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Kingsland Chamber is ‘fully back,’ planning events and for the future

Kingsland/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce office manager Darlene Zubkus (left) and President Melody Yanniell

Kingsland/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce office manager Darlene Zubkus (left) and President Melody Yanniell stand in front of the mural painted on the outside wall of the office, 1309 RR 1431 East in Kingsland. Staff photo by Brigid Cooley

Since opening its doors in 1961, the Kingsland/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce has worked to amplify the voices of residents and local businesses. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the mission has continued throughout the past year and a half, President Melody Yanniell said. 

“(At the start of the pandemic), we closed the office for a few weeks and came together to decide what to do and how to adapt,” Yanniell said. “Now, we’re basically fully back and running.”

Located at 1309 RR 1431 East, the chamber serves the Kingsland community by providing networking opportunities, hosting local events, and even overseeing community service programs such as improvements to Kingsland Community Park and the Keep Kingsland Beautiful nonprofit.  

The chamber has roughly 250 members currently and anticipates continued growth, Yanniell said. 

Throughout the pandemic, the chamber kept busy. In late 2020, it relocated its office to its current location and commissioned an artist to paint a Kingsland-based mural on the outside wall. Directors continued planning events such as a monthly breakfast and happy hour mixers, hosted outdoors when possible to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

Although some events saw a dip in participation, attendance is reaching a normal level as more people feel comfortable venturing out, office manager Darlene Zubkus said. 

When planning for the future, chamber directors and members are keeping an eye on the changing demographics of the Kingsland area, Yanniell said. A younger population is starting to emerge as work-from-home opportunities become more prevalent in the age of the pandemic. Businesspeople are moving out of nearby urban areas, she explained. Kingsland has also seen a recent uptick in local travel. 

“People are ready to get out again,” Yanniell said. “We have people visiting for the first time as well as interest from those who have visited before and loved (Kingsland).” 

Upcoming chamber events include a Lunch and Learn from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 30 at Boat Town Burger Bar, 151 Melodie Lane. Attendees will learn about preserving waterways from the Colorado River Alliance. Cost is $15 for chamber members and $20 for non-members. The chamber is also planning Halloween-themed activities in October. 

To learn how to become a member or for a comprehensive list of events, visit the chamber website or Facebook page

brigid@thepicayune.com