Joann Fussell @ VoiceLink

We dealt with the Chamber’s property assistance division. They acted as an intermediary between us and Norfolk-Southern, and we came to an arrangement that would see both sides back in business with minimal delays. Norfolk-Southern agreed to shut down the line one Sunday, and the Chamber sent a crew out to the industrial park to literally tear up the tracks, allowing the contractor the time and space to lay the utility lines. By sunset that same day, Norfolk-Southern’s tracks we’re re-laid and the lights were on at Voice Link.

Columbus Chamber of Commerce Member Since 1992

The Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce has a long history of helping local businesses to take their enterprise to the next level. We have become exceedingly proficient at facilitating a company’s expansion in their given industry, but our success with the economic development of a business invariably leads both parties to the next hurdle: how to manage the accelerated growth as your small business expands beyond its current infrastructure. After all, no one starts a business just to settle for the plateau of the status quo. We are all striving to reach the peak of our professions. That’s why the Chamber has a team dedicated specifically to property assistance, ready to spring to action when your company outgrows its history.

MANAGING EXPANSION
A perfect example of how property assistance can benefit your business is our experience working with Joann Fussell at Voice Link. Joanne started Voice Link over 20 years ago as an answering service for professionals. Over the years, it has grown substantially into a web-enabled professional call center/answering service that is capable of providing service to customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week in areas as far ranging as order taking, help desk and/or technical support, appointment scheduling, dealer locator, customer surveys, text messaging, reservations and more. And what’s more, there is always a human voice on the other end of the line. In this day and age, that human touch is commendable. Under her management, Voice Link thrived.

So much so, that six years ago, Joann’s company had reached the tipping point in regards to maintaining her business’s expansion as Voice Link outgrew its current location in Uptown Columbus. Voice Link had to adapt to accommodate its continued success. She acquired a large parcel of property in the Columbus East Industrial Park. She had the land surveyed and plans were drawn up to house her new $1.3 million facility. Things were moving along at a workman’s pace, until the time came to start building. “We were just about to break ground when we discovered that the property didn’t have a proper street address,” explained Joann. “So, we were denied a building permit. I tried to resolve the issue with the city, but found it quite hard to get the ball rolling. That’s when we approached the Chamber. They got the city to not only grant us a proper street address, but to execute the proper zoning, as well. We were back on track.”

DERAILED
But it wasn’t long before a larger problem presented itself. With building underway, contractors on the scene realized that there was a mammoth stumbling block obstructing their efforts to install the utilities on the property: a Norfolk-Southern railway line lay perfectly between her building and the road. Again, with her back against the wall, Joann returned to the Chamber. “This time, we dealt with the Chamber’s property assistance division. They acted as an intermediary between us and Norfolk-Southern, and we came to an arrangement that would see both sides back in business with minimal delays,” said Joann. “Norfolk-Southern agreed to shut down the line one Sunday, and the Chamber sent a crew out to the industrial park to literally tear up the tracks, allowing the contractor the time and space to lay the utility lines. By sunset that same day, Norfolk-Southern’s tracks we’re re-laid and the lights were on at Voice Link.”

Like our friends at Voice Link, with hard work and determination, your business will grow. And the Chamber will always have your back, whether you are just starting out or moving up in the world. Every business is faced with a mountain to climb. And sometimes to conquer it, it must first be moved. Join the Chamber today and together we will move mountains (or tracks) to ensure your company’s continued growth and prosperity.

Joann Fussell is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Columbus State University , licensed CPA, and mother of two Eagle Scouts. She left public accounting to explore her entrepreneurial side as owner/operator of the area’s largest multi-service call center. She has served on several national boards within her trade organizations, hosted regional trade group meetings, and spoken at numerous trade organization conferences.

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