As we begin 2014, Kernersville has a great foundation to build upon. We are fortunate to live in a thriving community. Here are just a few examples: Deere Hitachi completed a major facility expansion and FedEx Ground is breaking ground this month on a major expansion of its own. Highland Industries/Takata recently moved their corporate office to Kernersville as is the regional Piedmont Council of Governments. Herbalife is getting ready for production in the former Dell plant and Caterpillar, located next door, is in their second year of production in the area. In 2013 Kernersville was selected as the location for a massive VA Clinic and construction has already begun.
The local road structure is being upgraded with “roundabouts” to more safely handle higher traffic volume and the Macy Grove I-40 interchange is under construction. The Kernersville Medical Center Parkway opened last month and will enable specialty medical offices. Novant has already opened the first of those new offices, next to their Novant Kernersville Medical Center.
Growth has not just been with larger employers. Miss Jenny’s Pickles received national acclaim for their aggressive world-wide marketing emphasis. They have had many opportunities that have allowed them to be a national face for small business. Kernersville is truly a hotbed for business development of all sizes.
A huge factor for Kernersville’s business success is of course, “location, location, location.” Our central location in the Triad, equidistant from the three larger cities around us, is especially ideal for businesses that serve the entire Triad. Located on a network of interstate and state highways, Kernersville has always been in a strategic position for regional commerce to markets in the Southeastern United States.
Location enables us to be successful, but there is more to the formula for success. Other reasons are less tangible. For many years, Kernersville has been known as a wholesome community with a great quality of life. Our community is one where people want to live. It is an easier sale for a company to move people to Kernersville when there are such a variety of quality activities available.
Events that quickly come to mind are festivals such as Spring Folly, 4th of July Concert & Fireworks, Healthy Active Adults Day (community health fair), and the Honeybee Festival. All are well-attended free community events. The Downtown Trick or Treat attracted one of the largest crowds in history for a supervised, safe Halloween evening. Korner’s Folly Oktoberfest event was a sell out and local dentist Dr. Amy-Jo Fischer’s Pink Ribbon Rally has become a popular charitable event to raise money for the Evans-Hopkins Breast Cancer Fund at Kernersville Medical Center.
One of the Chamber’s best accomplishments in 2013 was the education grant program, which presented 44 Kernersville teachers with support for classroom educational projects. This was only possible because of the contributions from the business community and community participation in the three “Eating for Education” promotional events.
The community continued to develop the downtown area as a shopping district. A downtown kiosk was dedicated at the Downtown Open House on December 7. It provides electronic images that show maps of the downtown, pictures, promotion for community events as well as news, weather, and other information for pedestrians on North Main Street.
At a multi-state chamber management conference, the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce was presented the North Carolina Chamber Executive of the Year award, affirming that the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce is tops in the state in meeting community needs. A second award was also presented to the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce, designating Spring Folly as a “Top 20 Festival in the Southeastern United States.” Spring Folly typically attracts some 35,000 people to downtown Kernersville for a weekend of music, food, children’s activities, and other wholesome family entertainment for all ages.
Leadership is another key factor. Tony Smits continued the legacy of outstanding leadership as the 2013 Chamber Board Chair, turning the reins over to Sunni Lauten for 2014.
Recently retired Pastor of Main Street Baptist Church, Rev. Mike Willard, received the highest award presented by the Chamber. At the Chamber’s annual banquet, Rev. Willard was presented with the lifetime achievement award named the “Community Distinguished Service Award.”
After more than a decade, leadership at the Chamber has been transferred from Bruce Boyer to the direction of long-time Kernersville resident Chris Comer. Comer begins her work here with 25 years of experience with the YMCA. She reflects the same values and motivation as recently retired President and CEO Bruce Boyer. She will be another building block as the Chamber continues to evolve as an important community asset.
The building blocks that form the foundation for 2014 include the Chamber’s leadership in the areas of Economic Development, Quality of Life, Community Services as well as bringing together the faith community, area non-profits, governmental services, and the business community to work together to make Kernersville a great place to live.
For more information about Chamber services last year, check out the “Year in Review” at www.KernersvilleNC.com.