Building The Future: The Focus of YOUR Chamber

By Teri Coutu

We’re only in the first quarter of 2023 and it already seems like 2022 was a very long time ago!

Like many non-profits, the financial recovery after two years of COVID restraints has been slow. However, that has not stopped the Chamber Board of Directors from moving things forward in an efficient manner.

While the Chamber is best-known for our signature events including the Dirty Dancing Festival and the Holiday Gala, our true mission and purpose revolves around “promoting economic progress and quality of life in the Hickory Nut Gorge.”  To do that, we were involved in several projects in the area, both in providing guidance and support, as well as initiating new opportunities.


Proud Moments: As A Chamber, one of our proudest moments came when we participated in the groundbreaking for Lake Lure’s first Assisted Living Facility. This project was years in the making and initially spearheaded by the late …. And Chamber Past-President, Tommy Hartzog. The Landings of Lake Lure is planning to open in late 2023.

Sad Realizations: By contrast, one of our saddest moments came when we realized that we were not a desirable location for any of the banks we talked to. Reaching out to more than 40 banks with a prospectus, phone calls and meetings, we were repeatedly told that most banks were closing their service centers and were not interested in taking on the financial responsibility of opening new branches. Thinking outside the box, we researched the feasibility of uniting local investors to create our own local bank, only to learn it was not an option.

Active Participations: Throughout the year, we were involved in numerous local government and tourism committees and task forces, as well as participated in integral regional Economic-focused conferences and meetings. From the “Year of the Trail” task force to the Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority, the NC DOT, and the Town of Lake Lure, we stayed tuned in to the pulse of economic development in the Gorge.

Consultations: Throughout the year, we provided consultations to several businesses looking to open in the area, as well as corporate entities interested in spearheading new developments in our community. Lake Lure’s newest business, Fae Nectar Mead, is one such business that we are excited to see as they bring new activities and a dedicated following of fans to our area!

Additionally, we spent a great deal of time meeting with, researching, and guiding a private investor group interested in creating a historic golf and recreation area on Lake Lure’s public golf course (now green space). This project checked all the boxes for a win-win opportunity that would be good for our community and visitors. If you’re interested in learning more about this exciting proposal, join us at the Bill’s Creek Community Center on March 23rd at 6PM. (198 Club House Rd, Lake Lure) To secure your seat, please RSVP to

The future is bright when everyone works together, so that’s what we continue to focus on as we move into 2023!

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