The way she describes it, Charley Shore’s transition into the role of executive director of the Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce several years ago was, “a hop, skip, and a trip.”
But over time, it became, “a very ardent labor of love.”
That’s part of what makes it so difficult to step away. But the search is on for Shore’s replacement, as the Chamber head left the role at the end of 2017.
It was a not a decision Shore made lightly, but one she began to consider earlier this year, as her father’s health declined and his wife passed away.
“I didn’t say, ‘I’m leaving,’ but I could kind of feel it, that I was really being torn,” she said.
Eventually, the decision was made to move to Boise with her husband. She’s an Idaho native — born outside Twin Falls — and went to high school and college in the city before leaving in her early 20s. Though her father has since passed away, she still has sisters in the area.
And while it’s hard to go, she leaves behind a long list of accomplishments in her tenure. The annual Queen Anne Day has evolved into its present form (and now includes a beer and wine garden), while both the yearly holiday tree lighting along Queen Anne Avenue and Holiday Magic have continued, and are now joined by a new tradition with the grand tree lighting at the Towne Centre.
She also tried to change the perception people had about the Chamber, as being more than just for local businesses, but as part of the community, and binding the two together.
“I don’t think people knew what the chamber did,” she said. “It took us a long time to say, ‘We are the people behind all these events, that are promoting it and doing all the legwork and being fiscally responsible,’”
But, she counts her biggest success as bringing together, “a great group of board members,” those now tasked with trying to find the next director.
And her replacement will have to hit the ground running.
“This isn’t a 101 for chambers,” she said.
To that end, she had a laundry list of traits she thinks her successor should have, from a willingness to multitask, to having a positive personality. But most of all, she thinks the next director has to be caring.
“This is a community of caring,” she said. “This is a community of stepping up and being aware of somebody when they need help.”
Caring was also the word co-president Hossein Soleymani used when describing the departing chamber head.
“She brings something to the community that these days is rare to see, and that’s commitment,” he said. “That’s love. That’s care.”
Rev. Ann Pearce said Shore’s warmth, personality, and her willingness to talk to anyone about the chamber set her apart. She also praised her ability to lighten a moment and break the ice as she welcomed new or prospective members into the fold.
“She’s just beloved by everybody,” she said.
As the search ramps up, Shore said she’ll stay involved from several hundred miles away, and plans to visit often as her husband makes trips back and forth as a keyboard player with several local gigs.
“Anything I can do until they do find somebody, I will do,” she said.
Meanwhile, the next chamber director will help chart the course for the organization’s future.
“It’ll be interesting to see how it evolves in the next couple of months,” Pearce said, noting the difficulty in replacing someone with the qualities Shore has.
But, Soleymani acknowledged that they won’t truly find a “replacement.” Shore, he said, is “irreplaceable.”
“They won’t be Charley,” he said, “but we hope that they come as close to Charley’s love and passion to the community.”
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