Here’s the article written by NEBA’s Maureen Thompson for the Chornicle in the Tallahassee Democrat about our 25th Anniversary.

In September of 1991 a small group of local business owners came together to form the North East Business Association (NEBA).  Now known as the Network of Entrepreneurs and Business Advocates (and still using the acronym NEBA) the organization is celebrating its 25th year anniversary this month.

NEBA was formed due to frustrations of Capital Circle NE business owners over the widening of the Circle.  In 1991 the Circle was a mess; driveways were torn up, access to businesses was difficult if not impossible.  Jim Norman, owner of the former restaurant Scales & Tails, reached out to other business owners suggesting they unite and help each other survive the construction.

The first meetings of NEBA consisted of putting together a mission statement and electing officers.  Jim Norman was elected President; Hugh Davis (Davis Trophies) was Vice-President, Enos Kerr was Treasurer, and Peggy Munroe (Mays-Munroe) was elected Secretary.  Lynn Wollschlager (Carpet One Floor and Home) was the only Board Member.

Once organized, NEBA began meeting monthly, with member businesses hosting until the group got so  large that wasn’t practical.  The original focus was on surviving the Capital Circle road work.  They secured cell phone numbers of foremen on the job and were quick to call if driveways were blocked or customers were mired in the mud.  The group even purchased full page ads in the newspaper, mapping out Capital Circle businesses and telling customers they were definitely open for business!

Most of the NEBA members survived the road work and their success and bonding became the nucleus for an organization that “has the back” of local businesses all over town.  After the road work was finished NEBA members began to take a closer look at what local elected officials were doing (like road work and policy decisions) and realized they didn’t always understand how their actions affected businesses.  Thus began the political involvement of NEBA and their eventual evolution into the Network of Entrepreneurs and Business Advocates.

Today’s NEBA Board has many original members still serving and 6 Past-Presidents still serve on the 15 member board.

The organization has over 250 members, mostly business owners but also their employees, who meet monthly on the fourth Tuesday of every month (except for December) at the Capital City Country Club to hear speakers or candidates running for office.  This dovetails nicely with the goals of NEBA which are to keep business people apprised of what’s going on in their community and to rally them when our collective voice needs to be heard.

Our representatives monitor all county and city commission meetings and agendas so that our members will know about the issues that are about to impact their business or their lives.  When NEBA members show up to a community meeting, elected officials know they’ll hear the unvarnished truth!

During election years, NEBA provides candidate forums on every important race from the US Congress, state legislature, city and county commission, Constitutional officers, school superintendent and school board races.  NEBA also has profiled Constitutional Amendment issues like Hometown Democracy and Medical Marijuana.

NEBA is also the only business association in Leon County that has an affiliated Political Action Committee that endorses candidates running for elective office.  The NEBA PAC made their first endorsements in the August primary election.

If you’d like to see what this business friendly group is all about, join us on the 4th Tuesday and see what you think!  To find out more, visit us on the web at:  www.nebatallahassee.com and we’re on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/nebatallahassee.