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Sudbury's longtime Downtown BIA director is retiring

‘Time for the next chapter in my life,’ said Maureen Luoma, who has been with BIA for 43 years
Maureen Luoma is seen here promoting Ribfest with former Downtown Sudbury chair Jeff MacIntyre in 2017. (FIle photo)

Maureen Luoma, executive director of the Downtown Sudbury Business Improvement Association (BIA), is retiring after 43 years with the organization.

“I was only a little surprised when Maureen brought me her plan to initiate the transition,” said Kendra MacIsaac, chair of the BIA board of directors, in a press release.

“We’ve been talking about succession plans for a while, the whens and hows of doing it; after all, she has been working at the BIA for 43 years and no one stays forever.”

Luoma began her career with the BIA in 1977. She has seen many changes in the downtown core over her career, including the startup of the farmers market in a downtown parking lot and its eventual move to Market Square (now the Laurentian University School of Architecture).

She has also launched many successful events such as Blues for Food, the Downtown Garage Sale, and Ribfest; has played an integral role with the Sudbury Santa Claus Parade organizing committee; and represented the Downtown Sudbury BIA on numerous committees and boards over the years, including the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, Farmers Markets Ontario and the provincial Ontario Business Improvement Area Association.

“It was a tough decision, but it’s time for the next chapter in my life,” said Luoma. “I’ve enjoyed working for, with, and in the downtown, and will always be a downtown shopper and supporter, but it’s time for someone new to take over the reins. And I’ve got a grandson I want to spend more time with.”

The BIA board of directors will begin recruitment for a new staff member in the coming weeks, and Luoma will assist with the transition on a part-time basis. 

“It will be an interesting and good time for new leadership, and while the COVID-19 pandemic has created a difficult time for the small businesses that make up Downtown Sudbury, there is light at the end of the tunnel and lots of opportunity to build it back better,” said MacIsaac. “It will be a time for renewal downtown, which makes it a good time for a handoff.

“We thank Maureen for her endless energy, optimism, and professionalism. We are going to miss her immensely.”