Chamber leader says community involvement was key in launching his business
January 22. 2014 10:35AM
When Tom Wullstein opened Brandon Health Mart Pharmacy in the fall of 2010, he knew he wanted to be active in the community – not only as a business owner – but as a community volunteer, too.
Three years later, Wullstein has more than surpassed that goal by serving as chairman of the Brandon Valley Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and president of the Brandon Valley Optimist Club.
“I try to get involved as much as I can,” he said. “I hope I can do them both justice.”
BVACC president/CEO Kim Cerwick said Wullstein’s willingness to get involved should serve as an inspiration to other entrepreneurs.
“He ran Brandon Health Mart Pharmacy by himself up until recently but still made the Chamber a priority, which helped him build great relationships,” Cerwick said.
“The number one thing that helped my business is being involved,” Wullstein said.
And the networking opportunities getting involved creates is equally important, he said.
“It’s more important than I thought it was when I first opened, especially in a small-to-medium-sized town,” he said.
Cerwick said Wullstein’s continual involvement and ability to lead made him an excellent candidate for the executive committee of the board of directors and now chairman.
“Tom has great leadership skills, a clear vision of what the Chamber is about as well as being highly knowledgeable about business,” she said.
Fellow Optimist Dave Kull agrees.
“For the Optimist Club, he’s done a really good job and he’s also an astute businessman,” Kull said. “He’s really good about promoting Brandon and businesses in Brandon, and he’s just a great guy.”
Wullstein steps into his new Chamber role in a year of changes, some behind-the-scenes stuff, some visible to the public.
To begin, the Chamber has changed out the committees, grouping some together and dismissing others. There are now four committees on which members can join: marketing, special events, issues management and marketing.
“There’s a lot of ‘boring’ stuff that needs to be done this year,” Wullstein said.
He’s working with Cerwick on updating the Chamber’s bylaws, policies and procedures.
“Although it is not the most exciting stuff, it is very important to the running of our organization (to make these updates),” Cerwick said. “And to have him as well as the executive committee and the full board of directors involved in this process really helps in making sure we have thought of everything and covered our bases in both a legal and practical sense. Having good policies in place helps our organization run smoothly.”
Wullstein said the last updates were made five years ago.
One area of the Chamber Wullstein would like to see improved, is getting more members involved, whether that be on committees, volunteering for Chamber events or attending mixers, luncheons, etc.
“Getting involved was best for my business,” he said.
Similar to the school district’s text messaging alert system, Wullstein said a Chamber alert system is being looked into. The text alerts would remind members of these events.
Another change being implemented this year won’t happen until later this year. On the Saturday following Thanksgiving – Nov. 29 – Brandon will join in the national “Small Business Saturday” campaign. “And piggy-backing on that will be our Christmas Lights Parade,” Wullstein said. “Hopefully we can make that Saturday a big event.”