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Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce president resigning

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Mystic — Peggy Roberts, president of the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce, announced Friday she will resign at the end of the month, according to a chamber news release.

Roberts has been serving in a volunteer capacity since March, when the chamber cut operational expenses by nearly 60% due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The chamber continues to provide “core services” to the community, including acting as a tourism information center while mostly relying on volunteers, Roberts said in the release.

“We transitioned quickly when COVID-19 hit, controlling expenses and making use of as many volunteers as was practical, and it made sense for me to continue leading the organization on a volunteer basis as we set a path through the pandemic,” she said. “I appreciate the people, businesses and organizations that have made the Mystic chamber so vital.”

Roberts, who was named chamber president in 2016, said she would continue to volunteer in the community “in some different roles.”

Roberts is credited with helping to strengthen the chamber’s financial position, successfully leading efforts to establish the organization as an advocate and resource for Mystic tourism. Under her watch, the chamber opened a visitor welcome center at 62 Greenmanville Ave. in Mystic.

“Peggy did an extraordinary job leading the chamber through a tough period four years ago and recently through the COVID pandemic,” said Bruce Flax, chairman of the chamber’s board of directors. “We are grateful for her service and all she accomplished. There is a dedicated chamber board working to ensure operations continue for the chamber businesses, its employees and volunteers. Our focus is to provide direction and support to the Mystic Community during these challenging times."

He said the board will meet next week to discuss replacing Roberts.

Tony Sheridan, president and chief executive officer of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, said he was sorry to learn of Roberts’ impending resignation.

“This kind of thing is happening all over the state in various ways,” he said. “This is fallout from (COVID-19); this is the damage it’s doing and will continue to do for a long time to come.”

Roberts, who grew up in Norwich and lives in Stonington, graduated from the University of Connecticut. She has worked in corporate and political communications and was a reporter for the Norwich Bulletin. In 1988, she was among a team of Alabama Journal reporters who won a Pulitzer Prize for a series on infant mortality.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve my home community through the chamber over the past several years,” she said. “The Mystic chamber is in many ways the glue that holds Mystic together, uniting small and large businesses, Groton and Stonington governments, tourism and retail, Exit 90 and downtown. ... It has been a labor of love.”

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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