The Princeton Area Chamber of Commerce elected five new members to its board on November 13 – Troy Minske, Sandy Miller, Gary Fulton, Sherry Newman and Susan Hatton.
Hatton will be filling out the two years remaining in a term vacated by Sarah Hamann, and the other four new board members will be serving three-year terms.
Minske owns and operates Rum River Automotive, Miller is office manager and real estate associate at Cartwright Realty, Inc., Fulton is a business partner with Denise Frank at Rum River Promotions, Newman is a business and sales coach and owner of The BrainBox Trust, and Hatton is an independent agent with the Aflac insurance company.
All five said they want to get more involved in the chamber’s activities. Many also said they like the direction of the chamber in recent time, with president Scott Berry at the helm.
Many of them mentioned the “It Starts Here” campaign to attract more businesses to fill the town’s vacant storefronts. It is a cooperative project between the chamber and the city of Princeton.
Miller, who has been helping with the “It Starts Here” campaign, said there is a lot of improvement needed in the community’s business sector.
Minske described himself as not so much having new ideas, but that he wants to help maintain the chamber’s current momentum. The chamber now is “vibrant, fun,” Minske said.
Hatton, who grew up in Princeton but now lives in Sartell, continues to help Princeton’s beautification committee plant flowers on the city’s main streets. Hatton has her office in St. Cloud but also does insurance work in Princeton, Milaca and Cambridge. She would like to see Princeton grow, she said.
Fulton probably has the most unique idea for a chamber activity. “For the holidays, I’d like to have a huge, monster Christmas tree put up on the roundabout,” he said.
Newman lives in Elk River, but has been a member of the Princeton chamber’s Business Success Group, which has experienced business people coaching other business people on running a business.
One of Newman’s ideas for the chamber is to start a business networking group. The Princeton chamber tried doing that several years ago with the Milaca chamber but the effort ended after a number of meetings. Chamber president Berry says a lack of continuity in the meeting schedule contributed to that ending.
“My vested interest is seeing Princeton grow because it is where my husband (Don) and I will eventually retire,” Newman said. The couple had initially looked for a place to live in Princeton before deciding to locate in Elk River, she said. The timing was not yet right for getting a place in Princeton, she explained.
Princeton is a “beautiful community with a lot to offer,” Newman said. The community acts to improve its businesses and schools more than residents do in some other places, she added.
Newman’s credentials include motivational and educational speaker, author of several articles on the virtual-assistant industry and author of an e-book on customer retention.
Migrating closer to Princeton
Some of the new board members grew up some miles from Princeton. Newman, for example, was born in Indiana, and moved to Minnesota in 1986. She grew up in Coon Rapids and in her words, continued “migrating north.”
Fulton grew up in Brooklyn Center “when the Earle Brown Farm (there) was still a farm.” Fulton said in a profile on himself in the November Princeton Chamber Focus newsletter, “I used to cut through a horse pasture across the street from our house to walk to elementary school.”
Fulton ended up in Princeton through his friendship with the late Dennis Frank and Frank’s daughter Denise.
Fulton’s professional career includes 15 years as a graphic artist, studio coordinator and customer service rep/department supervisor. He was a photo studio supervisor for Dayton’s advertising for four years and then worked 12 years in the sales and customer service part of a printing business.
One of Fulton’s achievements is receiving the Outstanding Customer Service Award from a Biz to Biz Network.
While Hatton grew up in Princeton, she was actually born in Minneapolis and made the move here because her parents wanted the family to “get away from city life,” in Hatton’s words. Hatton migrated around while in the Army, where she said she had rapid career promotions and the “ability to work in a diverse atmosphere with any type of personality.”
Hatton joined the Army as a cook as part of a bet with her brother and was stationed in Alabama, Virginia, Colorado and Germany. After leaving active duty in December 1983, Hatton joined the National Guard in Princeton for three years.