Summary of Chamber Activity 2022/2023
Senator Jason Lewis secured an earmark in this year’s state budget for the Stoneham Chamber to host a CultureHouse in Stoneham this spring. A CultureHouse pop-up space provides novel experiences for patrons that will drive more travel and tourism into downtown Stoneham and create destinations for locals and visitors. Additionally, a CultureHouse in Stoneham would create a “third space,” a communal space distinct from the home or school and work, for people of all ages to congregate. This CultureHouse could help re-imagine what Stoneham Square is and what it can be.
The Stoneham Chamber is initiating this project to fulfill a key recommendation of Stoneham’s Rapid Recovery Plan to “develop pop-up projects to fill downtown vacancies.” Stoneham Square lacks foot traffic and offers little beyond performances at the Greater Boston Stage Company and places to eat, particularly in the evenings. Activating a CultureHouse pop-up would begin to fill this gap.
Downtown Banner Initiative
In September, new banners were hung in Stoneham Square through a partnership between the Chamber and the Stoneham Department of Public Works. This year’s banners feature images from a series of paintings by Nancy Griswold that were created during her time living in Stoneham in 1979. Nancy lived on Main Street in Stoneham Square while attending the Massachusetts College of Art. At the time she painted this series, she was studying the works of Edward Hopper, as well as George Nick, an American realist oil painter and was enthralled with light and color over geometric forms. Thirty-five local businesses sponsored a downtown banner this year.
Downtown Merchants Group
The Stoneham Chamber of Commerce resumed convening a Downtown Merchants group that met bi-monthly in 2023 at the Greater Boston Stage Company. The purpose of the group is to connect Stoneham Square businesses to one another, discuss upcoming events, and understand the priorities for downtown business owners.
Chamber Gift Certificate Program
The Chamber Gift Certificate program began in 2021 as a benefit to members where 100 percent of the proceeds go back to the business the gift certificate is redeemed at. During the holiday season, the chamber partners with the local PTOs to sell gift certificates as a fundraiser. To date, we have sold nearly 900 gift certificates, amounting in more than 16K spent at Stoneham businesses.
Cultural District Designation
The Stoneham Chamber, in partnership with the Town of Stoneham and the Greater Boston Stage Company, began working to have Stoneham designated as Cultural District through the Mass Cultural Council.
Stoneham Chamber Vision Map
In late August, the Chamber Board of Directors hired Beth Saunders & Associates to assist with putting together a vision map for strategic direction – a roadmap to guide annual goal-setting or programmatic decisions.
Stoneham Chamber Golf Tournament
On May 16, the Golf Committee welcomed more than 100 golfers to the Indian Ridge Golf Tournament for the 32nd annual tournament. The event was title sponsored by Salem Five Bank and Salem Five Insurance and sponsored by StonehamBank, Northern Bank, The Arbors at Stoneham, Stoneham Ford, Greater Boston State Company, ServPro, and GDI Integrated Facility Services. Members of the committee were Dr. Bruce Doyle, DMD, Mike Truesdale (Cummings Properties), Megan Henaghan (Nobility Hill Tavern), and Mike O’Brien (Northern Bank).
Chamber Legislative Breakfast
The Stoneham Chamber partnered with the Wakefield-Lynnfield, Reading-North Reading, and Melrose Chambers to offer breakfast and a conversation hosted by Sen. Jason Lewis and featuring Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Mike Kennealy, as well as Sen. Brendan Crighton, Rep. Rich Haggerty, Rep. Mike Day, and Rep. Kate Lipper-Garabedian.
In February, the Stoneham Chamber co-hosted the annual Legislative Breakfast with the Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce and Wakefield Lynnfield Chamber of Commerce. More than 200 people were in attendance and Senator Jason Lewis, Senator Bruce Tarr, State Representative Michael Day, State Representative Kate Lipper-Garabedian, State Representative Brad Jones, State Representative Richard M. Haggerty, and Representative Donald H. Wong were all in attendance to give updates and answer questions.
Stoneham Chamber Breakfast Networking
In fall of 2023, the Stoneham Chamber introduced Chamber Breakfast Networking at Pignone’s Café to offer a casual, drop-in networking opportunity to chamber members. Due to the initial success of this event, it will be offered bi-monthly.
Multi-Chamber Networking Events
Multi-Chamber offerings continue to grow and were held on a near monthly basis in 2022/23. Multi-Chambers are a collaboration of the Arlington, Burlington, Lexington, Malden, Medford, Reading/North Reading, Wakefield, Waltham, Wilmington/Tewksbury, Winchester, Woburn, and Stoneham Chambers.
In 2022/23, multi-chamber networking events were held at various locations including the Crowne Plaza Woburn, Work Bar Giggles Comedy Club, Copper House Tavern, Lord Hobo Brewery, Craft Food Hall, and Faces Brewery.
Additionally, the chamber co-hosted a lunch and learn with the Reading-North Reading Chamber and the Better Business Bureau and a meet and greet breakfast with the Winchester Chamber featuring the President of Winchester Hospital, Al Campbell. Chamber members also participated in the Multi-Chamber Business Expo hosted by the Waltham Chamber.
Other events the Chamber participated in included ribbon cuttings for Dabbs Lock and Key, Ribbon DaMore Law, Elite Realty Group, Spartan Ace Hardware, Evviva Trattoria, and more.
