After half a century in downtown Brooksville, the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce has relocated its headquarters to the Hernando County Airport and Business Center.
Just off Spring Hill Drive on Aviation Loop, the new location provides much-needed meeting and training space, said chamber president Pat Crowley. And it puts the chamber at the hub of the county's economic development efforts.
An official grand opening will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday. Randy Woodruff, chamber board chairman, will serve as master of ceremonies.
"This chamber has always been about benefits to the small business," Crowley said. And the new location and training academy, she said, will take that service to the next level.
The Brooksville chamber building, on Fort Dade Avenue, had only 1,400 square feet. The new headquarters, with about 5,000 square feet, will allow for a variety of events, networking and training. And it will house the new Business Training Academy, which will serve entrepreneurs just getting started, as well as those who have experienced success and are looking to grow.
Business coordinator Lori Bainum is collaborating with business owners and employers, as well as other training organizations such as the Service Corps of Retired Executives and Career Central, to design training programs specifically to meet the needs of today's CEO and employee, and those looking for work.
The training academy will also serve as a business resource to help individuals know what type of training is already available.
"There are so many people who are doing great things," Bainum said. "We don't want to reinvent the wheel."
To celebrate the grand opening, a series of free workshops, ranging from networking to stress management, will be offered this week.
"In this economy, training is important to get a job and to maintain a job," Crowley said.
And for businesses that have survived the recession, it's likely they've already done something different.
"If you've made it this far, you had to transition," Crowley said. "Whatever you did three years ago, you had to update."
Despite the fresh paint and new location, the chamber still intends to serve as an information hub for those seeking information about everything from hiking trails and events to schools and places to shop and eat.
"Members will want to come in and check it out," Woodruff said. "It will be a catalyst for involvement. In the next few years, you'll see a more active and vibrant chamber."
Shary Lyssy Marshall can be reached at [email protected]