Meet the members – Libby Park
What is your business?
Jamie and I own the Bellingen Kitchen Shop, which we have now owned for five years. The business has been operating in Bellingen, originally in the Old Church where Cedar Bar now is, for more than 20 years. We have put our own stamp on the shop, focusing on the quality of our products, good customer service and fair prices. Our philosophy is that we should all be making thoughtful choices about the products that we buy – we don’t sell anything that we think will end up in landfill.
How did you come to start your business?
Good question! We always enjoyed a visit to the kitchen shop from when we first started coming to Bellingen, and when the opportunity to buy the business came up, we couldn’t resist.
Jamie is a civil engineer and my background is in human resources management. My career has been quite varied and included 14 years working for David Jones in Sydney. This was a special experience and aligns with the values that have for our business now. Jamie’s experience as a civil engineer has translated into a fascination with the technical aspects of many of our products!
How long have you been in Bellingen?
We first started visiting Bellingen in 2010, and fell in love with it. We moved here from Sydney a couple of years later and haven’t regretted it!
What prompted you to join the Chamber of Commerce? Tell us a bit about the role of president.
I joined the board of the Chamber of Commerce in November 2016 because I believe that business owners need to work together to promote the whole of the local economy. It seemed like a good way to support the development of our own business as well as contributing to the community. This was at a time when I was working full time as a human resources manager and helping Jamie in the shop at weekends.
I certainly wasn’t anticipating taking on the role of president, but in June 2017 the previous president stepped down and I was asked to take over. In the past 12 months I have been able to devote more time to the role, which has been important given the many challenges that businesses have been experiencing, first with the bushfires and now with COVID. We have a strong diverse board and have grown our membership by 30% over the past year. As we continue to demonstrate the value and relevance of membership of the Chamber of Commerce, we expect that growth to continue.
Being president is quite a responsibility and I do take it very seriously – but I also say at times that if anyone wishes to mount a coup and take over, then please go right ahead!