Four months after hiring Verona’s first tourism coordinator, the Verona Area Chamber of Commerce has a new person in that role.

Halley Jones, owner of The Purple Goose and a member of the city’s Tourism Commission, has taken over on an interim, part-time basis, chamber executive director Le Jordan announced Thursday, Dec. 6.

Jones expressed interest in the coordinator position months ago, when her business was still in transition to its North Main Street location. When the position came open, Jordan asked Jones if she’d be willing to take over for the outgoing coordinator, JoEllen Graber. The Press was unable to reach Graber for comment, who previously had been the Mount Horeb tourism director, and no reason was given for the switch.

“Halley’s going to do the interim to make sure we don’t lose the momentum,” Jordan told the Press.

Still to be determined is how the move will affect Jones’ role on the commission, which sets the chamber and visitors center’s tourism budget – which includes the coordinator’s salary and expenses, set at $63,600 – and oversees its tourism activities. Jordan said the commission will discuss that at its monthly meeting Dec. 18.

Jones, who also serves on the Verona Area Chamber of Commerce’s board, told the Press later that day she has been compiling ideas from her 13 years as a local business owner and her family’s travels, and she’ll be combining the duties of the position with her work as an adjunct professor. Jones has a master’s degree in business administration and has been a member of Madison’s chamber.

She and Jordan both indicated they would have to see how things go before determining whether the situation has long-term potential.

Jordan said Graber’s four months in the position were mostly getting to know the community and the businesses, something Jones already is familiar with. The goals of the position for the upcoming year, therefore, will be similar – working with those businesses and with organizations like the Madison Area Sports Commission to pursue events and partnerships.

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