Meyer makes living welcoming newcomers

 

MOORESVILLE – Suzanne Meyer says moving ranks among life's biggest stressors. Knowing this and experiencing a difficult move herself, she started a business to welcome people into the community.

Arming themselves with baskets of samples, coupons and other goodies from companies, representatives from The Welcome Committee show up on the doorstop of new homeowners in the Lake Norman area. Once inside a home, The Welcome Committee visits with the newcomer, answering questions about the area. Employees field queries about everything from, “Where’s the best hair salon?” to “How do I get to the DMV to change my license?”

Often The Welcome Committee may be the first friendly face a newbie meets at their new address. Just being able to connect with someone who knows about their new town makes a difference in adjusting to new surroundings.“I called on a woman from Connecticut and she told me my visit made her week,” Meyer said.

She finds satisfaction in her business because she remembers making a difficult move 20 years ago from Jupiter, Fla. She found herself very lonely.

With only a 6-month old baby and a toddler, the young mom wanted to meet other mothers. After a week, the Welcome Wagon lady called on her and told her about a library storytime program that she could attend.

“When I attended the program, I began to make a lot of friends,” she said. “Meeting the Welcome Wagon lady made a big difference.”

Remembering the isolation she had experienced, she went to work for The Welcome Wagon. But in 1998, The Welcome Wagon decided the concept of greeting visitors with baskets of coupons and samples was antiquated. The company planned on shutting down any person-to-person visits.

Meyer got a three-month notice that the company was going online. Seeing a large void left by The Welcome Wagon, she put together her business, The Welcome Committee.

Meyers looks for local companies that fit a newcomer’s profile. She said the baskets are filled with items from pediatricians, veterinarians, grocery stores, car dealerships and restaurants. Greeting baskets also include pamphlets on nonprofits such as Meals on Wheels, local schools and government.

“I try to offer anything a newcomer might need: a furniture store, dentist, piano tuner or a place to volunteer,” she said.

Meyer only offers information on businesses she or a staff member can recommend. Often Meyer finds new businesses through networking. She is a member of the Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce and several Lake Norman-area organizations.

She believes keeping revenues local makes the community strong and encourages relationships.

“All businesses have attrition through circumstances like competition and death,” she said. “With my program, businesses are introduced to new people with no fixed buying habits, which refreshes their customer base.”

She finds newcomers through a list of daily home closing in the area. She then sends an assignment to a staff member covering that particular area, with monthly visits totaling 180. She is able to send out a representative within two days.

“The sooner we are able to get to a newcomer, the sooner we are able to influence their buying habits,” she said.

Want to learn more? Businesses that would like to partner with The Welcome Committee to connect with newcomers may contact Suzanne Meyer at 704-660-1155 or through her website at www.thewelcomecommittee.net.

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