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January 18, 2020

12/24/2019 10:19:00 AM
Gieseke to retire from position as Mineral Point Chamber of Commerce Executive Director
"It feels like the right time [to retire]," stated Joy Gieseke, Executive Director of the Mineral Point Chamber of Commerce. Gieseke will be retiring at the end of the month and isn't going far - she'll be opening a yarn and fiber shop in downtown Mineral Point. "I've wanted to go out on my own for a while now and do a little shop," she explained. "It's just a new chapter, an exciting one." More information about Gieseke's new business The Station Yarn & Inspiration will be in an upcoming issue of The Democrat Tribune, and her business is slated to open February 1, 2020.
Gieseke, like many Mineral Pointers, fell in love with the community while visiting several years ago, in August of 2000. At that point, she was living in Kansas and working in economic development and "not liking life at that time," she said. She and her friend decided to take a road trip and detoured from their Madison destination, heading through Mineral Point. They were in Mineral Point for only a couple of hours, but it was enough to convince Gieseke that it was an ideal place to live. "While in town I saw the Chamber of Commerce and thought I could give that job a whirl if there was ever an opening," she said. "Seven months after that initial visit, there was an opening with the Mineral Point Chamber of Commerce." Gieseke applied for the job after overnighting her resume to the right people as the listing was closing the next day. After two interviews, the position was hers. "I loved all the old buildings and the artist community," Gieseke elaborated. "It felt like home immediately. I applied for the position thinking 'What's the worst that could happen?'"
Gieseke enjoyed the job so much that she did it not just once, but twice. She worked as the Executive Director for 11 years and then was gone and came back and was in the same position for five years.
Her favorite part of the job over the years has been talking about Mineral Point and sharing stories about it - "It's a unique, little community," she smiled. "It's been a fun job; that's why I came back to it twice." One of the biggest moments in Gieseke's career came in 2007 when Mineral Point was named one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Dozen Distinctive Destinations. "That was such an honor," she recalled. "It felt so real and is one of the things that stands out." Others include candlelight shopping events which have been both good and bad; however, this year's event was one of the best ever she thought - possibly because of the weather.
A significant change that happened during Gieseke's tenure was moving buildings which happened relatively recently. The Chamber of Commerce moved into a larger space at 145 High Street after previously occupying 225 High Street just up the road. Other changes include advances in technology which change the way her work has been done overall the past few years. "The phone doesn't ring as much," she stated. "Much more work is done online."
Gieseke thinks the future of the Mineral Point Chamber of Commerce is bright. "It's been solid; it's always been a smooth transition, and we'll come out of this stronger than we were," she said. "Throughout the years since I started, membership [in the Chamber of Commerce] has more than doubled. I'm also really proud of getting the tourism commission going."
Gieseke is looking forward to her "retirement" and new business. "I'm hoping to enjoy some of the activities from a resident standpoint and look at it from the other side while still being involved, just not as much or directly," she said. "I don't think I'll be slowing down - it'll just be a change of scenery."
Interviews for the new Mineral Point Chamber of Commerce Executive Director are ongoing, and updates will be shared in upcoming issues of the newspaper as they are known.

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