Business is booming in Kent right now, and local entrepreneur Lori Wemhoff is trying to keep that momentum going. At the heart of her drive to see local businesses succeed is the experience of being a business owner herself. BBR’s Melinda Stephan has the story.
The sound of business flourishing in Kent is music to Lori Wemhoff’s ears. That’s because she runs Kent Area Chamber of Commerce, the driving force behind Kent’s local business community.
But Wemhoff’s ties to Kent’s business community go even deeper. Not only is she the Executive Director of the Chamber, she also owns a local PR firm called LMS Creative Communications.
As a small business owner, Wemhoff is in a unique position to understand the needs of local businesses.
“Well, with my business, LMS Creative Communications, I thought the best way to network and meet other businesses and build my business was, of course, to get involved with the Chamber of Commerce,” says Wemhoff. “That’s what it’s all about: helping people build their businesses.”
Wemhoff’s business experience and leadership has proven to be very lucrative for the Kent business community.
Chamber membership has grown 85% in the past five years, which means there are a lot of new businesses in Kent.
For example, in 2011 Wemhoff supervised 12 ribbon-cutting ceremonies for new businesses. 2012 saw 19 ribbon-cuttings. In 2013, 32.
Wemhoff also recognizes the redevelopment of the downtown area as a factor in Chamber growth: “I came into this position at the most ideal time. With the revitalization and the rebuilding, you know, of downtown Kent, and what that has meant to the economic, you know, development of the businesses here.”
For now, the Chamber, LMS and downtown Kent are thriving. It doesn’t seem like their growth will slow any time soon, and it doesn’t look as though Wemhoff will either.