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Hall chamber has A Great Story to Tell
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As bad news abounds, The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce is rallying the community to share their great stories with a new marketing initiative.

At a news conference Wednesday morning, local business leaders unveiled a new interactive Web site called "A Great Story to Tell." highlights the positive news coming out of Gainesville and Hall County while showcasing how the community is unique.

"We’ve been through tough times. It’s only natural you get down about things," said John Vardeman, president of Morton Vardeman & Carlson. "Things really aren’t as bad as it seems, especially here in Gainesville-Hall County."

Vardeman said the goal of the new initiative is to raise optimism in the community as well as to market the area to prospective businesses.

"We will use this for economic development," Vardeman said.

Frank Norton Jr., president of the Norton Agency, said A Great Story to Tell will be implemented using the support of local business and government.

Norton urged people to place stickers with the Great Story to Tell logo on their buildings and hyperlink to on their own Web sites.

"We need to send people to our Web site," Norton said. "This community has a legacy of great stories."

Norton mentioned some of the "great stories" coming out of Gainesville — a nearly full Lake Lanier attracting more visitors, a high number of industrial prospects and a low unemployment rate.

Lance Compton, president of Red Clay Interactive, said what truly sets this Web site apart is the interactive component.

"The whole critical part of this being a great success is the citizens telling their stories," Compton said. "That to me is the key. It’s got to be a grass roots effort. It’s not a chamber site, It’s a community site."

Norton said a community-wide effort is what it will take to truly get out of the recession.

"We are in this bucket together. We cannot rely on a stimulus plan to get us out of this bucket," Norton said. "The best stimulus starts right here and it starts within each of our own businesses."

Gainesville Mayor Myrtle Figueras said she is excited about A Great Story to Tell.

"We spend too much time focusing on the ugly," Figueras said. "I really do appreciate you all for instigating and bringing this."

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