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New Salem Chamber of Commerce president begins one-year term

Posted by Justin Rice  January 13, 2012 07:57 AM

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When Sandy Heaphy woke up at 5 a.m. yesterday morning she was worried the rain would keep people away from the Salem Chamber of Commerce’s networking breakfast at the Kensington-Stobart Gallery at the Hawthorne Hotel.
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“It was great, despite the weather,” said Heaphy, 69, who was introduced as the new president of the Chamber of Commerce at the event.  “We had 35 people. It was a wonderful crowd. It was a wonderful thing considering [the weather].”

The CEO of MHP Enterprises, Inc.—which in addition to owning the Kensington-Stobart Gallery, also publishes art books and prints of paintings — Heaphy has been on the board of the Salem Chamber for eight years.

She said it was time for her to take her turn as president. The term is one year. Heaphy, who last served as the Chamber’s clerk, replaces outgoing president Juli Lederhaus, the manager at the Hawthorne Hotel.

“It’s sort of a natural progression, you go on the board, then the executive committee, second vice president and first vice president and now president,” she said. “I’m taking a turn, that’s how I see it. I’m not necessarily into big elections and smoke and all that stuff.”

Originally, Heaphy thought her priority as president would be to focus on increasing membership but then she realized it was more important to focus on increasing retail and small business in downtown.

“It just seemed like a need,” she said. “It just seemed like that’s a need and something we should all be aware of for Salem to have the vibrancy needed.”

She said she’s also wants to make sure downtown is ready for the recently announced 175,000-square-foot expansion of the Peabody Essex Museum.

“I want to be certain the entire area around the museum looks vibrant and healthy,” she said.  

Rinus Oosthoek, the executive director of the Salem Chamber of Commerce, said he welcomes Heaphy. 

“Sandy is a team player, and I’ve worked with Sandy on a number of projects over the years, including the Salem Chamber’s annual dinner, which she is heading up again for our Centennial Celebration this year,” he said in an email. “She will be a great president, bringing a business and creative perspective to the position.”

Oosthoek said Heaphy serves on a number of boards in the community, including as a Cooperator of the Beverly Cooperative Board, on the Phoenix School Board of Directors, as well as, the Salem Athenaeum Board of Directors. She is also a member of the Salem Rotary.

“What people don’t know about Sandy Heaphy that might surprise them,” he said, “is that she works worldwide, organizing John Stobart exhibits in places such as New York, Florida and Great Britain.”

Justin A. Rice can be reached at

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