Have you heard the story about what happens when a fitness club owner and a handyman walk into an ABA meeting? They both make key networking connections that help them move their business forward – even in this unpredictable year. Find out how the ABA has helped the owners of Core 57 and A Minor Touch meet other business owners and share information about their companies.
Napoleon Foster, the owner of A Minor Touch, offers handyman services for small projects in homes and businesses. One of his key markets is North Fulton. He wanted to network with other business owners and potential clients in the area and joined the ABA.
“The ABA assisted my business by providing a format for professional networking,” he said. “This networking opportunity promoted the growth of my business. Most of my business comes as a result of being a member of the ABA.”
He advises other business owners to take advantage of ABA offerings. “Be involved and support ABA activities.”
Kolleen Losch owns Core 57, a fitness club with two locations in Alpharetta and Milton. The club offers group and personal training services as well as performance training and nutrition guidance. She joined the ABA to get connected to downtown Alpharetta businesses.
“We have volunteered at the Farmers Market and we have hosted an ABA Afterhours event virtually,” she said. “We enjoy networking with local businesses and getting to know people in our community.
Learn more about upcoming ABA networking opportunities and how to boost your connections with local companies.
Janet Rodgers is the current President and CEO of the Alpharetta Convention & Visitors Bureau and has been an active member for nearly two decades. She originally joined when the organization was called DABA (Downtown Alpharetta Business Association) almost 20 years ago when she worked as the City of Alpharetta Special Events Director. Janet shares her reasons why she’s been involved with the Alpharetta Business Association for all this time.
Why I’m an ABA member:
“I’ve remained a member of the ABA because it is a collaborative organization that consistently contributes to the success of Alpharetta’s economic development. At the ACVB, our mission is to attract visitors to stay in our 28 Alpharetta hotels. The Downtown Alpharetta area is a
huge component in our tourism marketing efforts including promoting the downtown restaurants, shopping, events, history, arts and attractions. In turn, our hotel industry helps fuel the other businesses in the city. Not only do we have residents doing business with Alpharetta’s shops, restaurants, entertainment venues and events but the visitors staying the night or multiple nights in the 3,571 hotel rooms per night help perpetuate the success of those businesses.”
My favorite ABA memory:
“One of my favorite ABA memories was back in 2000 when I used to create brochures to promote the Downtown Alpharetta businesses. Once the brochures were printed, I delivered them store-by-store in a little red wagon. It was fun way to get to know them and build solid relationships with all the incredible people that owned and operated businesses in the downtown area.”
Special anniversary message:
“I have enjoyed many productive years as a member of ABA and look forward to all we can accomplish together in the years to come. It is incredibly important for all of us to work as a team to ensure our businesses are thriving as we continue Alpharetta’s strong economic development. Happy 25th Anniversary ABA!”
The spring of 2020 has brought its share of challenges to the Alpharetta business community but there are plenty of bright spots. We’ve seen our community honor those who graduated virtually or who had to celebrate milestones away from family and friends. We’ve seen great examples of gratitude to thank front-line workers keeping us safe, healthy, and stocked. Humans always find a way to connect.
The ABA has also adapted to keep our members connected. We’ve held numerous virtual networking, social, and learning events. And, even found a way to host the Farmers Market although in a smaller and physically distant manner. We remain committed to helping you connect with each other and the larger Alpharetta business community. Here are a few tips for ABA members to stay engaged and connected.
1. Share your talents. Getting involved with the ABA helps you build your personal brand, gain opportunities to tell your company’s story, and expand your network. Volunteer for one of the ABA’s community events or share your knowledge by speaking at a meeting. Becky Berry, a Career and Life Coach in Alpharetta, was a featured speaker during an April virtual luncheon. Andy Jordan, EVP/Chief Credit Officer at Providence Bank, provided vital information about the CARES Act during the April virtual breakfast meeting. Both shared their knowledge and expertise – and helped members with valuable ideas and guidance.
2. Sponsor a meeting. This is a great way to share what your business offers and get your products in front of potential customers. The Savory Gourmet in downtown Alpharetta creatively adapted its approach to fit the online meeting format. The market sponsored the April Afterhours event and offered sample trays of goodies for pick up in advance. Beth Johnson, partner of the store, said: “During the live call, I was able to talk about the meats, cheeses and chef prepared items that we offer and show off our space. It was a nice way to stay connected to the ABA while social distancing.” Attendees who joined the virtual meeting enjoyed the food in the comfort of their home offices and learned first-hand about the market’s offerings - a win for everyone!
