On March 5 of this year, Aubrey Saltus officially occupied the office as the new Henderson Chamber of Commerce Director. Beginning any job is a significant endeavor, but she was also about to face compounding challenges due to COVID. Thankfully Aubrey had been at the Henderson Home Show in February to get reacquainted with business and community members before in-person interaction greatly slowed.
As the City Offices closed their doors to the public for several months in the spring, Aubrey was able to utilize the time to build a strong foundation in her new career. She did extensive research through past documents and events. There were also many webinars and legislative forums made accessible while events were moved online. The period also allowed her to invest with Lisa Hurley from the York County Development Corporation.
As the summer months drew near, there were many looming questions about events put on by the chamber–specifically community days. Under local healthcare guidance, the chamber board decided to instead do a safe, modified Henderson Community Days weekend. These were difficult decisions to make and share.
Even among the chaos, Aubrey remarked, “The most rewarding aspect of the job has been building relationships.” As a Henderson native, it has been meaningful for her to return and resume former relationships while also beginning new ones with businesses and community members.
Although life is unique right now, Aubrey is busy planning bright things for the future. Community center steering conversations will be resuming, and ideas to improve next year’s Farmers Market are already being researched. Bringing speakers to chamber meetings has also been and will continue to be another highlight. There are ideas for fall events, but their status has to be contingent for the foreseeable time.
So how has returning to the community been after thirteen years away? She’s enjoyed it! After living in large cities, the simplicity has been a welcome change. A particular benefit is her morning commute by walking down the street. “I’m finding ways to plug into the community and recently started volunteering as a crossing guard for the school in the morning,” she explained. Aubrey has also loved the small-town atmosphere where neighbors stop for a chat and bags of vegetables are unexpectedly dropped on porches.
While we wait for the days to gather again without a second thought, you can anticipate many positives in our community for the years to come.
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