New chamber director meets Oakmont community at annual street sale
Oakmont Chamber of Commerce’s new top administrator had little time to get acclimated to her new role before one of the group’s biggest annual events.
Director Karen DeTurck was brought on board a few weeks prior to the July 28 Street Sale, during which Allegheny River Boulevard is shut down from Pennsylvania to Washington avenues so shoppers can have traffic-free interaction with local businesses and vendors.
“I’m still getting my feet wet,” said DeTurck. “I love going out and talking with the people. What I love about Oakmont is everyone says ‘hi’ to you when you’re walking. Everyone’s so friendly here. It’s like Mayberry.”
DeTurck, 55, of Bell Township in Westmoreland County, replaced Imperial resident Chris Bromley, who resigned as director in June after being at the chamber for eight months. He was hired in October.
Chamber board secretary Stefanie Woolford said Bromley left to pursue another job and was happy to have DeTurck take over.
“She’s energetic, she’s easy-going and we work really well together,” Woolford said.
Chamber officials declined to say how many candidates applied for the position or give its salary.
DeTurck’s husband, Bruce, operates Rogers & DeTurck Commercial Printing in Verona with chamber president Ray Rogers.
She said Rogers asked her to apply for the director position when Bromley resigned.
DeTurck, a 1985 La Roche College graduate, has been in the graphic design industry for 33 years. She feels her experience can help borough business market themselves.
“In graphic design, you’re trying to take an image from a company and make it visually appealing, whether it’s in advertising or a brochure,” she said. “When I come here and I talk to the businesses, if they need ideas on how to market their business, I think I can help them In that way. I’m hoping that my experience will help a lot.”
More than 75 vendors participated in this year’s street sale with information, food and game booths lined up and down the boulevard.
Some businesses had special promotions for the event. There were basket and 50/50 raffles, a fire truck for children to explore and water bowls on the ground for thirsty pets.
Amanda Lee Glassware provided rocks for children to paint and hide for others to find as part of Pittsburgh Rocks, an effort originally spawned by social media to spread positivity through stone artwork.
Oakmont resident Theresa Merz was at the street sale with her grandchildren Levi and Lydia Merz, ages 6 and 3, respectively. She said she loved all the activities for the children and liked seeing people mingling and shopping with one another.
“Oakmont is one of the best places to live,” Merz said.
Space from Washington Avenue to the Oakmont Deli was limited due to construction.
Crews from Baiano Construction of Baldwin are restoring sections of the brick boulevard. The project could be completed sometime next month.
Woolford said participants had little trouble setting things up around the site.
Other major chamber events this year include Hometown Christmas in November and home tours in December. More information about the chamber is available at oakmont-pa.com.