Getting Closer to Members
As some of you may know, ACCE’s lease is set to expire soon. The team has been very happy in Alexandria; it is a beautiful place and has been ACCE’s home for almost a century. But we’re a long way from a lot of our members. We’ve always thought, wouldn’t it be great to be closer to more of you all, geographically speaking.
Therefore, after much deliberation, ACCE has decided to relocate the headquarters office to beautiful Lebanon, Kansas – the geographic dead center of the contiguous 48 states.
Lebanon (pop. 218) is smack dab in between Salina, Kansas and Grand Island, Nebraska and less than 200 miles from Wichita and Omaha. Denver International Airport, one of the top 5 busiest in the country, is a mere 354 miles down Highway 36. Lebanon is, quite literally, the center of it all.
We considered cities with major air hubs like Atlanta, Detroit, and Los Angeles. But in any of those places we’d still be closer to one corner of the country. In Lebanon, ACCE staff will be equally close to Boston and San Francisco. Our international members will have great access too, Winnipeg and Monterrey are virtually equidistant. Everyone wins!
Since announcing the decision earlier this week, excitement around the office has been palpable. As you can imagine, staff are really excited about the move and the new vacation options it will open. Our sun lovers will be able to hit Pacific coast beaches just as quickly as those on the Atlantic. Office anglers can wet a line in either Lake Superior or the Gulf of Mexico, they are comparably close.
We hope you all will find time to stop by our new home base when we move this fall. You’ll pass us any time you go from coast to coast, so there is no excuse for not dropping in. When you arrive we’ll greet with a warm, “April Fools."
Have a great April Fools weekend everyone!
Oklahoma City Rated No. 1
Cost-Attractive Mid-Size City
Oklahoma City has been ranked No. 1 in KPMG’s Cost-Attractive Business Locations study, a component of KPMG’s 2012 Global Competitive Alternatives study. The study measures business operating costs in more than 110 cities in 14 countries. Oklahoma City was named the No. 1 most cost-attractive business location among mid-sized U.S. cities, which includes both cost and non-cost factors such as labor availability and quality of life.
“Oklahoma City’s business community already knows what this study reveals: our business environment--everything from cost to available labor force to quality of life--makes this the best place to do business,” said Roy H. Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, and chairman elect of ACCE. “This study compares Oklahoma City to some tough competition across the nation, and results show that we offer the most secure environment for businesses to flourish.”
The study measured 26 components in each market, as they apply to 19 industries over a 10-year span. More than 1,900 individual business scenarios were examined, analyzing more than 50,000 items of data. Information was also provided on a variety of non-cost components. Oklahoma City had a cost index of 95.5, representing business costs 4.5 percent below the U.S. national baseline of 100.0.
“While business costs are a major component of the site-selection process, businesses should carefully consider non-cost factors that influence the business attractiveness of different locations,” said Hartley Powell, principal in KPMG’s Global Location and Expansion Services practice. “Our study addresses these non-cost factors, which include labor availability and skills, economic conditions, infrastructure, innovation, regulatory environment, cost of living and quality of life.”
Oklahoma City’s strong cost advantages for labor, facility leases, expenses and property taxes contributed to its ranking. Oklahoma City was followed by Nashville, New Orleans and Indianapolis. Full global study results can be found at www.competitivealternatives.com.
DC Cherry Blossom Festival's Chamber Roots
As we watch our nation's capital transform itself into a breathtaking sight with the blooming of its famous cherry blossoms, ACCE's Chris Mead thinks you'll find this article title interesting. It’s from the Washington Post, dated April 13, 1929:
“Annual Cherry Bloom Fete Planned by Chamber Group”
The lead organizer for the Washington Chamber of Commerce on this project, Isaac Gans, said such a festival would be “the best way I know of to boost Washington.” He predicted 250,000 visitors.
Almost certainly, this festival was inspired by the Apple Blossom Festival, begun by the Winchester (VA) Chamber of Commerce in 1924. By 1929, that Winchester festival attracted 100,000 people each year, including 10,000 people who marched in its parade. This festival was written up from time to time in the Washington Post and in 1929 30 northern Virginia schools sent groups to march in that parade. That Apple Blossom Festival continues to this day.
Perhaps the stock market crash of 1929 caused the delay in starting the Cherry Blossom Festival. In any case, in 1934, the Washington Chamber of Commerce merged with the Washington Board of Trade, and that same year the group(s) put on the first Cherry Blossom Festival. It attracted 500,000 people – twice Isaac Gans’s estimate – in the first year.
Profiles In Courage
Branson Recovery Continues
Here's an update on recovery efforts in Branson, Mo., from the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau:
Recovery efforts continue following the touchdown of an EF-2 tornado (winds up to 135 mph) in Branson, Mo., in the early morning hours of Feb. 29. Fortunately, no fatalities have been reported, although a significant number of minor injuries and property damage were reported.
“We feel very blessed that there was no loss of life due to the tornado that struck Branson, and our thoughts and prayers go out to those families who did lose loved ones as a result of this large storm system that affected much of the Midwest,” said Branson Chamber President and CEO Ross Summers.
The majority of the storm damage is in sections of W 76 Country Boulevard west of Gretna Road/Hwy 165 and the Branson Convention Center area. Recovery and rebuilding efforts are underway and will continue, with many of the affected businesses reopening or scheduled to reopen in the coming days. W 76 Country Boulevard (also known as the world famous “Branson Strip”) has been reopened to traffic, and visitors are traveling to and from attractions, shows and restaurants unencumbered. Visitors are able to get to and from shows playing currently, with more shows opening as scheduled for the 2012 season next week.
Although much of the damage caused by the tornado was localized to the downtown section of The Strip, numerous residents throughout Stone and Taney Counties were also affected. Damage assessments to private homes are still underway. Power has been restored to the majority of the affected area, and utility crews continue to service areas that are still without power.
Branson Landing has made significant progress in recovery, and the majority of retailers and restaurants will be open for business today. The Branson Airport was unaffected by the storms, and flights are departing and arriving with no delays. Major attractions such as Silver Dollar City, Sight and Sound Theatre, and Showboat Branson Belle (while closed during the first quarter of the year), sustained no damage; TITANIC Museum Attraction, Hughes Brothers Theatre, RFD-TV The Theatre, IMAX Entertainment Complex, Tanger Outlet Mall, and numerous other theatres, attractions, restaurants and retail stores are also undamaged, remain open and are welcoming visitors to the Live Music Show Capital of the World.
It appears that only six of the 50+ theatres in Branson sustained significant damage as a result of the storms. A list of scheduled show opening dates will be posted on www.ExploreBranson.com. The vast majority of shows will open or have already opened on schedule for the 2012 season.
About 10 percent of the 200+ hotels in Branson sustained damage as a result of the storms, with varying degrees of severity. Estimated opening dates for those affected hotels will be posted on www.ExploreBranson.com. Branson has more than 18,000 lodging units, and can host up to 60,000 visitors a day. The storm damage has not substantially affected Branson’s lodging capacity, and the vast majority of accommodations are open for business as usual.
The resilience of the Ozark people, their faith and steadfast nature will shine through this unfortunate situation, and Branson will rebuild and recover quickly.
For up to date information, situation updates, road closures, show schedule changes, affected attractions, restaurants and shopping, consumers should visit www.ExploreBranson.com or call 800-296-0463.