Sunday, February 28, 2010

Why EVERY Mountain Brook vendor should be using Social Media!

I've been developing social media for the Mountain Brook Chamber since April 2009.  Initially, like you, I was skeptical about the benefits, and I've joined just about everything on behalf of the chamber with a critical eye.   I've read hundreds of articles, followed lots of merchants and restaurants, both locally and nationally, as they market their products and I've seen both good news and complaints about products or services spread like wildfire.

I've also heard the many justifications for not using social media:  "I'm too busy. It's too superficial.  I don't understand technology. What can you say in 140 characters?  I think face-to-face contact is more important.  My customers don't use it.  It scares me.  I don't have anything important to say... "

Like you, I'm very busy, didn't want to waste my time, and had to be very disciplined about consistently using these new means of communication to properly evaluate the benefits.  I understand the feeling of drowning in technology and media - often expressed as receiving communication via a firehose!  It is undeniably difficult and overwhelming.   Regardless of all these things, I believe it is now IMPERATIVE that all our merchants and businesses choose a form of social media in order to communicate with their customers.

Why, because your customers (or potential customers) ARE using it, and THEY ARE TALKING!  They may be talking about YOU, both the good and the bad.  And if they're not talking about you, you're missing an unbelievable opportunity to increase your exposure.  

Social media is quickly becoming essential for all vendors wanting to provide good customer service! Via social media, responsible vendors immediately and publicly address problems before they become viral.  How do you do this?  Choose a social media venue and USE it!  Follow your brand.  Follow what people are saying about you via searches.  It can be Facebook,  LinkedIn, Twitter, a blog, an enewsletter, or any combination.  There are lots of them.  Find what works for you.  Find what's popular with your customers.  It's hard work!  And it takes time... You must consistently and patiently build a customer base, and then regularly communicate with your customers.  Not once a month, but once a day!  Provide value to them.  Share what you've learned.  Make them WANT to talk to you.  And make them feel comfortable bringing a problem to YOUR attention FIRST. 

In the process, follow those who can bring value to you!  There is LOTS of good information out there and I've learned so much - far more than I would have using any other venue.  Follow those with similar interests, or those you enjoy, or people in your region who might enjoy dropping by your store or who would benefit from your business.

I've  watched good customer service reps almost immediately address a problem before the customer even has a chance to ask about it by watching comments on Twitter.  Social media has made all this possible.  Friends tell friends and strangers both good and bad experiences - and on Twitter or Facebook,  business reputations can be both trashed, or made and restored overnight.

The good news is that if you are out there selling your product, you can develop a much broader audience and increase your sales through social media.  The bad news is that one bad customer experience can be spread immediately and exponentially and tarnish your company's reputation.  Don't you want to know about it first so that you can address it?  Don't you want to take advantage of leading edge technologies to increase your business?

Tell the Chamber how we can help you.   OUR business is YOUR business.  And we believe this is very important to OUR business. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Welcome Back Jamie Cross & Ellen Riley to Oak Street Garden Shop!

Billy Angell, along with every one at Oak Street Garden Shop & Local Market, is delighted to welcome back Jamie Cross and Ellen Riley. Both ladies have a long history with the business and bring their creative style with them. Find Jamie in the greenhouse putting together containers with her wonderful artistry. Ellen is hanging out in the soon-to-open market, expanding the lines of delectable produce and flowers as well as planning and conducting workshops and classes. Please come by to say hello!

Current Workshops:

March 4 Starting Seeds

March 11 Gardens in Glass (Terrariums)

March 18 Salad for Supper

If you would like to attend a workshop, please call 870-7542 to reserve a space. To keep up with our current news and class offerings, sign up for our newsletter at 

Fashion Show & Tea Party March 6th at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church

The ladies of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church are sponsoring a fashion show and tea party at their parish hall from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 6. Two of our Mountain Brook Chamber members will be showcased. Town and Country will provide clothing for women, while Snap Kids will show the latest styles for tweens and tots. Tickets are $12 and are available from Mary Ellen Huesken by emailing her HERE.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Over the Mountain Festival Sunday at 4:00PM Canterbury Methodist

Over the Mountain Festivals presents "Requiem" by K. Lee Scott this Sunday, February 28th, at 4:00 PM

Begun in 2008 as an idea of a small group of individuals who believe in the importance and value of sacred choral music to singers and the community, OTM Festivals was brought to fruition by the work of an all-volunteer planning committee along with support of friends and sponsors

Free Admission!

Would you like to participate or do you need more information?
Please visit their website by clicking HERE

Beautiful pic of Mountain Brook Mill during the recent snow!

Photo by (Chamber Member) Mason Fischer Photography

Town & Country coupons for additional savings on spring arrivals!

Spring Seafood Dinner & Wine Pairing at Dyron's March 23rd

Popular Crestline Village restaurant, Dyron's Low Country is having a Spring Seafood Dinner and Wine Pairing with wines from Grassroots Wines on March 23.  More information to follow, call Dyron's for reservations:  834-8259, or visit Dyron's website HERE

Runway to the RACE - FASHION SHOW including chamber members, Manhattan South, Schaeffer Eye Center

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Silver Repair Clinic at Bromberg's Feb 18th & 19th

Silver Repair Clinic this week! Bring in your silver, pewter, copper, brass and silverplate items and our expert from America's oldest and finest restoration company will examine your heirlooms and fine metal items and offer free estimates and methods of repairing, refinishing or replating.

Mountain Brook • Thursday, February 18th and Friday, February 19th
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

What do you get in a $3.99 boxed lunch from Ousler's in Mtn Brook Village? (pic)

Sandwich, deviled egg, chips, brownie -wrapped to go for $3.99 plus tax. Basic but good - kids love it! They also do tea sandwiches (no crusts)... Located next to Brombergs in Mtn Brook Village.

