The Oconee Chamber of Commerce Business Expo last Thursday highlighted Oconee’s diverse business community and their persistence to succeed and thrive during a national pandemic. 

“This shows how strong Oconee County really is,” said Jordan Air Marketing DirectorAngela Taylor. “We all need to come together right now and support each other.”

Oconee Chamber of Commerce President Courtney Bernardi added, “This community over the last six months has shown us how resilient they are. We have so many strong businesses in this community.”

Bernardi said that it was nice to hear stories about how businesses have adapted and see the entrepreneurial spirit in people’s eyes. 

“It’s nice to see people smile, even if it’s behind a mask,” she said. “You can see it behind in their eyes.” 

Jordan Air, a local company that provides heating ventilation and air conditioning services and products, is also venturing into plumbing. They have partnered with Express Employment Professionals to hire top-notch professionals. 

“We have tons of jobs,” said Express Employment Professionals Marketing and Recruiting Manager Sarah Cumuze. “We do light industrial, skilled trade and administrative. We have everything across the board.” 

Taylor said she is proud to work for a family business. 

“I feel like we are all a family,” she said. “They take care of us.”  

Her advice to other business leaders is to listen to customers and be mindful of COVID-19 by wearing masks and gloves. One bank executive said the trend of professionals working from home may continue even after the pandemic. 

“We have adapted,” said Charlie Upchurch, president and broker of Coldwell Banker Commercial Upchurch Realty.

“Commercial real estate is finally coming back,” he said, adding that on the residential side, it’s a sellers’ market. 

“If a house in a good location and priced right, we will get three or four offers within the first couple days,” he said. “On one house, we had 21 offers within three days of listing it.” 

Joann Hubert, marketing and tourism assistant at the Oconee County Welcome Center, said she’s looked for the silver linings, such as people exploring local treasures like petting the horses at Classic City Clydesdales or paddling the Oconee River with Oconee Joe. 

“People are exploring their own back yard,” she said. 

Even though the Business Expo made changes to accommodate for social distancing, it had a successful turnout with some big awards at the end. 

American Pest Control won Best in Show, Oconee Music won Most Interactive Booth and Annie-Marie Jacobs of 

Virtual Properties Realty won Best First Time Exhibitor. 

For more on this story, see the Sept. 17 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 

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