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Chamber party gives stage to businesses

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

About a hundred members of the Clayton County business community gathered at Costco Wholesale in Morrow on Thursday for the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce's Summer BASH (Business and Social Hour).

Rather than interacting in a static environment, the chamber's seasonal bash gives its members a chance to network and see what the businesses in the county have to offer first hand.

"Having them here is like inviting your friends to your house," said Ovy Rodriguez, marketing manager for Costco, the host of this summer's bash. Members of the chamber, a small number of elected officials, and representatives from various businesses and non-profit organizations gathered in a far corner of the store for food and refreshments.

All the items served are those easily found on the shelves at Costco.

"Perhaps people in the bash may not know that you have something to offer for them," said Rodriguez. "The main thing we try to do here is keep that relationship going and growing, so that way, we can continue to grow our business."

While giving business people the chance to network, the event also gave two groups a chance to set up a display of what they have to offer. Clayton County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and Fellowship Senior Day Care were the event's exhibitors.

"This is the first actual chamber bash we have done," said Jane Glaze, treasurer for the Clayton County CASA advisory board. "We feel like the chamber is a good way to get our name out there to people who don't understand what we do."

CASA members serve as the eyes and ears of judges, and advocate on behalf of children in cases of abuse and neglect.

Every year, CASA hosts the "Darlin' Duck Derby" -- an event in which people race rubber ducks down a man-made course in a fund-raiser to battle abuse and neglect of children.

"Waddles" the Duck, the mascot for CASA, was present at the bash to advertise and interact with the crowd. Between shaking hands, Waddles took time to sample the free buffet, which included fruit, spinach dip, and his brethren fowl, chicken.

"The point of the bash is twofold," said Yulonda Beauford, vice president of the chamber. "It's an opportunity for the member locations to host an event at their location and to inform the public a little more about what they do.

"You get a chance to get somebody directly into your business ... it's a chance to see it first hand."