Blount Partnership News & Events

It's Pigs & Politics Legislative Day week. So be sure to get your tickets and enjoy some great Calhoun's BBQ and beer from Smoky Mountain Brewery.
Join us for a local Transportation Briefing in the Blount Chamber Board Room this Wednesday at 8 a.m. with Jeff Welch, TPO; Bill Dunlap, Highway Superintendent, Greg McClain, Maryville City Manager and Mark Johnson, Alcoa City Manager.
Also, a new feature to the newsletter is "The Dialogue," which is a brief Q&A with a new Blount County Chamber member. This week, I'd like to introduce you to Christy Simmers, owner of Christy's Creative Cafe. Check out the feature at the bottom of this email.
Make plans to attend our next Women in Business meeting on Monday, August 17 at noon at Hilton Knoxville Airport Cooper's Restaurant. This will be a Dutch Treat lunch. The topic will be "Personal and Professional Communication Strategies" by Sharon Hannum.
The fourth annual Pigs & Politics Legislative Day returns to the Clayton Center for the Arts courtyard on the Maryville College campus Thursday, August 13 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 and a live performance by the Jeff Jopling Band.
Elected officials will once again be serving BBQ while collecting "tips" for their respective non-profit organizations.
Tickets, which are $25 (public), $20 (Chamber) and $10 (kids), are available by calling 865.983.2241 or ONLINE.
A tasty way to sample flavorful cuisine is back for the 14th consecutive year as Taste of Blount, hosted by the Blount Partnership and the city of Maryville and sponsored by MK Russell & Abbott, Citizens Bank of Blount County, Clayton Homes and Partners Development, is being held at the Theater in the Park in Maryville (across from the Blount County Courthouse) Thursday, Sept. 3 from 6-8 p.m.
Nineteen restaurants, caterers and gourmet grocers are participating this year's event. They include: Apple Valley Country Store & Cafe, Buffalo Wild Wings, Calhoun's, Chadwick's Churn, Chick-fil-A Hunter's Crossing, Dead End BBQ, Dominos, Hilton Knoxville Airport, Honey Baked Ham, Full Service BBQ, Jet's Pizza, Kroger of Maryville, Lambert's Southern Pies & Bake Shop, Lemon Grass of Maryville, McAlister's Deli, Rocky's Jamaica Sunrise, Roland's Bistro, Smokin' Joe's Bar-B-Que and Vienna Coffee House.
Advance tickets, which are $25 for chamber members, $30 for the public and $15 for students 17 and under, are available at the Chamber office (201 S. Washington St., Maryville, Tenn.), by phone 865.983.2241 or online.
Think local first + Buy local when you can = Being a local!
Meet Your Neighbors. Shop Locally.
Why Buy Locally Owned?
Get Better Service: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.
Find what you're looking for in the Chamber Directory.
Have you heard about PlanetHS? PlanetHS is an online and mobile communication hub used daily by the local schools to communicate with students and parents. It is provided free to schools and offers digital advertising space on each school's website. Chamber Members are entitled to purchase the Premium Sponsorship Package which includes the following: Logo on school news-feed, custom landing page, email notification, calendar, and mobile app advertisement for the low cost of $500 per year per school. This is an amazing amount of exposure for this price and in addition, each school receives a portion of advertising funds.
Be sure to register you or your staff members for the next Blount Tourism Ambassador Program class which is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 26 from 1-4 p.m. followed by a BTAP mixer from 4-6 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott in Alcoa. Later that afternoon from 4-6 p.m.
The class is FREE and teaches front-line employees and volunteers best practices and ensures that they understand their role in increasing tourism. Contact Deborah Nye at 865.983.2241 to register.
The Blount Tourism Ambassador Program is a multi-faceted program that serves to increase tourism by inspiring front-line employees and volunteers. When visitors have a positive experience they are more likely to return in the future and also share their experience with others. Everyone benefits - the visitor, the industry, the local economy, and most importantly, the front-line worker. BTAP helps your front-line increase their knowledge of the region; provides answers to the variety of questions received from visitors; and gives your front-line a chance to meet one another, learn from each other's experiences and celebrate together!
Food will be provided at the mixer and attendees will have an opportunity to tour the property. So, take this opportunity to meet the new ambassador's and earn points at the same time.
We encourage everyone to take advantage of our networking opportunities. These events are held in order to help bring our CTAs together to strengthen our knowledge of different places around our area with a first-hand experience. These educational experiences are free to you and a great way to gather first-hand knowledge to pass along to visitors.
Take advantage of our newest member benefit, Save Local Now. Learn more about their digital marketing platform, and stay up-to-date on modern marketing practices with the SLN blog.
By being a member of our chamber you have exclusive access to SLN, a FREE member marketing platform built to maximize your online exposure (and increase sales!). The SLN platform allows you to enhance your digital footprint, create content, and share that content where it really matters: online, on social, and through email marketing.
If you haven't signed into your SLN account to enhance your listing, we encourage you to do so. SLN is constantly boosting SEO efforts for every member profile.
The Blount County Chamber of Commerce and the Blount County Library have partnered with the Tennessee Small Business Development Center to present free business operation workshops on Google, social media, business marketing and planning, starting a business and government contracting for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Workshops are held at the Blount County Chamber, 201 S. Washington St., Maryville, TN, and at the Blount County Library, 508 North Cusick Street, Maryville, TN. Participants are free to bring their own lunch.
For more information or to attend any of the following workshops, participants are asked to register by clicking on the Training tab at
Location Date Seminar Topic Time
Chamber Aug. 20 Google-ize Your Business 11:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Register Here
Chamber Sept. 24 Starting a Business 9 a.m.-Noon Register Here
Library Sept. 29 Email Marketing 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Register Here
Chamber Oct. 8 Social Media 11:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Library Oct. 22 Growth Wheel - Ownership & Management 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Chamber Nov. 12 Business Planning 9 a.m.-Noon
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.
Olivia Newton-John's "Magic" was the No. 1 song on the Billboard Singles Chart this week in 1980. From the soundtrack to the film Xanadu, the song held on to the No. 1 spot for four weeks. It was also her biggest pop hit until "Physical" ruled the Hot 100 for 10 weeks beginning in November 1981.
Olivia Newton-John -
Olivia Newton-John - "Magic"

