MILTON, Ga. — The Milton Business Alliance is steering a new course under new leadership.

The group announced this month it will join forces with the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce to create the Milton Business Council.

The new entity falls under the umbrella of the GNFCC and will be managed by business leaders within the city.

The move to connect the two groups began last year when the Milton Business Alliance, which began as a volunteer organization in 2009, realized about half its members were also associated with the GNFCC. Leaders with the group decided the Milton Business Alliance could have a farther reach and could better support the city’s business community with the merger.

Milton Business Council

From left: GNFCC Chair Alan Najjar Business Alliance Chair Sharon Mays, Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood, Milton Business Council Chair John Herbert, Milton Economic Development Manager Sarah LaDart and GNFCC President Kali Boatright

“I am extremely excited to work with Milton business owners and Milton city leaders to form a business council that creates real value for its members,” GNFCC President Kali Boatright said. “I am also humbled that MBA leadership is willing to put their 10-year history of good work into our trust. We are committed to the success of the Milton Business Council as we move into the new decade.”

John Herbert of Herbert Legal Group will serve as the first chairman of the Milton Business Council. Herbert, who has been a member of both organizations, said the Milton Business Alliance has done well over the last 10 years in its mission of promoting Milton businesses. He said he thinks the group can further prosper with the GNFCC partnership.

“As a volunteer organization, we felt like [the MBA] had hit a turning point, and we took it as far as we could take it,” Herbert said. “We got to 100 members last year, and we felt like it needed an injection of a structured organization and key leadership, and that’s the opportunity we saw with the chamber. We thought it would be a great fit with our cheerleading [Milton businesses] and our message, and the ability to amplify what we are able to do.”

Sharon Mays, chair of the former Milton Business Alliance, shared that sentiment.

“We believe the partnership with the GNFCC and the valuable leadership it provides will enable the Milton business community to move to the next level, offering our members more support and services,” Mays said. 

The merger will allow Milton business owners the opportunity to promote their companies across all of North Fulton County versus the limited confines of the city’s borders.

“What we are able to do through the chamber is provide a spotlight through the GNFCC on Milton and its businesses,” Herbert said. “We can use the GNFCC megaphone to talk about what’s going on in Milton.

Compared to the other larger cities under GNFCC’s umbrella — Alpharetta, Roswell, Johns Creek, Sandy Springs — Milton is unique in that only about 15 percent of the city is zoned commercial, and those areas are divided into three districts: Downtown Crabapple, Birmingham Crossroads and Deerfield Parkway. The Milton Business Council becomes the first group under the Greater North Fulton Chamber banner that will focus on a specific municipality. Herbert said the council is determined to show the parent organization that it is successful.

Still in its infancy, the council has already fostered a connection with the city, Herbert said.

“The city has been great supporters of ours,” he said, adding that both business organizations have close ties to the city.

“To me, it’s what will make this new organization work,” Herbert said.

As the business community grows in Milton, Herbert said he is looking forward to what the future holds for the council.

“We feel like the involvement of the Chamber and the concentrated base in the city of Milton is going to create a receptacle big enough to handle and enhance the growth of Milton businesses in the next 10 or 20 years,” he said.

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