NEAL APPELBAUM, Arts Center of Cannon County,
The Cannon County Chamber of Commerce is focused on a visibility campaign. Given our small population - just 14,000 to Rutherford's 280,000 - and location away from an interstate, we have limited name and place recognition.
Using the pooled resources of Chamber members, we are marketing Cannon with radio, TV, print and social media.
Keeping our retail establishments going is of primary concern. Our tourist-attracting Court House Square sets a visual tone - busy establishments suggest prosperity and opportunity. New businesses are drawn to an area with vibrancy.
A healthy retail core generates sales tax dollars which fund our local government operations.
Many Cannon residents shop outside Cannon County - leaving sales taxes in other counties. In order to generate sales tax dollars inside Cannon, we need to draw in folks from other counties - tourists. While they may just be crossing the county line, they are in fact tourists by definition and are playing a vital role in supporting our local economy.
We put a welcoming positive face out to the world. We spend our marketing dollars strategically. Additional marketing support dollars comes from the TN Office of Tourist Development. The State believes the growth of the tourism economy will come from the distinctive, smaller, more remote, personality-filled counties.
In 2014 Tourism's $17.7 billion annual economic impact made it one of Tennessee's most successful industries. The $1.5 billion in state and local sales tax revenue, a 7 percent increase year over year, helps improve the quality of life for all Tennesseans.
First a tourist then a resident or business owner. Yes, we build just a few dozen new houses county-wide each year. Related, overall population growth is modest. Natural attrition frees up older housing for new residents. Many people come to Cannon County to visit friends or relatives or to shop. Often they begin to seek ways to make the move to Cannon County. New folks can bring personal vitality and their financial resources; they are investing themselves and their dollars in our community.
Cannon County is the product the Chamber is "selling" - the beautiful terrain, our close-knit community, our history, our commitment to our home.
Attracting new financial resources is what will help us sustain our community: from the sale of an antique to the dollars invested in a new house to the relocation of a business operation.
Chamber membership has grown 30% in the last few years due to its positive impacts.