Lisa Friden has personally welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors to Grove during her tenure as Grove Area Chamber of Commerce president.

Whether greeting people at a quilt show or her letter in the yearly visitor's guide, Friden strives to extend a welcome invitation to visitors to Grove as she would her own home.

Now, she is closing the window of her time in Grove.

“I am moving to Edmond to be near my family,” Friden said as the reason for her departure.

For almost 15 years, Friden has overseen thousands of events ranging from home and garden shows, legislative breakfasts, and ribbon cuttings.

But with all that activity she has always been attentive to the needs of Grove’s business community.

Those memories will all be remembered this week, as Friden presides over her final event, the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce banquet. The ticketed event is set for 6 p.m., Thursday, July 20, at River Bend Casino, Wyandotte.

“I have no regrets of the time here,” Friden said. “I have been surrounded by the best people.”

One lesson Friden she learned during her 14-and-half years at the top helm of one of Grand Lake’s chief tourism agencies is “you can’t please everyone.”

Friden said Thursday’s banquet allows her to express her appreciation to her staff, volunteers, board members and friends.

Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. is the featured speaker for the banquet. It will also include a time of awards, as well as recognition of the new chamber officers. 

In these days leading up to the banquet, Friden has spent time looking back at the many events during the career in Grove.

“I have always loved the Home and Garden Show,” Friden said. “The event has gotten better every year.”

The chamber has always saw their role in Grove as a voice of the business community, she said.

Friden’s ability to rattle off stats of Grove, Grand Lake and Delaware County with no problems to prospective residents and businesses owners and her knowledge of the economic climate of Grove and Grand Lake has been one of the strongest assets of the chamber.

These tools have been a drawing card for the shows and festivals in Grove.

“We (the chamber) are about business development and we showcase our members,” Friden said. “We have constantly put the community as our top priority. We have no agendas.”

“I have enjoyed working with Lisa over the four years that I have been in Grove,” said Grove City Manager Bill Keefer.

Friden has been a strong advocate for the Chamber of Commerce, their member businesses and the Grove Community, he said.

"Through Lisa’s leadership, the Chamber has been very supportive of the city and is always a great partner for projects that benefit our city and the Grand Lake area," Keffer said.

"As a city councilman and now Grove mayor I have watched Lisa and her staff always have the city's best interest in all they do,” said Ed Trumbull, Grove mayor, adding that Friden has championed Grove to shine as the crown jewel of Grand Lake.