"Chamber Executive Director Gives Talk Before Rotarians",
The Westfield Leader - October 29, 1998

WESTFIELD-Westfield Rotarians recently heard a talk on the functions of the Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce by new Rotarian Debbie Schmidt, the chamber's Executive Director.

Ms. Schmidt told her fellow Rotarians that the chamber's original charter was granted as the Westfield Business Association on April 26, 1948.

According to the charter, "The aims and purposes of the organization were to create greater opportunities for business within the town, to cooperate in every way to further the interest of legitimate business, and to assist in making Westfield a better place in which to live."

The mission of the Westfield Chamber, 50 years later, remains very similar, Ms. Schmidt revealed. The chamber continues today as a voluntary partnership, with members working together to build a healthy economy and improve the quality of life in the Westfield area.

In 1948, the three major issues addressed by the Westfield Business Association were holiday decorations for the town, increasing patronage of local businesses, and expanding the availability of parking for downtown shoppers.

Rotarian Schmidt asked club members to note that the Chamber continues to address these issues today.

A 16-member Board of Directors meets monthly to oversee Chamber operations, to plan upcoming events; and to discuss current issues of interest to the Westfield business community.

The Chamber offers members opportunities to promote their businesses, provides educational and social opportunities, and advises on dealings with local and other governmental organizations, the Executive Director stated.

She told Rotarians of the many facets of the Chamber's function in the community, including working closely with the Downtown Westfield Corporation and with the local municipal government.

The Chamber organizes a number of community events throughout the year with the assistance of member volunteers, including the Spring Fling and FestiFall street fairs, Westfield Classic Car Shows, the Westfield Farmers' Market, the annual tree lighting and Santa's arrival; "First Night" trolley rides, the annual "Faith in Westfield" Awards Dinner, the Westfield gift coin and a summer jazz festival.

In conclusion, Ms. Schmidt advised that the Promotion Committee is busy planning the upcoming "Welcome Home to Westfield" holiday events.

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