by Nathan Boddy
Montana native, Erin Steuer, is ready to see Hamilton and the surrounding area as it emerges into a post pandemic vigor. The new Executive Director of the Hamilton Downtown Association has only recently taken the reins at HDA, but is no stranger to Hamilton or the Bitterroot Valley. For nearly two years, she has served as the Director of Evergreen Kids Corner in Hamilton, a Preschool that serves Hamilton and the surrounding area. With her new position as the Executive Director at the HDA, she’ll be at the helm of two area non-profits. Steuer mentions that both are, “stalwart community organizations,” and that she feels humbled to have both positions.
As an Executive Director, it will be Steuer’s goal to “take the organization in a direction that collectively brings the members together to try and reach a common goal.” Those goals, while defined by the diverse membership of the Hamilton Downtown Association, need to include a community wide approach. Says Steuer, “It’s not just an association for businesses. It really is a community effort, and a community based organization that helps downtown thrive.” The new Executive Director is quick to mention that, not all the members of the Association are downtown based, and that membership should be, “mutually beneficial” to all its members.
Following completion of her graduate degree from the University of Montana, Steuer moved to her husband’s hometown of Corvallis where they are raising their son, Corvin. Originally from Billings, she is happy to have made the transition further west. “There is a lot of opportunity here, with a community full of creative and innovative people from all backgrounds and walks of life,” says Steuer. “The diversity and enterprise that we can bring into downtown makes it a really nice place to live.”
While there is little doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic had impact upon business nationwide, the HDA is taking it in stride with plans to capitalize on those things that make Hamilton, and the Bitterroot Valley a unique area. She says that the most immediate goal for her and HDA membership will be to, “Figure out (how) the Association can pool its resources to support and bolster the activities and businesses that our members run, and put their blood sweat and tears into.” Steuer also emphasizes that, a return to normalcy will also mean catching up on things that may have changed since the onset of the pandemic.
“In some ways we all took a little hiatus during Covid. We are coming back into the community as a reinvigorated enterprise as well, and so we’re trying to figure out our new normal alongside all our members and business. The things that benefitted our businesses in the past may have changed, so we’re going to change right along with it.”
A first big challenge for Steuer will be Daly Days on July on 30-31st. The event was cancelled last year, and therefore requires a bit more energy to bring it back into the public awareness. Says Steuer, “Our challenge is reaching out to our venders and our community to let them know that we’re ready to come back and and have some fun. Nonetheless, the new Executive Director says that she is, “really happy to be here and I’m really looking forward to meeting with our business and our members.”