On Monday January 18, Jerrilyn Schembri began her new position as manager of the Chamber of Commerce in Tumbler Ridge.
Schembri is extremely positive about the ability of Tumbler Ridge to thrive economically as a community. She’s been here since the mid-80s, and considers Tumbler Ridge to be her home.
“My family knows nothing else than Tumbler Ridge,” she says. “This is an amazing community that allows people to grow, and make mistakes.”
“We’ve lived in Tumbler Ridge for a long time and I’ve seen it bounce back from economic down times.” Says Schembri, “I want to be a part of the solution. I believe it can be even better than other turnarounds.”
At this time it is very difficult to imagine what changes will come to stimulate the much needed economic growth. “It may come through industry, or in the way of tourism, or even possibilities of Internet companies.”
Despite the uncertainty of what will come next she remains optimistic of the fact that it will turn around. Her relentless positivity seems at odds to the bleak future that many people see. “Negative thinking kills things, positive thinking brings growth,” she says.
Schembri believes that working together, the community of Tumbler Ridge will thrive. “I moved here 27 years ago and have seen the Chamber during times when it has been doing great things and I think this is perfect timing for the Chamber to be involved in rebuilding Tumbler Ridge.”
She has always been a supporter of local businesses. “They are one of the foundational building blocks of the community.”
Businesses who invest in the Chamber will directly benefit from the partnership. For example, sole proprietor businesses receive three cents a litre off their fuel costs at local gas stations. And their business information is put into the Chambers Business Directory, which is due to be updated in the near future, as well as being included in the online directory.
The Chamber organizes public events in an attempt to make connections between residents and local businesses as well as looking for ways to encourage growth in those local businesses and attempts to draw potential new businesses to the area.
Schembri says her first week in the manager position has been mostly filled with catching up because there has been no one in the position since late last year. Within her first month Jerrilyn hopes to “get out and meet with businesses.” It is her intention to make the Chamber into something that people want to get involved with.
In the past the Chamber has been responsible for events like the Multicultural Festival and countless others.