Blount Partnership News & Events

It's Membership Event week. Get ready for a lot of fun and excitement Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as over 100 volunteers will work against the clock and each other to sign up new Chamber members and create a greater community awareness of the important role of the Chamber of Commerce. Be sure follow us on Facebook for videos, photos and event updates.
The event, held at Second Harvest Food Bank, is organized by Jimmy Cusano and a group called Your Chamber Connection. Their specialty is high energy membership campaigns that allow volunteers to conduct 'out of the box' membership fun while building the membership base.
The Blount County Chamber Membership Event kicks off on July 12 and concludes July 14 recap party. For more information on how you can become involved in the Chamber as we highlight the business community, call 865.983.2241.
Here's some July events you'll want to mark on your calendar. The first is a free networking training class with Raeus Jae Cannon on Wednesday, July 21 from 3-4:30 p.m., at the Blount Partnership. Taking this class will improve your ability to get out and meet people. Register here.

Also on Thursday, July 21 at 8 a.m., there's a free seminar at the Blount Partnership that will go over what the new overtime requirements mean to businesses. Presented by Ed Trent of Wimberly Lawson Wright Daves and Jones. RSVP to Claire.  
Jacqueline Merritt from the Small Business Association will be conducting two free sessions at the Blount Partnership on Friday, July 22. The first is a one-hour session on financing your business the SBA way from 9-10 a.m. The second is session about understanding the affordable care act from 11 a.m.-noon. Register for one or both sessions by emailing Jacqueline.
Read our 30th installment of The Dialogue at the bottom of this email where we visit with Michael & Lori Bishop, Owners of Mountain Top Retirement Planning. Its mission is to give clients the confidence that their entire financial house is in order so they can enjoy a mountain top experience throughout retirement.
business_group_women.jpg Make plans to attend our next Women in Business meeting on Monday, July 18 at noon at Airport Hilton (Bar Area). The topic will be "Time Management - Meaning And Its Importance" by Sharon Hannum.
This will be a Dutch Treat Lunch from Cooper's Restaurant. You can either do soup or salad bar for $8.95 + tax, this includes drink, and dessert or the whole buffet for $12 (Including tax) and includes drink, buffet and dessert.
Please RSVP to Amy by Friday, July 15 if you plan to attend.
Blount County Chamber of Commerce Member-to-Member promotions are now available online. This Member-to-Member Promotional Program offers you and your company the opportunity to market your products and services to the membership.
Here's how it works:
1. Submit a PDF of a service, product or discount you'd like to offer to the Chamber membership to Be sure to include an expiration date.
2. An email with all the promotions will be sent out on the final Monday of every month to our member database.
3. All promotions will be posted on
The fifth annual Pigs & Politics Legislative Day returns to Alumni Gym on the Maryville College campus Tuesday, July 26 from 4:30-7:30 p.m.
This is a great opportunity for the public to visit with candidates and elected officials as they mingle in a summer pig roast setting with the community. There are no speeches; just a lot of Calhoun's BBQ, beer provided by Smoky Mountain Brewery. Elected officials will once again be serving BBQ while collecting "tips" for their respective non-profit organizations.
Tickets are on sale now for $25 for the public, $20 for Blount County Chamber members and $10 for children under 18. They available by calling 865.983.2241 and online.
Did you know that 76% of consumers say they view customer service as the truest test of how much a business values them (2015 Aspect Consumer Experience Survey)? Chances are, your business already employs a few methods to increase customer service. Good customer service requires a positive attitude, teamwork, and creativity. All of these attributes lead to higher sales. Once in a while, your business should consider treating your customers to a special event or party to drive sales, and also remind your customers how much you appreciate them. Here's a few pointers:

- Keep your event local. Choose a location close to your business so customers do not have to go out of their way, and the experience feels personal.

- An event could also be hosted inside your business. Invite customers for complementary food and drinks while encouraging them to shop, or offering a special deal along with your event.

- You could also use your event to promote a best-selling or new product. Invite the product's representative to come to the event and talk to customers!
If you have any questions regarding your free digital marketing member benefit ( Save Local Now), your digital platform, or online marketing in general please reach out the Blount Chamber's Rachel Coffman. She is here to help you in the year ahead and will keep you on track as you fulfill your resolutions in 2016.
Think local first + Buy local when you can = Being a local!
Entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.
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, please email Ashlee so she can post it on
Also, please send us any news releases or good news about your business. We'd love to share it with the community.
"Rush Rush," by Paula Abdul completed its five-week run atop the Billboard Music Charts this week in 1991. It was a departure for Abdul stylistically as it was her first ballad released as a single.



