Chamber Spotlight: Deb Jewell, Closet Wise of Charlottesville
What does your organization do?
We design and build closets and organized storage solutions including walk-in closets, drop zones, garages, laundry rooms, kitchens and more.
What do you like about being a Chamber member?
I really enjoy the opportunity to network with other professionals, particularly those who understand the special challenges of being a business owner.
What is unique about your organization and the work you do in our community?
Because we combine closet design with other construction skills, we are able to complete projects from start to finish, from demolition to painting, installing lighting, etc.
What was your first job?
At 14 I worked in a school cafeteria chopping vegetables for the salad bar. I had to be at work at 5:00 AM many mornings.
How did you choose the field you're in?
I was educating entrepreneurs for a franchisor located here in Charlottesville and they offered me the opportunity to start the first Closet Wise under them. I was excited for the opportunity to use my design skills to help homeowners gain peace in their homes.
What career highlight or accomplishment are you most proud of?
I went back to school to get my undergraduate degree after my son graduated high school.
What's your favorite thing about the Charlottesville area?
I love the mountains, hands down! I live in Nelson County with my husband and we count ourselves lucky to have such a beautiful commute!
What do you believe is most important for the future of our region?
To have better awareness of inclusion issues, particularly for underrepresented groups. I think before August 12, 2017, many of us thought Charlottesville was in a happy little bubble, but now we understand we have a lot of work to do to create real inclusion in our community.
What is one of your favorite local businesses, and why?
I love the Kindness Cafe + Play at the Brooks Family YMCA because it's a friendly atmosphere and there is so much light in the atrium. It's impossible to leave there in a bad mood!
What is one of your favorite nonprofits to volunteer with or support, and why is it important to you?
I like supporting the ARC of the Piedmont because I think their mission to provide services to adults with learning and developmental disabilities is so important.
How do you like to spend your days off?
Playing with my dogs, Suki and Indigo.
What book, TV show or podcast would you recommend, and why?
It's been awhile since I read it, but Fashionopolis does a great job of explaining the challenges of the textile industry, including the negative environmental impacts and issues with fair and safe labor practices.
What is your favorite quote or piece of advice?
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" from Mary Oliver in her poem, The Summer Day. I think of this as a reminder to be present every day.
What else would you like to tell us about yourself and your work?
Our team loves being a part of the Charlottesville community and we feel the work we do is a true mission to bring peace to our clients' home.