New Chamber leader looks forward
The Greenwich Journal & Salem Press
Kelly Stephen Eustis is the Greater Greenwich Chamber of Commerce's new managing director. He hit the ground running in October, helping a committee prep for the town’s biggest annual event, the Lighted Tractor Parade in November. The parade, in its seventh year, grows larger and larger each time, and brought over 5000 people to the region most recently. Along with the town's Whipple City Festival in June, these two Chamber events help promote Greenwich outside Washington County’s borders and are an important draw for the town. The Chamber operates out of the basement of the village's administrative building on Academy Street, and Eustis' job is technically part-time, so managing these two large-scale events, while also keeping 160 Chamber members happy, requires precision planning. "I took the position because of my experience as a small business owner from a very young age. I had my first business at age fourteen," he said. "I have always been involved with Washington County, having grown up here all my life, graduating from Argyle Central School in 2005. I have always had a passion for this area." But the West Coast had its allures, too. Before coming back to Washington County in 2016, Eustis spent about a decade in Southern California, running his own political consulting and PR company and helping various campaigns. When the Chamber position opened, it was a calling. "I had done my research on the Chamber and thought it could be beyond what it currently is; more focused on business." That not only means further upping the profile of the Chamber's events, but also growing the number of Chamber members. "I would love for us to have 200 members by the end of the year 2020," he said.
He’d like current members to have more chances to interact and learn from each other. While Main Streets across the country are shuttering due to the effects of Amazon, Eustis feels it doesn’t have to be that way for Greenwich. "We [the Chamber] have been around this long and there have been a lot of struggles and ups and downs with the Chamber, and the Village has gone through a lot of changes," he said. "We need to reevaluate what we're doing, especially in this day and age with technology. A lot of small businesses are struggling to get customers in their doors. But a lot of our businesses don’t even have websites." Eustis would like to hold training sessions for local businesses to get them up to speed technologically. "You do have your older presence still here, but there’s a large younger generation really moving things forward," he said. Eustis has a lot of work ahead of him, but he does possess a marketing and technological skillset that's atypical for his role. The Chamber's site is antiquated, which he plans on fixing. As well, he plans on rebranding the Chamber, recently even creating a snazzy new logo. "You have to adapt with the times. We as a Chamber are adapting, and I think there has long been a stance of not doing so."