We have so much to offer if well work hard at it

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 25, 2008

The issue: Selma has much to offer as evidenced from the Annual Meeting of the Selma & Dallas County Centre for Commerce.

Our position: We need to use the St. James Hotel as an example, and put our minds and backs into improving Selma and Dallas County.

More than 200 people packed the St. James Hotel on Thursday night to celebrate business and industry in Selma and Dallas County.

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The event also highlighted the official opening of the St. James Hotel under the management of Bill Ezell.

Service, food, drink and atmosphere on Thursday signifies a good beginning.

Those who haven&8217;t dropped by the St. James for lunch or a late afternoon relaxer or dinner would do well to stop in and visit with Ezell.

Holding the annual meeting at the St. James is indicative of the support the Centre for Commerce seeks to give businesses here in the area. Additionally, the group wants to recruit more retail into our area.

Among the goals are to identify underserved retail areas, for example, a movie theater, office supply store and fabric store; to develop retail recruitment data and begin the initiative.

As we begin this work, some basic things need to happen.

For instance, we need to clean up this city. Property owners need to take care of their buildings and at least keep the lots free of weeds and debris. A coat of paint works wonders for a storefront. Painted fireplugs look much better in a community. Even just picking up trash helps. These items don&8217;t cost much money, and they improve the appearance of the town so much more.

Additionally, the city needs to seriously consider its gateways. Entrances to the city should be inviting and welcoming. Some entrances to Selma look like Baghdad after a bombing.

This city is not part of the Third World. We appear to be very proud of our history and our culture &8212; of who we are. But we don&8217;t seem to take pride in how we present ourselves to other people.

Not only is this presentation noticeable by the dilapidated buildings and overgrown lots filled with junk, but it&8217;s noticeable by the service people receive when they attempt to do business in our community.

A smile is a much better invitation to come locate a business or move into town than a frown or gruff demeanor. Customer service begins with caring about the customer.

Perhaps our

Selma-Dallas Chamber of Commerce could offer a customer service workshop for local business. Such a program could help remind people to say, &8220;please,&8221; and &8220;thank you.&8221;

How many times have you tried to do business somewhere as the clerk talked on a cell phone or tied up the business telephone with a personal call?

A basic training program for all employees would help remind us of our manners, as it were, of how to answer the telephone and speak to one another.

As we begin to dress up our city and county and begin to treat one another politely, then we&8217;ll begin to feel more self-assured about who we are and what we have to offer.

Then, when someone comes to town to make a visit to see if they want to move a business here or begin a business here or locate industry out at the industrial park, they&8217;ll see our better side.

We have it in us. We have the drive and the gumption. We have the history and the culture. We have the quality of life. We have the quaint architecture and the nice downtown area. We have history. We have good, solid people.

We just need to spiff it up a bit.

Thursday night&8217;s meeting of the Selma & Dallas County Centre for Commerce should have rejuvenated each one of us. Bill Ezell&8217;s work with the St. James Hotel should have given us a prime example of what can be done if we put our minds to it and our backs into it.