Blount Partnership News & Events

It's afternoon mixer week, so make plans to join us Thursday, Oct. 13, at 3:45 p.m. at Camellia Trace Apartments. Get out of the office after work and unwind. The mixers are designed to offer you the opportunity to build business relationships with other members and to gain exposure for you business or organization in an "open house" setting.
Also, please come out to the Ray Hightower State Farm Insurance ribbon cutting on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 10:30 a.m. Safelight will be on hand offering FREE auto glass repair. ABRA Auto Body & Glass and ServePro will also be there providing snacks and other goodies. So drop by and see what Ray can do for your home and business.
Read our 51st and 52nd installments of The Dialogue at the bottom of this email where we visit with with Shanon Gipson, owner of Knoxville Wholesale Granite and Ryan Self, group sales manager for the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area.
Do you have one hour per month to help students in your community transition from high school to college? tnAchieves, local partnering organization to Gov. Haslam's TN Promise, needs 9,000 mentors to work with high school students from the Class of 2017. Mentors remind students of important deadlines, serve as a trusted college resource and, most importantly, encourage students to reach their full potential. The time commitment is small, but the impact can be life changing for a first generation college student trying to navigate the college going process. Learn more or register at
Get ready to rev up your engine with Rusty Wallace, a member of NASCAR's Hall of Fame, as he takes the pole position as the guest speaker for the Blount Partnership's Best of Blount Awards, Nov. 1 at 6:30 p.m., at the Clayton Center for the Arts on the Maryville College campus.

Tickets are $30 and available by calling the Blount Partnership 865.983.2241, online or at the Partnership office located at 201 S. Washington St., in Maryville. A premium $45 ticket is available for special seating and a photo and autograph opportunity with Wallace prior to the event.

The Best of Blount Awards focus on the Blount County community as a whole rather than only on the business sector. It celebrates those individuals and businesses that give their time and resources to make this area an outstanding place to live and work.

Awards will be given for Philanthropist of the Year, Community Impact Award, Bright Future Award, Business of the Year and the Tourism Award.
Whiskey lovers from East Tennessee and beyond are invited to attend an unprecedented event in Blount County on Saturday, November 5. Grains and Grits, a celebration of Southern spirits and gourmet grub, will bring more than two dozen Tennessee distilleries to the Townsend Visitors' Center.

The festival showcases a who's-who of Tennessee whiskey legends, including Jack Daniels Master Distiller Jeff Arnett, who will be participating in his first-ever East Tennessee tasting, and other national whiskey names such as George Dickel. A bevy of craft distillers from throughout the state will also sample their spirits to attendees, including Old Forge, Popcorn Sutton, Thunder Road and Chattanooga Whiskey.

Grains and Grits is being arranged and hosted by the Tennessee Distillers Guild and the Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority (SMTDA).

While Tennessee whiskey serves as the event's focus, there will be plenty of offerings for non-whiskey-drinkers. Several area restaurants will serve food, and many area breweries and wineries will be in attendance.

World-renowned resort Blackberry Farm will serve both food and beer. Live music will provide a backdrop for the celebration.

Grains and Grits is an opportunity for distillers to connect with customers face to face, and nearly two dozen of them have signed up to offer samples at the event.

Tickets for Grains and Grits are $60 online and $70 the day of the event, and VIP parking is $10. They can be purchased at The website also includes more information about the event.
It's Your Career! That's the focus of eight free soft skills sessions offered in partnership by the Blount County Public Library, the Adult Education Foundation of Blount County and the Blount County Chamber of Commerce that are scheduled over the next eight months.

Registrations are currently being accepted for the first class entitled Effective Networking set for Oct. 21.

All classes are conducted in the Blount County Library's learning lab located at 508 N. Cusick in Maryville and limited to 50 participants. Those interested must register online at 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.

The other classes offered include Make Your Social Media Look Good Using Free Tools, Managing People & Personalities, Tips for Public Speaking, Hiring Good Employees, Motivation and Burnout, Time Management and Managing Change in the Workplace.
If you haven't checked out the October member-to-member promtions, please do. New offers are being posted weekly, so check out the Blount County Chamber of Commerce Member-to-Member promotions 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
Constantly clamoring to grab the attention of prospective customers, small businesses are competing with a lot of noise. Consumers are cutting through clutter by fast-forwarding television shows, subscribing to ad-free digital radio, installing ad-blockers to browse their favorite websites sans-ads and customizing what's in their social media feeds. Here are some of the ways content marketing drives results for small businesses: Read more here.

