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Local businesses board the 747

September 18, 2013 - Through 1,000 tote bags, local business owner Tonino Zaccagnini will spread the knowledge of his company to incoming residents of Orion Township.

Since the Chamber of Commerce started using the slogan "747 New homes are landing in Orion," five new businesses have become members, including Zaccagnini's.

Both the commerce's and township's goal: encouraging local businesses to seize the day.

"My vision is that our local businesses can capitalize on the new people that are moving here," Chris Barnett said, Township Supervisor. "We are trying to marry the new people that are coming into town and the new houses that are being built to our existing businesses."

Grondin's Hair Center, Oakland County CrossFit, Lean Ryde, a spinning/cycle business, Lake Orion United Methodist Church and EpoxyMaster Floor Coatings have all joined, with an expected dozen more to do so.

Zaccagnini's current mode of advertising for EpoxyMaster is by word of mouth.

Come January 1 the chamber of commerce will be handing out his advertising in 1,000 welcome-bags, along with a slew of other local businesses', to 1,000 homeowners moving in to the area.

Real Estate Gives on Indianwood have already helped new customers.

"There have been five families that I know of that have moved to the area from Dearborn, Sterling heights, and one from St. Clair shores that are looking for a home," said Amanda Comstock, a real estate agent. "Two of my clients personally are from Dearborn Heights and they specifically moved to LO for the schools. They looked into Troy, Clarkston and Rochester and decided on LO," she said.

New customers mean new business for the local economy, if they become aware of the businesses themselves.

"New homes love us because what we do is make homes look better," Zaccagnini said. His EpoxyMaster is a specialty flooring company that takes regular old wood or concrete flooring and coats it to look "like a moving organism."

His problem?

No one knows he's here.

"Lake Orion doesn't know we exist," he said. "We don't really advertise that much because we get referrals. We get a lot of work in Rochester, and some work around here, but very little in Lake Orion."

That's why he is doing the tote.

"That little box that she showed us, it's going to be great, because people can keep that welcome bag."

He is paying $100 to insert a promotional postcard into a card box included in the bags. Businesses can choose from other marketing options as well, like including personalized promotional items or paying a fee to be pinpointed on the Orion Township map. They have until November 30 to sign up with the chamber of commerce.

"New movers are ripe with needs that they have when they move into the community," Alaina Cambell said, Executive Director of the Orion Area Chamber of Commerce.

They will want to know about the local governments, the downtown district, the library, clubs, organizations, community events and festivals, she continued.

"That info will be in the bag," she paused. "But the number one thing they're going to want to know and actually need to know is the local businesses."

About 60 local business representatives attended the monthly chamber of commerce meeting on Thursday, September 12.

FlipSpot Gymnastics and Cheer LLC is the main sponsor of the welcome bags and have paid to have their logo embroidered on one side of the tote. The new Lake Orion Village Downtown District logo will also be embroidered on the other.

Approximately 20 businesses have already signed up.

EpoxyMaster is a specialty floor coatings company that coats both interior and exterior flooring with a mixture of expoxy and mica, a mineral known for its sheen. Apart from residential housing, they recently re-floored Club 300 at the Palace of Auburn Hills, and the Men in Black 3D movie headquarters.

"I don't know the perimeter of the city, but I noticed across the street from our shop they are building houses now, so its kind of wild," he said.

"That was the only way I could think of to be part of the community was to join the chamber, and let people be aware of us and let them know we exist. I think the chamber of commerce was the best way to do it."

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