Heroes Among Us

by Stevie Kearse, Executive Director RACC

On Saturday evening the Rolla Chamber of Commerce had the pleasure of recognizing several members of our community for their hard work and dedication to the betterment of Rolla, its people, and the economic environment.

If you missed the event, below are the recipients of the awards.

The Edmund Ward Bishop Award is reserved for those individuals who have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to improving the quality of life for their friends, neighbors and business associates. This year’s award was presented to Bob May.


The Annual Achievement Award is reserved for an individual or group of people who have shown exceptional service by recruiting and coordinating volunteers, while significantly contributing to the Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce and/or the Rolla community over the past year. This year’s award is presented to the Rolla Downtown Business Association (RDBA) for their efforts in developing a new event, Downtown Dishes and Drinks, and growing a long-standing Halloween tradition into Boo-Palooza.


The Spirit of Rolla Award is presented to a woman in the community in recognition for significant achievement and/or lifetime contribution to the spirit of giving that is so indicative of Rolla and the surrounding community. This year’s award was presented to Susan Hinkle.


The Small Business of the Year award is reserved for a business in the Rolla area that has excelled in one or more of these categories: Business Growth, Business Management & Human Capital, Community Involvement, Intangible Considerations, and Marketing. This year’s award was presented to Trips and More Travel Agency who has been in business for 47 years in the Rolla community.


The Entrepreneurial Spirit Award is presented to individuals who have led their company toward significant entrepreneurial success in its industry, with excellent prospects for continued growth; consistently given their time, energy and expertise to assist in the development of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ventures; spearheaded the exceptional growth and performance of their company; achieved significant entrepreneurial success in any industry or business category through creativity, innovation, risk taking and the relentless pursuit of opportunity; innovatively used new business practices, processes or technologies to lead his or her enterprise to higher levels of performance and success. This year’s award was presented to Cory & Susan Lawrence, owners of O’Doggy’s.


The Tourism Champion Award is reserved for an individual or business that embodies the spirit of tourism in Rolla. This individual or business has made a substantial contribution to Rolla’s tourism industry by supporting Rolla events and/or attractions, partnering with the Chamber on tourism related projects, or any other effort designed to bring visitors into the Rolla community. This year’s recipient was the Honoring Our Heroes Marathon Committee for their efforts in coordinating and growing the annual marathon.



The Volunteer of the Year Award is reserved for an outstanding volunteer in the Chamber membership who has gone above and beyond expectations of all volunteers. This award is not presented annually but presented when the opportunity occurs. This year’s recipient was Don Brackhahn.

The Rolla community is made up of individuals who give the best of themselves to better the Rolla community, to enhance the business climate, and to create a future for our children.

It is humbling to see so many individuals in one area that would do whatever it takes to make today a better day for others; who would work tirelessly to better the community for the future generation.

On behalf of the Rolla Chamber, we thank all of you for what you do.

The Benefits of Guest Blogging

by Taisia Gordon, Events & Communications Coordinator

Developing content and publishing it on a blog that isn’t your own, otherwise know as guest blogging, can be a powerful tool for business owners.  Not only does it give you the opportunity to share your expertise and spread your brand’s message but it offers a lot of other benefits to both the reader and the writer.  In fact, here’s a list of reasons why you may want to consider guest blogging.

  1. Exposure to a greater audience.  Writing content for your own blog is a good way to stay in touch with people who have already shown an interest in what you have to say.  Guest blogging provides you with the opportunity to engage with a different audience and potentially grow your reach.
  2. Increased Google ranking and website traffic. Every time your name and business appear on a different website or blog, Google moves your own website up the search order rank.  Google interprets your page of greater interest because it is linked to from other pages.
  3. Larger personal network. Being active in the business community increases your visibility and contacts.  Even if you’re not able to attend events in person, a blog is a great way to connect and start a conversation.  As your “voice” is heard through blogs and as your share valuable information with readers, you build trust and connection with your audience.
  4. Increase your social media shares and following. Content that is informative and entertaining is shared throughout social media which can boost follower count and lead generation.
  5. Increase your brand authority. As a guest blogger, you have the opportunity to become a credible source of information and an authority in your niche.  Your audience will realize you are an expert in your field and you build trust with your potential clients.

