Staff photo by Emmy Errante
Pres Davenport, a Wrightsville Beach Chamber of Commerce board member, speaks to other members during a luncheon on Monday, Feb. 25, at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort.
The Blockade Runner Beach Resort hosted the Wrightsville Beach Chamber of Commerce’s first official luncheon on Monday, Feb. 25, with close to 40 representatives from area businesses in attendance.
For first-time attendees to a WBCOC function, Sweetwater Surf Shop’s Danielle Bourgeois and Jason Baysden said they like the idea of a prominent chamber in Wrightsville Beach to help promote coordination between the businesses and the betterment of the business community.
“Every successful beach town in Florida has a good chamber,” Baysden said. “I know whenever I am taking a trip somewhere now I always check out the chamber to see what is there.”
Adele McMurtrey, general manager for the Oceanic restaurant, said she also likes the way the chamber can help the business community have a stronger voice in local government.
“I guess it can be easy to think about what is happening immediately in your house, so to speak, and now you understand what is happening on the beach and how every decision that is made affects you in one way or another,” McMurtrey said. “It’s also just been great meeting the people I just know by face. … It is making us more aware of what is happening on Wrightsville Beach.”
The number of representatives that came to the luncheon from the retail and service industries was a good start, said WBCOC board member Sue Bulluck, adding she would like to see more participation from area bankers and real estate agencies.
“It is so very interesting because in the past we had a plethora of mortgage bankers, banks, real estate operations that made up a bulk of the membership, which was actually one of the things that drove the retail folks into a coalition as the merchant’s association,” Bulluck said. “All in all I thought it was a good cross section.”
One of the tools chamber members will be able to utilize in the near future is a new WBCOC website, which Bulluck said would be similar to the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce site.
“We envision it being a local kind of website, much the same as Carolina Beach, that focuses on events that are not regional and on local merchant advertising,” she said. “So there is a place for the Saturday night special to be posted that doesn’t get posted on the Visit Wrightsville Beach site.”
The site is already funded by rollover funds allocated for the project last year by the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority. Bulluck said WBCOC board members Pres Davenport and Lisa Weeks were currently working with a couple of graphic designers to develop a plan for the site.
“I think the new board members are getting organized,” Bulluck said. “It is a new day and we are moving forward.”