Sean O'Gorman officially handed over the title of Maplewood Chamber of Commerce president to Jerry Gibbs at the organization's quarterly luncheon on Wednesday.
"Being president of the chamber has been an honor and a pleasure. Good luck, Jerry," O'Gorman wryly said before handing Gibbs the microphone. About 65 members attended the event at Schlafly Bottleworks.
Gibbs, owner of J & E Office City in downtown Maplewood, thanked O'Gorman and the chamber and said the state of the chamber is strong. He offered a few updates on what to expect in 2011:
- A new Net-Lunch program will give chamber members a chance to dine and network informally at different Maplewood restaurants. The next Net-Lunch is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 23 at Cousin Hugo's Bar and Grill for $10.
- The chamber's website will be revamped and will include the ability to renew membership online
- The Chamber Exchange program will be rebranded as Chamber Advantage in an effort to encourage Maplewood business owners to shop from one another's stores.
Gibbs congratulated different business owners on major milestones, such as Paramount Jeweler's 65-year and Architectural Design Guild's 30-year anniversaries in 2011. Conversely, he congratulated newer member Rampant Creative Group on its one-year anniversary.
He also introduced the 2011 Board of Directors:
- Jim Barton, Saratoga Lanes
- Bill Berthold, Frontenac Engineering Group
- Shannon Brown, The DeSIGNery
- Nadir Djavaherian, Auto Plaza Ford
- Harlie Frankel, Shop City
- Adrian Glass, The Post Sports Bar and Grill
- Woody Johnson, Citizens National Bank
- Sandy Kapsar, Sandra B. Kapsar
- Mary Kausch, HR etc!
- Sean O'Gorman - O'Gorman and Sandroni, Attorneys at Law
- Mitch Orlando - Icon Contracting
After Gibbs introduction, representatives from the St. Louis County Department of Highways and Traffic offered a presentation on the South County Connector Project, a long-term project which aims to connect parts of South County to the Maplewood-Brentwood area.
John Hicks, a transportation development analyst with the department, said county officials are in the process of identifying different routes that could be added to help traffic flow through the county. The main study area includes parts of Maplewood, Shrewsbury, Webster Groves and St. Louis city. He said the entire process will take more than five years.
Laura Sakach, project manager from engineering firm Crawford, Murphy and Tilly, asked business owners to offer feedback.
"We're very early in the process but we've identified some goals," Sakach said. In addition to improving traffic flow, the county hopes to improve biking and pedestrian traffic through the area.
Hicks said the county doesn't have any funding for the project yet but expects to find multiple sources. He reiterated that the entire project could be called off after the county completes an environmental study.
"All options are on the table," he said.