3. Update online business profiles. Since most people are spending more time online, make sure you review your online profiles. Does your website include customer testimonials? Can potential customers easily contact you from the site? Do you have a LinkedIn profile for both you and your business? Do you have up-to-date recommendations? Have you offered any to others recently? Review and refresh your profiles to ensure you tell the story you want new contacts and potential customers to see.
Tell us how you are using the ABA to stay connected with your professional contacts and meet new ones. Share your story for the chance to be featured in upcoming ABA blogs and social posts by emailing Diane Lasorda
Working from home during these quarantine days and wondering how to continue to make business connections? Boost your virtual networking by leveraging resources offered by the Alpharetta Business Association.
Attend virtual meetings.
The ABA offers ways to virtually connect with other business leaders and government officials. At its April Power Breakfast Networking meeting, Alpharetta Mayor Jim Gilvin urged the more than 45 virtual participants to continue to respond well to the situation and assured the attendees that Alpharetta has the infrastructure to support working remotely. In addition, Providence Bank Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer Andy Jordan shared how the bank is working to help community members during this unusual time. In addition, members had a chance to introduce themselves and their businesses.
Share referrals about other businesses.
If you have first-hand experience with an ABA member or can offer a referral to a member, be sure to share. At the April meeting, ABA members gave shout-outs to local companies they know or with which they have done business:
Browse the ABA Directory to make connections.
Continue to build relationships and nurture your network. Look through the online ABA Directory to identity other members you would like to get to know. Reach out to them to say hello and learn about their company. Learn how you might be able to help each other, both now and in “normal” business times. Make plans to attend an upcoming ABA event together – either virtually or in person when it is safe to do so.
Check out additional networking tips offered in our first Networking in Action blog.
Looking for referrals? The Alpharetta Business Association offers networking breakfasts, after-hours meetings, and other gatherings to help our members connect and find ways to do business with each other. After attending events, do you take advantage of the networking opportunities from the connections you made? Here are five ways to maximize your networking and referrals.
Listen and Ask Questions -- When you meet someone at a networking event, take the time to really listen to what they say. Ask questions to learn more about them, what their business offers, and who their target customers are. Knowing this type of information will help you remember details about the conversation later. People like to be heard and will remember that you took the time to listen, which in turn keeps you – and your business – in their mind.
Be Prepared to Share --In conversations with new acquaintances, be prepared to share a few sentences about yourself and your business. Your ‘elevator pitch’ can help fuel a productive conversation and possibly lead to an opportunity for you to make a referral to someone or for them to do so for you.
Look for Ways to Help -- Look for ways to assist people after you meet them at a networking event. That’s what happened with ABA members Joel Peskin of Joel’s Carpet Service and Lara Dolan, a realtor from The Craft Dolan Team at Ansley Atlanta Real Estate. After meeting Lara at an ABA event, Joel remembered Lara and their conversation and referred her to one of his clients who was looking for a realtor.
Follow-up Promptly --Reach out with people you meet to maximize the impact of new connections. Send an email or thank you note, make a phone call, or connect on LinkedIn with your new contact within a week of your initial meeting. Prompt follow-ups show people that you valued the time spent with them and helps them remember you and your business.
Nurture Your Network -- While you build new relationships, be sure to maintain your existing ones. Healthy relationships – new and old – require time and care. Nurture your relationships by reaching out periodically to offer assistance with a business issue, just to check in, or to catch up over a cup of coffee or a lunch. Or, better yet, make a plan to meet at the next ABA event!
“The state of the City of Alpharetta is remarkable,” declared Jim Gilvin, Mayor of Alpharetta, to the more than 250 people gathered at the State of the City Address and Mayor’s Breakfast on February 13. The Alpharetta Business Association (ABA) hosted the ninth annual event which was held at The Hotel Avalon.
ABA President Darren Carter kicked off the meeting by welcoming attendees who included Alpharetta City Council members, local business leaders, mayors of neighboring cities, and elected officials from the City of Alpharetta, Fulton County, and the State of Georgia. He noted that the ABA has grown from a group of downtown Alpharetta merchants in 1994 to a thriving business organization whose reach extends to every corner of the City.
He also introduced Mayor Gilvin who then shared his vision for the City which included addressing the needs of Alpharetta’s daytime and nighttime populations, road and infrastructure projects, and parks/livability plans.
City Population More Than Doubles During Workdays
Gilvin explained that Alpharetta has an estimated 67,000 residents, making it the fifth largest in the state. It is also a regional employment center whose population almost doubles to 127,000 people during the workweek day as workers commute to the City. That makes Alpharetta the second largest city in daytime influx. Only Atlanta is larger with 296,000 people commuting to work there.
