To understand the needs of local businesses, it helps to be a business owner.
Like many business owners, Lori Wemhoff, President of LMS Creative Communications, Ltd., had reservations about starting her own business, but saw potential.
Wemhoff made a brochure to advertise for a friend’s new business and realized she could turn an interest into a lucrative company.
So with confidence in her abilities in marketing and promotions and an office in the middle of downtown Kent, Wemhoff began LMS in 1998.
For many businesses, Kent seems a natural choice: the walkable downtown area, the nearby student population, and the charming, small-town atmosphere make it a great place to build a strong customer base.
Since the beginning of Kent’s downtown revitalization project, many of these new businesses joined the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce, causing membership to rise to over 300 affiliates.
So who makes sure the Chamber is accruing and managing its members? Lori Wemhoff does.
As the Chamber’s Executive Director, Wemhoff says “increasing membership from a down period” has been her greatest challenge since taking office in 2009, and she’s done just that.
Wemhoff says the Chamber works closely with the other city entities to build and sustain the economic success the redevelopment has set in motion.
Together with the city manager, the mayor, the Department of Environmental Development, the parks department and many others, Wemhoff organizes events to bring businesses together and encourage networking.
Wemhoff says she only wishes there were more hours in the day.