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Lebanon Wilson Chamber of Commerce Blog

Sports Council Athletic Luncheon

Sports Council Athletic Luncheon

The Wilson County Sports Council, a division of the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce, hosted an annual luncheon to recognize a male and female student-athlete from each of the Wilson County high schools. Students were nominated by their coaches for their outstanding academic and athletic qualities. Jeff Bennett, former MLB player and owner of the Jeff Bennett Baseball Academy, was the guest speaker during the luncheon. 

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Fiddler’s Grove Historic Village hosted a Ribbon Cutting/ Grand Opening Ceremony

Fiddler’s Grove Historic Village hosted a Ribbon Cutting/ Grand Opening Ceremony

Fiddler’s Grove Historic Village hosted a Ribbon Cutting/ Grand Opening Ceremony on May 8, 2015! Fiddler’s Grove, which is located on the grounds of the James E. Ward Agricultural Center, takes pride in “preserving the history of Wilson County, Tennessee, by preserving buildings, artifacts, and oral and written histories.

The Village engages the public through preservation, interpretation, exhibitions, education, publications, and hand on experiences to increase a better understanding of the history of Wilson County, and its way of life.”

For more information on Fiddler’s Grove and what they do, please feel free to contact them at (615)443-2626 or visit their website at http://www.fiddlersgrove.org.

Pictured above with Fiddler’s Grove volunteers and Gwen Scott are Chamber President Melanie Minter, Mayor Phillip Craighead, Chamber Chairman of the Board John Bradshaw, and other chamber members and supporters.

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The TN Scholars Ceremony was held on May 7th at Cumberland University

The TN Scholars Ceremony was held on May 7th at Cumberland University

The TN Scholars Ceremony was held on May 7th at Cumberland University. Tennessee Scholars, which was started in 2005, is a joint effort by the Chamber of Commerce and the business community of Wilson County, aimed to encourage Wilson County students to take more rigorous courses of study during their years in school.

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Membership Renewal Recognition at O'Charley's

Membership Renewal Recognition at O'Charley's

The Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce hosted their first ever Membership Renewal Recognition on April 30. The time was spent with food, laughter, conversation, door prize drawings, and Chamber staff & Board members showing appreciation to renewing members in attendance.

Door prize winners, Ben Williams of Witt Signs, Jack Cato, a lifetime member, and Shannon Guy of Goodwill Career Solutions are pictured below.

The Chamber would also like to express gratitude to O'Charley's, which is located at 902 Murfreesboro Rd, Lebanon, TN, for providing an awesome event venue! The next Member Renewal Recognition will be held in June and we hope to see everyone there!

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Lebanon High School Skills USA

Lebanon High School Skills USA

The Chamber Education Division presented LHS SkillsUSA students with devil horn headbands to wear during their conference introductions. This year, LHS will take more than 30 students to the State Leadership and Skills Conference in Chattanooga where students compete in their skilled areas to earn scholarships, prizes and most of all, the experience to be successful.

Chamber Education Chair Scott Jasper and President & CEO Melanie Minter are pictured with LHS Instructor Jeremy Lakeman and SkillsUSA team members.

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Optometric Physicians Ribbon Cutting

Optometric Physicians Ribbon Cutting

Optometric Physicians of Middle Tennessee was host to a ribbon cutting ceremony conducted by the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the opening of their fourth Middle Tennessee location.​

​The optometrists, Dr. Richard D. Durocher, Dr. Derek S. Peveler and Dr. Gretchen L. Blemker are pleased to offer exceptional eye care to Lebanon and surrounding communities. The newly remodeled office and optical boutique is conveniently located off the public square at 229 W. Gay Street in Lebanon.

Pictured with the optometrists are Mayor Craighead and Chamber Board of Directors and Members.

​For more information on services offers or appointments, call 615-444-2359​ .​

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Wilke Promoted to Chamber Vice President of Operations

Wilke Promoted to Chamber Vice President of Operations

The Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and President Melanie Minter has promoted Andrea Wilke to Vice President of Operations. Wilke has served the past twelve years as the Office Manager in the Lebanon Chamber.