In summary, guest blogging is a valuable marketing strategy with many benefits.  If you’re interested in giving it a try, reach out to the companies you’d like to guest blog for with several solid guest post topics and deliver valuable information.  Once you jump in, you’ll reap the powerful benefits.


Get Involved in 2019

by Taisia Gordon, Event & Communications Coordinator

The Rolla Chamber of Commerce offers a wide range of events and networking opportunities each year.  We want to offer you, our members, every chance to connect with others and grow your business.

In 2019 we will continue with all of our popular events like the monthly business luncheons, First Friday Coffees, Casino Night and Bulldog Pride Night.  We are also adding some new events that we believe will enhance your visibility and provide a different avenue for involvement such as Tuesday Mornings Live and an Online Business Expo.

We encourage members to look ahead at all the Rolla Chamber events as you plan your networking and marketing strategies for 2019.  There are numerous ways to participate including attending, sponsoring, or volunteering for events.  The monthly business luncheon, First Friday Coffee and Tuesday Mornings Live offer you 36 opportunities alone this year to participate!!  In addition to ribbon cuttings, seminars and committee meetings there are also unique events throughout the year.  For a full calendar of events visit www.rollachamber.org.  We look forward to seeing you in 2019!!

Monthly Networking Events

First Friday Coffee:  The first Friday of each month

Business Luncheon:  The third Wednesday of each month

Tuesday Mornings Live:  The fourth Tuesday of each month


Yearly Events & Activities


99th Annual Awards Banquet

Saturday, January  19

6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.



Chamber 101

February 12



St. Pat’s 5k/Beer Run

March 16, 2019

8:00 a.m. 5k

9:30 a.m. Beer Run



Memorial Day Service

Monday, May 27

10:00 a.m.


Small Business Week

May 5-11th


AUSA Barbecue

May 30th



Mini Golf Tournament

Monday, June 10th

5:00 p.m.



Great Gatsby Casino Night

Saturday, July 27th

6:00 p.m.



Bulldog Pride Night

Friday, August 30th

5:30 p.m.



31st Annual Golf Tournament

Monday, September 9th



Business Bound Progressive Dinner

Thursday, October 24th

5:30 p.m.



Rolla Unwrapped

Saturday, November 9th


Small Business Saturday

Saturday, November 30th



49th Annual Rolla Christmas Parade

Saturday, December 7th



Ugh… Are People Still Using Facebook?

By Angie Tutterrow, By Design Media

Facebook is still a powerful marketing tool. If you compare it to every other social platform out there, Facebook is still the biggest. It now has over 2 billion monthly active users and over 1 billion daily active users. And they grew to this size within the span of 13 years. Here are a few tips to help you use Facebook as a tool in your marketing belt.

Be Relatable – Have you ever seen a post on Facebook and immediately thought, “YES! I know EXACTLY what he/she is talking about!”. This is what I mean by being relatable. Any time you can combine humor with an idea or experience that people can relate to, you have a winning combination. You don’t have to be a comic-genius to share or create humorous content! Jokes are an effective way of humanizing your brand persona and eliciting an emotional response from your audience. Just remember to keep things tasteful and avoid controversy.

Build STRONG Relationships NOW for Viral Growth Later – It’s a simple fact. Your engagement rates, and likelihood of showing up in News Feeds, will increase if you take the time to be present on your page and consistently communicate with your EXISTING community (the people who have already “Liked” your page). Facebook magic happens when your friends and fans share your content with their friends and fans and so on and so on. Do that enough and you end up with a viral post.

Draw on Emotions – Associating your brand or product with a strong emotion such as love or loyalty is a great way to bump up the virality-factor. You can do this through a photo, video or even just a plain old text post; the main ingredient is simply that people feel something when they see your post. Tell Stories – People remember stories! The reason why stories work is because it’s personal and your fans will probably have a similar story or situation that they’re going through. This allows you to connect on a personal level. Make sure to share stories about your life and business on Facebook.

