Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

Cheney Merchants name new board


January 18, 2018

The ongoing effort to assemble new leadership for the Cheney Merchants Association was solved at the group’s Jan. 8 meeting.

Elections through normal channels, which usually take place each fall, failed to generate much interest so the leadership recruited willing volunteers.

Those members are Debbie Anderson of the Holiday Inn Express who will serve as chair, the Mason Jar’s Douglas LaBar as vice-chair, Kim Best, recreation manager from Cheney as secretary and Kristin Zitterkopf, treasurer.

Anderson and LaBar threw their collective hats into the ring to replace Randi Kooyman, the group’s chair. “We talked about getting involved,” Anderson said. “We’ve done other work together,” she added, noting involvement in Mayfest and other community events.

Shane Noblin, formerly the owner of the now closed New Boundary Brewery, served as vice-chair but offered to give up the post if there was someone willing to step in.

“I’d be in if he was in,” Anderson said of LaBar. “I know he is a man who gets things done.” The two had been talking about getting involved and had done other work together, Anderson added, referencing Mayfest and Winterfest.

Anderson sees the CMA having an expanded role in helping promote Cheney.

“I feel we need to do things with CMA to fill in the void left by the West Plains Chamber of Commerce’s move out of downtown Cheney,” she said. Anderson said one of those is to add to the mission statement and make it more chamber-of-commerce-like.

“We’re kind of on the outskirts of the (West Plains) Chamber with Kathleen (Schreiber) gone and Joe (Jackson) gone,” Anderson said. CMA should add some things to its services that would normally be done by a chamber.

For LaBar, his goal is to step in, “Promote Cheney, grow our town and businesses,” he said. He does not live inside the city limits so he cannot run for office so being involved in the CMA was the next best option.

The West Plains Chamber has had a somewhat reduced blip on area business radar since Jackson left the organization several months ago, but the group expects to name its new executive director this month at the annual meeting Jan. 23.

“In the meantime, it would not hurt to move forward with some things to make more people aware of Cheney and its businesses,” Anderson said.

After Tina Sikkema from Lilly Kate’s Boutique opted to step away from the secretary’s job, Best was recruited. Anderson told the group Best had indicated to her that she would like to get more involved with CMA.

“There’s some things she can help out with,” Anderson said.

Roger Hagenbaugh, owner of Copy Junction, suggested that a bylaw change be made to do what some organizations do where the vice-chair automatically assumes the chair role after a given period of time. This eliminates trying to find two people when elections are conducted.

“It would be easier to find one person rather than two,” Hagenbach said.

To make it official, members were provided with an email ballot that was sent out following the meeting. Members have until Saturday, Jan. 20 to return those. The new leadership team will officially take command in time for the next meeting on Feb. 5, 6:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express.


For more information on the Cheney Merchants Association visit

Paul Delaney can be reached at


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