Chamber hires new manager

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Janet Bessemer takes over position

KING CITY — Longtime resident Janet Bessemer has been hired to take over the reins of the King City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture as its new chamber manager.

Bessemer, who began her new role Aug. 21, has lived in the King City area for almost 30 years with her husband Brian. She is the former manager of the King City True Value hardware store, where she worked for the past 16 years.

“I’ve been attending chamber meetings as the manager of True Value for the last 16 years, and even before that, when I worked at a few other places, I attended chamber meetings and luncheons, so I know a lot about King City,” Bessemer said. “I’ve met a lot of people here.”

Bessemer has always been interested in the happenings of King City and plans to continue that interest as chamber manager. Her current goals include organizing the chamber office at 200 Broadway St. and being proactive in the community.

“When they offered me the job, I said, ‘Well, if you really want to know what goes on in King City, I guess joining the chamber would be a great opportunity.’ It seemed like a fun job, a good way to meet people and get around town,” she said.

Bessemer takes over the position from Brandi Schmidt-Garza, who left the job earlier this year. Chamber Assistant Erin Garcia, who was filling in as the interim chamber manager until a replacement was found, said working with Bessemer has been great these past few weeks.

“She’s easy to get along with, and she’s very outgoing when it comes to helping people, guiding them on what there is to do in King City,” Garcia said. “… It’s nice having someone else in the office to talk to. She knows a lot about King City, so I’m even learning more from her just in these past few days”

Bessemer has her work cut out for her over the next couple months, as the King City Chamber hosts several community events.

Beginning tomorrow, Sept. 7, the monthly chamber luncheon takes place at noon at the King City Recreation Center. The program will feature a discussion on local schools with speakers Rory Livingston, superintendent of King City Union School District; Brian Walker, superintendent of South Monterey County Joint Union High School; and Willard Lewallen, superintendent/president of Hartnell College. They will be joined by Rosie Armstrong, director of Workforce Development.

Then, on Sunday, Sept. 17, the chamber has once again partnered with Salinas Valley Fair and members of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church to put on the King City El Grito Mexican fiesta and parade in commemoration of Mexico’s Independence Day. The parade begins at 11 a.m. on Broadway Street.

King City Chamber will also host its annual Community Expo and Resource Fair on Thursday, Oct. 12, at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds inside the Orradre Building, 625 Division St. The expo, from 4 to 7 p.m., includes networking opportunities, informational and service booths and community demonstrations.

Bessemer said she is looking forward to working with the community to “make things happen.” She is hopeful that while in this position she will see the area expand with more businesses.

“I know (the City of King is) going to be working on this downtown area in terms of beautification — little plazas and things like that — certainly my hope is that will all attract more attention to King City and bring more business, because business brings economic advantages and jobs,” she said. “That would be my hope — that more businesses do decide that King City is a great place to be.”