WHEELING -- Erikka Storch took over as president of the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce on July 1, and since starting the job she has been seeking to establish relationships with neighboring chambers in both West Virginia and Ohio.
Now the Wheeling chamber and the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce will partner to host their first-ever joint event next month -- a business breakfast set for 7:30 a.m. Sept. 17 at A&B Kia in Benwood.
"Each one of us is going to select a mystery business from our membership, and give that business the opportunity to have the spotlight for about 10 minutes and speak a little about their business," Storch said. "If it's successful, we've talked about doing it quarterly."
The two chambers also have discussed allowing the other's membership to attend their dinners and functions at the same cost paid by their own members.
Storch also made contact with both the Weirton and St. Clairsville chambers, with hopes the chambers can begin a channel of sharing information.
She said she already has attended an event sponsored by the St. Clairsville chamber, and she seeks to learn things from them pertaining to the oil and gas industries and share that with the Wheeling chamber's membership.
"I'm of the belief if we all work together, we can rise together," Storch said. "We don't have to be secular ... I like surrounding myself with smart people who make me look good."
Storch said her biggest concern since starting the job was making certain the front door to the chamber building at 1310 Market St. was properly locked on her first day, but she has since mastered the duty. Her office view across Market Street gives her a glance toward businesses on Main Street, including DiCarlo's Pizza. The sight has inspired her appetite.
"I've eaten so much DiCarlo's Pizza in the last month," she said.
Storch has represented Ohio County and the 3rd District as a Republican in the West Virginia of House Delegates since January 2011, and she previously served as chairman of the board for the Wheeling chamber.
She said her past background with the chamber and her experience as a legislator helps her as she seeks to answer the many questions called in by members of the public each day.
"That's been an additional benefit that I can bring," she said. "I've had different businesses and organizations contact me seeking answers to questions about things being done. I have the resources in the state, and I have been able to reach out to Charleston for answers maybe they wouldn't normally get."
Storch hopes to establish a Women In Business group within the chamber.
She also is seeking to arrange seminars to educate small businesses regarding state laws and policies that effect them.