Since its first meeting in July, 2013, the Demopolis Area Business Council’s presence has been felt throughout Demopolis and West Alabama. What began as a simple idea has already grown into force for progress in the Demopolis area.
The key factor has been the overwhelming response of business owners and leaders who shared a common vision and were willing to invest in that vision,” according to the Council’s latest newsletter. “Currently, nearly 60 individuals call themselves DABC members.”
As members, they have aligned themselves with the vision of addressing the needs and desires of Demopolis businesses. Many of these individual businesses have 10 or fewer employees, but collectively, the DABC membership represents the economic interests of the largest employment base in West Alabama.
“Because of the unified efforts of the DABC membership, our elected officials have heard constructive feedback to issues including additional sales taxes, business license collections, city financial budgeting and economic investment concerns, highway routing and unmet workforce development needs,” the newsletter states. “The DABC has also been instrumental in the development of a business recruitment database that will aid in getting relevant information in a concise and inviting format into the hands of the decision makers.”
The most visible effort from the DABC during the past year was the “Shop Local” campaign launched at the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. With stickers passed out at the schools and prizes donated by its members, the DABC was able to raise awareness among school children and their parents of the importance of shopping local.
Six-hundred sixty-three unique entries were received in the contest, a number that greatly exceeded organizers’ expectations. DABC anticipates Year Two of that campaign to be even better!
At present, Demopolis Area Business Council membership is continuing to identify issues where the voice of the small businesses can make a big difference. Organizers say they are encouraged by the recent activity by UWA, Shelton State and Demopolis High School at the New Era Building, and believe their combined efforts will make a positive difference in developing a world-class workforce.
“We believe there are unmet retail opportunities in our area,” leaders say. “We are encouraged by recent discussions regarding the growth of an agriculture-based industry in West Alabama, possibly creating as many as 1,100 jobs in our area. Our membership feels strongly about committing its resources, including both time and money, to turning these things from talking points into sources of community pride.”