DCA chief touts group’s work to help busi­nesses

Kent County News - - NEWS - By JACK RODGERS jrodgers@thekent­coun­tynews.com

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.

PHOTO BY JACK RODGERS

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.

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