SPRINGVILLE — A new face is at the helm of the Springville Area Chamber of Commerce, in new executive director Erika Thurkins. Thurkins, a West Falls resident with prior economic development experience and ideas to match, said she is excited to jump in.
“I did an internship for Grove City, Pa., working very closely with economic development. [That city was] in a similar position, trying to get traffic from the main road, down into the business district,” Thurkins explained.
“I was reminiscing about that time and Lisa, the coordinator, and thought man, ‘what an awesome job she had.’ A few days later, I heard about this opportunity. That’s what I call manifestation!”
In her Grove City internship capacity, Thurkins worked on a mural beautification project and said she would “love to see a similar thing” for Springville.
“There’s lots of talk [about revitalization], and I’m excited to start lining up contacts, appointing someone to take action or taking the reins, myself.”
The new executive director said that she has lots of ideas, but wanted to keep them to herself, for the moment, to avoid “counting my chickens before they hatch.
“I know Springville is looking toward revitalization and keeping an eye toward the future,” she said. “I want to get the farmer’s market going, get the town looking really nice and traffic coming down, to downtown.”
Thurkins currently lives in West Falls with her husband Nicholas and their son Phineas, who is almost 2 years old.
The former stay-at-home mom said that taking the Springville chamber’s executive director position will allow her to spend time with her young son, given its part-time nature.
“It’s only a few hours a week, during his nap time,” she said. “So I only miss about an hour of him.”
Thurkins, an artist, graduated from Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in arts and sciences and is also an avid videogamer, tea connoisseur and herbal medicine aficionado.
She grew up near Gettysburg, Pa. and moved to West Falls to be with her husband, shortly after she graduated from college. The pair is looking for an apartment, locally.
Among her outreach efforts as executive director, Thurkin said she is planning to make sure local business owners know the SACC is a liaison between the business community and the town.
“I’m looking forward to doing a lot of outreach, to businesses,” the new executive director said, about her plans.
“There’s a lot of buzz about going green but the risk there is that you lose that personal contact and people get left behind, if they’re not online. Technology really does move at lightning speed,” she said.
“I want people to know that, in Springville, there is a face and a person behind the name.”
Thurkins, and the Springville Area Chamber of Commerce, can be reached at 592-4746 or online at www.springvillechamber.com.
The chamber is located at 23 North Buffalo St. in Springville.