-- Post From My iPhone

50% off SALE at The Pappagallo Shoppe in Mtn Brook Village!

Don't miss this GREAT SALE on dresses, tops, and more!

-- Post From My iPhone

Location:Petticoat Ln,Mountain Brook,United States

Kiki Risa is OPEN!

Their awning is not yet ready but their doors are open in Mtn Brook Village next to Starbucks. Drop by and see them!

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, February 15, 2010

A HUGE THANKS to all the sponsors who participated in the Village to Village Run (pic)

Click on image above to view larger!
Thanks again to all our sponsors for making this a FANTASTIC event!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Update on The Daily Bread Project which distributes Crestline Bagels to those in need

(From February 1st post)  Crestline Bagel must discard their extra, day-old bagels each day due to health regulations.  As a result of concerned Mountain Brook residents, there is now a ministry through Canterbury United Methodist Church's Brown Bag project to collect, freeze, and distribute the bagels to those in need.  If you would like to help volunteer to pick up, sort, freeze, and distribute these bagels,  please contact Cora by clicking HERE or go to Canterbury's website, Service link > Food Pantry for more information. 

Here is an update from Volunteer Coordinator, Lucie:

"I have had a tremendous response from all of you wanting one day a week or one or two days a month that it is almost overwhelming, and I wanted to give a report and then a schedule for this month and next, but FIRST know that NOT ONE DAY of bagels has been thrown out since we started The Daily Bread Project which is awesome and this is where they have gone:

  • Last week alone 412 went to Highland United Methodist Church where they feed 120 homeless women and children 6 days a week 
  • 186 bagels went to the Catholic Center for Concern
  • Canterbury United Methodist Church received over 400 bagels two weeks in a row for Brown Bag.  
    This week we have already delivered 56 bagels to the Ronald McDonald House
  • Some will go to the CCC again and to CUMC Brown Bag and to HUMC 

I have called the First Light as many of you suggested, and they cannot use them at this time.  Tomorrow we are taking  probably 200ish to be split between the Firehouse Shelter and Safehaven.  I have also called Jimmie Hale Mission and they are to get back to me tomorrow.  I still want to contact some other agencies but just haven’t had time yet, so hopefully, we can keep getting them to where they will be used. "     

If you would like to volunteer, please EMAIL Lucie
for detailed instructions, or visit Canterbury's website, Service link > Food Pantry for more information.    We LOVE YOU, Crestline Bagel! Thanks to all the volunteers!

Discount Coupons from Town & Country Clothing on new spring arrivals!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Nothing says Valentine's Day like lingerie! Personal service and 14% discount at The Lingerie Shoppe

Save 14% off any item this Valentine’s Day

Coupon redeemable online or in-store.

Use coupon code 7M1BMYN3 at check-out.
Limit one coupon per person. Other restrictions may apply.
Cannot be combined with any other offer or coupon. Expires 02/14/10

Friday, February 5, 2010

Have you seen Daniel George's NEW Lunch Menu? (pic)

Daniel George's lunch hours are 11-2 Monday- Friday and they are open for dinner Monday - Saturday. Click image to view larger!

Is a proposal in the works for Valentine's Day? Here's a creative Alabama one (pic)!

Think Bromberg's is too expensive for a Valentine's Day gift? Think AGAIN!

This white topaz and diamond necklace is $125 at Bromberg's in Mountain Brook Village.  Other jewelry gifts for your Valentine start at $100.  Visit Bromberg's online HERE and see for yourself!  Or join their group on Facebook

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Not inspired to diet? Check out these bikinis at Laura Kathyrn!

Laura Kathryn in Crestline Village - Hip, fashionable, unusual clothes you won't find anywhere else for the younger woman, or the young at heart!  Laura Kathryn specializes in apparel, shoes, jewelry, and handbags. Designers include Alice + Olivia, Tibi, Cordani, and Michael Stars. "We take pride in catering to our customers needs and offer one on one appointments."

Celebrate Valentine's Day with Allergen-free Indie Candy Treats!

Visit the Indie Candy store in Crestline or shop on their website by clicking HERE.  Click on an image below to visit their Facebook page!

Fashion Bridal Show to benefit Camp Smile-A-Mile Feb 27th

Don't miss The White Wedding!  
Sponsors include  Crestline's Ivory & White!
The WHITE wedding is a collaboration of Birmingham's top wedding artist and designers. These artist and designers are donating their time and talent to raise money for Camp Smile-A-Mile, a year round challenging, unforgettable recreational and educational experience for young cancer patients, their families as well as young adult survivors from Alabama at not cost. Created by Project Runway and heidi elnora, the WHITE wedding is a way for Heidi to showcase her talent while giving back to her community. Since starting her brand in 2006, Heidi has designed and produced over 5 runway shows, each benefitting children through non-profit organizations in her community. This year's show will showcase not only Heidi's 2010 bridal collection but also the design talent of Birmingham's top artists, chefs, event designers, florists, make-up and hair stylists, musicians, models, and photographers. 100% of ticket sales will go directly to Camp Smile-A-Mile. Below are some of Mountain Brook's most talented artist and designers who will be donating their time and talent for this years show. Please check out their  work!

Mountain Brook Chamber participants include:

Curious about what Marguerite's Conceits carries? Here are some pics worth a thousand words!

Marguerite's Conceits in Mountain Brook Village:
(click on the images below for a larger view and Facebook page)
2406 Canterbury Road Birmingham, AL 35223

Twitter Tutorial for New Users

What could the economic impact of The 3/50 Project be on our community?

For more information, please visit their website

Marketing Presentation

Video of Crestline Halloween Parade courtesy of Stephen Wolfe!