"I am excited about this promotion and look forward to the future and new visions for the Chamber with our new President & CEO Melanie Minter, Office Coordinator Tonya Jones, the board and the members of the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce," Wilke stated.

Wilke is a graduate of Tennessee Chamber of Commerce Executive Institute and Leadership Wilson. Currently serves on the Wilson County Fair Board and Habitat of Wilson County Advisory Board.

Wilke is married to Perry Wilke, has two children and two grandchildren. She and her family are members of Berea Church of Christ and reside in Lebanon.

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Chamber board announces new President

Chamber board announces new President

The Board of Directors of the Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce has named Melanie Minter as President and CEO of the local chamber organization.

Minter, a Lebanon native, will take the helm effective Wednesday, January 28.

Minter has been very active in the Lebanon Chamber and most recently served as Vice-Chair of the Membership Committee.

“I am excited about this challenge and look forward to working with my board, office staff and some 920 members of the Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce,” Minter stated early Tuesday morning soon after the chamber board approval.

John Bradshaw, current Chairman of the Board, called a special meeting of the board Tuesday morning to approve the recommendation for the hire from the search committee.

John B. Bryan, immediate past-chairman of the board headed up the search team.

“We began this process during the first quarter of 2014 and conducted a broad search for this position. We narrowed the 30 plus field of applicants down to five in mid-December and interviewed the finalist last Saturday. Melanie will do a great job and will hit the ground running by month end,” Bryan explained.

Bradshaw went on to say the committee was proud to hire someone local who possessed a heart for the chamber and its membership.  “We had applicants from as far as California to southern Florida. Our local applicants had more to offer and each had a unique interest in the job. Melanie possessed the characteristics we were looking for and had great knowledge of the inter-workings of the chamber. She will do a great job and I look forward to working with her this year and years to come,” he said.

Minter currently serves as Commercial and Fleet Sales Manager at Wilson County Motors, a position she has enjoyed for the past several years. “I appreciate the opportunity the Bone family gave me at Wilson County Motors.  They join me in my excitement as I take on this new role in my community. I am proud to go to work for the Chamber and carry on where Sue (Vanatta) has left off,” she added.

Minter replaces Vanatta after a 23 year career heading up the chamber.  Vanatta retired at year end and is enjoying an extended vacation in Florida with friends.

Minter will be formally introduced at the annual Chamber membership banquet on Thursday, February 5, at the Capital Theater in Lebanon.

Minter has vast retail management experience receiving numerous accolades for her achievements during her tenure in that field. She graduated Cum Laude from Castle Heights Military Academy in 1986 and received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She is the daughter of Linda and the late J.C.  McDearman of Lebanon.  She and her two daughters are members of the College Hills Church of Christ and they reside in Lebanon. 

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Hats off to a Great Year

This year has flown by. Most years do as we get older. This year seems to have gone quicker than most with so many Chamber events on the calendar.

We set the bar high for 2014, and I am proud to say we have reached that bar and exceeded expectations in many ways.

I am proud of our committee chairs and the accomplishments they have achieved during 2014. Kudos to Jud Nave, Phil Carter, Melanie Minter, Scott Jasper, Debbie Stewart and Paul Jewell for helping make 2014 another great year for the Chamber.

Economic Development was led by Jud Nave. Jud and his committee had great monthly meetings and pulled off the Industry Appreciation Day as we recognized Nashville Display. This committee has very active members with 25 or more showing up each month. Great leadership from Jud and interesting and informative programs have made for a great 2014 for Economic Development.

Phil Carter has led our Government Relations committee. What a busy group! With the big election year Phil and his committee put on several political forums that grew in number with each event.  My hat goes off to Phil and his committee as they have set the bar high for 2015.

