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Smith steps down as Chamber director

Yesterday, Kelley Smith’s six-year career at the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce came to an end.

Smith tendered her notice in November as she and her husband, Brandon, began preparations for their second child in May.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” she said Friday amid several packed boxes and bags. “

I can’t say enough about how much I’ve enjoyed working with the people and the groups I’ve been able to work with over the past six years.”

Smith, who opted to become a stay at home mother with the new addition and 4-year-old daughter, Camilla, said she looked back fondly on the things the Chamber has achieved.

“Jay Shows, Pat (Brady) and I all sort of came on about the same time,” she said, “and one of the big projects was Christmas on the River.”

Smith said attendance had begun to slump and the Chamber was charged with making necessary improvements and adjustments.

“I think that’s one of the things I’m most proud of,” she said of COTR’s return to regional prominence. “When we first came on board, (COTR) has taken some pretty big hits, both from a visitor and a financial standpoint. We put together a five year plan and actually met those goals in three years.”

Smith was quick to that those that helped the Chamber return COTR to financial viability and those who have helped other numerous Chamber activities.

Those included volunteers, Leadership Marengo committee, Christmas and Freedom on the River committees, Chamber Board members both past and present, Two Rivers Arts Council, the City School Foundation, Chamber membership, Shows and Brady – who currently serves as office manager at the Chamber – and business and community leaders.

“I can’t say how grateful I am to all those people that I’ve worked with over the years,” she said. “All the volunteers and all the help I’ve received, I will forever be thankful.”

And as she packed some of her final boxes and prepared for her new life as a stay-at-home mom, Smith said she could only leave one piece of advice for whomever took over the position.

“Be patient and have fun,” she said. “It’s a lot of work and it means a lot of hours sometimes, but it can be fun if you’ll let it.”

The Chamber Board has yet to hire a new President and is currently seeking resumes.