Tuesday, August 25, 2015

West Monroe Brown Bag Concert series kicks off in September

September is right around the corner, and that means the return of the fall West Monroe Brown Bag Concert series.

The WMWO Chamber and City of West Monroe have once again partnered to bring the Brown Bag Lunch Concert Series to West Monroe every Wednesday in September.

Brown Bag Lunch Concerts will be held every Wednesday in September from noon to 1 p.m. at the Pavilion at Seventh Square in West Monroe, which is directly behind the West Monroe Farmer’s Market.

The concerts are completely free to the public and provide a great way to take a break from your work day.  We provide chairs and shade, and you bring a brown bag lunch.  

This fall's concert series features a terrific line up of local musicians including several that have never been featured at this event.  Performances this September include Roses and Revolvers on Wednesday, September 2; Early Ray and Josh on Wednesday, September 9; String Theory on Wednesday, September 16 and Bradley Bridges on Wednesday, September 23.

A special Brown Bag Lunch Concert will take place on Friday, October 2 as a Celtic Festival Kick-Off.  The event will feature a performance by Irish band Emerald Accent.  The Northeast Louisiana Celtic Festival will be held on Saturday, October 3 at Kiroli Park in West Monroe.

Members of the community enjoying a Brown Bag Lunch Concert.

This event could not take place without the support of local sponsors. The Chamber and City of West Monroe are proud to partner with Centric Federal Credit Union, Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union and the Ouachita Parish School System. The concert series is funded in part by the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council.

Our partners do an incredible job at hospitality during the concert series. Attendees are treated to complimentary beverages and snacks.  

The month of September happens to be Hunger Action Month.  We are strongly encouraging concert attendees to bring canned food and other nonperishable food items with them each Wednesday. Those who donate to this worthy cause will be eligible to win various door prizes such as Visa gift cards and gift certificates to local restaurants.

This fall's Brown Bag Lunch Concert series promises to be an exciting one, so please make plans to attend.

For more information about the concert series, please call the WMWO Chamber of Commerce at (318) 325-1961.

People of all ages enjoy these outdoor concerts.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Community partners in education needed this school year

School bells are ringing across Ouachita Parish this week.  As teachers, faculty and staff make their way back to the classroom, it is once again time for the business community to consider ways they can support our local educational system.

The WMWO Chamber of Commerce is proud to be involved with a grass roots program that has effectively connected local businesses and organizations with Ouachita Parish pubic schools.

The Adopt-a-School Program has been administered by the Chamber, in partnership with the Ouachita Parish School system, for more than a decade.  The program's goal is simple - connect each of the parish's 36 public schools with at least one adopter for the school year.

Who can be an adopter? The answer is simple - any one person, business or organization that has a passion for education and children.  Those who choose to become an adopter are committing their support of that school (or schools) for a given school year.

There are no set requirements or expectations to take part in the Adopt-a-School Program.  By agreeing to serve as an adopter, you are encouraged to know your school and the faculty and staff who work there.  Perhaps you agree to serve as a volunteer reader, judge the school's spelling bee or donate sweet treats for teacher appreciation week.

The education of our children and the effectiveness of our local school system should be a top priority for everyone in the community.  Well-educated children will result in a qualified future workforce to help meet the growing demand of jobs in our community.

Please consider getting involved in the Adopt-a-School Program and make a true impact on our parish.  To learn more, call the WMWO Chamber of Commerce at (318) 325-1961. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Small businesses benefit from flexible work options

A recent survey from the Small Business Majority found many small Louisiana businesses offer a variety of "family friendly" benefits to attract employees.

Small businesses may find it difficult to compete against larger businesses when it comes to hiring. Larger employers may be able to offer generous financial packages and benefits; however, small businesses are able to attract a talented, loyal workforce by implementing family-friendly policies that allow employees a healthy work-life balance.

The survey from the Small Business Majority found:

  • Nearly one in six small employers offer childcare benefits
  • Two-thirds of businesses allow their employees to take time off from work to attend their children's school activities
  • Nearly three in 10 businesses provide flexible work schedules or opportunities to work from home
The survey also found that 53 percent of Louisiana's small businesses offer paid leave to their employees, and 38 percent offer on the job training or financial assistance for education and training.

So, small business owners - don't think you can't compete with large companies when it comes to hiring qualified and talented employees.  Sometimes, being "small" has its advantages.  If you are a small business owner, you know that, in many cases, your employees are often the company's greatest asset.  Be sure to give careful thought and consideration to what strategies or policies you can put into place to protect those assets.