Andrew Bell is the president of the Lilburn Business Association and the manager of Lilburn's BB&T. This week, he took some time to sit down with Lilburn-Mountain Park Patch to talk about some of the things that are nearest and dearest to his heart: Lilburn, its businesses and the city's prospects.
Patch: When you talk to other Lilburn Business Association members, do you get a sense that we're seeing an economic recovery? What's the mood among the business community in Lilburn?
Bell: The really cool thing is, I think people are positive about the future. We always try to focus on our positives, our best practices, our success stories. We always have tried to keep business and growing our businesses as the priority at the LBA. I think our growing membership shows that people see the importance of the LBA. I think the mood of the Lilburn business owners that we interact with is that we all have a sense of urgency that we might not have had in the past. I see people networking and being out in the community that we haven't seen in the past. The flip side is that people that we used to see not come out as much because they have to roll up their sleeves and man a post. In the past, they haven't had to, which I'm sure is a change.
Patch: What big projects does the LBA have planned for this year?
Bell: We're doing a lot of awesome things. Membership growth is one of our top focuses. We want to be at 100 paid members by the end of the year, and we're currently at mid 80s. We just finished Futures Week at Berkmar High School. We continue to bring in bigger and better speakers to help benefit our members. The Christmas Parade is always a big one - the police chief said this past year's was our biggest ever, so we want to build on that for sure. The more people we can attract to the streets of Lilburn, the better chance we have of showing people first hand the things that we have to offer.
Patch: What's you mini elevator speech for business owners on the benefits of being a member of the Lilburn Business Association?
Bell: The LBA is an organization that gives a business owner the opportunity to highlight their business and take it to the next level. We have created an environment that gives a business owner the opportunity to not only highlight their business, have the ability to interact and introduce themselves to a constant flow of new people, but we also provide a resource to learn new things, share best practices and gain knowledge about how to keep their business thriving and growing. With our new leadership structure, our new website and our renewed focus and growing membership - for only $100 a year, you can't find a better place to market your business in Lilburn or greater Gwinnett. But as a former president used to say, you get out of it what you put into it. Being a member listed on our website doesn't grow your business. Coming and particpipating consistently is the key.
Patch: What's your favorite thing about Lilburn?
Bell: It reminds me of my home back in Warsaw, North Carolina. Good churches, good schools, rich in athletic history, trying to grow in the right direction, good people.
Patch: Where do you see Lilburn in five year's time?
Bell: Still growing, still fighting. What I've learned from being more involved wiht the decision makers in this community is that this stuff does not happen with the snap of a finger and overnight. There is a ton of effort and work behind the scenes that people will never know or understand. These leaders in this community are working very hard with good things in their hearts. I think as long as those good people keep working as hard as they are now, it will be exciting to see what Lilburn is in five years.