Learn more about marketing your small business in a digital world, ask questions about social media, and take the time to discuss future campaign ideas. What are you waiting for? It's free with your chamber membership. Schedule your FREE session today.
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!
The multiplier effect created by spending locally generates lasting impact on the prosperity of local organizations and residents.
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.
This week in 1973, "Half-Breed" topped the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. It became Cher's second solo and third overall No. 1 hit.



Oct. 10-16



Oct. 17-23


October 17 -- White Caps: Moral Vigilantes @ Blount County Public Library
October 18-20 -- Maxine Falls & Norma Tosh @ The Townsend Visitors Center
October 18 -- Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center hosts Tuesdays @ 2
October 18 -- Blount County Public Library Board of Trustees Meeting
October 19 -- Affordable Care Act Health Care Enrollment @ Blount County Public Library
October 19 -- Early Voting at the Library
October 20 -- "Homes FORE Humanity" 4th Annual Golf Tournament
October 20 -- 15th Anniversary Celebration to Honor Senator Doug Overbey
October 21-23 -- Fred Weiser @ the Townsend Visitors Center
October 21 -- Recovery Revolution at RIO Revolution
October 22 -- Susan G. Komen Knoxville Race for the Cure
October 22 -- World Orphans Run
October 22 -- Kingdom Design Ministries hosts Dancing with the Stars Blount


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 51st installment visiting with Shanon Gipson, owner of Knoxville Wholesale Granite which serves the local community in the stone industry and provides great prices and fast turn around time for all kitchen, bath and stone needs.
What is your speciality? We fabricate and install custom granite countertops and vanities. If you can imagine it, we can do it.
How did you get started? When my mom had cancer, a local granite company came out and did our countertops at an affordable rate but with a whole lot of upcharges. So I decided I could do a better job at a more affordable rate without all the hidden costs.
Who is your mentor? Troy Pilkington helped me build my business working side by side with me. And, of course, my mom has always been my biggest supporter.
Describe your customers. We don't have a set customer base. We do anything from commercial jobs to the smallest of bathroom vanities. We consider everybody's job an important job.
What's one thing you wish you knew when you started. I wish I knew that finding hard working loyal employees was an art. It took me a while to figure it out, but now I'm convinced I have the best crew. That was probably the biggest obstacle in the beginning.
What do you enjoy most about your business? I love the final result. It's amazing every time you take a slab of granite and turn it into a beautiful countertop. It's like seeing it for the first time every time.

The Dialogue

This feature is a question-and-answer session with a new Blount County Chamber member. So here we go with our 52nd installment visiting with Ryan Self, group sales manager for the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area.

What happens at Ober Gatlinburg?
Experience the 120-passenger Aerial Tramway to Ober Gatlinburg's Ski Mountain Coaster, Alpine Slide, indoor ice skating, Wildlife Encounter, water rides, maze, Kiddie Rides, shops, Seasons of Ober Restaurant & the Loft Lounge, winter skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and more!
Describe your customers. We cater to families, all types of groups, corporate events, wedding rehearsals, couples, and more.
Previous Profiles:
Matt Grimes, Faith Promise Church
Roger Moore, Sperry Van Ness
Jim Decker, MEDIC Regional Blood Center
Alex Oliver, Draft Agency
Trevis Gardner, Rocky Top Shock Youth Sports
John Cockfield, JKC Custom Furniture
Chris Kilby, Mountain Mini Golf
Tom Garner, Harbours Gate
Kurt Greene, Vistage Worldwide
John Watson, Common Grounds Landscape Management
Sherri Deutsch Anthony, Broker Properties Realtors
Bob and Pam Gray, Massage Envy - Hamilton Crossing
Regina Cotton, Integrity HR Services
Kellie Moths, Rodan+Fields
Dianna Glandon, Above the Rest Balloon & Event Designs
Eric Mowell, Peak60 Innovative Solutions
Dr. Jackie Hone, Trinity Direct Primary Care of Maryville
Randi Smith, Damsel in Defense
Roy Shields, Smoky Mountain Self Defense
Michael & Lori Bishop, Mountain Top Retirement Planning
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