4I have written several articles over the last year expounding on the relevancy and growth of the Greater Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and what it has meant to the development of our local economy and our growing community.
The successful growth refers to the impressive 47% increase in Chamber membership over the past year and the organization's makeup. The Chamber now has a robust and dedicated board of directors under the leadership of Cape Fear Valley Medical Center executive Brian Pierce, providing guidance and support to the Chamber's president, Nat Robertson, Fayetteville's former mayor. Robertson has assembled a support staff of extraordinarily talented and dedicated professionals who mirror the Chamber's mission and mandates.
Economic Development: The Greater Fayetteville Chamber believes in doing business locally. Money spent here stays here. The Chamber attracts and supports local businesses, attracts new investments and fosters economic growth. The Chamber helps create jobs by supporting local businesses and positively boosts Fayetteville and Cumberland County's financial health.
Networking Opportunities: The Chamber provides over one hundred opportunities yearly for local businesses to connect, collaborate, form partnerships, and brand themselves in the Fayetteville community. This network of events leads to increased business opportunities, resource sharing, and collective problem-solving within the community. It also provides a platform for responsible city and county elected officials and staff to meet with business constituents to share insights and comment on local issues impacting business and the community.

Advocacy and Representation: The Chamber acts as a collective voice for local businesses, advocating for their interests at all levels of government. Fayetteville Chamber businesses represent thousands of residents who can influence the business environment's policy decisions to create favorable economic activity and a higher quality of life.
Community Development: Far beyond business and economic functions, Chamber CEO Robertson and staff have engaged in community-building activities, such as organizing events, supporting local charities, and sponsoring free countywide concerts.4a
This fosters a sense of pride and cohesion within the community. These efforts improve residents' quality of life and create a stronger, more vibrant community.
All these successful traits were on display and evident at the May 16 Chamber Coffee Club at Segra Stadium when Chamber CEO Nat Robertson and Director Emeritus George Breece addressed a "standing room only" audience to recognize Tony Chavonne and his wife Joanne for their long-standing contributions to the Fayetteville, Ft. Liberty and Cumberland County.
Chavonne, former Fayetteville mayor, the retired general manager of the Fayetteville Observer, and owner of CityView Magazine, received the Breece Legacy Award with his wife Joanne, who co-founded Fayetteville Cares. This nonprofit organization sent care packages to deployed service members.
The Breece Legacy Award is presented each year to a Chamber member who distinguishes themselves by practicing and reflecting the same business values and high humanity standards as the Greater Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.
During the same event, the Chamber's Military Affairs Council chair, Nicole Winget, presented Ft. Liberty's Garrison Commander Col. John Wilcox with the Iron Mike trophy.
This bronze sculpture is a replica of the 15' statue at Ft. Liberty as a testament to the dedication, courage, and sacrifice of the Paratroopers who have fought and served their country in the United States Army. This trophy represents a tradition that has recognized and honored exceptional leadership and dedication for decades. Col. Wilcox exemplifies that with his many contributions to the Chamber and the Fayetteville community.
These are only two examples of what outstanding leadership can do for a community. The Chamber of Commerce makes three. Good leadership is present, seen, and heard throughout the community.
I hope others will follow their example of constantly "doing the right things for the right reasons."
Everyone here at Up & Coming Weekly Community Newspaper hopes you had a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend and remembered and honored all those who have served in the U.S. Military and died defending our freedoms. Every Day is Memorial Day in Fayetteville, Ft. Liberty, and Cumberland County!
Thank you for reading and supporting Up & Coming Weekly.


(Photos- Top Photo: Left to Right: Chamber CEO Nat Robertson, Chamber Board Chairman Brian Pierce, Legacy Award Winners Tony and Joanne Chavonne, Chamber Director Emeritus George Breece and Chamber Board member Gary Rogers. The Chavonnes were recognized with the Breece Legacy Award, May 16.  Bottom Photo: Chamber CEO Nat Robertson, Chamber Board Chairman Brian Pierce, Garrison Commander Col. John Wilcox, Military Affairs Council chair, Nicole Winget and Chamber Board member Gary Rogers. Col. Wilcox was presented with the Iron Mike trophy, May 16, which represents a tradition that has recognized and honored exceptional leadership and dedication for decades. Photos courtesy of the Greater Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.)

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