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Chamber unveils 'Forsyth First' campaign
New effort emphasizes doing business locally
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Forsyth County News
For more information on the program, which begins Nov. 17, contact (770) 887-6461 or go online at

In less than two weeks, the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce will roll out a program it hopes will help roll money into local businesses.

"Forsyth First," as the campaign will be called, encourages businesses and residents to buy goods and services locally.

"Given the economy, people want to spend dollars with people they know," said James McCoy, the chamber's president and chief executive officer.

"They want to build relationships with people in their community and it ends up helping us all out, as homeowners, as residents and as business people, if we all do business with one another first."

Beginning Nov. 17, the chamber's Web site will serve as an auction outlet for businesses needing services.

Instead of conventional methods, a business can post information on the goods or services it needs. The chamber will then contact related businesses and handle the bidding process, McCoy said.

The arrangement allows the business to receive the best deal and offers the potential to do business inside the county.

"We're just trying to facilitate people doing commerce with each other a little easier," McCoy said.

He said the Web site also gives businesses the opportunity to post open jobs.

"I think that if people take advantage of those, they're bound to see results," he said.

Julie Wear is co-owner of the Nurturing Nook, a new-age book and gift store in north Forsyth that will participate in the program.

"It makes perfect sense to support your local businesses," she said. "Small business people are the backbone of American and everyone needs to help themselves these days, and help each other."

Ann Crow, executive vice president of Crow Financial, said the effort is a positive one, given the current economy.

"With gas prices like they were and with people staying closer to home, I think the support of small businesses is there," she said.

Crow, who serves on the Forsyth County Board of Education, said more business in the county could also help sales tax collections.

The school system's 1-cent sales tax revenue was down nearly 20 percent last month from the same time a year earlier. The dropoff could slow construction of new facilities.

"It would very much boost our local [sales tax] efforts to collect more taxes," Crow said. "Whatever taxes we collect will be applied to our building program. We're just at the mercy to what the economy does."

McCoy said sales tax figures weren't the inspiration for the program, but they could be a beneficiary.

"It's the need to, during this difficult time, think about ways we can be investing in ourselves," he said. "The lower [sales tax] dollars are just a symptom of a greater economic issue, not just as a community, but as a country."