BROOKVILLE — Jolene Hartle says being the executive director of the Brookville Area Chamber of Commerce doesn’t feel like a job because she is so excited to meet area business owners and find out how the chamber can help them.
Hartle, originally from Sigel, worked in human relations (HR) for about 16 years. She had moved to the Lucinda area of Clarion County and lived there for 34 years before moving back to the Sigel area two years ago to be closer to her mother. She worked in HR at the Clarion County Courthouse and later for eight years at Colony Homes in Shippenville, before moving into sales at Colony Homes. She enjoyed the work but the drive of 45 minutes, especially in the winter, was rough.
When she saw the job opening at the Chamber in the newspaper she was excited about the possibility of being back closer to her home and getting involved in the community.
“When I interviewed and got this position I was really excited because I’m going out and visiting all the businesses. I would like to do for them what they need done. I would like to help the community and the businesses to grow and I’m just really happy to be back. I want to help the businesses help the people so I’m just going out visiting and asking what I can do,” Hartle, who was hired October 28, says.
Hartle says she loves being in the comunity and that events, such as the wine walk, “are so much fun.”
The annual wine walk was held during Victorian Christmas at the beginning of December. Hartle said 309 people took part in it. “That was a lot of fun. We got the radio involved and people out there singing.” She said she is hoping to have more events like the wine walk in the future.
“I’m loving meeting the people and actually meeting some old high school people; that’s a lot of fun too. Yes, I’m really enjoying this,” she said of her new role.
While Hartle’s hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., she says she does go out to connect with businesses but puts up a sign on the Chamber’s door as to when she’ll be back. “If somebody needs to talk to her after 2:30 p.m I’m more than willing to be available,” she says.
She is hoping to get businesses to interact more with the chamber and tell her what they need. “I would like to do a lot for the businesses. I want the businesses to come to me and say ‘I have this event’ or ‘I have this going on’ or anything. It could be they have an employee birthday. I’m more than willing to go to the businesses or wherever they’re act, take pictures, help market...I just want to do for the businesses what they need and I want them to be happy with the Chamber. I guess a lot of communication is what I’m looking for from the businesses – both good and bad. There’s always something that can be improved. And hopefully will have a lot of positive changes.”
The Chamber’s events beyond the wine walk also has a wing fling, an annual dinner, eggs and issues on a quarterly basis, and has done an annual golf tournament. This year, Hartles says, the Chamber is looking to possibly do something different in place of the golf tournament, especially something that will draw people to town.
The Chamber has also held mixers, including a combined chamber mixer with the Punxsutawney Area Chamber of Commerce. She looks forward to doing more combined chamber mixers as she believes they are beneficial to businesses in seeing how others do things as well as great networking opportunities.
The chamber board will have it’s first meeting Wednesday and normally meets the third Wednesday of each month at the Jefferson Manor. Hartle says she has a full board – all 12 seats have been filled. She is looking forward to working with the board to help businesses grow and prosper.