Berlin Chamber Hires New Leader

Berlin Chamber Hires New Leader
Berlin Chamber

BERLIN – Local Realtor Jim Volk is hoping to bring decades of retail experience and a love of small towns together in his new role as Berlin Chamber of Commerce administrator.

Volk, who took over leadership of the Berlin Chamber of Commerce two weeks ago, said when he saw the job opening he knew he had to apply.

“I really felt the position was perfect for what my passions are,” he said. “I love small towns.”

If that isn’t obvious by Volk’s enthusiasm for his new job in “America’s Coolest Small Town,” one simply has to take a look at his Duquesne blog. Volk, a native of Duquesne, Pa., decided he wanted to share his memories of his hometown a few years ago. What started as a catharsis for him turned into a popular site for people eager to recall the 1950s in a small mill town.

“It took on a life of its own,” he said. “It’s had over 400,000 hits in three years. People just love reading about small towns.”

Volk, who spent 35 years managing large department stores in major American cities, is looking forward to transferring his interest from one small town to another. He believes his retail experience leaves him well suited to handle the administrative aspects of managing the chamber.

“I felt this was going to be a good marriage between my skillset and my passion,” he said.

Michael Day, Berlin’s economic and community development director, applauded Volk’s interest in Berlin.

“He seems really enthusiastic and anxious to get started,” Day said.

Volk already has several goals for the chamber. First is to increase membership and bring back members who have left. Volk said that will happen by making the benefits of membership clear to area merchants.

“There’s going to be better communication and more of a focus on networking,” he said.

Chamber officials will also look at the events the organization is involved in to make sure it’s getting all that it can out of them.

Volk hopes to continue to see a vibrant business community in downtown Berlin. Part of what he loves about the town is the healthy mix of businesses it has attracted. There are artist studios as well as boutiques, restaurants and antique shops.

“I love the blend here,” he said. “You can really enjoy the shopping experience.”

Volk said he’s encouraged by the camaraderie that exists between the town’s merchants. That’s something he will work to promote.

“Everybody wants everybody to be successful,” he said. “Success begets success.”

Volk can be found most mornings at the Berlin Chamber of Commerce office in the Berlin Visitors Center.