Outgoing Head of Commerce gets back to business | News, Sports, Jobs
STEUBENVILLE – On New Years Day, Tricia Maple-Damewood knows things are going to be a lot different.
After seven years of thinking about how to develop small businesses in Jefferson County, she is stepping down as president of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce to focus on her family’s businesses – her husband’s business. Dave, Maple Manufacturing in Weirton; their first Airbnb, the Inn at Brandywine; and another they’re developing, Juanita’s Place, as well as marketing advice for a small client list.
“I still own two small businesses with my husband”, Maple said. “I really liked my bedroom job, it was hard to leave, but I knew I had to get back to my business. I kind of took on this job to keep us afloat and move forward when we needed someone, but I absolutely loved doing it.
Maple was chair of the chamber council when she took over as chair.
“Nonprofits don’t have a big budget to pay people, so it’s always difficult” she said. “We didn’t have a lot of nominations.
She had previously been involved in chambers of commerce and, when she returned to Jefferson County in the 1990s, served as a membership coordinator for about five years. She also chaired the Special Events Committee for approximately 10 years as a volunteer, working extensively on the golf outing, annual dinner, and investor-to-investor trade fair. After that, she served as chair of the board for two years before accepting the position of chair.
“Dave and I have always been small business owners so this has always been a good solution” she said. “I have always been passionate about the bedroom because I have always been a small business owner.
As president, Maple said she “Saw a lot of potential. I thought we could do a lot more, maybe a little more trendy and more relevant.
“I created a lot of the work, because me, the volunteers and the staff were so excited, thinking about new things all the time, little things like networking to things that we had never done before. , like having a theme at our annual dinner. I was lucky to always have a passionate staff ” on small businesses.
“When I started I had two new people in the bedroom world – Joy Grimm and Janet McLaughlin – and they were just as excited as I was, excited to make things extremely organized, extremely streamlined and create a bedroom. fun, informative and enjoyable. for our business community. It was a lot of work, but I like to think that we have done a lot.
Maple said she “Honestly can’t say enough” about them two: Grimm started a few months after her, McLaughlin was there when she took over but still relatively new.
“The three of us were determined to make the bedroom fun and interesting and a useful business tool,” she added. “A lot of things that are still in place have been born over these years.”
Because she owns a small business, Maple has always been extremely passionate about the “buy local, shop where you live” promotion.
“One of the things we focused on is the whole ‘change your shopping’ campaign, we’ve had so many events to make people aware of the importance of spending money locally. “ Maple said. “We started a whole list of things that happen over the holidays – the receipt contest, Saturday small business activities, social media campaigns about holiday shopping, our parade float encouraging people to support buy local efforts.
But buying local isn’t just important during the holidays, she said.
“Last year we launched ohiovalley.shopwhereilive.com (to) let our members sell online,” she said. “A lot of times what happens in the small business community is that they’re so busy running their business (they don’t have time to develop their own websites) so that’s a really big deal. benefit to many of our members. Even businesses that have their own website can set up a storefront with links to their site, it allows them to set up a storefront and links to that site and shows the community what they have to offer. For me, Shop Where You Live is the raison d’être of the chamber – it makes it easy, affordable and efficient for local businesses to promote themselves.
She is also proud of the Workforce Education and Training Committee they created, which brings together people from business and education. “So that we can work to find quality employees and to steer students on the right career paths and ensure they can get the education and training that our local employers need.” “
“The chamber council room was literally almost standing for only some of those pre-COVID meetings and now we’re back on track with one of our big goals being a job fair at the county level in the fall of 2022 “, she added.
Maple has been working with the next chamber president, Kate Sedgmer, for the past month.
“It’s a very good transition, we think a lot in the same way” Maple said. “But it’s like giving my baby, my puppy, to someone. It’s difficult, mainly because there were a lot of things we couldn’t do before I left. I had a lot of ideas, but all you can do is say “I did my best” and pass them on. Obviously, the new person can do their job. All you can do with a nonprofit is leave it a little better than what you found and hope that the next person can build on what you have done because you don’t have the same goals.
Maple said she was leaving Sedgmer with an organization that “Very organized, and I’m proud of it, and financially he’s doing well.” I would give both of these things to anyone in any organization.
But she admits that she is “People, friendships and business connections are going to be really, really missed, from giant employers to little moms and dads.”
“I still haven’t done everything I wanted to do” she concedes. “You just have to pick a day and say, ‘I’m going to be done with this’ and go. I have a new idea every day of the week and it’s not good. There is a time to go and this is the time for me to go.