The Verona Area Chamber of Commerce has added three new employees this winter, handling a variety of duties.
In addition to Halley Jones, who took over on a part-time, interim basis after the exit of the community’s first tourism coordinator, the chamber has added the services of Robin Phelps as marketing and event coordinator and Mona Cassis as a special event coordinator. All three are longtime Verona residents.
Phelps has been brought on to help run the chamber’s larger events – such as its annual meeting, Fall Fest and Hometown Days – and coordinate regular activities like its professional development series and Business After 5 events, explained Le Jordan, the chamber’s executive director.
Jordan said the move is part of a restructuring of her administrative support she has been working on for about a year. It’s aimed at providing time for her to “get out into the community more” to meet with businesses and city economic development staff and find out how the chamber can be of more service.
It is an addition to the chamber’s previous budget, and part of Phelps’ job is to help bring in sponsorships and donations for events that will help fund the position, Jordan said.
In addition, Phelps, who has worked in a variety of marketing positions over the past 20 years, will find topics and speakers for regular chamber events, find entertainment for community events and perform general administrative office work. Jordan noted the chamber has increased the number of social events and community events in the past few years.
Cassis, who was responsible for restarting Verona’s weekly farmers market, has already been working with the chamber in a limited role, Jordan said, and is now on a contract to handle logistics and vendors at community events. She assists both behind the scenes and on site with food trucks, tent companies, portable toilets, carnivals, bands and the like.
The tourism coordinator position was created last spring from room-tax revenues, which must be dedicated to bringing people into the city. Jones, the owner of the downtown boutique Purple Goose, remains a member of the city’s two-year-old Tourism Commission, which handles how that money is spent.