Business, Local News

HBA hires Allisa Opyd as first executive director

New Homewood Business Association Executive Director Allisa Opyd helps two youngsters with a sand art project at the Art & Garden Street Fair on May 31. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

When Allysa Opyd worked a booth at the Homewood Art & Garden Street Fair on May 31, helping kids make sand art, she was on familiar ground.

She served as the village’s events manager for eleven years. But this time, she was serving in a new capacity, as the Homewood Business Association’s first executive director.

HBA President Lisa Komorowski announced on May 25 that the organization had hired former Homewood Events Manager Allisa Opyd to be the part time executive director after considering four qualified applicants.

In an email to HBA members, Komorowski promised that Opyd would “hit the ground running” and would supervise the organization’s booth at the Homewood Art & Garden Street Fair, helping families make sand art as an HBA fundraiser.

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“Anything I can do to promote my community, I’m in,” Opyd said.

Opyd left the village staff in August 2022, but during much of the 11 years she was there, she served as liaison to HBA, keeping the organization informed about village events and helping promote HBA events.

She is also a village trustee, appointed in December to complete the term of former trustee Lisa Purcell.

“Being part of the village board gave me a wonderful chance to get involved in the community again,” she said. “I have skills that can help take the businesses to the next level.”

One of those skills is marketing analysis, something Opyd said would help the organization gauge how well it’s promotions are working.

Komorowski said the idea of hiring a director was sparked by a presentation from Muse Community + Design, the consulting firm that led the development of the recently finished Homewood Transit Oriented Development Master Plan.

The consultants suggested HBA consider joining Mainstreet, an organization that provides support to help communities revitalize downtown and other commercial areas. One suggestion was to hire a director to guide the effort.

“It was like a light bulb went off,” Komorowski said. “It’s a lot of work for a volunteer, especially since we all have our own businesses. We’ve all had great ideas, and we just can’t execute well.”

She said at first the HBA board was unsure the organization could afford to hire someone, but after a closer look and a vote by the membership to increase dues, funding was found to pay for a part-time position.

Among the qualified candidates, Komorowski said Opyd stood out because of her extensive connections in the village, her history of supporting HBA and “her love of Homewood. There’s nobody better. She jumped right in, ready to work. She’s a go-getter.”

Komorowski said the organization hopes having Opyd on staff will help grow the membership, increase the organization’s reach to attract shoppers from the region and help increase networking among members.

For more information about the Homewood Business Association, visit explorehomewood.net.

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