Membership was led by Melanie Minter. Melanie is no stranger to Lebanon as she was born and raised here and is working at the local Chevrolet/GMC dealership. Her insight into local businesses along with her charisma and charm has made for a great 2014. We have retained almost 93% of our membership and have added another 85 new members as we close the year with 910 chamber members on the roster. That number is a little shy of my goal of 1,000 members by year end 2014, but if you don’t set your goals high, what will you have at the end of the day? (This blog was written with two more weeks to go in 2014, so we may end the year even better that reported!)

Scott Jasper and the Education Committee put on another successful Taste of Wilson County and raised over $17,000 to fund teacher grants, scholarships, and other education efforts in the county. Last year we moved the “Taste” to the public square and this year, because of the construction going on downtown, had to move it again to the East Main leg of the square. Two words come to mind: HUGE SUCCESS! We didn’t know what to expect from the new venue, but merchants and patrons had nothing but positive comments about having the event down East Main. We may have found a new permanent home for the Taste of Wilson County.

Debbie Stewart and her committee pulled off a successful “Jammin’ with the General” series as well as one of the best Christmas parades in recent history. Her team is serious about their events and it shows in their dedication and work ethic. Thanks again to Debbie and her team on the Community Tourism Committee.

Last but certainly not least is the Sports Council. Paul Jewell picked up a fumble and took over the committee a few months into 2014. He not only recovered the fumble, but he scored a touchdown with several great events including the annual Cary Harbrecht Memorial Golf Tournament and the Sports Council’s partnership with Cumberland University hosting the Mid-South Conference College Basketball Tournament at the university. Paul and his committee are very active and contribute thousands of dollars to the community through their events.

My Board members have all pitched in through their participation in Board meetings, Business After Hours, ribbon cuttings and open houses. They all have participated in many Chamber-sponsored events throughout the 2014 year, and I deeply appreciate their willingness to serve their Chamber.

Our most challenging event this year is the search effort for a new President to lead our Chamber in 2015 and years to come. There is no way we will replace our own Sue Vanatta. She has truly brought our Chamber from out-door plumbing to in-door facilities in her 23 years of service. We know she has set the bar high for her successor, and the challenge to find someone with the unique qualities for this position has been a daunting task. We hope to have someone in place by mid-to-late January, and we look forward to working with this person in the coming months.

Hats off as well to our office staff! Andrea Wilke, Tonya Jones and Anna Syler have been the backbone of every event. Their willingness to go the extra mile has made this year pretty special. With Sue’s leadership, office staff work ethic and the hundreds of volunteers across Lebanon and Wilson County, it is safe to say Lebanon and Wilson County is truly the “place to be” in Tennessee.

If you are interested in finding out more about our Chamber, please contact the office by calling 615-444-5503.

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Christmas 1-2-3

It's almost that time of year again! As the weather gets colder, we are gearing up for a holiday season full of fun and festivities! The three Christmas events that the Chamber partners with local organizations to put on, nicknamed Christmas 1-2-3 Lebanon Tennessee, will begin on November 28.

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Scarecrow Stroll Down on the Square

The Chamber of Commerce’s Community Tourism Division invites local businesses, civic groups, and families to get creative and participate in the first annual Scarecrow Stroll. The project aims to decorate the square for fall and draw attention to downtown businesses.  

Participants will create their own unique scarecrows (no store-bought versions allowed) that will be displayed around the square from October 8 to November 1.  Several awards will be given for entries, including a roving trophy for the best business display as well as a fan favorite. Voting for fan favorite will kick-off at Taste of Wilson County on October 9 and will continue through October 20. Those wishing to vote may do so 24/7 via a ballot box located outside the Chamber office.

Applications and a complete set of rules and regulations are available at the Chamber, located at 149 Public Square, or by clicking the following link. Scarecrow-Stroll

For more information, contact Judy Cox at 615-443-3130 or Tammy Bailey at 615-631-7080 or ctsmbailey@gmail.com. The registration fee to participate in the Scarecrow Stroll is $5.

Download your application today, and be sure to come cast your ballots and shop on the square October 9-20!

