Published Sept. 9, 2010
No rest for Hinsdale Chamber of
Commerce in helping local business climate thrive
Illinois celebrates Chamber of
Commerce week Sept. 13-17, recognizing the more than 456
local chambers in the state working to keep main streets
The Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce began life in 1924 when a group of
retail, professional and business people united to
promote the economic well being of the village and
foster ethical business practices.
Today, with more than 300 members, the mission remains the same,
according to Executive Director Jan Anderson.
“We are certainly established to be the voice of businesses here in
Hinsdale,” she said. “We are an organization to support
business and be a visible presence in the town through
the events that we do.”
The chamber’s most visible function is sponsoring a number of
large-scale events designed to bring people into the
downtown business district, such as the fine arts
festival in June and the fall festival in October.
This summer’s successful series of Uniquely Thursday gatherings has
helped build momentum going into the fall and winter
seasons, Anderson said.
“We had such a great, great year. The weather cooperated all season
for us, and we had great bands that just drew in the
crowds,” Anderson said. “(The proceeds) offset the costs
for everything that we do.”
The 41st annual merchants garage sale is this Saturday, Sept. 11,
at the public works garage. Local retailers will be
selling new merchandise at discounted prices, rain or
Anderson said the chamber’s partnership with Hinsdale’s park and
recreation department and other community organizations
to organize the fall festival has helped raise the
profile of the event.
“We wanted to partner with others to make it grow,” she said.
A Halloween costume parade kicks off the festivities, followed by
trick-or-treating in local businesses. Prizes are
awarded in a costume contest during the festival in
Burlington Park, where a pumpkin decorating contest also
will be held.
One of the most anticipated events every year is the Christmas
Walk, which will celebrate its 46th edition this
“We’re already focused on the Christmas Walk. We’re looking for
sponsors for the gingerbread books,” she said.
The chamber is also responsible for many of the subtler elements
that help create a festive atmosphere in the business
district during special times.
Chamber board President Paul Garver said the organization plays an
integral role in stimulating the business district and,
by extension, the village as a whole.
“I think the chamber is vital to the Hinsdale community. Not only
does the chamber plan great events which members of the
community can enjoy, it’s about a reinvestment in the
community itself,” Garver said.
From working with local Boy Scouts to put up flags on patriotic
holidays to festooning the downtown with decorative
fresh cut greens in winter to give charm to the chill,
the chamber takes nary a season off in making the
downtown as inviting as possible for visitors.
“We have things throughout the year. We’re conscious of not
allowing some our small businesses to lose business,”
Efforts include mailing a service kit to new residents to
familiarize them with village services and shops. Many
chamber members contribute coupons or other materials to
“We conduct a welcome program to new residents to promote
businesses in town,” she said.
The yearly community directory published by the chamber furnishes
important information about the town, including details
on local schools, places of worship and recreational
Chamber leaders are constantly developing ways to attract visitors
and bolster sales, Anderson stressed.
“We are into several different things. We have Hinsdale gift card
programs. We also have the farmers market going on. Our
marketing committee addresses these types of things all
year long,” she said.
Anderson admits the sluggish economy has taken a toll on village
vendors, but she said Hinsdale has shown resilience in
the past and she expects brighter days ahead.
“Everybody would love to have more business. We’re just kind of
moving along with the rest of the economy,” Anderson
But that’s no license to be
idle, she noted. A campaign to better support chamber
members is already in the pipeline.
Even after nearly nine decades, the chamber’s influence remains a
key component in the village’s overall quality of life,
“The chamber’s relationship with (village officials) has only
improved,” he said. “I think the chamber has done a
better job than ever before at getting the word out
about the ways to reinvest in your community.”
7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Mondays through Oct. 11
On Chicago Avenue along Burlington Park
Merchant’s garage sale
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11
Public services garage, 225 Symonds Drive
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 16
Burlington Park, 30 E. Chicago Ave.
Activities include pumpkin decorating, costume contest,
carnival games and inflatables.
4 to 8 p.m. Friday,
Throughout downtown Hinsdale
Activities include visits with Santa, ice carving, and