Chris Burnett
Chris Burnett

By Chris Burnett

Even with the “Great Recession” that our state and nation have endured in recent years, Sandy Springs continues as a vibrant center for business and education, and offers what we believe is the highest quality of life of any city in Georgia.

Our location in the heart of the northern perimeter, coupled with our access to the MARTA rail lines, provides our citizens with multiple travel options. We have some of the best public and private schools in Georgia along with easy access to numerous college campuses throughout Atlanta. We are home to some of America’s largest corporations along with thousands of vibrant small businesses and our medical community, highlighted by the hospitals on “Pill Hill,” is outstanding. Our hospitality industry is strong, posting some of the best guest occupancy numbers in Georgia and our city government is well managed and fiscally strong.

And, finally, despite the severe impact on housing values across the region, our neighborhoods continue to sustain more stable home pricing that most other communities in metro Atlanta. So when we evaluate the economic challenges of recent years, we can be thankful that our city has solidly endured these difficult times and remains positioned to capitalize on the recovery that is hopefully on the horizon.

The Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce has worked hard to build our quality of life through a program we launched early this year called “Building the Sandy Springs Nation.” Our four major areas of focus are education, transportation, solicitation and representation.

Our education initiative focuses on providing business owners with educational courses that make their businesses better. We also work closely with Leadership Sandy Springs and Junior Achievement to instill in our young people the spirit of entrepreneurship so that we assure a vibrant business succession plan for our next generation of leaders.

Transportation is a crucial issue in our market and it is critical that our business owners, their customers and our citizens have the ability to easily travel our streets, buses and rail lines. We work closely with the PCIDs to explore ways in which we can make our transportation systems more efficient to navigate, especially during rush hour traffic.

Solicitation means positioning our members to market and sell their products and services to prospective customers. We host a large variety of events throughout the year that allow business owners to network and tell people about their unique products and services.

And finally, representation is focused on building a close working relationship with our city administration so that our business owners have a voice on key issues such as taxes, sign ordinances and code enforcement. We were particularly involved last year in the city’s evaluation of the business and occupational tax and our ability to work closely with our city leaders helped measurably to develop and B&O tax structure that is now working well for our companies that headquarter here in Sandy Springs.

So, despite the economic challenges that we’ve all endured, the Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber is proud to report that our business community remains strong and that our city is one of the best places to live, work and play in Georgia.

If you’re not already involved in the SSPC, we encourage you to become a member and take advantage of all the great programs and initiatives our organization offers.

Chris Burnett is chief executive officer of Cornerstone Bank and chairman of the Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce.