Mike Arnold Agency opens chamber after hours events

By Ruthann Carr

There was a party at Mike Arnold’s Insurance agency Tuesday (June 15) and it was the first, in-person, After-Hours Fluvanna Chamber of Commerce gathering since the lockdown.

About 35 guests took advantage of the beautiful weather to meet outdoors.

Like many Chambers of Commerce, the Fluvanna Chamber regularly hosts such networking events to highlight local businesses. The event encourages networking with a relaxed atmosphere and refreshments.

Even though the Chamber office remained open during the Covid-19 lockdown, most in-person events were curtailed and replaced with online functions.

As the weather warmed, Arnold, who is a long-time member of the Chamber, thought it the perfect time to get more involved.

The pandemic spurred his decision, he said.

“The COVID-19 virus has affected every living human on the planet,” Arnold said. “I believe the virus is real and we all had to undertake dramatic, severe strategies to cope with the pandemic both personally and professionally.  We have all experienced tremendous strain and stress concerning our finances, health and emotional well-being.  Those of us in business have had to make many difficult decisions that affected not only our lives but the lives of our colleagues, employees, and the general public who are our customers.  I also believe strongly in science.  After carefully reviewing the CDC guidelines I decided based on objective information that it would be safe and appropriate to host an event outside. Our office which is conveniently located at Zion Crossroads, has ample outside, shaded lawn.  I wanted to do my small part, to encourage people it’s okay to gather, to support people in dealing with the fear of not wanting to emerge from the previously necessary seclusion.”

Local bartender Missi Brown served wine, beer and bottled water.

Arnold’s newest employee, Lauren Davis, handled food detail.

“Lauren has brought many positive attributes to the agency including planning and organizational skills,” Arnold said.

Several Chamber Board members attended, including Bonnie Mackin, Darryl Gibson, Sarah Monceaux and Delores Hubert-Christmas.

“While the Chamber did hold several outdoor, ribbon-cutting events to welcome new businesses during the lockdown, this was special because we had the chance to relax and enjoy food and drink and more time together,” Mackin said. “I would encourage more Chamber businesses to host similar events this summer.”

New members can join the Chamber for $50 through June 30. That’s half off the basic annual membership of $140.

The Chamber Board decided in August to reduce dues for new members because of the pandemic hardship, Mackin said.

“We lowered the cost for new members because we knew what a hardship the pandemic lockdown was,” she said. “Being a Chamber member really is the best way to learn all there is to know about growing your business. Membership in the Fluvanna Chamber grew because of the lowered dues so there are more people to meet and more voices to listen to.  But just as the lockdown came to an end, so the special price will end June 30. Now is the time to join and become an important part of the Fluvanna business community.”

Help the Chamber welcome the Fluvanna Health Clinic with a ribbon cutting/open house at 4 p.m. July 17.

Editor’s note: Though a correspondent for the Fluvanna Review, Ruthann Carr is also the office manager at the Fluvanna Chamber of Commerce.

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