August 10-16



August 17-23



Save the Date


August 12 -- Transportation Briefing
August 13 -- Pigs and Politics Legislative Day
August 17 -- Women in Business
August 18 -- New Member Social
August 21 -- Alcoa City Briefing
August 26 -- BTAP Class
August 26 -- BTAP Mixer
August 27 -- Coffee Club at Boys & Girls Club

You can access the entire calendar here to see other community events and submit your own.
Don't forget to check out the Hot Deals brought to you from other Chamber members. Add your Hot Deal by emailing Amy to get your login info.

The Dialogue
This feature -- a question-and-answer session -- with a new Blount County Chamber member will appear every week. So here we go with our first installment with Christy Simmers, owner of Christy's Creative Cafe. This quaint store is located at 2940 Topside Road, Suite 3 in Louisville, TN.
Why are you in business?
I have been creating and selling my work through local craft shows and other retail shops for several years. My passion is creating treasures to brighten the lives of others and to help them find their own creative talent. Our area is rich with creative talent and artists that do not have an easy way to sell their works and my dream was to offer a place where people could find that perfect gift or decor piece that brings a smile to their hearts and to provide a venue for our artists to share their talents and allow others to experience the joy of creating.
Describe what the business does.
Christy's Creative Cafe offers handcrafted, hand painted and vintage items for gifts and home decor. We offer our creative socials to provide classes in various arts and crafts in a welcoming environment so others can perhaps discover their creativity and hidden talents. The shoppe provides local artists a venue to share and sell their work. And most of all our, treasures bring smiles to our customers.
How did you get started in this business?
Painting, crafting and teaching is a passion that I have been blessed to experience. I wanted to be able to share with the community and I believe the concept is unique in our area and provides an alternative to our artists having to travel to arts and crafts shows, set up and tear down in all types of weather. I wanted to combine the shopping experience with the creating experience.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
My entire career has been in Healthcare management and particularly in providing services to the community. Working with people and helping people has been the largest part of that career, along with knowing how to manage a budget. Painting and crafting is a passion and has served as my way of relaxing. I am a certified Onestroke Instructor and have studied with Donna Dewberry for over 10 years. There is so much more to learn, but I know the community and the great business owners in our area will be great mentors and teachers.
Whom do/did you seek advice before/during the operation of your business?
Other shop owners and various seminars for business planning. One of my goals is to engage in the offerings of the Chamber to gain knowledge and inspiration going forward.
Describe your customers.
Our customers are local community members who enjoy handcrafted and one-of-a-kind items for gifts and home decor. Our customers also have a passion for supporting local businesses.
What do you enjoy about running your business?
Providing a quality product that brings smiles and enjoyment to others. Offering other a way to learn to express their creativity in a friendly and welcoming environment. Meeting our community members and learning about the items they choose to brighten their homes and to share with others.
Premier and Presidential Partners