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Wolfeboro Area Chamber of Commerce holds its annual meeting



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INCOMING CHAMBER PRESIDENT Rick Gagne of Baker-Gagne Funeral Home presented outgoing President Amy Piper of Signature Events with a certificate of appreciation from the Wolfeboro Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors at the Chamber Annual Meeting last Thursday, Dec. 6. (Thomas Beeler photo) (click for larger version)
December 13, 2012
WOLFEBORO — The Wolfeboro Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual business meeting last Thursday morning, Dec. 6, at Garwoods Restaurant.

A major purpose of the meeting was the election of new officers and board members. Outgoing President Amy Piper recognized the 12 members of the 2012 Board of Directors and gave special thanks to three members who are stepping down this year: Gene Goodwin of Sugar Hill Retirement Center after 10 years as a board member; Tod O'Dowd of Avery Insurance after six years; and Judy Sabanek of Emma Taylor after six years.

Piper then presented her President's Award to Executive Director Mary DeVries for her outstanding service to the organization during her tenure, but especially in the last year.

The 2013 slate of officers and directors was presented and voted in. Stepping up as President is Rick Gagne of Baker-Gagne Funeral Home & Cremation Services, and replacing him as Vice President is George Soderberg of The Wolfeboro Inn. Gene Leone of Leone, McDonnell & Roberts PA continues as Treasurer and Cecile Chase of TD Bank as Recording Secretary.

New on the board and elected to three-year terms are: Michael Connelly, CEO of Huggins Hospital; Kathy Cuddy-Egbert, Assistant Superintendent of the Governor Wentworth Regional School District (who will succeed current Superintendent Jack Robertson in July); and Peter Hall of Cross Insurance in Wolfeboro.

Also re-elected to a three-year term is Greg Roark Jr. of Garwoods Restaurant & Pub.

Re-elected to two-year terms are: Judith Braun-Colcord of Downtown Grill Café; Zach Tarter of Edward Jones Investments; Barbara Thurston of Thursty Water Systems; and Randy Walker of Walker & Varney, P.C.

Re-elected to one-year terms are: Michael Cooper, Head of School at Brewster Academy; Stephen Durgin of Goodhue & Hawkins Navy Yard; Cindy Melanson of Melanson Real Estate; and Nancy Stock of Meredith Village Savings Bank.

TSD Interiors

The annual meeting was sponsored by TSD Interiors. Owner Theresa DeChiaro, a 1986 graduate of Kingswood Regional High School with 20 years' experience in interior design, gave a presentation on her business, which was founded in April 2011 and now has a studio at 108 Pine Hill Road in Wolfeboro.

She graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1991 with a major in housing and interior design and has worked in New York, Atlanta, Dover and other places before moving back to Wolfeboro. "I am so glad to be home," she said. In addition to serving customers through her business she is also Co-President of the Carpenter-Crescent Lake PTO and on the board of the Food Pantry. She aims to climb all of the 4,000-footers in her spare time.

Though she has completed some large projects and works all over the Lakes Region and down into Boston, DeChiaro emphasized that no project is too small for her to work on. She gave several local examples of her work, including a Meredith lake house where the clients wanted to give existing space a more "lived-in" look on a budget to setting up a new Portsmouth accounting firm in new space. She is currently redoing the meeting room at the Huggins Medical Arts Building.

"The challenge is to visualize," she says, and she helps her clients do that through 3D renderings and gathered samples of materials and space treatments.

DeChiaro can be reached at TSD Interiors at (603) 998-7924 or by email at Theresa@tsdinteriors.com. Her website is www.tsdinteriors.com.

Chamber accomplishments

DeVries reviewed Chamber highlights of 2012. One was the ribbon cutting at the newly-rebuilt and expanded Glendon Street Parking Lot on Oct. 25, the culmination of a five-year effort on the part of the Chamber, led by Chip Maxfield, to provide more parking in downtown Wolfeboro. The Chamber led the effort to purchase a lot for expansion two years ago and to make sure the expanded lot was part of the town's Downtown Street project.

The Chamber held 11 ribbon cuttings in all in 2012.

Selectmen have agreed to allow the Chamber to provide winter snowmobile access to downtown through Cate Park for a second year: last year the weather did not cooperate and was a bad year for snowmobiling generally, so the hope that this winter will be better.

The Chamber developed a new logo and brand, The Jewel of Lake WinnipesaukeeTM to help promote year-round tourism in Wolfeboro.

The Community Cash Raffle had a successful second year, with winner Kathy Engle enjoying the prize of $1,000 to spend among participating merchants.

Upcoming opportunities for members include a "lunch and learn" series presented by members; participation in an electronic broadcast service to members; and the ability to nominate self and business to Business NH magazine's person and business of the year awards.

Committee reports

Cindy Melanson reported for the Betterment Committee, thanking the town for the major improvements made to downtown this past year.

Greg Roark Jr. reported for the Programs and Benefits Committee that all monthly after-hours socials have been sponsored for 2013, but requests for 2014 are being taken. Door prizes can still be contributed to any social.

The Annual Member Mingle scholarship fundraiser is coming on April 24, with great support from area restaurants.

Registration forms for the annual Chamber brochure will be sent out in January. The 50,000 copies are widely distributed in and outside the state and offer good exposure "even for non-restaurants."

Rick Gagne spoke for the Educational Partnerships Committee, expressing some frustration with getting the School to Work program moving after three years of work. Alyssa Keegan has just joined the school district to help with this program designed to give students real-world experience in area businesses as interns.

DeVries spoke for the Marketing Committee in place of Judy Sabanek, who was unable to attend the meeting due to illness.

The Moonlight Madness and Sidewalk Sale Days this summer were very successful and the Christmas Spirit Open House last weekend promised to do as well.

The Jewel of Lake WinnipesaukeeTM branding effort that included a two-page spread in the Mills Falls magazine in Meredith brought results and may be re-run next spring. A brochure based on that ad, "101 Things to Do in Wolfeboro" was printed thanks to the support of 16 businesses. The logo was also used in the New Hampshire Summer and Visitors Guides.

Zach Tarter spoke for the Economic Development Committee and said the group needs help and ideas from members. It is working on a Wolfeboro phone app to guide visitors toh here and around town and Peter Pijoan of Wolfeboro Community Television I working on a video guide to Wolfeboro to be uploaded to YouTube, possibly along with a second video where viewers "walk into" area business to see what they have to offer.

Tarter said the town needs signs to direct visitors to the 101 Things listed in the brochure and asked participants at the meeting to fill out a brief survey to help prioritize promotion ideas.

Town Manager Dave Owen ended the report section of the meeting by giving a summary of town improvements during 2012 and reviewing the warrant articles the selectmen are proposing for the March 2013 ballot.

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