Monthly Archives: February 2018


If I have seen you in the past few days, you’ve probably heard me lament how much I am over winter and ready for spring.  But the other day, I wasn’t expecting snow when a brief and light dusting caused me to pause.  I happened to be driving when those large flakes hit my windshield, you know the ones in which you can see the intricacies and details of the shapes of the snowflakes.  It made me smile and as I considered their uniqueness and beauty, I temporarily forgot how cold it was outside.  I recalled something I had heard as a child: no two snowflakes are alike.  In my google attempts to verify this as fact, however, I was inundated with the new slang definitions of snsnowflakeowflake – an insult actually – and some even broadening the insult to a whole generation.  How terrible.  To take something beautiful and unique and turn it to something negative.  While it is accurate that snowflakes can be fragile, it’s not the whole picture.  By themselves, snowflakes are still beautiful and together they can be both breathtaking and a force to be reckoned with.  Just think of those snowcapped mountains which artists and skiers love.  Or how about the flurries turned to inches turned into feet of snow which will literally stop peoples’ daily life for a bit.

So I say, forget the slang!  I will keep on believing that it is true: no two snowflakes are alike.  Just like people and just like businesses.  Each are unique, and they are strong when unified.

Small businesses make up over 70% of our Chamber membership.  They can be combined into categories as broad as retail or as focused as mortgage services.  They may have the same category, but they are all distinctive.  Add in the other 30% of larger businesses and you have the full Chamber membership – all businesses important to our local economy and united with one strong Chamber voice.


When you look at a field of dandelions, do you see a hundred weeds or a thousand wishes?

As creatures of habit, we can sometimes get stuck doing the same things and thinking the same thoughts.  This is not always a bad thing, depending on the habit.  But it could prove to be troublesome when our habits are keeping us in a constant place with the unchanged perspective.  It doesn’t allow us the chance to adjust, grow, or improve.  If you have been following my writing, you know that my personal tagline since I started at the Chamber is “always improving”.  It is something that I constantly keep in the back of my mind.  How can we improve upon what we do and why we do it?  How are we bringing value to our membership and the business community?  What else can we do?

They say you can change your life when you change your habits.  In fact, there are numerous books and YouTube videos on it.  Even a small change such as simply driving to work on a different road can open your eyes to things you don’t normally see or maybe even to what you didn’t even know was there.  Try it!  Seek out the new, changed, or different offerings in the community.

At the Chamber, we are adding new and improved possibilities: besides our new Network before 9 (next one is February 27th), another new opportunity we’ve identified is for consumers.  We’ve been preaching the importance of shopping local and now you’ll have more of an opportunity to do so.  Next month we will begin our ‘Shop First Sundays’ promotion – where our area retailers will open specific hours on the 1st Sunday of every month.  You can get out of the mindset that shopping must happen anywhere but here in your own town!   You get to save gas and time and find the great treasures that are here locally.

Perspective is defined as a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a way of considering something.  Do you see dandelions as weeds or as wishes?  I believe that changing your perspective can lead to a change in habit.

I also believe our area is in a unique position to take advantage of the growth and utilize the possibilities…the ‘thousands of wishes’ out there.  With the right perspective, hard work, good strategies, and input from our members, our community will reach its great potential.  The Chamber is here to drive our business community to that potential, to serve you and your needs and to help us all have a more unified business community.  It is my vision, my mission as I see it in this role, and I am determined to use a new perspective to allow us all to ‘be better than yesterday’.


Looking forward while remembering the past

They say you can’t change the past.  Look ahead.  Move forward.  And I agree.  However, every now and again, it is good to stop and look backward to see how far you have come.  Just a few short years ago, the Eagle Ridge golf course (Williston Country Club as it was called back then) was only a 9-hole course and one of the few places for fine dining in town but ended up in financial trouble.  Our 2014 Western Star Awardee, Dr. Salem Shahin, stepped in to help.  Dr. Shahin purchased the golf course and worked with the Corps of Engineers to turn it into an 18-hole golf course.  Additionally, at the time, there was a full-sized kitchen, but no one to run the restaurant.  He worked with potential clients and got a full-time chef in the restaurant.  This filled a big void for fine dining in Williston at the time.  This goes to prove again, the many people in this community who have stepped up to make it a better place – hence our long list of Western Star Awardees.  It’s why I love our awards banquet so much because we get to honor them and recognize their contributions.

This example also shows how far we as a city have come when it relates to the quality of life and what we have to offer our citizens.  In a town where there was only a handful of places to eat out, we now have an abundance of really great restaurants both fast food, for the quick meal or sit down places to enjoy a meal with friends or family.  We have chains and specialty restaurants in addition to the numerous caterers!  Our Chamber membership directory lists over 40 places to get food and that doesn’t include many of the bars in town.  This is where our annual Taste of Williston event came to exist.  It is a night where people from the community can come to one place and sample food from various restaurants and caterers in town.  Our local businesses will offer samples of their specialty food & drink items.

Our Taste of Williston event is a great way for them to gain exposure for their business, but also a great way for people in the community to see and ‘taste’ all that Williston currently has to offer!  I am still surprised when I talk to people in town and they do not realize that (for example) there is now an Italian restaurant in town – one that has been open for over a year!  This applies to people who have recently made Williston their home, but also for those who have been here for decades!  Williston has so much to offer in the sphere of dining, so make plans to attend our 2018 Taste of Williston.  Attendees get to vote for their favorite food/drink and there is a band for entertainment as well.  It falls near the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, when everyone is Irish for a day.  It is a fun and delicious night!  We look forward to seeing you there!


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