High Business Tax Revenue Keeps Residential Property Tax Lower
“We are an economic engine,” Gilvin said, explaining that Alpharetta’s high number of employers helps make it an economic gateway and corridor for surrounding areas. Alpharetta’s tax digest is $6.3 billion, and the City ranks first in the state in tax digest per capita at $98,547. The tax digest per capita is the total amount of residential and commercial property taxes collected, divided by resident population. High business tax revenue means the City can keep residential property tax lower than most cities its size.
Infrastructure Upgrades Happening Now and Planned for Future
Gilvin wants to serve the needs of residents and commuting workers. The City is currently spending $5 million to pave roads and $2.5 million to maintain the storm water system. Over the next eight years, $200 million is slated for road and infrastructure. Gilvin explained that these unprecedented projects are possible because of partnerships with surrounding communities, the Georgia state legislature, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, and the Fulton County School Board.
Enhancing Livability Includes Parks and North Point Corridor Redevelopment
In addition to addressing infrastructure needs, Gilvin explained the importance of enhancing livability in the City. The City “has to provide an environment where people want to come here from all of the world, not just to do business but to raise their families,” he said. He shared plans for a $10 million project to connect the Alpharetta Greenway to Forsyth County’s Greenway at the intersection of Union Hill and McGinnis Ferry Rd. Eventually, Alpharetta will have more than 20 miles of greenway. Redeveloping the North Point corridor of the City to make it more walkable and draw people in is also part of the City’s future plans.
Finally, he invited attendees to be informed about key matters in front of City Council and share their opinions with their elected officials, particularly about the City’s Homestead Exemption.
As most of you may already know, we at the Alpharetta Business Association (ABA) just celebrated our 25th anniversary in 2019. We are so proud of what we, through the hard work and dedication of our members, have been able to accomplish over those 25 years. Now, with a new decade beginning, we look to the future.
To help kick-off the next quarter-century of the ABA, we’ve created a fresh new look that supports all our ABA brands including the ABA itself, Farmers Market, Brew Moon Fest, State of the City, and the Business Expo.
The new logos help reinforce the ABA’s involvement in Alpharetta events that are important and beneficial to the community and businesses of Alpharetta.
These new logos also represent the successful organization and successful events that YOU, our members, have helped build and grow. It is through your support of the ABA, your attendance at these events, and your volunteered time, that the ABA and these events have become synonymous with the city of Alpharetta… and become examples for other cities to emulate.
Thank you to our members for building the ABA into what it is today and positioning it for success in the next decade.
If you’ve been keeping up with the Alpharetta Business Association this year, you know that we have been celebrating our 25th anniversary. And, you’ve seen us counting down many of the reasons to do business in Alpharetta. Earlier this year, we posted the first five reasons, soon followed up with the second and third sets, and published the fourth set in October. We now present our final five reasons to do business in Alpharetta for a total of 25. Can’t wait to see what you think about the #1 reason!
Diverse Business Possibilities
Even though Alpharetta is known as the “Technology City of the South,” there is a diversity of businesses in our community with almost 4,800 businesses calling the city home. They range from one-person entrepreneurs to big corporations representing a variety of industries. Together, they employ more than 80,500 people. These business owners and executives help preserve Alpharetta’s strong reputation as a business hub in north Metro Atlanta.
Availability of Tax Credits and Incentive Programs
The Local Job Creation Grant Program, created by the City of Alpharetta through the Alpharetta Development Authority, allows business to be paid a grant of up to $500 per new employee up to a cumulative amount of $80,000. New employees must be Alpharetta residents, and the jobs must qualify under the Georgia Job Tax Credit Program.
Business owners in Alpharetta have many opportunities to build relationships with each other through the Alpharetta Business Association and other North Fulton business organizations. Each has its own strengths and focuses on providing various methods of support to area businesses.
Businesses Receptive to Working Together
Alpharetta businesses regularly collaborate to facilitate new business opportunities and enrich the City of Alpharetta. For example, the Alpharetta Business Association and the Milton Business Alliance work together to support North Fulton businesses and help them thrive. Business referrals are made among the memberships and they share an annual networking meeting.
The Alpharetta Business Association
While the other 24 reasons to do business in Alpharetta are all compelling, we feel that the Alpharetta Business Association is the #1 reason to do business here -- because of you! The ABA membership is a group of dedicated business professionals who work collectively to improve the business climate of our City. We’re like-minded business people who agree that Alpharetta is the best place for our businesses. ABA members manage, volunteer and support local community events like the award-winning Farmers Market and Brew Moon Fests as well as business events including the Business Expo, State of the City Mayor’s Address and monthly networking events. You won’t find a better reason to do business in Alpharetta than that!
