Laici Shumway is the new executive director at the Moab Chamber of Commerce. [Photo by Murice D. Miller / Moab Sun News]

Laici Shumway, the new executive director of the Moab Chamber of Commerce, has goals to assist area businesses in growth and membership as she builds on years of experience in business management and marketing.

Shortly after moving to Moab from West Point with her family three years ago, she was hired as the marketing manager at Moab Giants, a dinosaur park and museum. Shumway will continue working with Moab Giants part-time as she fills the part-time executive director position at the chamber of commerce.

Shumway said her biggest and most immediate goal is to meet all of Moab’s business owners and let them know about the services the chamber has to offer. Business members have free access to chamber services, including marketing and advertising, education and training, advocacy, community partnerships, and event participation.

“Since I have been on the other side of this, I know what businesses need from us, and I know the benefits that they could be taking advantage of,” she said.

Shumway has taken advantage of multiple chamber services when promoting Moab Giants.

“I’ve used the email blast service when marketing sales and special events to get the word out quickly,” she said. “We used its ribbon-cutting ceremony service when we opened.”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony is a special way for new businesses to commemorate the first major milestone of opening their doors, and it also gives fellow businesses the opportunity to show their support and make connections.

“It’s a really good idea for businesses to know what other businesses provide,” Shumway said. “In a tourism economy where visitors are constantly asking about where to stay and places to eat and things to do, it’s beneficial for businesses to know about other businesses so they can help each other out by recommending each other.”

An upcoming ribbon-cutting ceremony is being planned by the chamber at the Canyonlands Field Airport on June 2 to commemorate its grand reopening; dozens of local businesses, patrons and tourists will be in attendance. And although Shumway said tourism supports Moab’s economy, and more than half of Moab’s residents are employed in tourism-related fields, it is Shumway’s firm belief that a healthy economy is a diverse economy.

She said there is a priority in balancing the growth and sustainability of businesses that serve mostly tourists and businesses that serve mostly residents, and is looking forward to helping both sectors of the economy equally.

She is already planning to address the chamber’s part in the local employee deficit, an issue that can easily affect the level of customer service understaffed businesses may provide. The chamber will have continued discussions with businesses on how to recruit and retain employees.

“Customer service is extremely important for the tourism economy, and it’s really hard to continually have a good level of customer service without an adequate amount of staff,” Shumway said.

Moab Chamber of Commerce Board President Jared Andersen said the executive director role became available about a month ago when then director Lexie Samuelsen gave her resignation to pursue a new area job.

After reviewing applications, the board selected a few candidates to interview, and Andersen said Shumway was quick to stand out.

“She has a strong background in marketing, and she is already tied in with the Moab business community,” he said. “Her current duties at Moab Giants gives her an insider’s perspective of what businesses need, and I think that will be very helpful and beneficial for the chamber.”

Shumway graduated with a psychology degree from Utah State University’s San Juan campus, and previously worked as a youth counselor for Upward Bound, an education program for high school students.

According to its website, The Moab Chamber of Commerce represents and serves businesses and professionals seeking to grow the local economy and improve the business climate while maintaining quality of life and fostering cooperation with business, government and community.

Shumway said she is excited to be a part of the economic growth of a community she loves and a community in which she and her husband, Tye, are raising their two daughters.

“Moab has bred a really cooperative business community, and I truly believe the chamber has something that can help everyone,” Shumway said.

Andersen said Samuelsen, who was hired as the director last summer, was an integral part of the chamber for the last few years–first as an assistant and then as the executive director–and he is sad to see her go. But he’s also excited about the vision for growth Shumway brings to the table.

“She has new, fresh ideas about how to increase our membership and how to get businesses communicating with each other to share experiences and solve common issues,” he said.

Right now, the chamber has a membership of more than 200 businesses, and the more that number increases, the more services it can provide for its members and for the community.

Shumway experienced with local business marketing and management

“Moab has bred a really cooperative business community, and I truly believe the chamber has something that can help everyone.” – Laici Shumway