Next month the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual planning retreat in Pinehurst. The two-day event will include an evening reception for candidates running for the Raleigh City Council. Last week Mark Enloe, a candidate for mayor, criticized the chamber for holding the event in Pinehurst instead of Raleigh. He said he would attend if the event was moved to the Raleigh convention center or a local hotel.
"We need the leaders in this area to show a stronger commitment to the cause of bringing revenue to the city and providing the services that the citizens have paid for," Enloe said on his campaign blog. "I think the decision to host this event in Pinehurst reflects on the mindset that has resulted in the decline in vitality in Raleigh that I've spoken about."
Harvey Schmitt, the chamber's president, said that for at least the last 15 years the chamber has rotated its annual meeting between Pinehurst and the Grandover Resort in Greensboro. Schmitt said both of those venues are members of the chamber and the two-day conference is paid for with member dues. Between 150 and 250 people typically attend, most of them being members.
As for why the event is held outside of Raleigh, Schmitt said the chamber believes it results in fewer destractions and a better conference.
"The reason we do it is because we get better results from the meeting when we hold it away from distractions," Schmitt said. "The reality is folks hold meetings out of town from time to time ... that's part of the reason they're often called retreats. You take folks away from their normal environment and get them to concentrate on something that they don't normally do and if you're too close to their daily routine it's too easy to get distracted."
Not to mention the golf.