Business leaders attend annual chamber summit
BY HILLARY VIDERS
SPECIAL TO NORTHERN VALLEY PRESS
The Englewood Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting on Jan. 26, and several dozen business owners and visitors attended to hear about the chamber's new initiatives.
Chamber President Carol Rauscher began by welcoming everyone, and proceeded to introduce Todd
Brooks, who is replacing James Dunn as the chamber's chairman of the board.
Pictured, from left: Richard Engel, James Dunn, Carol Rauscher, Todd Brooks and Wayne Hamer.
Council President Wayne Hamer discussed the newly formed Englewood Special Improvement District
Management Corp. (ESDMC). This organization replaced the Englewood Economic Development Corporation that was disbanded last summer. A board of trustees for the ESDMC will
be composed of six business owners and a city council liaison.
ESDMC, whose funds come from a tax on property owners in the district, will focus on such issues as
funding exterior improvements to properties, undertaking safety and beautification improvements, providing safety, sanitation and other services, providing special decorative lighting, organizing special events, making special parking arrangements, recruiting new businesses and advising the council on district affairs. It will have an annual budget of $250,000, to be approved by the city council.
Hamer cites examples of ways in which ESDMC will make Englewood a more inviting streetscape, such as adding greenery to the new sidewalk bump-outs, installing bike racks, benches, attractive lighting and safety bollards.
The six individuals being considered for a trustee position, which will have terms of one to three years,
are Matthew Cardona of Cardona Cardona Salon, Andrew Tronick of Blue Moon Mexican Cafe, Marcia
Dominguez of Buckley's Drug Store, Albert Krull of TREECO, Dennis Williams of Chik-fil-A and Linda
Dunham of McDonald's.
The proposed trustees are representative of Englewood's central business district. They were nominated by an interim board of trustees created by the city council last July.
Trustees must be property owners or business operators in Downtown Englewood.
“It's important to have skin in the game so that we hear from you, find out what you need and help you get it,” said Hamer, who is currently the council's liaison to ESDMC. “The trustees are people who come
to work every day.”
When the six ESDMC board trustees are confirmed by the council, they will elect officers, engage professionals as needed and present a budget to the council.
Hamer listed the ways in which ESDMC is accountable to the city and the council, such as submitting
annual reports and having the council approve its budget. Stressing transparency, Hamer said that ESDMC will publish minutes of its meetings on its website.
Following Hamer's presentation, chamber board member Nancy Hong read the list of the 2018 chamber
directors: Todd Brooks, Kelly Cassidy, David Chazen, James Dunn, Richard Engel, Stephanie Greco,
Nancy Hong, Nicholas Prastos, John Spencer, Richard Schwartz, David Simon, Andrew Tronick, and Carol Rauscher.
Brooks then spoke about the mission of the chamber and the benefits of membership. He explained
that the chamber is a non-profit organization that represents Englewood and Englewood Cliffs and
seeks to promote business growth in these towns. The chamber also provides personal and professional development opportunities and it works to affect public policy decisions to benefit the business community. The chamber maintains a community event list.
Next, Engel gave a PowerPoint presentation about the chamber's new online support for businesses.
He was pleased to report that the chamber's website, Facebook and Instagram sites are receiving a lot of traffic and showing up in Google searches. Each member has their own unique Business Directory Page that they can manage. Engel showed samples of businesses who were using the chamber to advertise special events and promotions with excellent results.
Members can take part in cross-marketing and special holiday promotions, such as the Super Bowl,
Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, etc. All businesses who want to advertise special offers during these promotions will be featured on the chamber website, Facebook and Instagram.
“The key takeaway from this,” Engel said, “is that the ECC is committed to helping you boost your
Rauscher, the last speaker on the agenda, gave an upbeat presentation about city-wide events that bring people to town: the Garden Club Plant Sale, Farmers Market, Sidewalk Sale, Pilates in the Park, Yoga in the Park, Boot camp in the Park, Englewood Night Market, A Night of Fun and Fashion, Shop Small, the Christmas Tree lighting and the Menorah Lighting.
Rauscher also announced a host of upcoming mega networking events, in which members of six other chambers share ideas and contacts, as well as another hands-on presentation by the noted “Retail
Doctor,” Bob Phibbs. “Phibbs, a national retail consultant, is returning on March 19 to dialogue with businesses to determine cross-marketing, how to capitalize on bergenPAC events, in-store events and more,” she said.
According to Rauscher, email blasts will target residents, new residents, seniors, apartment complexes
and out-of-town residents alerting them to business openings and monthly announcements, as well as
offers from shops and restaurants and events. It is a monthly publication that will be on the chamber
website, Facebook and Instagram, and is shareable via social media and emails to recipients and stores.
The chamber also plans to continue the marketing and public relations campaign that it began last
“It is vital to position Englewood so that it stands out among surrounding towns and what makes it special. It is a city of shopping, restaurants and a place to work and play. As an example, Englewood
has over 10 fitness facilities and bergenPAC, the largest performing arts center in the area,” Rauscher
Rauscher pointed out that branding has developed the city's new tag line: Englewood - A Place for Everyone.
“Englewood is an experience and a destination. This inclusive brand represents the diversity of the city,” she added.
Rauscher concluded by saying, “There is no chamber of commerce that does what we do, to the extent
that we do it. The Englewood Chamber of Commerce is looking to work with Englewood businesses and ESDMC for a very positive and productive year.”