to me until about a year ago and the more I talk to my neighbors about it, the more I realize just how needed this service is here in Blount County. 2. That I didn't need to doubt myself. Self confidence can be a struggle for many business owners. I feel so fortunate to have had the support of my family, community, and been able to lean on the resources like the Chamber, SBA, etc to help me realize this dream. 3. How much I enjoy starting new businesses! This process, while stressful at times, has been incredibly rewarding, fun, and challenging.
What do you enjoy about the business? My favorite thing about being a business owner is the ability to wear different hats each day and be constantly challenged. There is never a dull day when you work for yourself! My favorite thing about being an acupuncturist is getting to know my patients. I truly care for them and feel endless joy when they start feeling better or making changes in their lives that help them move towards their goals.


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