by: Morgan Arbuckle, EDA Administrative Assistant
As I walked through the doors of Gallery One last week I immediately knew who Clay Maer was. Sitting behind the front desk smiling, while on the phone. We had only exchanged a few emails prior, but I felt like I had known her for years. Her presence made me feel welcomed and accepted. Once she finished her phone call we sat down to chat. I already know what Clay’s former coworker and acquaintance, Debbie Douglas, had to say about her, but I wanted to meet Clay for myself.
Clay is the Ellensburg Downtown Association’s first Downtown Superstar. A Downtown Superstar brings life and vibrancy to our downtown, projecting kindness and love in our community. I asked Clay how she felt when she found out she was our Downtown Superstar and she was silent for a moment. Her eyes glistened as she said “Shocked. There are so many deserving people. I am so honored and still in disbelief.” She asked if she could share the award with other people and I had to assure her that she was deserving and that more people will have the opportunity to receive the title, but it was her time to be in the spotlight.
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Clay Maer moved to the Ellensburg area in 2006 to be closer to her Daughter who had previously moved to Roslyn. It didn’t take long for her to fall in love with the area. For a while Clay was living in Ellensburg and making the commute to Yakima for work, until she found her new work home at Gallery One.
While she might be a little biased, Gallery One is Clay’s favorite shop in Downtown Ellensburg. You can see her smiling face and welcoming personally behind Gallery One’s front desk, fulfilling her position as Visitor Services Agent. When asked what the favorite part of her job was, Clay perked up and answered immediately without thought, “the people whom I work with and the people coming through the door.” I could sense the passion she had for her job.
Clay takes advantage of the small shops and local restaurants in walking distance from Gallery One. Even though Gallery One is her favorite shop downtown, she mentioned how she loves that downtown restaurants have a face behind their skillet. She explained how downtown restaurants have a passion for what they do, specifically The Red Pickle, Dakota Café, and Café C5. She admires the drive of business owners in downtown Ellensburg.
Clay’s favorite thing about downtown Ellensburg is the community. Clay mentioned that she is a strong believer that the Ellensburg Downtown Association helps to bring people in the community together. Years ago Clay had the opportunity to meet and work with Carolyn Honeycutt (previous Ellensburg Downtown Association Executive Director) through her participation in the Excel Program. Clay loved not only how the program, but also Carolyn, brought together different aspects of the downtown with the connection between retail, residential, restaurants, and more.
As life passes by, Clay has learned one piece of advice to share: enthusiasm. To live life and work every day with enthusiasm for what you do and what you love. We, the Ellensburg Downtown Association, thank Clay for the enthusiasm and warmth that she continues to spread in our community.