Ris­ing Sun Cham­ber in­stalls new slate of of­fi­cers

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JANE BELLMYER jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

— New of­fi­cers have been in­stalled for two-year terms serv­ing the Ris­ing Sun Cham­ber of Com­merce.

Jamie Ben­nett, branch man­ager of Howard Bank in the cen­ter of town, is the new pres­i­dent. Angie Van­der­hoef, owner of Rise N Grind Cafe, and Theresa Gerst, with Farmer’s in­sur­ance, are shar­ing vice pres­i­dent du­ties for the term. Carol Hunter, with Hunter’s Auc­tion Ser­vices, is the trea­surer while Tif­fany Sim­mons, rep­re­sent­ing West Ce­cil Health Cen­ter, will serve as sec­re­tary.

Ben­nett has only been at Howard Bank since 2016 — mov­ing from APG Fed­eral Credit Union — and be­came cham­ber VP the fol­low­ing year.

”I love to give back to the com­mu­nity,” Ben­nett said.

He ex­pects the com­mu­nity to grow even more now that vi­tal in­fra­struc­ture needs have been ad­dressed that blocked new de­vel­op­ment. How­ever, he said the change has al­ready be­gun with the growth of ex­ist­ing busi­nesses, such as NLX Fit­ness, and the ar­rival of new ones, in­clud­ing Rise N Grind and San’s Mar­tial Arts.


”It’s all about small busi­ness,” he said of the cham­ber mem­ber­ship, which sup­ports each other in the mar­ket­place. “We’re look­ing for more par­tic­i­pa­tion in the fu­ture.”

There will be a push this year for Small Busi­ness Satur­day, the day af­ter Black Fri­day when the hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son of­fi­cially be­gins. How­ever, the cham­ber will kick it off this Satur­day hop­ing to en­cour­age shop­ping lo­cally sooner, rather than later. That kick off will be part of the town’s an­nounce­ment to of­fi­cially end the build­ing mora­to­rium.

Nor­man Hunter, who has served as pres­i­dent of the or­ga­ni­za­tion for nu­mer­ous terms, said any busi­ness-minded peo­ple are wel­come to join the Ris­ing Sun Cham­ber of Com­merce.

”A lot of peo­ple that work in busi­ness, as a man­ager or as­sis­tant man­ager, they can of­fer a lot,” Hunter said. “We like to have busi­ness peo­ple, but it’s not manda­tory.”

Ben­nett said peo­ple do not even have to own a busi­ness to be in the cham­ber. One sim­ply has to have an in­ter­est in sus­tain­able com­merce.

”My vi­sion is to bring more peo­ple into town,” he said, adding he’s not look­ing for “gang­busters where the town will grow dra­mat­i­cally.”

How­ever, from his van­tage point at the cor­ner of Queen and Pearl streets, he has no­ticed more foot traf­fic in the cen­ter square. He ex­pects more of that as the re­de­vel­op­ment of East Main Street con­tin­ues and other busi­ness ar­rives.

”Busi­ness at­tracts busi­ness,” Hunter noted.

Ben­nett said the de­mo­graph­ics cham­ber is also chang­ing.

”It seems like the young peo­ple are in­ter­ested,” Ben­nett said. “The peo­ple we have now gen­uinely care about Ris­ing Sun’s fu­ture, but they also care about the past.”

Mem­ber­ship in the cham­ber is per year and avails mem­bers to and guest speak­ers at monthly meet­ings.

”We share busi­ness ideas and help each other with pro­mo­tions,” Ben­nett added.

Hunter said the meet­ings held on the third Wed­nes­day of each month ro­tate to a dif­fer­ent cham­ber busi­ness. While those meet­ings now are held in the evening, Hunter said there is talk of hold­ing break­fast ses­sions in the hope of in­creas­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion.

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact the cham­ber through Face­book or at ris­ing­sun-cham­ber.org of the $50 networking the


Jamie Ben­nett, branch man­ager of the Howard Bank in Ris­ing Sun, is also the new pres­i­dent of the Ris­ing Sun Cham­ber of Com­merce.

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