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Town-business connection chamber president objective

Updated 11:53 am, Wednesday, April 2, 2014

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  • In 2013, the Darien Chamber of Commerce participated in 40Under40 program, which recognized 40 successful young business leaders, under the age of 40, who helped grow Fairfield County's economy. Chamber of Commerce President Carol Wilder-Tamme met with the Darien winners, from left, M. Allen III and Anne Gagnon. Photo: Contributed Photo, Contributed / Darien News
    In 2013, the Darien Chamber of Commerce participated in 40Under40 program, which recognized 40 successful young business leaders, under the age of 40, who helped grow Fairfield County's economy. Chamber of Commerce President Carol Wilder-Tamme met with the Darien winners, from left, M. Allen III and Anne Gagnon. Photo: Contributed Photo, Contributed

 

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Stacks of paper and posters cover most usable space in Carol Wilder-Tamme's second floor office at 10 Corbin Drive. There are organized piles for Earth Day, for the Sidewalk Sales and for a golf event -- sitting on the massive table that occupies most of the space in the room.

On the wall next to her door are the comically oversized scissors used for ribbon-cutting events, ready to be deployed at a moment's notice.

For the last 10 years, Wilder-Tamme has used those scissors to help promote new businesses moving into town in her role as the president of the Darien Chamber of Commerce. In May, she will retire.

Wilder-Tamme said she will retire to dedicate herself to her Nutrition Fresh Online business, along with part-time social media work.

"There gets to a be a time in your life where you think, `OK, I'm ready to open a new door,'" Wilder-Tamme said.

When she joined the chamber in 2004, it was located in an office on Old Kings Highway North and the space was filled with brochures and packets of information for people moving into town.

Now, the chamber's website has links for everything related to Darien, though Wilder-Tamme said she still gets requests for hard copies of maps.

"She was great to work with and she will be missed," Al Tibbetts, the chamber chairman for the past two years, said. Tibbetts recalls one of the chamber's wine and cheese events where he was an auctioneer and was "failing to make an impression."

"Carol took over and her voice cut through the crowd like a knife," Tibbetts said. "She took control of the room like she always does."

Wilder-Tamme said her greatest accomplishment was connecting the businesses with the rest of town so they can "learn from each other about what's working and how we need change and evolve to make our community and our businesses vibrant."

Wilder-Tamme, who has lived with her husband in Darien since 1995, said she really pushes for townspeople to shop local.

"I really feel strongly that it's a lifestyle choice for people to shop local," Wilder-Tamme said.

"I mean, you can turn around and buy something off the Internet but that money doesn't help your community at all."

In the weeks leading up to Wilder-Tamme's departure, she's been working diligently and well-above 40 hours a week to ensure that the transition to a new president is seamless.

"I've never seen so many feet on the street as I have lately and that's because people have made the lifestyle choice to make the effort to shop local," Wilder-Tamme said. "If the businesses don't thrive then the community is not going to be the vibrant place we want it to be."

mspicer@bcnnew.com; 203-330-6583; @Meg_DarienNews