SDBA calls new website giant step into its future

“We’re so excited. This is something we’ve planned for and worked for a long time; now we’re seeing it come to fruition,” LoyLene Shaw, interim president of The South DeKalb Business Association (SDBA), said of the new website the organization launched on May 22.

The new website, Shaw explained, is more than an updated communications vehicle; it is a giant step in a larger plan to invite a new generation of business owners to take the venerable organization into the future. “The website now has many great features that the young entrepreneurs we want to attract are looking for.”

Shaw offered as an example a feature that allows users to make donations or pay dues online. “We didn’t have that before, but the current generation expects it. They don’t like writing and mailing checks,” she said.

“We also wanted to be sure we linked to the various social media sites,” Shaw continued. “We’re more than 30 years old—more than 45 years old when you include our forerunner organizations. We’re the oldest business association in DeKalb County, but we want to present ourselves as a completely up-to-date organization serving the needs of today’s small businesses.”

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses play a major role in Georgia’s economy. The agency reports that Georgia’s small businesses employ 1.7 million people, approximately 43.1 percent of the private workforce.

The organization’s mission continues to be “promoting commercial prosperity and enhancing the quality of life within the South DeKalb community and encouraging and supporting economic development in the South DeKalb community. SDBA acts as a united advocate for positive change and development and provides a forum for addressing business and community issues,” according to the website.

The new website provides links to other area business organizations, government agencies, and other related sites. “Nobody operates in a bubble these days,” Shaw said. “Many organizations are working together to produce a business landscape that’s good for all of us.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, SDBA already was seeing a decline in membership and in attendance to its regular monthly meetings. During the pandemic, the business organization’s activities—like those of most such organizations—slowed to a trickle. “The upside of that was that it gave us an opportunity to step back and look at what we need to do to serve the upcoming generation of young business owners,” Shaw said, explaining that the core of SDBA leadership began working on a plan to bring the organization back stronger than ever.SDBA leadership agreed they needed a new website. “We started work on it several weeks ago, putting our heads together on what features we wanted. We’re really pleased at the result and we’re eager to show it off,” Shaw said. SDBA started in the late 1970s as The South DeKalb Mall Merchant Association. As the organization’s footprint enlarged, its name was changed in the 1980s to the Candler Area Business Association. Later broadening its reach even more “to cover the growing south DeKalb business area,” it became the South DeKalb Business Association. “The business area around what’s now The Gallery at South DeKalb is now just one of many vibrant business areas in south DeKalb,” Shaw said. “There are now several large movie studios and other entertainment centers. There’s a lot going on in Stonecrest, particularly in the part of The Mall at Stonecrest that’s being developed as Privi.”

Shaw said SDBA is planning a July 17 mixer at Inner Voice Brewing in Decatur to give new members and potential members the opportunity to meet board members and other leadership as they eat pizza and sip beer or sodas.

“We see a great opportunity to blend the knowledge and experience of older area business owners with the energy and ideas of younger ones,” Shaw said. “Our legacy is long and strong, and we want to keep it going.”

To see SDBA’s new website, visit SDBAinc.org.

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