Highlights of a Successful Year

January, 2019 | The Laurel Magazine

By: Stephanie Edwards, executive director of the Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce

2018 was another busy year for the Cashiers Area Chamber, representing more than 425 businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals across the Plateau. The business league’s core purpose is to provide extraordinary Leadership as an Advocate for Business, Information Source for the Community and Conduit for building destination awareness and responsible growth.

Since Cashiers is an unincorporated village without town government, the Chamber work closely with Jackson County to protect and enhance the local quality of life. It finances destination branding such as welcome signs for Cashiers and Glenville and the Crossroads community banner stand. It recently paid more than $4,000 for a topographical survey needed to engineer a core sidewalk system and works closely with TWSA on water resource issues critical to growth. This year it founded the Cashiers Area Legacy Fund, a 501(c)3 charity to support local public works projects.

Its economic development strategic initiatives include workforce development, pedestrian mobility and safety, broadband connectivity and community engagement. The Chamber created and maintains, an online jobs board with regional advertising to recruit workers to the Plateau. It hosts annual job fairs and regional summits to expand the employee base and ensure adequate housing, training and retention of workers.

The Chamber operates the Jackson County Visitor Center at Cashiers and is actively involved in the county’s tourism development authority to develop marketing strategies and ensure a quality visitor experience. It maintains information kiosks throughout the area featuring maps, waterfalls and attractions. It publishes the popular Cashiers Area Visitor Guide & Membership Directory and Cashiers Area Shopping & Dining Guide, available at which also features timely news and announcements.

As an important community information source, the Chamber launched and maintains, a comprehensive online community calendar. Non-profits and member businesses are invited to submit event information for promotion and use the chamber office as a convenient ticket outlet for charity events.

Business advocacy and promotion remain the priority focus of the Chamber and throughout the year members enjoy exclusive benefits, referrals, celebrations, recognitions, events, legislative updates, publicity, networking opportunities and other support. To join or for more information, visit or call 828-743-5191

Chamber Board Aligns Strategic Focus with Community Needs

Members of the Cashiers Area Chamber Board of Directors recently met for their annual strategy session to discuss organizational and community priorities in 2019.

“We believe it’s important to recalibrate our strategic focus every year, reaffirming our long-term vision and our near-term programming,” explained chamber executive director Stephanie Edwards. “We evaluate everything we do against our Core Purpose ‘to provide extraordinary leadership in the Cashiers Area as an advocate for business, information source for the community and conduit for building destination awareness and responsible growth’.”

Board President Mary Lanning, of Hampton Inn & Suites Cashiers/Sapphire, welcomed new board members Ashton Harris of the Country Club of Sapphire Valley, Wendy Lupas of Gracewear, and Donnie Shuey of Signal Ridge Marina and recognized Lec Hobbs of Highland Hiker who was out of town.

Chamber officers for 2019 are Lanning, President-Elect Glenn Ubertino of Zoller Hardware, Treasurer Ben Harris of Harris Custom Builders, and board Secretary Edwards. Returning board members are: Justin Allman of FireMoss Pottery; Tony Austin of Lake Toxaway Company; Ken Fernandez, Chair/Economic & Community Development, of Old Cashiers Realty; Debby Hattler of Sotheby’s International Realty-Cashiers Office; Sarah Jennings of Lonesome Valley; Kathy Korb of Laurelwood Inn and Brandy Letson of Cashiers Valley Pharmacy. Malice Grant of Sounds Essential and past-president of the chamber board serves in a courtesy board role in her capacity as president of the Cashiers Area Legacy Fund.

The group reviewed the Chamber’s Core Purpose and Values and discussed ongoing and potential new programming and member benefits. Harris presented more details on Leadership Cashiers, a developing community engagement initiative, and also on the group’s continuing work to create a sidewalk system in the village core. (Last quarter, the Chamber paid for a comprehensive topographical survey which will be used as a planning tool to execute engineering for future sidewalk construction. An inner-loop segment -- encircling the Village Green, public amenities and nearby retailers -- has been identified as the initial priority in a community-wide pedestrian network.)

In preparation for activity planning, directors carried out several exercises to determine awareness and value of past events and programs and brainstorm new possibilities. It was agreed that a special efforts will be made to promote retailer success, including forming a task force to brainstorm coordinated marketing opportunities. Continuing focus will be directed on workforce development through the Chamber’s various outreach and research, pedestrian mobility and safety, broadband connectivity, infrastructure development (in particular, water resources), and community engagement including the Cashiers Area Legacy Fund, a 501(c)3 foundation to support education and public works, created by the Chamber in 2018. It will also continue its support and involvement with the Lake Toxaway Business Alliance, led by Chamber Director Tony Austin of Lake Toxaway Company and Chamber member Carol Hargis of The Blind Mule Restaurant.

