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JAMSA elects board members, sees 42 businesses join

Members of the newly formed Jonesborough Area Merchants and Service Association elected board members during a Feb. 22 meeting held at the Visitors Center.
Representatives from approximately 17 businesses voted for the directors who will serve with founding members Joel Conger, Mauks of Jonesborough; Jeff Gurley, The Lollipop Shop; and Christine Edwards, The Dining Room.
Directors named from the downtown district are Alex Bomba, Main Street Cafe and Catering; and Dona Lewis, Franklin House Bed and Breakfast. Directors elected from 11-E businesses are Braden McKinley, Proud Annie Mystery Theatre; Kathleen Petretta, First Tennessee Bank; David Sell, Ace Hardware; Kent Walker, Olde Towne Pharmacy; and Jennifer Wolfe, Wolfe Development.
Patti Lewis, The Wedding Loft, and Dr. Howard Petersen, Petersen Family Chiropractic, were also on the slate of nominees, but were not elected.
Though the JAMSA bylaws dictate five board members will be business owners within the historic district and five will be from outside that area, such as 11-E, Conger made a point to say, following the election, “This is not a downtown or a highway organization, this is all of us.”
The final board member will be appointed by Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe with the approval of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Once that person is in place, the board will hire an executive director. In the interim, that role is being held by Diane Rowenhorst, a former Jonesborough merchant.
During a November 2010 meeting, the BMA approved a monthly allocation of $1,000 as seed money to hire a director. A total of $7,000 will be administered from the existing budget through the end of the fiscal year in June, with the goal of JAMSA becoming financially self-supporting.
The Town of Jonesborough assisted with the establishment of operating guidelines for the organization and offered continued use of town staff. Wolfe said it is in the best interest of the town for JAMSA to succeed.
Rowenhorst said she mailed 250 letters to potential members, and 42 businesses had already joined JAMSA.
“I never would have thought 42 businesses would have joined before the first meeting,” said Jim Wheeler, of Wheeler and Seeley Attorneys.
JAMSA’s first fundraiser is scheduled for Tuesday, March 22. The Taste of Jonesborough will be held from 7-9 p.m. in the International Storytelling Center and will feature food and beverages, a silent auction and displays from member organizations.
Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased at service locations and online through the Visitors Center. Ten percent of the event’s proceeds will go to the local Food Pantry.
“We want to choose a charitable organization each time and give 10 percent off the top from each fundraiser,” Rownhorst said.
Nansee Williams, of Carriage House Bed and Breakfast, said she is not excited about the event.
“If you’re going to do a commercial event, I need to hear some excitement,” she added.
Though Rowenhorst said advertising is planned, members expressed concern about the lack of publicity for an event taking place in just four weeks.