New Chamber of Commerce director settling into new downtown office
New Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce Director Susan McClellan Freemyer has issued a challenge for community business owners.
“At the quarterly meeting (June 2), I told everybody to get out of your comfort zone and go shop at someone else’s business here in Tonganoxie,” she said. “Those dollars need to stay in Tonganoxie.”
Freemyer started in her 20-hour-a-week position the last week in May. The chamber board hired her because of the energy she would bring the position, said Donna Hoegler, chamber president.
“She’s extremely passionate about anything she gets involved in,” she said. “She has a lot of networking and social skills.
“She’s already added three new members.”
The wife of Navy Seabee Ken Freemyer and daughter of a career Navy man, Freemyer said her networking and social skills were honed through her volunteer work as an ombudsman for a Seabees battalion. Before starting in that role, she was trained to advocate for Seabees and their family members and link them to resources to help them with everything from domestic abuse to health care.
She would now apply those skills for the chamber, Freemyer said.
“It fits me perfectly because I’m a networking person,” she said. “I have learned to put shyness away and to meet people.
“What I learned as a volunteer was to take the focus off yourself, stay positive and reach out to others so all can grow and improve.”
She would not be shy about sharing the message that Tonganoxie is a great community with quality schools and many overlooked attractions, Freemyer said.
“My vision is when other mothers tell me we have go to Weston or Leavenworth or Lawrence, is to tell them to come to downtown Tonganoxie,” she said. “I want people to come here for a special day.
“We have fantastic farms and farmers here. Why not have a fun farm tour? My idea is why not show people how great our resources are right here in Tonganoxie?”
Freemyer grew up in Kansas City, Kan., after her father retired from the Navy. She spent many years in Germany, and her children have dual citizenship in that country. She moved back to the United States in 2002 and has lived in Tonganoxie since 2004.
Freemyer’s hiring is one of two recent visible changes for the organization. She is busy her first weeks on the job organizing the chamber’s new office on the northwest corner of Fourth and Delaware streets.
Hoegler said the move was made with the expectations the chamber would grow with Tonganoxie.
“We just felt we needed our own office to present a more professional image so we can grow,” she said.
Freemyer said office hours are 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday at the new office, 330 S. Delaware. The phone number is (913) 845-9244.