A note from your president: WELCOME To the 2017-2018 EPWA Season!

Friday, August 25, 2017 9:55 AM | Kim Jorgensen Gane (Administrator)

Dear members:

I am so excited at the prospect of starting a new season of EPWA with all of you! I hope everyone has had a prosperous summer filled with lots of fun, sun and family. 

Mine was ... interesting. I ran for office (St. Joseph City Commission--although limped may be more appropriate), prompting a primary in St. Joe. That doesn't happen very often. As it turned out, I was the sacrifice fly (meaning, I was the candidate with the lowest number of votes and thus, I'm the candidate that dropped off the November ballot--somebody had to be!). But I learned a lot about what I'm made of and what challenges I have to overcome before I take another crack at it in 2019. Sounds a lot like running a business, eh? I have nothing bad to say about the incumbents. They have served our community well. Just for long enough--we're talking for decades. 

Two challengers remain who I am delighted to champion: Laura Goos and Peggy Getty. If you enjoy the City of St. Joe I hope you will look them up and consider helping with their campaigns. And if you live in the City of St. Joe, please mark your calendar and VOTE on Tuesday, November 7th. Laura and Peggy agree with me that big gestures are needed and that better planning can make tourist season and every season function better for tax payers.

My husband's taco truck, BajaGringo Tacos, was a big reason I ran for City Commission. For three seasons now, when it's not in use, his truck is parked behind our garage which is adjacent to our downtown St. Joe alley, just down the block from City Hall and the police station. This spring, when we finally closed on purchasing the house we'd been renting downtown for two and a half years, it struck me that we would be paying taxes to a city that has been strangling our ability to thrive and support our family. (You're business people, so I'll take a moment to explain. If you don't want to read about the food truck, I welcome you to scroll down to St. Joe is a wonderful city....)

Food trucks have wheels, you see. And they are seasonal businesses we should be taking advantage of and enjoying during peak tourist season. They are meant to go where the people are. If you park your food truck and business isn't good, the idea is that you pick up and move to where business is better. (What they don't tell you on The Great Food Truck Race is that most municipalities require that food vendors purchase permits, often for each occasion you're conducting business--this can get pricey.) In the summertime in southwest Michigan, where the people are is downtown St. Joe. Too many people for us residents to enjoy our own city, even while we appreciate our thriving tourism industry for things like job security for ourselves, our teens and college students. But outdated city ordinances only permit three food vendors in the downtown proper: Mimi's Cupcakes (they occupy the one parking space allotted on the corner of Broad and Lake Boulevard, even though they're not even open every day of the week) and two hot dog vendors hold permits; one on the corner in front of Moxie's, and one by the entrance to the stairwell. And all allotted spots are in stone, no one is allowed to move to other locations within the city, even with a paid permit. So, despite having all the appropriate inspections and licenses, despite being the first food truck licensed in Berrien County to cook on board, for three seasons now we haven't been able to take advantage of living right downtown.

This is a big part of the reason my husband works and is away so much, in Detroit and other parts of the globe. 

He spent $1000 last summer on a permit to park at Lions Park Beach, which proved to be a dismal location (Tiscornia Beach is another option, but the dunes blocking the parking lot make that undesirable--no food truck parking is permitted anywhere near Silver Beach). $1000 is a LOT of money to a food truck. You have to understand how weather-dependent they are and the risk they take on, because of the prep involved in serving fresh food and how perishable the product is. The city wouldn't refund his money, and they wouldn't allow him to park elsewhere. Again this season, as in the previous two seasons, my husband has struggled to find locations where the taco truck can park, guessing week after week where the people might be, other than in downtown St. Joe. His team has done Taco Tuesday at Watermark Brewery quite regularly, which has been great. They've done great business at the Krasl Art Fair each year, done several festivals out of town and private events, such as weddings, reunions, and graduation parties. On Saturday of Labor Day weekend, thanks to a special permit, BajaGringo Tacos will FINALLY be downtown, in the parking lot across from Wanderlust, for their WANDERversary celebration. We're so excited! I hope you'll come and try some fresh, authentic, amazing tacos, do some shopping, and enjoy the sailboats!

St. Joe is a wonderful city I'm deeply proud to call home. And I believe it can better serve residents and tourists, but especially those of us who invest here, choosing to live and raise our families in St. Joe for all the reasons it is fun and so spectacularly beautiful, year-round. 

In the meantime, I'm so very honored to be your EPWA president for this season. Our board is excited to bring you some great programming. 

You can register now for our September 12th meeting at The Hilton Garden Inn, "Level UP Your Linkedin." We will welcome member Susan Mason who is bringing us some fun fashions, including scarf tying techniques, from her downtown store, Friends by Design. Joining her will be photographer Amie Witkowski, who will talk briefly about how to be your best, most confident self and really glow on camera. While we eat and network (for this meeting the Tuscan Buffet will be offered after their formal presentation, so have a snack before you come if you need to), Amie will be taking our head shots! Those of us taking advantage of Amie's generous offer will each receive a CD of one professionally edited headshot at our October meeting. There is nothing to lose here! I strongly encourage you to take advantage! You can then use your head shot as you wish digitally; for your LinkedIn profile photo, for your website, and in any other ways you choose. If you'd like to purchase prints of your headshot, or book other paid sittings with her, I'm sure she will have price sheets and information available so you can do that. 

Due to the Cornerstone Business Expo at Mendel Center, where again this year we are looking for volunteers to staff our booth, our October meeting will convene the THIRD Tuesday, on October 17th. Our featured speaker is Dr. Stephanie Slye, PsyD with Inside Out Comprehensive Wellness. She will be talking about mental health, food psychology and eating disorders (yes, even in middle-age), to help us better take care of our whole selves. If available, Whitney Schueneman, RD, also with Inside Out, may join in the presentation. I'm hoping my mother, Dot (Bond) Belke can attend this meeting, as she is their staff esthetician, which is how I became aware of their wonderful facility. 

November 14th, we will welcome author (A Killing in Capone's Playground, In-Depth Editions, 2014) and local historian, Chriss Lyon. Her presentation on Forensic Genealogy, which is such a hot topic right now, is sure to be riveting!

We will let you know soon what other fun things we have in store for this season. As always, please let one of the board members know if you have any ideas for future speakers, or EMAIL ME (kjgane@ganepossible.com) IF YOU HAVE A PITCH FOR PRESENTING AT A MEETING YOURSELF. We love to pull from the stories and expertise of our members whenever possible!

Thank you all for making me your EPWA president. With your input and assistance, I'm looking so forward to making 2017-2018 a fantastic year!

—Kim Jorgensen Gane

President/Communications Chair, EPWA

Executive Professional Women’s Association of (SW) Michigan


REALTOR® with Pete Jorgensen Real Estate



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