The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

March 24, 2013

Ashtabula Area Chamber of Commerce boasts a new name — Ashtabula County Chamber of Commerce

Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — Ashtabula Area Chamber of Commerce has changed its name to the Ashtabula County Chamber of Commerce. The new name reflects the ongoing broadening of the Chamber’s membership and services.

Founded in 1887, the Ashtabula Area Chamber’s primary focus has been in the areas of business development and member services. That primary focus will remain.

The Ashtabula County Chamber of Commerce will continue to meet the needs of the business community by providing expanded programming and relationships, including a recent affiliate agreement with COSE, the Council of Smaller Enterprises, which is the region’s largest small business support organization based in Cleveland.

“Our name change and more comprehensive services are dictated by the marketplace,” said Jessica Forsythe, President, CEO and industry veteran. “We've found that 70 percent of our member engagements go beyond the boundaries of the City of Ashtabula.

“We now consult with other businesses throughout the county to provide business resources and support that work to build their bottom lines. We are also broadening our services to become involved in business development training, advocacy and engagement throughout the business community in Ashtabula County.”

The Ashtabula County Chamber of Commerce, which will continue to work with other chambers in the county on various projects, draws upon the extensive group buying power of a membership of more than 425 members to provide many of their resources. Their offices in Ashtabula are home to the Ohio Small Business Development Center, SBA and the Ashtabula Downtown Development Association.

“We have an outstanding and unique staff in place with specialized expertise in the management and design of Chambers of Commerce, said Dr. Cara Ogren, owner of Synergy Physical Therapy and ACCC Board Chairman. “We believe that this is the first step in formalizing a role that we have played in the business community over the 126 years of our existence in Ashtabula County.”

Ogren said the Ashtabula County Chamber of Commerce wants to work as a complement to the other chambers throughout the county on shared programs and benefits to their members.

“Our membership is excited about this expansion of coverage for our membership. While many of the local Chambers embrace their communities’ individual identity, our membership is county- wide,” said Tina Stasiewski, Vice President of Business Development at ACMC and Vice Chairman of the AACC Board. “We want our entire membership to feel represented. Embracing the name Ashtabula County Chamber of Commerce accomplishes that.

“We will continue to be a separate membership organization from the other Chambers in Ashtabula County and we continue to support the idea that Chamber membership should start in your local community first.”

Currently, the Ashtabula County Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with COSE and many of the other chambers in Ashtabula County, is working on a celebration of small business for the month of May. These activities will include additional management and safety training opportunities, health care reform seminars and a “Wine & 9” networking event at Adventure Zone at Geneva-on-the-Lake. There also will be additional promotions in the community to encourage residents to “Choose Local. Choose Small Business.”

The Ashtabula County Chamber of Commerce is a 126-year-old business development and member services organization that designs, implements, administers and communicates all types of programs to the businesses of Ashtabula County.