Ahoskie Chamber tabs Frymier

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 31, 2004

AHOSKIE – The Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce was not forced to look very far in their search to fill the job of Executive Director, one left open with the untimely passing of Arthur Lee Wiggins.

On Aug. 2, Phyllis Frymier assumed that role. She is the former Office Manager and a longtime employee of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, located less than two blocks north of the Chamber’s Garrett House office on Catherine Creek Road.

For Frymier, a native of the nearby Center Grove community just across the Bertie County line, Ahoskie has always held a special place in her heart.

&uot;I have lived in this area all my life and always considered Ahoskie as home,&uot; said Frymier, who now resides with her husband, Gary, on the Godwin Town Road. &uot;My experience in the newspaper business has only heightened my love of the area.&uot;

Prior to accepting this new challenge in her professional career, Frymier – a member of the Class of 1969 at Bertie High School and a 1973 graduate of East Carolina University – worked for 29 years with the News-Herald. Her career began as a proofreader in 1975 and she steadily climbed the corporate ladder, landing a retail ad sales position in 1977, named Classified Advertising Manager in 1981, promoted to Group Advertising Manager in 1984 and Office Manager in 2001.

&uot;Through my various sales calls and research, I have had the opportunity to learn so much more about our area…our businesses and our industries,&uot; she stated. &uot;I’ve toured our industrial facilities, had plenty of opportunities to work with the political leaders of this area as well as working with many of our area’s best resource – the ordinary, everyday citizens.&uot;

She continued, &uot;Because of this, I believe in this area. I strongly feel this is a great area to work, to live and to raise a family. At the same time, I also know that we need to look to the future and to get in touch with the times.&uot;

For officials within the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce, having a person of Frymier’s multi-faceted abilities onboard is like a dream come true.

&uot;We are thrilled to have a local person to fill this position, especially one like Phyllis who brings so many abilities to the job,&uot; stated Dan Joyner, a member of the Chamber’s Executive Board and the Chairman of the Search Committee.

&uot;We had a number of qualified candidates, but the Search Committee felt like she would do the best job,&uot; Joyner added. &uot;Phyllis is very well-connected in the local community, a fact that gives her a big head start in this new job.&uot;

Pat Barr, president of the Chamber’s Ladies Division, said she was, &uot;tickled to death&uot; to have Frymier onboard.

&uot;Many of us within the Chamber have worked with Phyllis for a number of years,&uot; noted Barr. &uot;Knowing Phyllis like I do, I’m sure she will bring a lot of new and fresh ideas to the Chamber. She can only improve upon the direction we were going.&uot;

Frymier is already plotting a course for the direction in which she wants to Chamber to travel. Listed among her ideas are a web site to promote the Chamber’s activities as well as promoting its corporate and business members, a newsletter, an aggressive membership drive, more cooperation between other Chambers in the region and working closely with the Town of Ahoskie.

&uot;New ideas always take a while to implement, but with a lot of help and support, we can make things work,&uot; stressed Frymier. &uot;The number one objective in all of this is to make every individual feel important. No one is better than another. Everyone matters – that’s my motto.&uot;

Frymier said it was critical for all of the local communities to pull together and act as, in her words, &uot;one voice.&uot;

&uot;We all share the same problems so there is no need for our communities to stand alone,&uot; she noted. &uot;With some creative thinking, we can solve our problems together.&uot;

She also listed the Hertford County Economic Development Commission, the Northeast Partnership and the Northeast Division of Tourism among her many allies.

&uot;The way I see it, the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce is the welcoming center for those new to our town,&uot; stated Frymier. &uot;We are the public relations center for the town. Everything we do in a positive fashion is a plus for Ahoskie.&uot;

Ahoskie Mayor Linda Blackburn said she was excited to see Frymier take the job at the Chamber.

&uot;There’s a lot to be said for someone who has deep roots in our area,&uot; stated the Mayor. &uot;Phyllis’ roots, her family’s roots run very deep here. She knows what will work here because she has the pulse of our community.&uot;

Blackburn added that it was critical for the town and the Chamber to work together.

&uot;With new leadership, we’re moving in new directions,&uot; she stressed. &uot;That’s why it’s so important for us to be on the same sheet of music. Together, we can help each other.&uot;

One key element in keeping Ahoskie on the right track for the future is to make sure that small businesses – those she referred to as &uot;the backbone of our town&uot; – are able to keep their doors open.

&uot;With my husband owning a small business (Ahoskie Floral Gardens), I know first-hand of the challenges facing those in the same situation,&uot; stressed Frymier. &uot;Small businesses, whether they’re here in Ahoskie, or Windsor or Murfreesboro, are now faced with ‘super center’ competition, most within an hour’s drive of our area. It’s our job, as well as that of the other Chambers in our area, to help our member businesses promote what they can offer and keep our citizens shopping here at home.&uot;

As far as taking over in the wake of a living legend (Wiggins), Frymier admitted she felt no pressure at all.

&uot;Honestly, I feel that Arthur Lee is still here, smiling over my shoulder,&uot; she concluded. &uot;There’s no way to separate the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce from Arthur Lee Wiggins. He was at the forefront in helping to shape this town, our area and our region. Yes, Arthur Lee left some mighty big shoes to fill, but I hope I can take the Chamber a few steps further.&uot;

Upcoming events sponsored by the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce include an Open House, set for Sept. 18 at the Garrett House, and the 34th annual Indian Summer Days Craft Show and Sale, Oct. 8-9 at the Town of Ahoskie gym (the old Ahoskie High School).

For additional information concerning Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce activities or to join its membership, call 332-2042.