So you know the importance of your content, but which type will work best for your brand? Let’s take a look at the various types of organic Facebook content and how you can best use each one:

  • Status: The simplest form of communication can sometimes be the most powerful. With new features like larger text for shorter messages and the option to put your text on a colored background, you can get your essential message out in a more vibrant and eye-catching way.
  • Images: Posts with images drive 2.3 times more engagement, so being visual helps. But don’t rely on images to do all the work–put effort into high-quality photos and awe your audience. If your product is considered “boring,” use beautiful images to highlight your brand’s creative side. Inspire users with virtual reality features or 360-degree content.
  • Videos: Video is in high demand, however, only 15% of Facebook videos are watched with sound. Video should be accessible, easy to digest and always have captions. Create videos that catch a user’s attention and provides something worthwhile.
  • Facebook Live: Live content drives three times more engagement on Facebook. With in-the-moment content growing in popularity, see how your brand can give sneak peeks into industry or office events, product launches and other behind the scenes content. Go Live, wow your audience and engage.

Why Should I Host or Attend a Ribbon Cutting?

Why Should I Host or Attend a Ribbon Cutting?

by Robin Southern, Membership Director

As a new member or existing member of the Chamber of Commerce you might ask, “Why would I want to host or attend a ribbon cutting”?

Traditionally the cutting of a ribbon symbolizes a fresh start, as a new business or new member to the Chamber of Commerce; this is a wonderful way to present yourself and your business to the community.  However, ribbon cuttings are not just for new members, existing members can host a ribbon cutting to celebrate a new location, additional location, a new service, a significant milestone/anniversary or the launch of a new product.

The Chamber will invite the membership at large as well as the local media, board and ambassadors. The Chamber encourages you to use this opportunity to launch your own PR campaign.  Invite your customers, business partners, financiers, contractors, employees, friends and family to be with you to celebrate this momentous occasion.  Offering refreshments or having a mascot at your event is another great way to enhance your event and encourage attendance.

Because a ribbon cutting marks a very significant moment in your business’ history, it makes for a great photo opportunity.  The Chamber brings the photographer, ribbon and scissors, a photo of your ribbon cutting will be placed in the local newspapers, on the Chamber website and all of the Chamber’s social media outlets.   You will be given an opportunity to speak to those in attendance about your business and services prior to cutting the ribbon. 

Attending is another great opportunity provided by Ribbon Cuttings.  Come and say “congratulations” to the business owner, it means a lot to them and provides you with a networking opportunity.  Business is still done face to face, the host business might very well benefit from the services you offer, bring your business cards and make a new business connection.  In addition, you will be among the first to experience the newest attractions and additions to the community.

A Ribbon Cutting is a “feel good” event.  It is a celebration of a person realizing their dream, investing in our community and chances are they are hiring our friends and neighbors.  It feels good to be there at the start of a journey!

To find a list of upcoming ribbon cuttings visit the Rolla Chamber of Commerce event calendar, www.rollachamber.org/events/calendar

Businesses Beware – Scammers are Everywhere

Businesses Beware – Scammers are Everywhere

by Stevie Kearse, RACC Executive Director

Each day, business owners are working hard for the money.  You focus on your products, customer service, ways to gain more customers and so much more.  While you are focusing on growing your business, someone is out there focusing on taking your money!  It is sad but true. 

So far this year, the Rolla Chamber has been contacted by about 9 different companies that were scamming local businesses.  When we learn of these potential scammers, we do everything we can to protect the business community.

  • We contact the company directly to get the information.
  • We also set them straight when they start lying about working with the school, a Chamber, or whoever else they say they are benefiting.
  • We investigate the business on the Better Business Bureau website. Most of them do not have a good ranking.  They also typically have a lot of complaints filed.
  • We even Google the businesses to see what we can find on the internet about them.
  • We send an alert out to the business community letting them know what we have found out and who to beware of.

For us to help you know of potential scams we need for you to let us know when you have been contacted by these businesses.  Get as much contact information as you can and then call our office immediately.  We will take it from there and warn the rest of the business community.

Here is a link to an article from the Better Business Bureau, giving a few tips on how to avoid scams.  Take a moment to read and remember to do your research before you give someone your money.   Whenever you are in doubt, please contact the Chamber office. 


Rolla Area Real Estate Report 2018

by Dilek Acar, Acar Real Estate Inc.

