Page 2 THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – Friday, March 8, 2019 A new Chamber with a new vision Saugus and Lynn Area Chambers of Commerce boards consolidate as one By Mark E. Vogler S ome local observers say the handwriting was already on the wall: The once vibrant Saugus Chamber of Commerce was headed on its way dine drink gather enjoy THE NORTH SHORE'S HOTTEST NIGHTCLUB! IN THE MUSIC HALL Friday, March 8 LIVIN' ON A BAD NAME Bon Jovi Tribute IN THE MUSIC HALL Saturday, March 9 LAVISH out of business. Or, at least it was no longer a visible or influential force in the community. “We had 300 members and an operating budget of close to $100,000 back around 1980,” John Smolinsky, a long-time Chamber leader said in an interview about two years ago. Smolinsky recalled the Chamber’s “heyday,” when it was known as the Route One Businessmen’s Association. That group started in 1971 and later changed to the Route One Area Business Association before officially becoming the Saugus Chamber of Commerce during 1991. Once again, in an effort to Saturday, March 16 WILDFIRE Celebrate St. Paddy's Weekend! IN THE MUSIC HALL Friday, March 15 THE DOORS EXPERIENCE Doors Tribute IN THE MUSIC HALL Saturday, March 30 KISS FOREVER Kiss Tribute Band revive itself and bolster its future for the sake of its remaining members, estimated to be about 50 now, the Saugus Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors voted last week, along with the board of the Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce, to consolidate into one organization – the Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce. Founded back in 1913, the Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce had about 400 members before the merger. It represented four North Shore communities: Lynn, Lynnfield, Nahant and Swampscott. Lynn Area Chamber of ComIN THE MUSIC HALL Friday, March 22 MARYBETH MAES BAND IN THE MUSIC HALL Saturday, March 23 TANGERINE merce Executive Director Colin Codner said he approached the Saugus Chamber in the middle of last December about a possible merger. “I reached out to them and wanted to discuss my vision of a regional business advocacy group for eliminating city lines and taking a regional approach instead of a town approach. “If you can think of Route 221 Newbury Street, Danvers For Tickets call (978) 774-7270 or www.breakawaydanvers.com 1, Route 1A and Route 129, it forms an economic triangle that serves as the gateway between the North Shore and Boston. My vision is to have more of a regional approach to advocacy and workforce investment. “With a broader approach, we can still represent them as individual industries and busiCONSOLIDATING CHAMBERS: Left to right, Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce (LACC) Board of Directors Chairman Rick Wood; former Saugus Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Denise Selden, who is a new LACC board member; and LACC Executive Director Colin Codner at a recent meeting. (Photo Courtesy to The Saugus Advocate) nesses.” With no full-time staff to support about 50 current members, the Saugus Chamber has been declining in recent years. The membership is about half of what it was back in the spring of 2017. That situation contributed to the Lynn-based Chamber’s decision to court the Saugus Chamber. “They have a lot of passionate people, but didn’t have the staff to provide what the vision was. But we have a full-time staff to support them. “From the get-go, it was seen as a positive opportunity. We all kind of looked at it and said ‘This is a great plan.’ It’s really going to benefit members of the Saugus community, and members of the Saugus community are going to bolster the regional approach. “We’re still working out some of the logistical details. But the benefits of the Lynn Area members and the Saugus members are all one benefit now.” Chamber leaders are sensitive to concerns of Saugus. “There’s an awareness on the leadership level that we need to embrace a regional approach and also be inclusive to all of our members,” Codner said. This is the letter that Codner sent out to members of the Saugus Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday (March 5): “Last week, the Boards from the Saugus Chamber and the Lynn Area Chamber have voted unanimously to consolidate into one organization to best serve the members of the Greater Lynn Area community. We are very excited about this merger and feel that we will be able to better represent and support those member businesses who call Saugus their home. While there are always some logistical details to work through in any merger, we will be working with our board and member volunteers to ensure this transition will be seamless to you. “The next month, we will be reaching out to you to introduce ourselves and to learn about the needs you have as a business community. We want to hear from each of you and want you to become involved in those areas which you are passionate. Please reach out to anyone on the LACC team with questions, ideas and comments; we are excited to hear from you! “The Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce (LACC) will provide legislative advocacy on behalf of our entire economic region, encompassing southern Essex county. Under our Government Advocacy platform, we are forming a board committee to focus on the needs of the Route One Business Community. This committee will help the LACC to align the needs of the Rte. 1 businesses with those of the greater area, as well as addressing those needs unique to them. We are looking for volunteers who want to bring the voice of those businesses into the chamber and who are looking to make a difference. “We will also be rolling out some new and exciting programs which will be available to all member businesses; owners and employees alike. Under our Workforce Development platform, we will be launching Lunch & Learn seminars to provide ‘micro lessons’ to members across a wide array of topics. We are looking for your feedback regarding topics of interest, volunteers who would be interested in presenting at these sessions, and venues who would be interested in hosting a lunch. Other new and innovative programs will also be forthcoming; please be on the lookout! NEW VISION | SEE PAGE 11

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