DCA chief touts group’s work to help businesses
CHESTERTOWN — New Downtown Chestertown Association President Jennifer Laucik-Baker wants to pay back the organization for all the assistance it provided her and her husband when they launched their businesses.
They own Chester River Wine and Cheese Co. and Welcome Home, both located on the same block of South Cross Street.
Originally from Dover, Del., Laucik-Baker graduated with degrees in communications and information systems. She started her education at Antioch College and finished at Drexel University. She said that she pursued both degrees in college because of the financial stability that designing websites for companies offered.
After college, LaucikBaker worked for a consulting firm, Accenture. While spending the majority of her professional life in consulting, working in similar roles for consulting firms, Laucik-Baker also was the senior director of internal communications at a pharmaceutical distribution company.
“I became really passionate about helping people have great experiences in the companies they work for,” Laucik-Baker said.
After meeting her husband, John, the couple decided to start their own small business in Kent County. They originally started up their shop in Rock Hall. They have been married eight years.
Laucik-Baker said that the DCA helped her business tremendously when it first opened. One of her reasons for running for president of the organization was to give back, she said.
“So the DCA has been invaluable for us and I think is invaluable for a lot of business owners because we’re able to give each oth- er — especially new business owners — the insight into what it’s like to actually own and operate a business in Kent County and in Chestertown in particular, and how to weather some of the tougher storms that we face,” Laucik-Baker said.
Laucik- Baker said a lot of her responsibilities as president of the DCA include coordinating events and working with new business owners. She said discussing what it’s like to be a business owner in Chestertown, specifically, is something she talks about with new business owners.
“Oftentimes we’ll meet with those new business owners or we’ll help them think through what their experience as a business owner will actually be like here,” Laucik-Baker said.
Laucik-Baker said she is often asked what the difference between the DCA and the Main Street Chestertown program. She said the primary difference between the organizations is that the Main Street Chestertown program focuses on large projects, while the DCA focuses more on individual businesses’ needs.
Laucik-Baker said she would like to focus on developing Main Street as president of the DCA and would like to see more activity on the sidewalk. She wants to see downtown Chestertown become even more of a fun place to hang out.
“I want to see more street performances, I want to see more musicians,” she said. “I want to help the community and the business community embrace all of the great things that we have and package it up in a way that makes sense for residents and guests to see the diversity of what we have here.”
Laucik-Baker said she would like to see the DCA support more fundraising for town initiatives. She also would like more community events around Chestertown.
One major change Laucik-Baker said she is working on is including Washington College merchandise throughout businesses in town. She said that a “I Love Washington College” sticker would be displayed in the front windows of shops that offered products or had student discounts.
Jennifer Laucik-Baker, newly elected president of the Downtown Chestertown Association, poses next to the cheese refrigerator at her store Chester River Wine and Cheese Co.