Susan Schuytema

Writer, communicator, marketer, entrepreneur, retailer, cheerleader, doer

I've been a successful business owner, manager, writer, teacher, hospitality guru, event planner and volunteer. I'm looking for my next challenge in Oregon.  How can I help you thrive?

[email protected]

Depoe Bay, Oregon



Knowledgable in Social Media Management, financial planning, marketing plans, budget development, blogging, event planning, project coordination, email blasts. Conceptualize and orchestrate marketing campaigns that effectively reinforce and build brand images.


Coaching, motivating, mentoring and managing staff. Strong writing skills. High-energy and effective teacher. Easily establishes successful relationships with vendors and suppliers. Super-power skill of remembering peoples' names and their purchase histories.


Highly organized and detailed-oriented. Positive, think outside the box, motivator, small-town and nature enthusiast. Great eye for interior and retail design and style. Clean freak, music lover, flora and fauna fan, foodie. Unafraid of digital tools and exclamation points.

Polishing a Diamond in the Rough

I first started working at Contrast Coffee as a barista - a great way to meet the people in our new home town. After six months, I was given the opportunity to become the General Manager of the Iron River shop. The store served excellent, locally roasted coffee and was the only true coffee shop in the area but it was not yet a destination. Over the span of several months, I helped improve the look, feel and polish of the store by adding comfortable seating groups, art on the walls and music in the air. I also worked with the growing staff on the importance of customer service (along the way, we even made a customer service training video for other local businesses) and creating a memorable experience. Customers soon became regulars and regulars started thinking of Contrast Coffee as their place in Iron River. Events, specials and continued customer engagement helped Contrast significantly improve its profitability as it has become a social fixture in the community.

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A Video is Worth 10,000 Words

In 2012, I decided to enter the first “This is Retail” video competition hosted by the National Retail Federation. The idea was to encourage small retailers to show how their businesses were essential to their communities. My husband and I shot the video on an iPhone, edited it on our laptop, wrote our own music and relied on our Market Alley Wines customers to tell their stories. They truly made it their own and when time came for online voting, the entire community came out in force. Round after round, our little 90-second video fought on, taking down giants like Macy’s in New York City. Finally, we hit the final three and I was flown to Washington, D.C. for the awards ceremony and lobbied Congress on the importance of small town retail. I walked away with a $10,000 cash prize (which I invested back in the business) and the knowledge that I had the best, most loyal customers in the world. The photo to the left is me holding an ad for the retail contest in Politico magazine.

Creating a Third Place

In 1989, sociologist Ray Oldenburg coined the term “Third Place” in his book “The Great Good Place.” A Third Place is a place to socialize, to relax, to converse and to be an active part of a community - but it’s not home or work. I worked hard to grow Market Alley Wines into a Third Place for the Monmouth region, and the social benefits were amazing. MAW was a place to make friends, with regular customers welcoming new folks into the fold. It was a place of conversation and an equal playing field for all, with no class distinction - a place where a blue collar factory worker could talk rock ’n roll with a college president. It was a place where the community came alive.

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Wine Tasting Events and Classes

As the owner of Market Alley Wines, I never missed an opportunity to teach and engage the community. I taught Wine Appreciation at Monmouth College (for credit!) and offered the same class to the community every year. I mentored entrepreneurial students and well as other businesses. I sponsored and judged of Shops of Monmouth Small Business Competition and organized, hosted and catered multiple events including multi-course wine dinners, retirement parties, showers, weddings and reunions. I also hosted numerous charity events that raised thousands of dollars for local organizations.


Journalist, Newport News-Times, Newport, OR

June 2021 - Present

Award-winning features writer for Newport News-Times, OC Waves magazine, OC Weekly and Travel Newport. Create and develop content, conduct interviews, edit stories, proof pages, photograph subjects all on deadline.

Assist with the COVE, a unique art gallery and visitor's experience in the News-Times.

Co-Owner and VP of Sales and Marketing, MC3 Botanicals, Iron County, MI

August 2018 - Present

Partner in a women-owned craft cannabis growing operation - from concept to creation - with a mission of commitment, compassion and community. Created business plan, investor deck, marketing plan and employee handbook. In charge of social media marketing, growing brand awareness, and writing and editing a monthly e-newsletter as well as creating and editing all business documents.

