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August 28, 2014

New chamber director hoping to continue growth for local businesses

By Joshua Gordon
C & G Staff Writer

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New chamber director hoping to continue growth for local businesses
New Ferndale Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marina Glagolev, left, works with Board of Directors member Carol Jackson, center, and administrative assistant intern Shirrell Williams Aug. 21 at the chamber.

FERNDALE — In the past year, the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce has grown its membership base, expanded services to Oak Park and been named Outstanding Chamber of the Year by Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals.

Heading into the next year, the chamber will look to continue to grow, albeit under new leadership. On Aug. 18, Marina Glagolev officially took over the executive director position.

“I am really excited, the board is very engaged and forward-thinking, and there is a huge, great vision for this chamber as it has grown,” Glagolev said. “I think this chamber could fill a niche, and as this city moves toward the future, so many Americans are becoming hopeful entrepreneurs, and that is a huge industry for this country. We will embrace new businesses and, hopefully, be able to provide networking and educational support.”

Glagolev is originally from California and, after several years of being a stay-at-home mother, she became a grant management associate with the Kresge Foundation in 2005.

Glagolev said her goal was to become an executive director of a nonprofit, and after stops at the Presbyterian Villages of Michigan and Evangelical Homes of Michigan, she saw the opening for the Ferndale chamber.

In June, former executive director Jennifer Roosenberg, who joined the chamber in 2009, left to take a new job closer to home.

With a membership base that is over 300, Glagolev said she hopes to continue to expand and hopes businesses will see the benefit of being a member of the chamber.

“In Oak Park, it looks like we are growing that relationship with them, and I am interested in developing that relationship along with Pleasant Ridge, and the future is bright for the whole corridor,” she said. “We offer networking opportunities for business to business and business to potential clients. We want to expand that marketing tool, and we want to meet with the mayor and City Council and let them know that we can be a resource for them, because the health of their businesses is the health of their community.”

Chris Hughes, the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority communications and marketing manager, said that having a healthy chamber helps not only grow the downtown, but all of the businesses located outside the DDA district.

“I think the chamber delivers some different kinds of services than we do, and critical ones that are helpful to growing businesses, especially businesses that maybe don’t have an actual location,” Hughes said. “Some of their members aren’t located in our downtown, but the fact that they exist and continue to grow outside of downtown contributes to downtown and contributes to the city overall. It is all about the businesses and we work in tandem with them to help the business community in whatever way, so we are glad to have a new, positive director and look forward to working with her.”

Coming into a chamber with more than 75 years of history, and one that was recognized for its growth by an outside organization, Glagolev said her first goal is to take in all the knowledge of those around to put together a plan to continue to help businesses in Ferndale.

“The first thing I am going to do is shut up, listen and learn,” she said. “I want to learn from people why they are excited and what their motivation is and what worked and didn’t work. I see an enormous, bright future of growth and expansion for this chamber, and hopefully within 30 days, I have a little street cred and can start planning for the future.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Joshua Gordon at jgordon@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1077.