What's the Charlestown Chamber Doing Now?

Abby Gray gives us a rundown of what Charlestown's Chamber of Commerce does and doesn't do.

The Charlestown Chamber of Commerce Board met last Monday for our first official meeting of the Fall. One of the topics that came up, and we seem to come under fire for sometimes, is "what do we do?"

So, we thought, no time like the present to let our community know what we do and what we are working on for our residents and business owners of Charlestown.

  • We are an organization that is focused on helping local businesses and restaurants be successful, find resources, promote 02129. We are dedicated to this mission!
    • The Charlestown Chamber of Commerce does not invite, or approve ANY business coming into Charlestown. Businesses DO NOT come in front of our Board for approval. Businesses that need certain licenses must go through the City of Boston. If there is concern about a certain business, it is often brought up in front of our Charlestown Neighborhood Council (CNC). But again, the Chamber and the CNC have no "voting power" to officially decide who comes and who goes.
  • As the Charlestown Chamber of Commerce, it is our duty to welcome and support everybusiness. We do not have POWER to deny chains or vote them down. We want the public to understand that because we are part of the City of Boston, we do not have our set of rules or regulations for business. We must follow the city's rules.
  • Personally, we all have ideas and goals and aspirations of what should come here. When we ask residents and other business owners, the top two responses are a "bakery" and a "Deli/Cheese Shop".
    • Additionally, successful towns and shopping areas have a series of businesses that often have much of the same thing. Their differences are in manufacturers, customer service, design. For Charlestown to thrive as a destination shopping area, we need risk takers and entrepreneurs. In an effort to spread the word and help, The Chamber will be hosting a "How to Start Your Own Business" Speaker Event and Luncheon at The Navy yard Bistro. Details and "how to register" will be forthcoming.
  • We do not have autonomy – as Charlestown is part of the City of Boston – thus, we do not function with all the laws and outreach that a formal, larger, chamber can and does.
  • We do not suggest businesses to landlords. Landlords that do not abut residential property, do not have to seek permission to open. IF they need a license for liquor, food, etc. then they go through the City of Boston.
  • We can help coordinate with the Boston Redevelopment Administration (BRA) for sign grants and other business grants that might be available. We will post information on our Facebook Page (Charlestown MA Chamber of Commerce) and provide information here in PATCH and the Patriot Bridge in the coming weeks.
  • We will be announcing a plan for our Green Square Mile Energy Initiative in the coming weeks. We are not the architects of the plan, but we do support it!
  • All of our Board Members are volunteers, and live and/or work in Charlestown.
  • All of our Board Members are dedicated to growing our committees and branching out to "do more" good as our neighborhood continues to grow.

What are we doing now?

  • Over the summer, we put together a 2012 Holiday Stroll Committee! We are excited to announce a Charlestown Weekend of Festivities – December 1st and 2nd, 2012. Information about Santa arriving in Preservation Park, a Tree Decorating Contest, Face Painters, Balloon Artists, Store and Restaurant Specials, Holiday Choral Concerts, Carolers, and more! We are bringing back the Stroll of 1989 as closely as we can – modernizing it with all of our new residents and businesses. We do promise – you will want to be in town! December 2nd is a fun filled day for the Navy Yard – with the Constitution Tree Lighting, Santa Clause and more!
    • In the next few weeks, you will see more and more information about the stroll. If you would like to volunteer or have a special talent we should know about for the big day, please email Abby@oliviabrowning.com.
  • Wreathes for 2012 will be hung by the City of Boston at regulation height. We will be printing ribbons that go around the wreath prominently with business name, family name and "in Memorium". We listened to your comments from last year regarding wreath placement and inability see sponsorship – we took them seriously! Watch the Patch and the Patriot Bridge for official sign-up forms and your local businesses. We will further beautify our square mile this year!

We are excited for these initiatives and so much more! You will hear from us weekly about what is happening. LIKE our Facebook page so that you can find out what your 02129 shops and restaurants are up to. If we have any information surrounding new or possible new businesses, we will share it if appropriate/legal/public! We are here to support, encourage and cheer on every legitimate business in Charlestown!

Joseph September 19, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Abby, you have a great store and wish you continued success. I'm always able to find last minute gifts whenever I need one. Thanks for doing what you do. However, I hope this isn't a fluff piece in an attempt to confuse residents by implying you're talking about the CNC? Sorry to be so cynical, but this seems to be more along the lines of a defensive blog. I could be wrong, but I cry a big foul on what you're saying here. Lots of criticism of the CNC on The Patch, not one board member ever clarifying their points of view, never one precinct representative reaching out to their constituents, lots of questions about the CNC and BRA passing building plans that were never brought to our attention, the CNC never updating their site with minutes, etc...then you come out with this blog seeming to address these issues. Is this the CNC speaking or the CCC? I, for one, think this is extremely fishy and has all the makings of a puff piece to distract Charlestown residents from true problem. And that problem is a CNC board that is useless and must go!!
Abby Gray September 21, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Joseph: Thank you for your comment about the store. My goal with this article was to inform businesses and residents that your local "Charlestown Chamber of Commerce" is a volunteer organization. Our Board Meets monthly and works hard to help businesses move forward, network, meet consumers, understand that laws, etc. However, Charlestown is part of the "City of Boston", so we do not have the ability to "vote" down a business coming in. Like other bigger chamber that are autonomous, we do not approach businesses or have a legislative body, etc. We wanted to start the year off telling folks what we are doing and what we can and cannot do! As for the CNC, I referenced them - but they are a separate organization entirely. Regarding the BRA - the Chamber works with them on Sign Grants primarily - and that is a whole area that is separate from permitting and plans and parking, etc. I know, I applied for a sign grant! I think everything is a work in progress. :)


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