In an unincorporated area with no municipal government and with more than 400 business, nonprofit and associate members, the Chamber plays a critical leadership role in economic and community development. It actively represents Cashiers Area’s interests before county, state and federal officials to ensure tax revenue and other reinvestment supports measured growth. It also serves as a contracted agency to the Jackson County Tourism Development Authority to operate the southern gateway Visitor Center and promote effective tourism management.

Among the Chamber’s notable contributions are funding and construction of local destination signs and funding, construction and management of the community banner display at the Crossroads. It publishes and distributes 50,000 plus copies of the annual Cashiers Area Visitor Guide & Membership Directory and the Cashiers Area Shopping & Dining Guide and pedestrian map in addition to maintaining a digital presence with a comprehensive website and an online community calendar To join or for more information, visit or call 828-743-5191.

(Pictured: Members of the 2019 Cashiers Area Chamber Board of Directors)

Christmas Parade Award Winners Announced!

The Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the award winners of the Cashiers Christmas Parade Block Party held Tuesday, December 11 from 3:30-5:00PM on Frank Allen Road.

Cashiers Christmas Star - CAMP MERRIE-WOODE

Entry displaying the best overall creativity, appearance and originality

Elfin Magic Award - CUB SCOUT PACK #222

Entry best featuring children


Entry with the most enthusiastic participants


Best marching or walking entry


Entry with best musical performance


Entry with the best theme in motion as float or other motorized vehicle

Vintage Vehicle Award - BLUE RIDGE PUBLIC SAFETY

Entry for best car or truck display

Broadband Update - December 2018

The Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce shares the following information as part of our ongoing Broadband strategic initiative. We maintain active dialogues with area broadband providers regarding local network expansion and service improvements for area businesses and residents. We are pleased to continue these important discussions and communicate updates on this and other strategic initiative efforts. 

Northland Communications announced that the company was recently purchased in October, 2018 by a private equity firm GTCR. With new ownership in place, there is an effort to focus on the plateau communities, to immediately improve and upgrade the network and services available. A presentation of services is planned to be offered at an upcoming town meeting including details on a slated $50 Million investment for network improvements and commercial services. Read the full press release from Northland Communications here and more from GTCR here.


Community Celebrates at Christmas Parade Block Party

The Christmas Parade Block Party was held Tuesday, December 11 from 3:30-5:30PM on Frank Allen Road after a winter snowstorm rearranged plans for the annual Cashiers Christmas Parade that was scheduled for Saturday, December 8 at noon. The Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce announced the alternative event plans on Friday, December 7, based on deteriorating weather forecasts and after discussing safety concerns with local officials and parade participants as winter weather set in. 

Parade Grand Marshal, Camp Merrie-Woode, showcased their float along with their "horses" and others including Sapphire Valley Resort and local Scout Troop #222 featured impressive displays. Blue Ridge Public Safety showcased a sparkling squad car, and Citizen of the Year, Vanna Cameron and Businessperson of the Year, Sam Lupas were also featured while students from Cashiers Valley Preschool provided homemade cookies to attendees.

Rick Stargel of High South Ventures broadcast the festivities live on including highlight entertainment by JAM the Junior Appalachian Musicians. Cashiers Cares and Rotary Club of Cashiers Valley provided their traditional free hotdog meal in coordination with the event at the Fire Department as Santa and Mrs. Claus spread holiday cheer. The Cashiers Glenville Volunteer Fire Department, Glenville Cashiers Rescue Squad and Jackson County Sheriff's department were also in attendance and thank them for their ongoing support. 



Christmas Parade Block Party!

The Cashiers Christmas Parade WILL NOT take place this weekend. INSTEAD! Join us Tuesday, December 11 from 3:30 to 5:30PM for our "Cashiers Christmas Parade Block Party" on Frank Allen Road. This decision has been made based on forecast deteriorating weather conditions and after consulting local reports and discussing safety concerns with local officials.
You are invited to our Christmas Parade Block Party on Frank Allen Road starting at 3:30PM. Parade Participants will be lining up on a first come, first served basis and the road will remain one way from the Post Office to the Cashiers Glenville Volunteer Fire Department.  Come celebrate the holiday season with families, friends and support parade participants!
Parade Grand Marshal, Camp Merrie-Woode, will be featured in the Community Center Parking lot where holiday music and festivities will be broadcast over amplification system and live on Cashiers Cares and Rotary Club of Cashiers Valley will be providing a free hotdog meal in coordination with the event at the Fire Department. Judges will consider parade entries for the annual Christmas Parade Awards and winners will be announced the following day. Santa and Mrs. Claus are excited to attend! See map below and follow us on Facebook for updates along the way. We look forward to seeing you Tuesday!
**Please note! Access for parents at Boys & Girls Club will still be available during the event.
Thank you for your patience, community participation and ongoing support. Stay safe during this predicted winter storm. 
Safety is a key consideration when planning any event. We are especially thankful to the Glenville-Cashiers Rescue Squad, Cashiers Glenville Volunteer Fire Department, Jackson County Sheriff's Department and all who keep our community safe every day.


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