Chamber supports community

Published 7:00 am Friday, January 29, 2016

BRAINSTORMING: From left, Poplarville Chamber of Commerce Board President Maggie Smith and chamber office secretary Vicki Francis discuss new ways to enhance the City of Poplarville.  Photo by Cassandra Favre

BRAINSTORMING: From left, Poplarville Chamber of Commerce Board President Maggie Smith and chamber office secretary Vicki Francis discuss new ways to enhance the City of Poplarville.
Photo by Cassandra Favre

Even though the Poplarville Chamber of Commerce does not have a physical location, board president Maggie Smith said they are still very busy promoting local businesses and the city of Poplarville.
Up until recently, the chamber office was located at 101 N. Main St. However, due to a termite infestation, the chamber is currently utilizing the facilities at City Hall.
For at least 63 years, the Poplarville Chamber of Commerce has advocated for local businesses and residents, Smith said.
The chamber currently has 175 members, which includes business owners, individuals and anyone interested in trying to make a difference in the city, she said.
“We are always open to new ideas to help our city grow,” Smith said. “Our yearly planning meeting will be held on Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. at City Hall. It is open to anyone interested in joining the chamber. We will look at our yearly calendar and see what needs to be tweaked or added.”
The yearly dues are $50 for a business owner, $30 for individuals, $15 for those 65 and older and $5 for youth up to the 18. Business owners who have more than one business can purchase a membership for their second business for $10.
Smith said they are thinking of changing the fees for business members in the near future.
“I tell people, ‘let us work for you,’’’ Smith said. “If you have an event coming up, let us know. We email the information to all our members and promote it on our Facebook page.”
Chamber office secretary Vicki Francis said other benefits include cheaper ticket prices to events and complimentary booth spaces at events held at Pearl River Community College.
“Our mission is to promote local businesses, period,” Smith said. “If they are closed on Saturdays and we have an event coming up, we let them know that they need to stay open.”
The chamber also sponsors many yearly events including Trash to Treasure, an Easter Egg Hunt, Merchants Trick or Treat, the Christmas Parade, the Ping Pong Drop and Movies on Main, which are all held on Main Street.
They also partner with the Blueberry Jubilee and PRCC for events.
“We host our quarterly lunch and learn programs where business owners can get help with business problems, and learn how to use social media to reach customers,” Smith said. “We work closely with them to provide the things they might not be able to afford.”
Local business owners are also utilizing the chamber for getting the word out about job openings, Francis said.
During the fall, the chamber partners with business to create welcome bags for students returning to PRCC.
Francis said students can also find coupons on the chamber’s website.
Each week, the chamber submits a photo and write-up of the business of the week, which is featured in The Poplarville Democrat. They also host blue ribbon cuttings and Paint the Town Red and Green.
“We encourage businesses to have open house dates and sales to encourage our people to shop local,” Smith said. “We have a lot of people and organizations working to promote Poplarville. Recently, we’ve expanded our board to include members from the Poplarville School District, the Women’s Club, PRCC, the Poplarville Historical Preservation Society and the Rotary Club. Having these representations ensures that we don’t duplicate event dates. We are working together as one to grow our city.”
There are currently 12 board members including Joan Bassett, Cassandra Blackwell, Tammy Krutzfeldt, Pam LaHaye, Michelle McBride, Brad Necaise, Cynthia Oreaboe, Teresa Penton, Smith, Brenda Wells and Delos Williams.
Each year, the chamber hosts their annual awards luncheon where they recognize citizens of the year. For the past three years, the chamber has also recognized the firefighter and police officer of the year.
“In the near future, we plan to include a teen volunteer of the year award,” Smith said. “We also want to work with local youth groups such as the Boy Scouts and the rodeo club. We want Poplarville to grow and to provide an opportunity for our youth coming up. One of our biggest responsibilities is to encourage young people to become involved and to become future community leaders.”
The chamber is currently located at City Hall. They are open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Francis can be reached at 601-795-0578 and at
Follow the chamber on Facebook at Poplarville Chamber, Twitter at @poplarvillecham and Instagram at Poplarvillechamber.
For more information, visit the website at

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