Halloween Storefront Window Painting
One of the events offered during Covid that the Chamber continues to offer due to its popularity is the Halloween Storefront Window Painting project. One week prior to Halloween, the Chamber organizes a day of painting Stoneham Square windows to make them festive for Halloween. Each year, the event grows; this year 45 windows were painted with festive designs.
The Chamber partnered with Stoneham TV and the Stoneham Recreation Department to offer the 13th Annual Halloween Stroll. The Chamber continues to grow offerings including games, crafts, and activities on the Town Common to complement the trick-or-treating in Stoneham Square.
More Cheer Happens Here
The Chamber now hosts a series of events for the holiday season to bring holiday shoppers to Stoneham Businesses. The More Cheer Happens Here initiative is designed to embrace the town’s branding identity and emphasize the experiences offered uniquely in Stoneham. Offerings included the Winter Arts + Crafts Fair, the Tree Lighting on the Common, and the Holiday Parade. Additionally, every year the chamber purchases hundreds of strands of holiday lights to brighten the Town Common and Downtown Business District.
Winter Arts + Crafts Fair
In 2022, the Chamber offered the second Winter Arts + Crafts Fair in the Stoneham Town Hall Auditorium to complement the Annual Tree Lighting. More than 50 vendors participated. This year we are partnering with the Stoneham Art Group to offer this event.
Tree Lighting on the Common
Residents filled the Common for the annual Tree Lighting held on December 4th and hosted by StonehamBank. Activities included visits with Santa, a train ride for kids offered by the Stoneham Recreation Department, craftmaking and activities, hot chocolate and snacks provided by Salem Five Bank, the Memory Tree, holiday music provided by Spinner Music Productions, and caroling with the Stoneham Girl Scouts. The event culminated with the official tree lighting by StonehamBank at 4:45 PM. The tree lighting display and holiday decorations were made possible by the Stoneham Department of Public Works. The event was organized by committee members Veronica St. Cyr (Stirling Brandworks), Karyn Millerick (The Dirty Doodle), Claudia Prodero (Ceramica Paint Studio), and Reem Rajeh (Salem Five Bank).
The third Annual Holiday Parade was held in partnership with Stoneham Recreation, Stoneham’s Police and Fire Departments and local community and youth groups. Decorated floats, emergency vehicles, holiday characters, and Santa travel the streets of Stoneham on a Saturday morning. Initially offered as an alternative to in-person holiday events in 2020, the popularity of this event remains strong as families gather on the streets along the entire route. This event was sponsored by StonehamBank, Northern Bank, RJ O’Connell and Associates, Stoneham Ford, Spartan Ace Hardware, Barile Family Funeral Home, Gaetano’s Restaurant, and Royal Roast Beef & Pizza.
Stoneham 101: New Resident Open House
The Stoneham Chamber partnered with the Stoneham Public Library to host Stoneham 101 for new residents in May. More than 50 community groups and town departments and services were on hand to answer questions about local services for residents who recently moved to Stoneham. The event was sponsored by Salem Five Bank and StonehamBank.
Health + Wellness Expo
In June, the chamber hosted the 12th Annual Health + Wellness Expo in partnership with Winchester Hospital. The Health & Wellness Expo connects wellness services to the people who need them. This year, more than 50 health and wellness professionals participated. The Health + Wellness Committee was comprised of Dr. Diane Bonnani, DMD, LeighAnne Taylor (Winchester Hospital), Eric Bergstrom (Stoneham Financial Services), and Karyn Millerick (The Dirty Doodle).
Stoneham Pride Celebration
The Stoneham Chamber serves on the Stoneham Pride Committee to represent the business community in providing support to the LGBTQIA+ members Stoneham. Through a generous donation from Eastern Bank, the chamber offered tee shirts, activities, and games at the event.
Summer Concert Series
The Chamber Summer Concert Committee offered seven concerts in June, July, and August featuring music of various genres including big band and classic rock. Additions to this year’s concerts included food trucks, ice cream and slush nights, photobooths, and activities for kids on the Common. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Concert Series, the Chamber hosted a beer garden at the last concert of the season.
The Summer Concert Committee was comprised of Bob Palumbo (C Clear Copies), Debbie Catalano (Catalano Creative), Valerie Giglio (Giglio & Sampson), and Veronica St. Cyr (Stirling Brandworks).
Business Plan Review at Stoneham High School
Every year, Stoneham High School students taking Economics develop business plans for ideas to pitch in a Shark Tank type exercise. Chamber members join students in the classroom and lend their expertise to assist them with their business plans. The purpose of this exercise is to focus on business plan development; students can ask specific questions to help them improve the plans they have been putting together as part of their coursework. This year, Eric Bergstrom (Stoneham Financial Services), Julianne Curtis (The Energy Barre), Mary Kelly (C21 Property Central Inc.), Lisa Farrell (Food rEvolution), Tyler Hanlon and Christopher Macombe (StonehamBank), and Rosanna Rodriguez and Justin Thomas (Northern Bank) all mentored students for this project.
Stoneham Town Day
The 39th Annual Town Day was held on Sept. 23 and title sponsored by Northern Bank and Winchester Hospital. This year, Town Day featured more than 100 vendors stretching to all ends of the Common. Despite the rain later in the afternoon, attendance remained high throughout the day. The Town Day Committee was led by Chamber Members Eric Bergstrom (Stoneham Financial Services), Dr. Diane Bonnani, DMD, Jeff Buxton (BIZ ID), Lisa Farrell (Food rEvolution), Karyn Millerick (The Dirty Doodle), Chris Senna (C&S Capital Properties), and Mike Truesdale (Cummings Properties).