Ethan Steinquest/Macon County Times Shelly Bealor, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture's former marketing and industry reporter, has been hired as the Macon County Chamber of Commerce's coordinator and director effective April 29.

Ethan Steinquest/Macon County Times

Shelly Bealor, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture's former marketing and industry reporter, has been hired as the Macon County Chamber of Commerce's coordinator and director effective April 29.

Shelly Bealor, the Macon County Chamber of Commerce's new coordinator and director, is ready to get involved in the community after relocating to the area in October 2018.

Bealor wrapped up her first week on the job last Friday.

Bealor previously worked for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Opryland USA and the Hermitage, and she moved into the county to be closer to her grandchildren.

In her spare time, she enjoys tending to her garden.

"I have a strong background in tourism and marketing, and I'm hoping to use those skills to enliven our tourist trade," she said. "For the Department of Agriculture, I was the market and industry reporter and worked in the marketing department there ... with the Pick Tennessee Products program."

As coordinator, Bealor will serve as a liason between chamber members and the larger business community, in addition to organizing local events and promoting the county's business climate.

"I know we have a strong agriculture area with all the farms and everything," Bealor said. "Retail looks like it's doing pretty well ... I really don't see major needs. I see just growing pains pretty much. We're getting more and more people moving in, and we need to keep up with their needs."

One of Bealor's first priorities is to meet with local business leaders to figure out what their needs are.

"I'm kind of learning as I'm running," Bealor said. "Being the new kid on the block, I still don't know all the names and faces. (I'm looking at) what's going on, what has been done in the past and the goals that our board and county government have. I want to work with everybody and bring them together on helping businesses grow."

Those individuals who she has met have left a strong impression on Bealor as she prepares for her first major events as coordinator, the county's teacher appreciation day and the annual Highway 52 yard sale.

"The people here are just absolutely awesome," Bealor said. "Everyone I've met so far has been enthusiastic and helpful. There is so much to do, and (assistant coordinator) Brenda (Hiett) has been handing me things left and right. The biggest thing right now is our teacher appreciation day. We want to make sure everything is perfect for (the teachers), because they are such a vital part of our community."

Whether by coordinating events or working with business owners, Bealor hopes to promote unity and growth in her new role.

"That's what the chamber is for ... we're here to serve our business community and (help with) anything that affects them," Bealor said. "My door is always open here at the office. People are more than welcome to stop by and see me and let me hear from them."