The 2018 real estate market was a successful season for many sellers and buyers.  I have always told my clients that the best time for listing and selling your home in the Rolla area is February through July.  The key to selling your home as quickly as possible in today’s market is to price it correctly, according to current market conditions in the area.  This would be a good time to contact your local real estate agent and ask for a Comparative Market Analysis. There are also several strategies that sellers can use to make their home more attractive to potential buyers.  Maintaining and enhancing your home’s exterior, decluttering, and a thorough cleaning can help make a good first impression.  In addition, I would also advise having a home inspection performed prior to listing your home on the market to help avoid any unseen complications that could slow or hinder a future sale.  These tips can lead to shorter days on the market and a greater chance of a successful closing. 

  • Average days on Market: between 2013 and 2018 the number of avg. days on market has decreased roughly 60% from an average of nearly 160 days in 2013 to 65 days in 2018 depending on the price range of your home.  
  • Residential Properties Sold: there has been a slow and steady increase in residential homes sales and sales price between 2013 and 2017, peaking to 349 homes in 2017.  
  • New Listings: In 2017, there were 507 new listings in the Rolla area, and year to date in 2018, that number has increased to 579. The number of residential properties sold has increased from 312 in 2015 to 349 in 2017. In 2018 year to date, there has been 289 properties sold in Rolla.  
  • In the last 3 years, there has been an increase of 38.3% in the number of residential properties sold in the state of MO., with an increase in median residential selling price of 12.5%. In comparison, the Rolla area has seen an increase of approximately 11% in the number of residential properties sold and an increase of approximately 8% in median residential selling price from 2015-2017.  
  • All statistics obtained from Maris Matrix system

Dilek Acar is broker/owner at Acar Real Estate, Inc.   She has been a Licensed Real Estate agent since 1998.  “I’ve built my business on the foundation of satisfied clients, a referral is the best compliment that I can receive.  My goal is to provide you with the very best personal, honest, and professional services”. 

Social Media Isn’t a Four Letter Word

Social Media Isn’t a Four Letter Word

by Angie Tutterrow, By Design Media

Social media can feel like a four-letter word to some business owners: you either don’t have a clue, or you don’t have the time to manage it properly. It can be full time position in your business and can take up way more time that you are ready to give; especially when it comes up against inventory control, payroll, and taxes. You may look at other businesses who seem to have it all figured out with their amazing pictures and their perfect content. You may feel like wanting to give up before you even try but I am here today to tell you “you can do it.”

What I want to help you with today is not to harp on the importance of social media; you already know that. What I want to give you today are a few tips and assurances that it’s all going to be ok. My first tip is to pick a platform and excel at it before you start with another. There is no reason for you to be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, SnapChat, or anything else if you aren’t going to be able to manage them. Pick one platform like Facebook and then move on to the next. Not all social media platforms cater to the same audience, so it is essential that you find the platforms that are a good fit for your brand and the audience that you want to target and be consistent and active on those platforms.

Second, personalizing your branding is critical. Personalizing, in this context, means that you are forming a relationship with your client or customer; making your existing customers and prospects feel a powerful connection to your business. In today’s world, you must be prepared to interact with followers when they post a question, compliment, or — especially — a negative review. Remember the golden rule, if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.

Next, become a great storyteller; be interesting and enthusiastic, be authentic and be human. You can’t be a good storyteller if you don’t know your own story. Each of us has an origin story. Start thinking about how you can tell the story of yourself, your products or your company. What was that journey like? Think about the great stories that mean the most to you as a child. What made you connect with the hero of the story? When you are comfortable in your own skin you are able to communicate your own story, and people will respond to it! People relate to stories and to people. Customers may initially come to you because of your product, but they stay with you because of how you make them feel and how you treat them.

Finally, as I mentioned above consistency is key! If you want your customers to recognize your company, you must be consistent. Not just consistent in making sure your post regularly, but consistent in your brand. Being consistent in your brand allows you to grow in audience engagement and reach. From the tone of voice used in messages to the aesthetics of your profiles, you need to be recognizable to gain traction among your intended audience. Consumers want to buy from companies they know and trust – and a consistent brand is more often viewed as a dependable brand.


Angie Tutterrow, owner of By Design Media, has over 10 years experience in the marketing world. She has worked with many different businesses including the Bank of Sullivan, Fidelity Communications, The UPS Store, and The City of Cuba, providing services from web design, social media management, social media campaign, online advertising, business consulting and more.



(573) 612-1402



You Joined the Chamber, Now What?

