Sands withdraws from the Chamber of Commerce | Local
When Sharyle Sands started working at the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce 23 years ago, she said she saw it as “an opportunity.”
The Deputy Speaker of the House was new to the community and knew only a few residents at the time. Sands was asked to join the Chamber because of her technological background, she said.
“My first day on the job, I walked into my office and found pencils in my desk drawer and a stack of VHS tapes on the floor. That was it!” Sands called back.
Many aspects have changed since then, but one thing has remained the same – Sands as a recognizable face in the Chamber. But after nearly a quarter of a century there, Sands recently announced she was retiring.
She said she was retiring to focus on her own business, Red Door Designs, 301 Morton Road.
“My business is growing,” Sands said. “My clients need my full attention. I support clients in their interior design work. My focus has been on helping clients through renovations and building new homes. I discover that I work with the same people but in a different way.
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Sands said she was amazed by the growth of the Chamber over the years.
“The House had 525 members at the time and we were operating in the red,” Sands said. “My first task was to create our membership software, then to computerize the finances. When I started in the Chamber, technology was my strength, but today my strength lies in the links I have forged I was part of an incredible team of colleagues and volunteers who built a membership of over 840 members and a successful business.
House Speaker Dawson Brunswick said in the House Bulletin earlier this week that Sands was “a gift” to the community.
“For the past three years, she has helped the Chamber and Columbus area navigate flooding and COVID,” he said. “In addition to helping provide resources to the community, Sharyle has provided her knowledge and insights to two different chamber executives, in addition to performing her duties.”
Sands said she had many favorite moments over the past 20+ years. One of those memories was his first manufacturing tour at Minnesota Corn Processors – known today as Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) – in 1999.
She said another interesting experience was planning and executing the Columbus Sesquicentennial (150th anniversary). Yet another was the construction of the current House building, which took place about a decade ago.
The last of the three has special meaning for Sands. She said then-House Speaker KC Belitz asked her to lead the building’s interior design team.
“I’ll never forget him telling me he wanted a ‘WOW factor’ coming into the building. Of course we delivered,” Sands said. showing the frame of the Behlen building and then of course the Chamber brand on display custom made by Duo Lift. I always tell people who travel through Columbus that the building is a reflection of the community. We wouldn’t have this beautiful building if Columbus had not succeeded.
Sands thanked the Chamber for helping her build community connections, adding that any individual and business can be a member if they too hope to find such connections.
“I can’t go anywhere without knowing someone today,” Sands said. “And the people I’ve built relationships with now want to do business with me. One thing I learned in the House and observed is that people want to do business with people they know and trust. If you want to grow your business or meet people, get out of your own bubble and volunteer (and) build those relationships. The Chamber of Commerce has the opportunity for you.
Andrew Kiser is a reporter for the Columbus Telegram. Contact him by email at [email protected]