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Berkeley Springs theater owner named W.Va. Women in Business champion

May 20, 2008|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. As an advocate for women in general, Berkeley Springs resident and business woman Jeanne Mozier was recently named the 2008 West Virginia Small Business Administration Women in Business Champion.

Gov. Joe Manchin will present the West Virginia award to Mozier on June 5 in Charleston, W.Va.

Mozier also took the prize for the region that includes D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Delaware. She is the only West Virginia winner to receive the regional award, she said.

On June 18, the local Chamber will host a luncheon at the Country Inn, and Mozier will be presented with the regional award.

Ever since moving to West Virginia from the Washington, D.C., area in the 1970s, Mozier has been a force for women in business and promoting Berkeley Springs.

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She serves or has served on the boards of the local Chamber of Commerce, Morgan Arts Council, Travel Berkeley Springs and other organizations that help bring attention to the town and the region.

She was one of the founding members of the Panhandle's Professional Business Womens' Association, said Beth Peters Curtin, the executive director of the local Chamber of Commerce, who nominated Mozier.

Sandy Kauffman, owner of the Highlawn Inn, one of the first B&Bs available in Berkeley Springs, said when she opened her business 23 years ago, Berkeley Spring was very limited.

She said Mozier was one of the first people she met and she was very encouraging.

"She toured my building and gave me advice," Kauffman said. "She mentored me about bringing people to the Highlawn Inn, (and) she taught me the importance of being service-oriented and becoming the best."

Kauffman said Mozier is most honest in her criticism and will tell you when something is not quite right at your business.

"She gives positive criticism to make your business better," she said.

"People have been coming back for more than 20 years," she said. "Guests say 'I feel so at home.' It is the level of service and comfort that brings people back over and over again," Kauffman said.

Kauffman said Mozier is always available to help. "She taught me how to promote myself."

"She is one of the most generous people in helping people in business. The award is so deserved," Kauffman said.

Strong role models

Mozier grew up in Troy, a mill town in upstate New York. Her parents ran their own small business, she said, and she learned early what it takes to be successful. Her mother worked along with her father, and she was a strong woman, Mozier said, which influenced her.

Her mother recently turned 90, and they just got back from a birthday celebration in Las Vegas.

"She runs her independent living facility," Mozier surmised.

Attending college at New York's Cornell University in Ithaca and at Columbia University in Manhattan, Mozier said, it reinforced how important women are in business.

"The women's movement defined all my experiences," she said. "These were natural connections," Mozier said.

In the late 60s and early 70s, she worked for the CIA, and the American Political Science Association, where she learned how to organize events, she said. She also worked in the District of Columbia criminal justice system where she was the planner for the new district jail and she did research on women in crime.

From Washington, she and her husband, Jack Soronen, moved to Berkeley Springs in 1977. They bought the local movie theatre, which had not been thriving for 10 years, she said, and they have been running the Star Theatre ever since.

Mozier saw women running businesses and she saw a need to promote them, she said.

"Jeanne's enthusiasm and initiative were certainly a part of bringing the town to life," Curtin said.

"It was always about bringing women along with me. It was never about doing it alone," Mozier said. "It was never about my business. It was all about Berkeley Springs."

Mozier promoted the Apple Butter Festival and introduced the Apple Butter Festival Ladies, the women who were important to the event from the original founder, Connie Perry, to hammer dulcimer player Sam Herrmann, Curtin said.

"It was the first event I helped blossom," Mozier said.

"Women are the faces of the Berkeley Springs businesses," Mozier said.

Mozier was recently chosen as a board member of the Morgan County Economic Development Authority board.

"The time is right to start talking about the new economy the creative economy," she said.

"You have to support the arts," she said. Berkeley Springs is close to the D.C. area, and people want to come to see what art is available here. "We must have good restaurants, good cell service and good broadband."

To promote the new economy, Mozier said Berkeley Springs needs a good bar like Clyde's on M Street in Georgetown to bring in the younger people to work and visit.

This will be her newest promotion, she said. It is called New Economy Asset Development or NEAD, she said.

She has won 12 awards at the local, state and national level to help promote Berkeley Springs.

Mozier's next big goal is to complete her book on the history of Berkeley Springs.

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