We appreciate you helping us celebrate the Alpharetta Business Association’s 25th anniversary throughout 2019. We couldn’t have done it without our members – THANK YOU!
This year, the Alpharetta Business Association is celebrating its 25th anniversary. As part of our festivities, we have been reflecting on the 25 reasons to do business in our City. Earlier this year, we posted the first five reasons, soon followed up with the second set, and published the third set last month. We are drawing ever closer to our number one reason to do business in Alpharetta. But first, check out this next list of Alpharetta’s amazing qualities.
Safety is a Priority
Alpharetta is a safe place to raise a family or run a business. The city’s 911 service holds a Triple ACE designation through the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch, one of only 10 operating 911 centers in the U.S. to obtain this designation. The Alpharetta Department of Public Safety, which includes police, fire, and 911 operations, hosts “Walk with a Cop” each month as one of the ways it engages with the community. In addition, Alpharetta was named the 7th Friendliest City in the USA by Forbes Magazine.
Community Provides Excellent Quality of Life
In addition to the award-winning park system, the thriving culinary scene offers more than 200 restaurants from casual fare to upscale dining, as well as four food-related events: Taste of Alpharetta, the Alpharetta Farmers Market, Brew Moon Fests in spring and fall, and Food Truck Alley. Also, there are five distinct shopping districts that are home to a wide range of shopping experiences, including well-known stores and unique boutiques.
Supportive Government Leadership
The City of Alpharetta provides the typical municipal services an active and supportive economic development office, plus a whole lot more! Offerings range from free workshops to teach residents and businesses how to take care of the environment to putting five bike share stations in various parts of the city, to adding 1,600 parking spaces in downtown Alpharetta in a little less than five years to meet the needs as that area grows.
Start Up Support – Especially with Technology
Speaking of supporting growth, Tech Alpharetta, comprised of leading technology companies in Alpharetta, works with the City to identify and pursue key investment opportunities and policy decisions for the city’s technology industry. And, the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) has its North Metro Office in Alpharetta. TAG offers local tech companies access to events, networking, and opportunities to connect and engage with more than 2,000 tech companies and 35,000 tech professionals statewide.
Alpharetta isn’t resting on its laurels. Projects in the works will create 195,000 sq. feet of restaurant and retail space, 1.76 million sq. feet of office space, seven acres of parks and greenspace, and 882 units of residential space. Several hotel projects planned for completion by 2022 will create over 1,000 hotel rooms, and the developing Alpha Loop project will connect popular areas such as Avalon, Downtown, and the Northwinds area via walking and biking trails.
For those Alpharetta residents who were here in the early 1990s, you may remember the downtown area a little differently than it looks today. Back then, there was just a handful of charming local businesses along Main Street and one of those was Nature’s Rainbow Florist owned by Larry Attig. As a founding member, Larry shares his reasons why he has remained active with the Alpharetta Business Association for 25 years.
How the business organization was created:
In 1994, Larry, and a few other like-minded merchants in the downtown area, were concerned about the effect the new North Point Mall would have on their businesses. So, they decided to unite with the purpose of keeping downtown Alpharetta alive. The organization they created was called the Downtown Alpharetta Business Association or DABA which has evolved into what we know today as the Alpharetta Business Association (ABA).
Why I’m still an ABA member:
“The original mission of DABA was to develop a strategy to keep the downtown viable through co-op advertising and marketing. We did this by establishing a relationship with city government to work together to develop and plan to revitalize downtown. Although the original mission of the organization has grown over time, I believe that it is important to keep local businesses united. I’m very supportive of the Farmers Market (Larry and his wife, Margo, started the Market) and Brew Moon Festivals that continue to attract the local community to visit our downtown.”
“When the City was developing the Downtown Master Plan, several ABA members were actively involved in formulating the plan. I remember that Richard Debben and I created some plan renderings and placed them on easels at the ABA booth at the Farmers Market. Every Saturday morning for weeks, we would work at the booth, answer questions, and promote the plan to gain citizen support. It was an exciting time and we really enjoyed it!”
“Congratulations to the ABA on continued success as an organization! Although a lot has changed in 25 years, it’s just as important today as it was in 1994 for businesses to work together and build relationships throughout the entire city. Always continue to look at new ways to carry on the mission of promoting business in Alpharetta.”