You Joined the Chamber, Now What?

by Robin Southern, Membership Director

Congratulations!  You have made a very smart business decision!  So, you signed on the “dotted line”, paid your dues, Now  What?  Chamber membership brings lots of benefits, but also lots of questions.

Often times I hear from members or potential members, “I don’t have time to participate, so I don’t see the benefit.” Here is the good news, while that may be true for gym membership, it is not the case with Chamber membership!  Even if you are never able to attend one Chamber event, the Chamber is still tirelessly advocating for you and your business. The Chamber will refer your business or the product you offer to community members and travelers, often seeking suggestions from the Chamber on businesses in town. The Chamber is constantly working to enhance the economic environment in the community.  So, you see, you really don’t have to do anything to reap the benefits of Chamber membership.  However, if you are able to participate, the return on your investment for your business will be much richer.

What are your goals for Chamber membership? Why did you join the Chamber?  The answers to these questions can help guide you on how to make the most of your membership. Whether your answer is to grow your customer base, become more visible, or be a bigger part of the community, your Chamber membership can help you. Here are some suggestions to help you get started and make the most of your Chamber membership:

Open Your New Member Packet.  Read all of the information in your packet and take advantage of the coupons and information provided.

Read your emails. This is the best way to stay in touch with what is going on with the Chamber, make a note of what interests you and mark your calendar to participate.

Follow Us on Social Media.  We share our information as well as our member’s information.

Attend an Event.  This is a great way to get to know people, don’t go there to sell, go there to be of service to them and don’t forget your business cards.

Enhance your Website Listing. Online presence is very important, take the time to enhance your website listing with us, you can add photos, videos, keywords, and details about your business. Make sure your business information is always up to date. Consumers are visiting your website,  and checking out your content long before you see them.

Post your Job Openings. Make sure to utilize the job board that is included in your online account.  Job postings will automatically post to Facebook.

Post your News Releases.  Have a press release?  Add the Chamber to your media list. Post your press releases in the News Release section included in your online account. News Releases will automatically post to Facebook.

Host an Event.  This is a great way to bring potential customers into your place of business, and showcase your business.

Sponsor an Event.  This is another great way to showcase your business. We offer many different sponsorship levels with our events to fit any budget.

Join A Committee.  This is a great way to be involved and help further the efforts of the Chamber.  Serving on a committee provides numerous networking opportunities as well as professional leadership development. Helping others is a great way to become part of something larger than your business.

Host A Ribbon Cutting.  Whether you are a new member, celebrating an anniversary milestone, adding a new location, adding a service, a Ribbon Cutting is an excellent way to draw attention and to showcase your business. Just relax, we do all the work and you reap the benefits.

No matter why you joined the Chamber, your Chamber membership is full of benefits to help you with your business goals. Getting involved is the best way to utilize your membership. Hopefully the suggestions I have outlined will assist you in making the MOST of your Chamber membership.  The possibilities are endless!

Benton Square Salon & Spa named as August Business of the Month

Elissa Jennison, Owner of Benton Square Salon & Spa, accepts the Business of the Month, August 15, 2018. Presenting the award are Tony Froehlich, Chamber Board President, and Verna Brand, Small Business Committee Member.

Benton Square Salon & Spa was name Business of the Month at the August Luncheon, August 15, 2018.  Benton Square Salon & Spa opened in 2009 in the 100 year old Benton School Building, located at East 6th Street in Rolla.  In 2015, the Salon was purchased from the original ower and in 2016 Benton Square qualified to become an Aveda salon.

The Salon & Spa occupies the top two floors of Benton Square and offers Aveda Color Services, Precision Cuts, Wig Styling, Facial & Body Waxing, Gel Manicures, Pedicures, Massage, Event Makeup, Spray Tans, Lash & Brow Tinting, Murad Facials, and Retinol Peels.  Benton Square Salon has 15 stylists; 10 are independent booth renters and 5 are employed by Benton Square as Aveda Artists.  

The Spa houses 3 massage therapists and 3 estheticians.  Employees are provided continuing education and encouraged to be active in the community.  A unique feature to the Salon & Spa is that they offer private suites for guests that have privacy needs such as due to religion or special needs.

Benton Square Salon & Spa is located at 400 East 6th Street, Rolla MO.  You can reach them at (573) 426-4310.  For more information visit http://bentonsquarerolla.com/