Biz Roundup: Steve Chandler of ‘Be An Original’ campaign to speak at Chamber event

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 2, 2021

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Chamber of Commerce will host Steve Chandler, of Chandlerthinks, as the keynote speaker at the last Power in Partnership of the season and Leadership Rowan Graduation on May 20 at 7:30 a.m.

The event will be a hybrid-virtual event held via Zoom webinar. A targeted group of business leaders and community members will be invited to attend the event in person at the N.C. Transportation Museum.

Elaine Spalding, president of the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber is excited to “dip its toes” into hosting in-person events again and will look for more opportunities to do so in the coming months, as health and safety guidelines allow.

The Power in Partnership is sponsored by Duke Energy and co-presented by the Rowan Tourism Development Authority and Rowan EDC.

Chanderthinks is the agency that developed the “Be An Original” campaign for Rowan County. During his presentation, Chandler will share recent survey results indicating how the county has used the campaign to improve its image in recent years.

Chandler is a career place marketing strategist with over 20 years of experience in strategic planning and brand development. His emphasis is connected to the branding and marketing of cities, counties, downtowns and regions. Chandler has been a part of over 100 place marketing projects in over 25 different states. 

Chandler started in the world of marketing and branding through stints at traditional branding and advertising agencies working on classic national packaged goods brands. The company has worked with over 50 communities in the past eight years including Rowan County.

For non-Power Card holders, individual reservations for the event are welcome. The reservation deadline is Tuesday, May 18 at 5 p.m. The cost is $15 for Chamber of Commerce members and $25 for non-members. More information on reservations can be found by calling the chamber at 704-633-4221 or

After this month’s Power in Partnership, the chamber will take a break in the summer and resume the series in September. The Power Card discounted frequent attender program will be available for the Sept. 2021 – May 2022 series. Speakers will be announced soon.

Rowan County Department of Social Services names new deputy director

SALISBURY — After serving as Program Administrator of the Social Work Services Division since 2016, Lisa Berger has been promoted to the position of deputy director of Social Services.

“I stepped out on faith and moved to Rowan County from West Virginia to start a new career in child protective services,” Berger said in a news release. “Every day working in social work services was an adventure. It was an opportunity for me to help others and to learn from others, and I had strong mentors to help me along the way.”

With degrees in psychology and sociology, Berger worked for five years in the field before she started as a social worker in Rowan County 1997. Berger was quickly promoted to social work supervisor, where she served for over 16 years. 

Lisa Berger was recently promoted to deputy director of the Rowan County Department of Social Services. Photo submitted.

When Berger became program administrator of the social work services division, she helped oversee the completion of the division’s merger of child welfare and adult services. Among her accomplishments as program administrator, Berger played a key role in sustaining the Partnering for Excellence initiative, aimed at identifying and addressing trauma-related needs as early as possible.

Berger is credited in her division with consistently using data to drive practice, keeps her leaders and staff up-to-date and is known for her PowerPoint presentations. 

“I’m excited for the opportunity to continue my partnership with (DSS Director) Micah Ennis on achieving the vision we have for the department,” Berger said. “We are striving to put service excellence at the forefront for staff and the community we serve. I look forward to enhancing quality assurance through training and using data to guide practice across all service areas throughout the department.”

Rowan Chamber qualifies to apply for Chamber of the Year competition

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Chamber of Commerce has qualified to apply for the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives’ 2021 Chamber of the Year competition.

“This is the big Kahuna,” said Elaine Spalding, president of Rowan County Chamber of Commerce. “This is the national group, so it is extremely humbling and gratifying to be recognized on a national basis by our chamber peers.”

The competition is split into three categories, based on chamber size. Rowan County’s chamber will compete in the medium-size category. By qualifying to compete, the chamber has cleared the first hurdle in the three-step award process. 

By June 14, the chamber will provide more information about how it helped local business during the pandemic in 2020. The ACCE will then select finalists in each category and will interview members of each chamber. From those finalists, a winner will be selected. Spalding said the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce has advanced to the final round before.

Chambers honored with the Chamber of the Year designation have demonstrated success in business leadership and organizational strength, but have also made an impact on key community priorities such as education, transportation, healthcare and cultural vitality.

The Chamber of the Year is the nation’s only award recognizing the dual role chambers have in supporting businesses and leading communities. 

Kannapolis Farmers Market to open season Thursday

KANNAPOLIS — The Kannapolis Farmers Market will open for the 2021 season on Thursday.