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90th Anniversary, Membership Connection, and More

We just celebrated our 90th Anniversary on Tuesday night at the Chamber office on the Public Square in downtown Lebanon. Over 150 Chamber members and friends attended the event as we enjoyed food and fellowship for about two hours. We had several former Board Chairs in attendance including Mac McClintock, Chris Crowell, Don Simpson, Mark Lee, Bob McDonald, Ken Caldwell, Rick Smith, John Lancaster, Paul Jewell.

Special thanks to Odell and Linda Bain and Peggy Simpson for their help with organizing the event and to those Chamber members who provided the food, drinks, and desserts: Cheers Wine & Liquors, Crystal Elegance, Jersey Mike’s, Jordan’s Catering, Michael’s Café, O’Charley’s, Publix, Sunset Family Restaurant, and Walker Creek Confections.

At lunchtime on Wednesday, we had a Member Connection meeting for new members. Each Vice-Chair was present to discuss their committee. Melanie Minter, Vice-Chair of the Membership Committee, did a great job putting the luncheon together and making it an enjoyable and informative experience for the new members who attended. If you are interested in joining the Chamber or learning about how to become more involved, call the Chamber office.

Thursday night everyone enjoyed the Business After Hours hosted by HotSpring Portable Spas of Music City. The guys at HotSpring’s always throw a great BAH, and Thursday night was no exception. If you or your business is interested in hosting a future Business After Hours event, contact the Chamber office.

On Wednesday, September 17, our Education Committee will be hosting a “Lunch and Learn” event featuring the new Wilson County Director of Schools Dr. Donna Wright. The lunch meeting begins at 11:30 and will be hosted at the Lebanon Golf & Country Club. Admission is $15 and your must RSVP by Monday, September 15. Contact the Chamber office for more details.

On Wednesday, October 22, our Government Relations & Economic Development Committee will be hosting a “Lunch and Learn” event featuring Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto. The lunch meeting begins at 11:30 and will be hosted at the Lebanon Golf & Country Club. Admission for that event is also $15, and you must RSVP by Friday, October 22. Contact the Chamber office for more details.

Be sure to check out the calendar of events on our Chamber website so you can make plans to attend the next Chamber event! Thanks for making your Chamber one of the largest and best in the state!

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Chamber to Host Series of Candidate Forums

The Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce Government Relations Committee will host a series of forums for 2014 election candidates running for office in Wilson County.

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Chamber Loses Friend In Passing of Dave Keltner

We were saddened by the news of the sudden passing of Dave Keltner.  Dave was President/CEO of Cerqa, a supply chain management, commercial printing, promotional items and media duplication company located in LaVergne.

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Open House Draws Over 400

It’s been over a week since my last blog, and there has been plenty of activity at your Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce.

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CU hosts Mid-South Conference

The Wilson County Sports Council, a Division of the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce, welcomes the Mid-South Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournaments to Cumberland University this week.

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Plans in Full Swing for 2nd Annual Jammin' With the General

It's been a couple of weeks since my last blog. That may tell you how busy we have been at the Chamber. Ribbon cuttings, a few committee meetings and our February board meeting filled the last two weeks.

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1730 Hits

Fantastic Evening at The Capitol Honors Individuals, Businesses

What a fantastic evening last night as we celebrated our annual Chamber Membership Banquet and Awards Show at Lebanon’s Capitol Theatre. Some 330 Chamber members and their guests enjoyed a great meal and fellowship as 16 community leaders or businesses were acknowledged for their contributions to Lebanon and Wilson County. We unveiled our Wilson County promotional video that was funded in part through a State of Tennessee grant. This video tells Wilson County’s story and highlights each community within it. Our plans are to incorporate all or parts of the video on our website later this year. 

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Ribbon Cuttings Held for New Members

Another packed week for our Chamber is a wrap!

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1745 Hits

Chamber Board Spends Day of Planning at Retreat, Looks Forward to Feb. 6 Banquet

We finished a busy week of Chamber activities with our annual Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce Board retreat on Friday, January 24. The Chamber staff lined up our retreat at The Mitchell House, the new home of Sigma Pi Fraternity International Headquarters. We had a great day of planning and enjoyed a wonderful meal catered by Sammy B's.

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