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1/23/2013 2:58:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
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Alex Cruz
Alex Cruz to take over as chamber president
Kacie Thrift
Staff Writer



The new year has started, and with the new year, comes new leaders. Alex Cruz, branch manager at Cashmere Valley Bank in Cashmere, has been elected to serve as the 2013 president of the Cashmere Chamber of Commerce, taking over Laurie Shorett's position.

Cruz grew up in East Wenatchee. After high school, he received his Bachelor's in Administration at Central Washington University. In 2011, he was named the manager of the bank's branch in Cashmere. He moved to Cashmere in the summer of 2011. Prior to that, he was commuting from East Wenatchee to the bank.

"The chamber is currently on a positive momentum that has been going on now for a couple of years," Cruz said. "The board's plan, as well as mine is to keep it going. We want to make sure that all of our members know that they should be contributing their ideas to us. In the end, it is an overall strong membership and now what I plan as president that will create a successful chamber and business environment."

Named as one of the most up-and-coming business people in the Wenatchee Valley who is under 35 years old by a local publication, Cruz is ready to serve his third year on the Chamber's Board of Directors. Last year he was the vice president of the board.

Cruz has worked at the bank for six years and is ready to take on the additional challenge of being board president.

"We have a good chamber manager in Jill FitzSimmons. She does an excellent job in keeping the chamber board and officers informed of any urgent decisions that need to be made prior to the monthly board meetings," Cruz said about taking on two roles at once. "It also helps that the chamber office is located directly across the street from the bank."

He said being chamber president is a good way to get involved and demonstrate his, as well as the banks, support to the future success of the Cashmere community.

One of the first goals Cruz wants to achieve as president is to create an active membership. He said the members are the chamber's most valuable asset. He wants to hear more from them.

Another goal is to grow the city's fledging tourism industry by promoting Cashmere to the 14,000 whitewater rafters who pull out of Wenatchee River at Riverside Park.

"The chamber has several goals that we want to accomplish and the chamber presidency is a short term position. Although we are just kicking off the year, my personal goal would be increase the holiday spirit downtown by adding more lights to the Christmas tree and perhaps add lights on the crosswalk canopies," Cruz said.

Another goal of the chamber is to improve signage in Cashmere. In a recent press release, Cruz said improving the signage means looking at adding solar lighting to the welcome signs on Highway, adding a visitor's kiosk near the Cashmere Museum and partnering with the city on a banner project.

The Chamber recently held their annual election in December. Newly elected to the chamber's 12-member Board of Directors are Pam Catching (Milne Insurance Agency), Teri Weedman (Weeds Café), and Jessica Lindblom (Mt. Cashmere Golf Course). Last year's president Laurie Shorett (Cascade Valley Inn), David Weber (Martin's Market Place), and Michelle Whitford (Apple Annie Antique Gallery) were elected for their second terms.

Cruz said Cashmere is already a great community and he wants to contribute to that.

"The first thing that was mentioned to me when I moved here was how great the school district is. I just met someone at the chamber office who moved to Cashmere because she had heard great things about the school district and the community," Cruz said. "People are moving to Cashmere but their shopping habits are elsewhere primarily due to where their work is located. So we need to figure out how to break their habits and continue to increase the local businesses marketing visibility because the people that live in Cashmere and work in Cashmere, [will] shop in Cashmere."

Kacie Thrift may be reached at 782-3781 or reporter@cashmerevalleyrecord.com.



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