Fun Trumps Everything
The philosophy and times of Carol Everhart.
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For Everhart, this seems to come naturally. It’s as much about intuition as calculation.
“There’s always a percentage of folks who resist any change, and the longer something’s been going on and is seen as a tradition, it’s even more difficult to make that change. But one of the keys is that you make a change, but then replace it with something else,” she says. “If the trend has changed and the activity is no longer as popular as it once was, take that energy and put it toward something that is growing in popularity and does create the buzz and excitement you’re looking for.”
Bitsy Cochran is the owner of Monograms Unlimited, a cozy embroidery and retail shop on First Street that has been a Rehoboth Beach staple for nearly 30 years. Cochran says Everhart has excelled in her ability to unite the community around its growth and innovation while ensuring that it never lost its sense of tradition and character.
“It was always about tourism and bringing people to Rehoboth and experiencing Rehoboth as a fun little town,” says Cochran. “We never wanted to see it become the next Ocean City. We like it as a small town, and I think that’s always been the focus of Carol’s work with the chamber—to get the people here. Once they’re here, it’s up to the businesses to make sure the tourist is happy and will come back.”
This may be why Everhart so often uses the word catalyst.
“I always say that most successful chambers of commerce are catalysts,” says Everhart. “You don’t necessarily have to do the task or even be in charge of the activity. If you can be a catalyst to something new, and that is a major accomplishment for any organization.”
Regardless of the breadth of her accomplishments, Everhart displays a constant air of humility and deference. This is not her doing. It’s everyone’s. She just helped steer the ship in the right direction.
“I always had the belief, the instinct, that if you have a location where people want to be, you can’t go wrong. And people already wanted to be here, so if you gave them additional reasons to come back, even if it wasn’t in season, I knew they would return,” she says. “And the reason is simple: Fun trumps everything. Fun trumps financial concerns. Fun trumps gas prices. Family fun will always trump it all. And I knew that from the beginning.”