Cleveland BBB office a welcomed addition

Posted 2/11/18

For those who scorn caveat emptor (“let the buyer beware”) attitudes in the business world, a recent event in downtown Cleveland surely warmed hearts and comforted pocketbooks.

We speak of …

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Cleveland BBB office a welcomed addition


For those who scorn caveat emptor (“let the buyer beware”) attitudes in the business world, a recent event in downtown Cleveland surely warmed hearts and comforted pocketbooks.
We speak of the ribbon cutting and official opening of the new Cleveland office for the Chattanooga Better Business Bureau, which serves Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia.
Technically, the Cleveland BBB office has already been in operation for several months, but the Jan. 18 ceremony — for lack of a better way of saying it — dotted the “I”s and crossed the “T”s, and signaled the availability of a new consumer-friendly service to all Cleveland and Bradley County residents, as well as for our northern neighbors in Athens and McMinn County.
In many ways, BBB’s opening in Cleveland has been a long time in coming. For too many years, local residents were asked to call a Chattanooga office for business concerns that were taking place here in our community. Now, local consumers will have a local set of ears, a face and a voice to whom they can address alleged business improprieties — real or perceived.
Providing that in-person outreach will be Lisa Geren, a longtime business fixture in this community, who has been named executive director of the Cleveland office. She will work in unison with Jim Winsett, president and CEO of the Chattanooga BBB.
Geren, who has already been on the job for months spreading the BBB message and hearing the concerns of a local audience, is a local entrepreneur who was born and raised in the Cleveland and Bradley County area.
Much of her career has been spent conducting business in this community; plus, Geren is deeply rooted in civic roles. She is a member of Bradley Sunrise Rotary, MainStreet Cleveland, the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, Athens Chamber of Commerce Diplomats, and currently serves on the Cleveland Bradley Friends of the Library Association board.
Not only does Geren bring energy and vibrance to a new public service, she is proud that it’s happening in her community.
“The BBB is excited to finally have a local presence in Cleveland,” Geren said. “Our goal is to create relationships and partnerships that promote business and consumer confidence in the community — all based on trust!”
Why does the Better Business Bureau exist?
For starters, because businesses reflect the level of ethics practiced by their owners. Let’s face it, people are driven toward different goals and their means for attaining them can be influenced by degrees of need.
That’s not to say all businesses, and their operators, are shady. In fact, most are not. But just a few bad apples can spoil the taste of any consumer who enjoys an occasional bowl of applesauce.
In some cases there is no infraction. There is only perception based on misunderstanding. This is when BBB can also assist — as an experienced communicator which can close gaps by building bridges.
BBB operates on a simple vision: Promoting “… an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other.”
The mission is accomplished using five steps: 1) creating a community of trustworthy businesses; 2) setting standards for marketplace trust; 3) encouraging and supporting best practices; 4) celebrating marketplace role models; and 5) denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.
Doing what BBB does is not rocket science. But it does require a determinedness to stand up for what is right and to stand against what is wrong.
The Cleveland office is located on the second floor of the historic Regions Bank at 20 North Ocoee St. Hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The contact number is 423-464-5969.
Geren can also be reached outside regular business hours via cellphone at 423-362-2336.
A few wrongdoers can hound any business community. But where there’s a BBB, those hounds are fewer.


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