Merchants Association expands to whole county

Published 1:56 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2022

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

The Merchants Association of Clanton is making some changes and expanding to include the entirety of Chilton County in their planning. At its Aug. 31 meeting, the MAC voted unanimously to change their name, dropping Clanton and adding Chilton County to make the Merchant Association of Chilton County.

The original group was formed by business owners in Clanton to plan events and capitalize on the entertainment district created in downtown Clanton. Now with the changes, the goal is to have a chapter of the association in each of the four municipalities.

“They thought ‘Why are we keeping this in just Clanton, lets expand it to the county,’” Rachel Martin, Chilton County Chamber of Commerce executive director, said. “This gives them the encouragement and the support to get theirs started because MAC has grown strong, and it could be a little intimidating making your own in the smaller municipalities.”

Martin and assistant executive director Brandy Clackley said the group is about businesses lifting each other up, and been has been described at the MAC meetings as “community over competition.”

“That has been the theme of this group, and they have really shown that and lead by example with that.” Clackley said. “As a Chamber, we know that every (city) is connected. So, it makes sense they all work together in whatever event they have.”

MACC president Maymay Helms said the MAC took a field trip to Jemison and Thorsby to see what businesses were there, and that helped spark the idea of expansion.

“We really encourage all of the county businesses to come and be a part of it,” Helms said. “Our focus right now is growing business, that is what we want to do.”

The MACC is planning a holiday open house, and Clanton businesses are hoping to hold theirs on Nov. 11-12. The open house will give customers opportunities to learn about the various businesses in their cities.

For Helms, she is trying to debunk the notion of “there is nothing to do in Chilton County,” and hopes this event can help combatting that.

“We are trying to do a big city-wide event, and I would love for it to be county-wide,” Helms said.

The next MACC meeting will be held at the Clanton City Hall in the council room on the first floor on Sept. 15 at 8:30 a.m.

“It is really an exciting time to be in Chilton County because you see everyone working together, and it gives you that good feeling,” Martin said. “There is always going to be hurdles and roadblocks, but they are meeting the challenge not with negative attitudes, but what can we do to make this better, and they do it.”