The Lamar County Chamber has exceeded many goals since March 2018 when Paul Allen stepped into the role of chamber president. With its ambassador program jumping from 27 members to 70 in under a year, Allen is excited for what’s in store this year and next.
“This will definitely be a new adventure for me,” Allen said at the time he became president. “I think this is a great fit with a great supportive board and a team that we have in place already.”
Adding he was excited to represent local businesses large and small, he felt every member had something unique to offer, and it was essential to continue the support growth for Lamar County businesses.
“We have achieved so much since I have been in this position,” Allen said. “And there’s so much more that we as a team here are excited to get rolling for our members, ambassadors and the community.”
He said he’s seen a lot of his initial goals accomplished already. From creating new connections with local school districts to a summer internship program to a junior leadership program, the chamber is blazing the way for tomorrow’s leaders. Allen said it’s been a rewarding process for the chamber’s employees.
“We created a ‘women empowering women’ event that went over extremely well,” he said. “And we are going to have that again in November.”
The chamber under Allen’s leadership also has created networking events, such as the business before hours events to spotlight the area’s nonprofit organizations. The set up is similar to the business after hours events, as each takes place at a different spot. The events offer chamber members and the public an opportunity to socialize and to get to know each other.
“Things keep progressing well with the chamber. We have great support from investors and the local council as well as other organizations that we work with regularly,” Allen said.
“It’s a continual thing of looking at what can we do to add value to our members.”
The chamber is an effective community tool tying a community together, from welcoming new people to town to hosting ribbon cuttings to celebrating long-time employers. Allen said the chamber is invested in putting Lamar County and Paris on the map by continuing its involvement in hosting and supporting events.
“We’re blessed to have not only the small mom-and-pop style businesses, but also our local entrepreneurs and large businesses, like the Campbell Soups, Kimberly-Clark, and we are set to welcome (American) SpiralWeld to the community. This all is a part of what makes our community a successful one,” Allen said.
The growth of larger industries supports the growth of smaller businesses as they draw in new people for employment and offer jobs with higher-than-average salaries. They can even become an attraction themselves drawing visitors to town.
Allen encourages all to stop by the chamber and find out what to discover in Paris and Lamar County.
“We are hoping to add in the future a regular Eiffel Tower tour that our visitors can enjoy when they stop into the area,” Allen said.