Gallery Associate, Breach the Moon, Newport, OR

July 2020 - June 2021

High-touch customer service with knowledge of over 250 artisans and their techniques. Responsible for artistic display updates and arrangements. Met or exceeded daily sales goals, opened and closed gallery. Began at Oceanic Arts, promoted to Breach the Moon.

General Manager, Contrast Coffee Co., Iron River, MI

October 2017 - June 2020

Managed the day-to-day store operations, maintained high store standards and conditions, created the tone and personality of the store by being an advocate of training, customer service, product knowledge and education, and a demonstrated commitment to the mission of Contrast Coffee. Responsible for hiring, training and performance management of all staff, inventory management, customer service, and creation of store goals and promotions to maximize profits. Living proof that gray is the new green.

Founder and Proprietor, Market Alley Wines, Monmouth, IL

June 2011 - June 2017

Developed a detailed data-based business plan for a multi-service wine shop featuring bottled wine, craft beer, high-end distilled bourbons, ryes and scotches, wine by the glass, small-plate snacks, retail sales, live music and special events. Doubled size of store and seating in early 2014. Trained and managed staff (as well as numerous interns) with a focus on excellence in customer service. Taught a Wine Appreciation class at Monmouth College and to our local community. Won numerous local, regional and national awards. Developed exit plan and successfully sold business (due to relocation to Upper Peninsula Michigan) in June 2017.

Community Relations Coordinator, Petersen Health Care, Aledo, IL

April 2010 - May 2011

Responsible for census building and promoting a positive image of the facility. Organized community events. Built and maintained relationships with community leaders, health care professionals and seniors. Gave presentations about long-term health care.

Journalist, Galesburg Register-Mail, Galesburg, IL

August 2006 - April 2010

Award-winning journalist responsible for police and courthouse beat including writing, editing, reporting and blogging for print and on-line editions. Initiated and developed enterprise and feature stories. Covered late-breaking stories on deadline. Developed and maintained relationships with key governmental, law enforcement and legal professionals.

Instructor, Carl Sandburg College, Galesburg, IL 

August 2008 - May 2010

Designed and implemented lesson plans for Introduction to Journalism: English 130 and English Fundamentals: English 098.

Affiliate Marketing Manager,

2002 - 2007

Responsible for affiliate recruitment, retention and problem solving. Provided customer service support to all affiliates in the program. Prepared, analyzed and distributed recruiting reports.

Sales Director/Assistant Manager, Ducky's Formal Wear, Galesburg, IL

1993 - 2005

Created a responsive, market-driven sales force that resulted in increased profits for seven consecutive years. Wrote company newsletters, press releases and 50-year commemorative brochure.

Program Director, Radio Information Service, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL

1989 - 1993

Managed not-for-profit agency serving over 1,000 blind/print handicapped persons. Developed and implemented volunteers recruitment, training and retention programs. Planned fund raising and recruitment events. Developed funding proposals and managed the budget. Supervised eight staff members and over 100 volunteers.

Reporter, WAIK/Q93, Galesburg, IL

1988 - 1989

Covered police, courthouse and civic news.


Bachelor of Arts, Mass Communication and Journalism, 1988 - Western Illinois University. 15 hours post-graduate study, Western Illinois University.


Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association 2022 Better Newspaper Contest writing award

Iron County Economic Chamber Alliance Business of the Year 2019

The Entrepreneurial Support Network of West Central Illinois 2013 Small Business Start-up of the Year

National Retail Federation "This is Retail" Third Place Winner

Associated Press writing awards

Illinois Press Association writing awards

Featured Exhibit @

Service and Certifications

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 Certification

Oregon OLCC Alcohol Server Education Certification

Iron County History Museum Board Member

West Iron District Library Board Member

Golden Lake Land Owner's Association Board Member

George Young Recreational Center Bar/Restaurant Advisory Board Chairperson

Iron County Chamber of Commerce

Charter member Aledo Lion's Club

PEO, Chapter E

Grace Buchanan Memorial Board of Directors

Buchanan Center for the Arts Board Member

Monmouth Business Council

Monmouth Chamber of Commerce

National Federation of Independent Business 

National Retail Federation

University of Illinois Master Gardener

Illinois Food Safety Manager Certified

Illinois BASSET (Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training) Certified (on and off premise)

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