Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

February 27, 2013

New Olive Hill chamber president eager for growth

By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer
Journal-Times

Feb. 27, 2013 — In 2007, Curtis Owens came back home to take over his retiring father's insurance business. Since then, he's seen Olive Hill transform into a different town than the one of his youth – but one that he still believes has great promise.

Owens feels that spending seven years working in Louisville has given him a unique perspective that he hopes to put to good use as Chamber president.

“It was a great experience for me in that I got to interact with many different types of people, as well as a lot of commercial vendors. It was a big positive for me,” he said.

When asked about the current state of the Chamber, Owens was honest in his assessment of what he feels are the organization's strong points and the areas in which it needs to grow and transform.

“The Chamber right now seems to be a good community organization in that it brings a lot of different people and groups together and talking about a lot of different things, but it's not been an organization that's specifically focused on improving the business owner's lot,” he said.

“Certainly we want to have more of an influence on this areas in the city and in the county.”

When asked what he would say to long-time local business owners who perhaps have been hesitant to join the Chamber in the past, Owens stressed unity for a common purpose as his main point of focus.

“All of us, business owners and community members alike, we have a vested interest in seeing this town prosper and grow,” he said. “Those of us that have chosen to do our business here need to support and help each other. We can do that through organizations like the Chamber of Commerce.”

When talking about Olive Hill, Owens speaks as one who sees a city that's poised for growth rather than one that's in decline. He hopes he can bring the same spirit of optimism to the rest of the Chamber, and the town, as he steps into his new leadership role.

“I definitely want to see growth in our town. I don't expect us to be like Ashland, Winchester or Lexington, but I do believe that we can certainly share in the prosperity that places around us have experienced.”

“Living in Louisville, you can't just walk down the street and say 'hello' to someone. You can't go into the post office and run into a neighbor. You can't walk into a restaurant and have an impromptu lunch with a person you went to high school with. That's what I love about Olive Hill.”

Joe Lewis can be reached at jlewis@journal-times.com or by telephone at 286-4201.