Lauren Wilcox has hit the ground running in her role as the new executive director for the Greater Quitman Area Chamber of Commerce. Wilcox, who also has a photography business, puts in 25 hours a week in her chamber position.
She started in May barely two weeks before the annual chamber golf tournament and has been hard at work trying to rebuild chamber activity in the Quitman area. “The golf tournament was my first project with the chamber. My plan is simply to bring more to Quitman, more events, more fun, more businesses involved in the community,” Wilcox said. “I’ve lived here for 10 years and we always had to go out of Quitman to do things for fun. We are the county seat and we need to do things to bring people to Quitman to see what we have here to offer. That is my ultimate goal.”
Other projects she has been instrumental in beginning are the Quitman Farmer’s Market at Brian Toliver Ford and movies in the park which will debut this Saturday. “Brian Toliver Ford actually came to us. We were wanting to do a farmer’s market and they stepped up and said they wanted to have it on their property,” Wilcox acknowledged. “We started advertising it and getting vendors there and we are hoping to get people out every month come to the market. It will be again this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. And then that night we will have our first movie night.”
“The Croods” will be the first movie at the park in the open space behind the chamber offices at Governor Jim Hogg City Park. The movie will start about 8:30 p.m. and Wilcox encourages everyone to take their lawn chairs and blankets for a fun evening. “I am really excited about movies in the park. I think it is going to be a lot of fun and it will get people to come to the park and enjoy an evening out in Quitman,” Wilcox noted. “We are hoping to have a good crowd for this first movie in the park. The movie night and farmer’s market are going to be monthly. ”
The Quitman chamber director hopes to encourage current and former members to become active again. “When I came to work here, I found a stack of renewals which had not been sent out so I just went ahead and sent them out. I also just started contacting people all around town too and seeing them face to face and (I) hope to get them involved,” Wilcox added. “Since it’s halfway through the year we can prorate new members right now until renewals go out again in January. We need to become more active and really work and show the local businesses we are trying to put them out there. We will advertise events using our sign here out front, we have our web site and we now have a mobile app.”
She receives calls for information on local businesses on a regular basis. “I get calls all the time and I give them references to the businesses they are trying to find out about. I refer them to our members. I am also trying to use Facebook and put things on there about activities and events,” Wilcox said. “We do ribbons cuttings and are looking forward to doing more mixers so people can get to know each other better.”
Wilcox enjoys what the job has to offer. “I enjoy going out and talking to everybody and helping people out. I enjoy helping Quitman. I live here and my kids go to school here,” Wilcox said.
Wilcox is a 2001 graduate of Alba-Golden High School and married to Steven, who works at ETAS in Mineola. They have three children, Micah, Hunter and Lexi and attend Myrtle Springs Baptist Church in Quitman.
The chamber board of directors meet the last Tuesday of each month at 5:30 at the office in Governor Jim Hogg City Park. Wilcox can be reached at 903-763-4411 and is usually in the office 9 a.m. to noon most days. The website is firstname.lastname@example.org.