The market will be held every Thursday from 4-7 p.m. at the corner of Vance Ave. and Dale Earnhardt Blvd. The market continues through September. The market will open with over ten new vendors. Shoppers will be able to get their locally sourced veggies and fruits while also grabbing dinner from a food truck, buying fresh flowers and purchasing a variety of regional gifts such as soaps, jewelry, popcorn, wooden crafts and more.

While supplies last, customers can receive a free reusable bag when making a purchase of $10 or more from a new vendor. For customers’ convenience, most vendors accept credit/debit cards. Customers and vendors are asked to continue to follow CDC guidelines for Covid-safe best practices.

To sign up for text message reminders and updates about the farmers market and specials that vendors may be offering, text MARKET to 855-969-4358.

Charlotte Regional Business Alliance offers scholarship to minority entrepreneurs

Through its ScaleUp CLT program, the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance is offering scholarships that will help minority entrepreneurs in the Charlotte region grow their businesses.

“I think this is a wonderful program to help them improve their own business and have a network of other minority owned businesses across the region,” said Elaine Spalding, Rowan County Chamber of Commerce president.

Each selected business receives a scholarship worth over $12,000. The business will earn a slot in the EO Accelerator (worth $2,500), Ally Investor level at the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance ($5,000), participation at the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance Leadership Retreat in Fall 2021 ($1,300), ability to attend Charlotte Regional Business Alliance Exploring Economies trip to Austin in 2022 ($3,600) and an invitation to Charlotte Regional Business Alliance Investor Quarterly meetings. Each entrepreneur is asked to contribute $1,000 of their own investment in the program.

To be eligible, a business must meet the following criteria:

  • Annual revenue $250K-999K
  • Entrepreneur
  • Companies must be at least 51% racial/minority-owned
  • Business must operate in the Charlotte Region
  • You must reside in the Charlotte Region

Applications must be submitted online at by May 28. All applications will be reviewed by the selection committee and candidates will be notified by June 30, 2021.

Fully participating in this program will require an on-going commitment of about 18-24 months. Applicants are asked to consider their time commitment before applying.

Questions about the program can be directed to Cherise Walker, vice president of talent development for the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, at

Lowe’s poised to hire thousands in Charlotte region during National Hiring Day

Lowe’s Home Improvement is preparing to hire more than 1,100 new associates across its Charlotte stores during the company’s National Hiring Day on Tuesday.

Nationwide, Lowe’s will welcome 50,000 new seasonal, part-time and full-time U.S. store associates across a variety of positions to help customers tackle their home projects this spring and summer. 

To take advantage of the event and secure a new job, applicants are encouraged to apply in person at Lowe’s stores from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Tuesday. Lowe’s in Salisbury is located at 207 Faith Road. Lowe’s also has locations in Lexington, Mocksville and Kannapolis.

No reservations or resumes are required, but interested applicants can reserve their spot and learn more about the hiring event at Once at Lowe’s, candidates can also meet hiring managers, speak with associates and even receive on-the-spot offers. 

Part-time and full-time careers are inclusive of competitive pay for hourly associates and a wide variety of health, welfare and financial benefits to full-time and part-time associates, including health care and insurance benefits, retirement plans, an employee stock purchase plan, paid time off, leave programs and tuition assistance.

SBA now accepting applications for Restaurant Revitalization Fund

The Small Business Administration on Friday began accepting applications for grants from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

Established by the American Rescue Plan, the fund provides a total of $28.6 billion in direct relief funds to restaurants and other hard-hit food establishments that have experienced economic distress and significant operational losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Funds must be used for allowable expenses by March 11, 2023.

“Restaurants are the core of our neighborhoods and propel economic activity on main streets across the nation. They are among the businesses that have been hardest hit and need support to survive this pandemic. We want restaurants to know that help is here,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a news release. “The SBA has focused on the marketplace realities of our food and beverage businesses in designing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to meet businesses where they are. And we are committed to equity to ensure our smaller and underserved businesses, which have suffered the most, can access this critical relief, recover, and grow more resilient.”

For the first 21 days of the program, the SBA will prioritize funding applications from businesses owned and controlled by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. All eligible applicants are encouraged to submit applications as soon as the portal opens. Following the 21 days, all eligible applications will be funded on a first-come, first-served basis.

In preparation, the SBA recommends qualifying applicants familiarize themselves with the application process in advance to ensure a smooth and efficient application experience, specifically by:

About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at

email author More by Ben