'Start something' in Catawba County

Catawba County wants the world to know it can "start something here."

During Catawba County Chamber of Commerce's annual membership meeting Thursday, business leaders, government officials and educational representatives were introduced to Catawba County's web portal — a website linked to all chamber members.

Startsomethinghere.com was unveiled Thursday at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center event after two years of brainstorming and planning.

"Start something here: it's a great place to begin or begin again" is the slogan for the new web portal and marketing campaign that unites all businesses and organizations in Catawba County to reach a common goal — visibility, explained Chamber president Danny Hearn.

"We were all trying to do the same thing separately," said Houston Harris, owner of Pixelspace in Hickory. "We need to have one unified website to represent the area."

Pixelspace, which has worked in Hickory for 14 years, was hired to design the new web portal.

The new website offers brief snip-its on various businesses, educational districts and municipalities, as well as recreational activities, at a glance. The goal is to encourage anyone from around the world to visit Catawba County, whether it is to start a new business or a family.

"The key is for people to be able to find us," said Scott Millar, Catawba County Economic Development Corporation president.

Millar said business owners and individuals are searching the Internet for sites around the world. By creating a web portal, Catawba County is at the access of a person's fingertips and all within one website.

"This is the key ingredient toward our mixture," Millar said. "The important factor is everyone is working together for a common good, whether it's a small business or in education."

Conover Mayor Lee Moritz Jr. said he had a sneak peek into the web portal before Thursday's unveiling and feels it is going to be a positive addition to Catawba County, as well as Conover. Currently, Conover is working on one of its biggest projects, Conover Station, which seeks to become an eye-catcher for business owners.

By having Conover listed on startsomethinghere.com, Moritz thinks it creates a sense of unity in the county as everyone works toward the common goal of prospering financially and as a community.

Harris warns users that this website isn't a business directory, but has brief articles or descriptions about each organization.

"The web portal will show that Catawba County is the best place to have a business and how good our region is," Harris said.

Logos are also available on the website for area organizations to place on their website to encourage visitors to take a peak at what Catawba County has to offer. A logo, as well as a QR code to take a person to its website with a smartphone, can be downloaded by clicking on the "press" link at the bottom of the website's homepage.