Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce Brings Congresswoman, Regional Leaders to Talk Business
By David Sullivan, Director of Economic Development and Business Recruitment
CLINTON, MA – The last time Clinton had a chamber of commerce was over a decade ago. Now, five months after the establishment of the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce, an affiliate partner of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, the town’s new chamber has already put on two informational sessions with business owners, an economic development conference with regional economic development leaders, an outdoor downtown vendor’s market, an annual meeting with Congresswoman Lori Trahan, and a Halloween trick-or-treat event for downtown businesses. And the momentum will not stop there – a networking event is planned at Sterling Street Brewery in Clinton, which just celebrated its second anniversary of being in business, on December 6.
The momentum is led by a joint team of volunteer board members for the Clinton Chamber and staff from the Worcester Chamber. The Clinton team is led by Lauren Crossman-Nanof, who was honored by the Worcester Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 awards this year for her initiative in transforming Discover Clinton, a tourism-focused organization, into the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce. Lauren is joined by Bill Spencer of Fidelity Bank and Kerrie Salwa of the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission. All three founding board members are Clinton natives and residents. The staff of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce provides event planning, member recruitment, and strategic support where needed to ensure the chamber can get to a point where it can support its own operations.
For the two largest events – the Clinton Economic Development Day on September 13 and the inaugural Annual Meeting on October 18 – the Clinton Chamber’s volunteer board and staff from the Worcester Chamber worked together to bring regional leaders into Clinton to highlight the business community and the town’s recent advancements. Both events were held at the Museum of Russian Icons, which is one of the Clinton Chamber’s first members.
Economic Development Day
The Economic Development Day gathered Town Administrator Michael Ward, several Select Board members, State Representative Meghan Kilcoyne, State Senator John Cronin, and outgoing State Senator Harriette Chandler along with regional economic development leaders from the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, MassDevelopment, and the Worcester Business Development Corporation. The purpose of the day was to highlight Clinton’s recent advancements, such as being one of the fastest-growing municipalities in Central Massachusetts and investing over $8 million of local funding and grants in downtown streetscape and infrastructure.
Phil Duffy, the Director of Community and Economic Development for Clinton, presented on the town’s history and current priorities to “make Clinton a better Clinton,” through incremental development that emphasizes Clinton’s unique character. Duffy noted that Clinton is a tight-knit community with a relatively high level of diversity for a suburban town. The town’s top economic sectors are manufacturing, which employs nearly 40% of the town, and healthcare. Driving employment in these sectors are two of the largest employers in town, the international manufacturer Jabil, and the UMass Memorial Health Alliance Clinton Hospital. Duffy then led attendees on a tour of downtown Clinton, stopping inside the currently vacant but historic Strand Theatre building and then on to a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Jack’s Mill, a planned 150,000 square-foot mixed-use development of a vacant mill building by Cunningham Associates. The Strand, located on High Street, closed during the pandemic, according to owner Justin Barrett. Before closing, it was a successful local cinema pub.
After the Economic Development Day, the Clinton Chamber hosted its inaugural Annual Meeting with Congresswoman Lori Trahan. The congresswoman, who represents Clinton, was the keynote speaker. Trahan expressed her excitement that Clinton now has an active and dedicated chamber of commerce, supported by the largest network of chambers in Massachusetts. “Today, I joined the Clinton Area Chamber for their inaugural meeting to discuss the work we’ll do together to support small businesses,” said Trahan after the event. “I left feeling more inspired about what’s in store for local Clinton businesses with the Chamber advocating on their behalf!” Both the Annual Meeting and Economic Development Day were hosted by the Museum of Russian Icons, centrally located in downtown Clinton.
Want to get involved? Members of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce get a free membership to the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce and vice versa. Next up is a Business After Hours networking event at Sterling Street Brewery in Clinton on December 6. Keep up to date on new events by following the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, or at www.clintonareachamber.org.