Three weeks after announcing plans to step down from the leadership post of a local business group, Jared Spahn said last week he will continue to head the Ellicott City Business Association despite the fact that he has moved his business offices to Waverly Woods.
Spahn said he will remain president of the group because members asked him to stay and because the group did not have a succession plan in place. Tom Price, who had been the group's vice president, moved out of the area last year.
"I think they'd prefer to have someone to follow through for [several] years," Spahn said. "Nobody was ready for it," he said of his resignation.
The announcement that Spahn would stay came a day before the group was poised to hold elections of new officers. Last week, Shelly Harris of Caplan Auction Co. was named vice president and Edward "Ned" Rogers, who owns the Wall Building on Court Avenue, was reappointed secretary and treasurer of the group.
Spahn said this year's "Taste of Ellicott City" will be at the top of his agenda, along with a joint marketing plan for the city. Chris Cotter, who volunteered his advertising agency's time for the plan, presented it Thursday. It calls for participating organizations to each pay part of the marketing costs.
Spahn, who has led the ECBA for two years, announced he was stepping down as president last month because he had moved his companies to Waverly Woods with plans to eventually build an office there. Plans to purchase an office in town had fallen through. He said at the time he wanted to continue with the association as a member, but that leadership should belong to business owners who work in Ellicott City.
But Spahn said several Main Street business owners called him the week after his announcement and asked him to stay. He has begun investigating another property in town.
"I love Ellicott City. I want to see all my projects followed through," said Spahn, who still owns a building on Main Street. "I think I had given a lot of the supporters - not just the businesses, but also the financial supporters of the business asso- ciation - I led them to believe I was going to stay on for more than just two years. I felt it was important to follow through on those commitments."
He also said he will work on a succession plan for the organization, noting that Harris has been an area merchant for more than 10 years.
Other business owners said they are glad Spahn has decided to stay.
"He's the only one I know of who's best suited to deal ... with all the controversies that crop up," Cotter said. "He's a calming influence. He seems to get things done."
Barry Gibson, who runs the Forget Me Not Factory on Main Street, said that even if Spahn cannot relocate to Ellicott City, he knows the town well enough to run the association.
"He's here enough to know the heartbeat of the town," Gibson said. "He lived here, he grew up here, so he's very much aware how things operate. It would have been a real tough thing to find a leader to take over that position."