July 11-17


July 11-13 -- Betty Becker, Deborah Adams, and Tara Sammons @ the Townsend Visitors Center
July 11 -- Smoky Mountain Veterans Golf Classic Supporting Honor Air Program
July 11 -- Zentangle Class: Workshop @ Blount County Public Library
July 14-16 -- Paulette Mittler@ the Townsend Visitors Center
July 15 -- United Way Gas Day
July 15 -- Music in the Round to benefit Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center
July 15 -- Rock the Cradle 2016 to benefit A Secret Safe Place for Newborns of Tennessee
July 15 -- Recovery Revolution at RIO Revolution
July 16-17 -- Volkwagen Car Show @ Tally Ho Inn
July 16 -- The Greatest: Sports Heroes A to Z @ Blount County Public Library
July 16 -- Porch Pickin with Joellen Lapidus @ Wood & Strings Dulcimer Shop
July 17-20 -- Tom Sciple @ the Townsend Visitors Center


July 18-24



Save the Date


You can access the entire calendar here to see other community events and submit your own.

The Dialogue

This feature is a question-and-answer session with a new Blount County Chamber member. So here we go with our 30th installment visiting with Michael & Lori Bishop, Owners of Mountain Top Retirement Planning. Its mission is to give clients the confidence that their entire financial house is in order so they can enjoy a mountain top experience throughout retirement.
What does Mountain Top Retirement Planning specialize in? We are in business for a simple reason, to help people prepare for and experience a happy and fulfilled retirement, according to what "retirement" means to them. We both have career experience in Financial Services and always felt we would make a great team to help people pursue their financial goals. We are a very unique husband and wife team, with different skill sets. As a result, we find we are able to connect with clients on a different level which enhances the Client/Advisor relationship. The deeper relationship we have with a client, the better we can serve them.
What services can you assist with? Our desire is to help people make the smartest financial decisions based on their values and what's important to them. There are many sources of advice, but how does one know which may be best for their specific situation? By using a holistic approach, considering their entire financial position, we are able to guide clients through that process. There are several areas to cover in that process, such as Estate Planning, Cash Flow, Investments, Insurance, and Tax Planning, but the end result is that we help our clients get their entire financial house in order and keep it that way.
How did you both get started? Lori knew when she graduated from Auburn that she wanted to be a financial planner and began pursuing that right away. She has 28 years of experience as a Certified Financial Planner. Mike graduated from Carson-Newman with a degree in Accounting and spent 20 years in the restaurant industry before starting in the financial industry in 2002.
How do the social, economic, environmental, technological, legal and political environments impact your clients? In today's world, you would think those environments would have a great impact on our work environment, but they really don't. Yes, it may affect our clients' investment account values, but that is only a small part of what we do. We help clients develop a long term plan for their finances, so while a swing in the stock market certainly gets our attention, it doesn't impact our work environment. Communication is key and regular communication is one of commitments to clients. Our priority is to have an accurate financial plan that deals with the "what-ifs" and to proactively manage that plan with the client. This enables us to help our clients make their smartest financial decisions based on a well thought out plan and not out of fear.
What do you enjoy about your business? Working together! People always ask what is it like working with your spouse? It's probably not for everyone, but we love it. Much of that comes from our realization and acceptance that we each have a different skill set than the other. Lori is very visual, artistic... very "right-brain". That fits perfectly with her role in the planning services. Mike is the analytical, numbers driven... "left brain", which fits his role of investment management, etc. We think that combination gives our clients the best of both worlds. Our clients even tell us so. The other aspect we love about our business is that we know, and see, what impact we can have on families and generations to come. We take that very personally. It is extremely rewarding when we are invited to a clients' retirement party, knowing we had a small part in their happiness.
Previous Profiles:
Cynthia Warner, Cynthia's Natural Market Holly Sparks, Realty Trust Group Amy McCarty and Tosha Wilhelmsen, The Artistic Bean Maryville
Dr. Drew Osborn, Foothills Pediatric Dentistry
Ray Clowers, Champion Physical Therapy Jeffrey Jeter, OneSouth Financial Group
Josh Fincher, Thermocopy
Cory Blanton, Aerotek Scientific
David Anderson, Shelter Insurance
Nancy McBee, Tennessee Trane Energy Services
Joel Honeycutt, J&S Janitorial Solutions
Suzie Cutshaw, JB&B Capital
Tom Klein, InfoSystems
Clint Woodfin, Spicer Rudstrom, PLLC
Rebecca Kiger, Home Instead Senior Care
Ben Hazel, Pree's Tree Specialists
Larry Parker, Auto Collision Experts
Jamie Weiss Photography
Jeff Jones, LC Fence
Steve White, White Enterprise Holding
Aundrea Scholem and Jennifer Madaj, Foothills Adult Care Enrichment Services
Wade McLemore, Paychex
Alan Baker, Crown Point Consultants
Shelby Avery, Avery Wealth Management
Kate Schriver, Schriver's
Elizabeth Ross, ECS Central, PLLC
Tony Saddy, Get Fit Maryville
Renee Taylor, CBI
Christy Simmers, Christy's Creative Cafe
Premier and Presidential Partners