By Kyle James, Roxboro Area Chamber of Commerce Board Member
Back in 2017, 1792 Beer Company was just an idea and had only started to take shape on paper. We had no idea at the time what it might grow into or how we might be involved in the community. Shortly after opening our doors in December 2018, we heard from the Piedmont Community College Small Business Center that the local Chamber of Commerce did official ribbon cuttings. That was our first exposure to the Roxboro Area Chamber of Commerce (RACC), where we became members right away and held an official grand opening in January 2019. At that point, we knew very little about the Chamber of Commerce and what exactly it did for the area. We just had the thought that it was normal practice for a business to join the RACC, so we did, and what a great decision that has been.
Our first year was spent surviving the roller coaster of owning and operating a new business. We knew we wanted to be good neighbors, so we sponsored what we could, volunteered when we were available, and tried to be really active in the community. We wanted everyone to know we were excited to be a part of Roxboro and we were here to stay.
Being a new business owner, I was approached by the Uptown Roxboro Group (URG) about joining the subcommittee for design, focused on projects around the Uptown area, including some art installations. As someone who had never been involved (or lived in) a small town, it was really fascinating to be a part of that and have a voice in enhancing our beautiful new hometown.
In the Fall of 2019, I noticed an email from Lisa Busjahn at the RACC about an open spot on the Board of Directors and it piqued my interest. I was humbled when a few people approached me about the position and I spent a good bit of time thinking about it. The business was taking a lot of our time already and I did not want to over-commit and not be able to live up to the duties of this new role. Zack, my business partner, assured me that I could handle it and that the business wouldn’t suffer, so I filled the vacancy for the remainder of the term.
January 2020 brought the chance to fill the role for a full term and I was honored to be elected. Having never been involved with an organization like this, it took a few meetings to learn what goes on behind the scenes and all of the activities, resources, and events the Chamber produces. I would be willing to bet that the average citizen doesn’t realize half of what the Chamber does, including collaborations with the URG, local economic development, the community college, and tourism. It has been fascinating!
There is one event that residents do associate with the Chamber and that is the Personality Festival. Usually held in late August, this highly anticipated event has been an important part of Uptown Roxboro for over 40 years. I joined the Personality Steering Committee to help plan for the 41st Personality in 2020. We have some exciting changes in store for Personality!
I have a personal confession: I love Legos. I love putting together the sets and seeing them come to life. The 1792 Beer Company, and by extension, each of us, represent individual bricks of these Lego sets. We are a piece of a larger puzzle, something bigger than just our shop and our lives. We are helping bring our town to life! It takes groups like the RACC to make this all happen, to fill the streets with people, laughter, and excitement. Roxboro’s future is bright because of this and I am excited to be a small piece and play a role in our town’s future.
Roxboro, North Carolina 27573
Kyle James is on the board of the Roxboro Area Chamber of Commerce and is the co-owner and manager of 1792 Beer Co. in Uptown Roxboro, NC. 1792BeerCo.com | 106 N Main St., Roxboro, NC 27573
Roxboro Area Chamber of Commerce
Nearly 100 Years Old
Originally admitted to the U. S. Chamber of Commerce in April 1923, the Roxboro Area Chamber of Commerce fell into inactivity in the late 1920s. Rejuvenated again in 1935, it began working on progressive community developments such as bus lines and railways.
In the 1950s, the Chamber was largely responsible for the Roxboro Development Corporation and strongly endorsed the establishment of the Person County Economic Development Commission.
During the 1960s, the Chamber got the ball rolling on Piedmont Technical College, now known as Piedmont Community College.
Originally created to promote the Roxboro Tobacco Market, the Roxboro Area Chamber of Commerce has a proud heritage of promoting and doing good things for the benefit of Person County and Personians.”
Source: The Courier-Times, 1985