Awarded Chamber Small Business of the Month for June

ADVERTISEMENT Awarded Chamber Small Business of the Month for June


6/18/2012 ~ by Pickens Chamber of Commerce

Each year the Chamber awards seven small businesses with the Small Business of the Month Award and from those we choose Small Business of the Year awarded in January based on the prior year SBOM awards. We also choose three Non Profits and two Large Businesses to receive awards each year. The Business Council Committee for the Chamber chooses the award recipients based on the nominations received from Chamber members. If you would like to nominate either a small business, a non profit, or a large business (40+ employees) please fill out the slip on the table for nominations or contact the chamber. The awards are chosen based on how a business or non profit has grown since their inception, what Chamber involvement and what community involvement have they had. was awarded the Chamber Small Business of the Month Award for June 2012. They received the Small Business of the Month in July 2009 but has grown and progressed so much since then that they have been nominated again. joined the Chamber in 2007 with the vision of a community website controlled by Mari Livsey. Initially, she wasn’t sure if it would make money but did it more as a give back. She had been self-employed since 1998 and always 'gave back' by doing various non-profit websites and graphics at no charge. Her goal was to give all businesses and non-profits in Pickens County a web presence and promote their events at no-charge. It started out as a part-time project with one contractor helping her with the data. Debi Lewis is still working with Mari part-time maintaining the event calendar and business listings.

The site quickly evolved to include a birthday reminder, video of the government meetings and event photos. In December 2011, the site was averaging 2000 visitors a day. She started a Facebook page in 2010 and currently have 3890 'Likes' and growing daily. She also has a Twitter and YouTube page that gives extra exposure to the events and advertisers. This year she’s working on a redesign, a mobile app, and plan to continue expanding with current technology.

The premise was to sell advertising to support the site. Since it was a new business and no one knew about it, she initially worked at building a brand and visitors before approaching advertisers because she wanted it to be effective. She started in October 2007 with one advertiser Pied Piper Pest Control and he continues. Last year, there were 50 businesses advertising on the site as well as the public placing classified advertisements.

In 2010, Mari added another part-time contractor Terri Walters to help with marketing, sales, event coverage and to video meetings.

She has been serving on the Tourism and Public Relations committee for the Chamber since joining. Mari would say that she’s the official photographer for the Chamber since she supplies them with photos on a regular basis at no charge. She also supplies event coverage photos to any organization at no charge. Since joining the Chamber, she’s volunteered with the Marble Festival in 2008 and 2009 helping with the vendor booths, but the past few years have mainly served as the official photographer of the event.

Mari was a Red Cross Board member from 2008 to 2011 and continues as a volunteer. She helps each year with CARES Taste of Pickens event. She chooses not to be heavily involved with one organization so that she can help them all as a whole. The site mainly serves as public relations and a great tool for people to see how wonderful it is to live and be involved in this community. Pam and Kirk Kondos moved from Baltimore to Pickens because of her site after it first started. Pam was unable to initially visit and the downtown Trick or Treat photos made up her mind. Here is what she has put on the Facebook page:

“I am so thankful for KnowPickens.Com because Mari's wonderful site helped us to decide to move to Jasper almost four years ago. We found her site in the summer of 2007 and got to know Pickens County before we even visited that December. What a wonderful place to live! We are in heaven!” – Pam Kondos

This is what makes Mari feel successful. It is great to know you’re making a positive difference and she is so thankful that she found this place in 1999.

Community Bank of Pickens County is the sponsor of the Small Business of the Month Awards for 2012. Community Bank of Pickens County is a locally owned and operated, independent community bank that is committed to making a difference through Hometown Commitment. CBOPC was founded in October of 2000 and has two full service locations at 15 Sammy McGhee Blvd. and 65 Cove Rd. in Jasper, GA. Member of FDIC.