At two major events last week, I delivered “State of Our Chamber” addresses to members, some of which I’d like to share with the rest of you.
For the third year in a row, our Chamber teamed up with the City of Elmhurst on “Got It! in Elmhurst,” a unique shop local informational campaign. Since the campaign began, annual tax revenue in Elmhurst from both retail sales and food and beverage sales have exceeded projections and left the city with unexpected fiscal year-end surpluses.
Our Chamber also supported the City’s establishment of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District 4 for the North York Street corridor, and the parking deck proposed on Addison Street in downtown Elmhurst. After four years of a mutually-beneficial tenant-landlord relationship, our Chamber parted company with the City in anticipation of the long-delayed Hahn Street Redevelopment Project in downtown Elmhurst, which includes our former office space in the Hahn Medical Building. Congratulations to Chamber member Morningside Group on being re-chosen as the development partner for that project.
I also want to thank the DeForest family for so warmly welcoming our Chamber as a new tenant in its office building at 300A West Lake Street. During my 15 years as President and CEO, the Chamber has moved from the Hansen & Hempel building on Maple Street to the old Press Publications building on Adell Place to the Hahn Medical Building on North York Street and, now, to the DeForest Building. Each move was proactive rather than reactive, and calculated to meet our organizational needs. Our five-year lease will take us through the Chamber’s 100th Anniversary in 2018, and we have an option for an additional five years, so chances are good that I can retire without having to relocate a fourth time.
Our Chamber continued it work with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce on business legislative issues in front of the Illinois General Assembly—although a February 4 trip to Springfield by representatives of our Governmental Affairs Committee for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (IACCE) Annual Legislative Summit has been postponed due to weather concerns.
During 2013, we participated in multi-chamber events such as “A Passport to Success,” our Business-to-Business Expo, an Economic Outlook Luncheon featuring Senior Economist William Strauss of the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago in February and the March luncheon with School of Rock CEO Chris Catalano. Strauss will speak on February 27 and Lou Malnati’s Pizza Co-Founder Jeanne Malnati will keynote on March 20.
Our Chamber continued the use of our website and social media pages on Facebook (nearing 500 Likes), Twitter (more than 700 followers) and LinkedIn to share latest news and information about us and our members to a wider audience of tech-savvy consumers. At no cost to members, your website and database services were upgraded, and we developed a user-friendly mobile web page.
For the first time in Chamber history, one of our former Elmhurst College JOBPATH Program student interns—my first student intern hiree—was elected to chair our Board of Directors. While the Chamber has elected only eight female Board Chairs in its history, all of them since 1982, I am proud to say that Julie Miller is the sixth during my tenure. Preceding Julie as female Board Chairs were: Virginia “Ginny” Harmon (1982); Nancy Phillips (1988); Gloria Duarte (1999); Cathy Bajkowski (2003); Dare Messina (2006); Debra Klosterman Catalano (2007); and Jennifer Speaker (2013).
Finally, I want to thank Paul Koch for his leadership as Board Chair, keeping our Chamber on mission in a year of transition.
Annual Awards and Talent Showcase
Some 150 businesspeople attended the Chamber’s 95th Annual Awards and Talent Showcase at the Waterford Banquet & Conference Center on January 31. The program was taped by Elmhurst Our Kind of Town for airing in February on Channel 6 of Comcast and Channel 99 of AT&T U-verse on Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Wednesdays at 4 p.m., and can be viewed online at elmhursttv.com.
“State of Our City” Mayoral Address
Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley delivered his first “State of Our City” Mayoral Address at the Chamber’s Membership Breakfast hosted by Community Bank of Elmhurst on January 28. The program was taped by Elmhurst Our Kind of Town for airing in February on Channel 6 of Comcast and Channel 99 of AT&T U-verse on Thursdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays and 8 p.m., and can be viewed online at elmhursttv.com.
Six members are celebrating Chamber anniversaries in February, as follows: 20 years—Catalano, Caboor & Company; 15 years—District 205 Foundation; 10 years—Jane Dilworth & Associates and Luurs Garden & Flower Shoppe; and 5 years—Massage Envy and Thorndale Construction Co.
The Chamber welcomed seven new members in January as follows (in alphabetical order): Ashley Hamm Photography, Banner Collective, hibu, MC Squared Energy Services, Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park, Smashburger and Turner Acceptance Corp.
ComEd reactivated as a Chamber member in January.
No Longer Members
The Chamber said goodbye to the following seven members in January: Charted Course Advisors, Dave’s Pet Project, Dominick’s Finer Food, Don Feeley, Gurs Sweets Bakery, The Hire Solution Employment Corporation and Mature Focus.