Elkin was host to 38 businesses at the Liberty on Thursday as the annual BizFest, put on by the Surry County Economic Development Partnership and the Yadkin Valley and Greater Mount Airy chambers of commerce, came to town.
Representative of Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital Lori Gwyn said, “It is great to see businesses of Surry County networking and meeting one another.” She added it was rewarding to see so many businesses in Surry County represented at the BizFest.
Larry Calloway with the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Forsyth County Economic Development networked busily around the room to find out more about employment in the area. Calloway works specifically with a focus on finding employment for military veterans and called BizFest an opportunity to find veterans employment. Calloway said there is a tax credit for hiring veterans that may save employers from $1,200 to $9,000.
Traci Haynes of WorkForce Carolina said the company has attended BizFest every year and are partners with Surry County Development Partnership.
Three Elkin High School students, Ellie Hooper, Kendra Settle and Laura Holloway, who volunteered for the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce, said they were enjoying themselves. Hooper said, “I think it is incredible to see how much Surry County and Elkin has to offer.”
Darlene Casstevens said she came to find out what was going on in the local business scene, especially for her daughter and husband who have small businesses. Casstevens said her daughter owns Stinils sewing shop in Elkin.
Curtis Taylor, general manager of Surry Telephone Corp., which was the title sponsor, thanked participants and Liberty owner, Cicely McCulloch.
LeeAnn Stokes, vice president of Surry County Economic Development Partnership, recognized sponsors and the BizFest team.
Todd Tucker, president of the Surry County Economic Development Partnership, was moderator for a panel discussion that involved Paul Hammes, CEO of Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital; Sean Peters, VP of operations at MVP International; Ken Gulaian, owner of Round Peak Vineyards and Skull Camp Brewery; and Scott Needham, owner of the Living Room Coffee House and Wine Bar.
Douglas Sanders, who does all the showcase events for the Liberty, said, “We are so happy to be able to showcase the facility to the businesses in the community.”
Tanya Chilton may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @TanyaTDC.