By Denise DuBois
Last week, the City of Smiths Station became the first platinum member of the East Alabama Chamber of Commerce. The decision came after the chamber changed its name from Phenix City-Russell County Chamber of Commerce to East Alabama Chamber of Commerce.
“It all started when I was approached when it was the Phenix City-Russell County Chamber. At that time, we decided we couldn’t be part of it because it didn’t speak of us. It was not a reflection of us,” Smiths Station Mayor F.L. “Bubba” Copeland said. “When they made efforts to change to East Alabama, it better reflected who we are, so we decided to join.”
That is exactly why chamber president Dennis Beson lobbied for and the members accepted the name change.
Copeland said joining the chamber gives the city and its businesses exposure.
“We have a seat at the table, finally,” Copeland said. “We are able to have a voice for the future of our businesses in Smiths Station and give a presence for our businesses in the East Alabama area. I know Phenix City earmarks a certain amount to give to the chamber every year. I felt like we as a city need to be in the chamber and we need to be one of the top members. The timing is perfect for us to join.”
Many new businesses have opened in Smiths Station in the last few months. With the City of Smiths Station leading the way and the new identity of the chamber, the door is opened for more businesses in that area to be part of the organization.
As a platinum member, a business or organization gets logos displayed on banners at chamber events, social media mentions, special advertising offers, tickets to the annual dinner, a golf team at the annual outing, a hole sponsorship and more for $5,000. That also includes the chamber membership fee.
There are also gold and silver member benefits for $3,000 and $1,500 respectively.