The Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce has moved its offices to Oak Park Avenue, now sharing a storefront with Wednesday Journal. The move occurred in October and says Cathy Yen, executive director of the chamber, “We’re thrilled to be in a vibrant business area such as The Hemingway District. This is a central location, on the first floor and is easily accessible for our members or for anyone interested in doing business in Oak Park, River Forest or Forest Park.”
The storefront, 143 S. Oak Park Ave., now doubles as the front desk reception area for the Journal and its publications and as the offices for the chamber. Most Journal offices are on the second floor of the building.
“Here at the Journal, we’ve become strong advocates for the Chamber of Commerce,” says Dan Haley, publisher of Wednesday Journal, Inc. “We really admire the immense, positive energy that Cathy Yen and the chamber board are bringing to their renewed efforts on behalf of this community of business people. Sharing space with the Chamber, having that energy in our building is just a terrific match and a lot of fun,” says Haley.
Yen has been at the helm of the chamber for 18 months and in that time has overseen, with her colleague Sarah Corbin, a 10 percent increase in membership to 430 members. “Our top priority is engagement. That’s our watchword,” says Yen. “We aspire to engage our members in the community, to grow leadership skills in the community. This new space leads to collaboration. Members can come in, hook in to the Wi-Fi, talk through an issue, work on a marketing plan. The physical layout of the space is important,” says Yen.
And in sharing space at the Journal, the chamber also has access to the company’s conference room and the new “Big Room” space for informal meetings.
“We respect what Wednesday Journal does for the community, that it is the central media outlet,” says Yen. “As we try to increase our engagement, it helps to be co-located in a place that is already a destination for many of our members.”