Katrina E. Williams
It’s been a busy and exciting year for the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, starting with the move to their new location in an old post office, centrally located just west of Independence Boulevard and Chestnut Avenue.
“Sharing space at the old post office suits the Chamber of Commerce and the Community Improvement District (CID) to a T,” said Bobbi Baker-Hughes, President and CEO. “We are able to meet and greet the chamber and community members and partners for collaboration in making the Historic Northeast a great place to live, work and play.”
Throughout the year, the Chamber was able to coordinate roughly 250 volunteers to assist in various improvement projects within the six neighborhoods of the Northeast community. One project brought student volunteers from Cristo Rey High School for trash pick-up and beautification in the six Northeast neighborhood associations.
In October of 2017, the Chamber-sponsored Historic Northeast Real Estate Exchange brought more than 30 area commercial real estate agents, developers, brokers and investors to the Chamber offices to take a guided tour of Independence Avenue. The first-of-its-kind event allowed attendees to explore, discover and experience the properties and opportunities available along Northeast’s primary commercial corridor.
“The people on the bus tour were able to observe the area and try many of our great local foods,” said Baker-Hughes. “We’ll continue this on a quarterly basis in order to continue to promote our community and raise awareness of the opportunities that are available in the community.”
The Northeast KC Chamber sponsored EGG incubator gallery space was also opened in 2017 in the old Rose Marie Flower Shop, right next door to the Chamber office. The EGG gallery is part of an incubation program intended to help small businesses get started by offering them a brick and mortar space from which they can sell their wares. Additionally, the program assists the budding businesses with helpful advice and information such as branding, marketing and business tax assistance.
The EGG incubator has successfully mentored three businesses which have since moved to their own commercial spaces where they could continue to build and grow. The space is now booking EGG candidates for Quarters 3 and 4 of 2018. The EGG incubator hosts a variety of events; during the first three weekends of December 2017, for instance, it hosted three successful art shows.
The Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the Independence Avenue Community Improvement District are always looking for new and innovative ways to bring the community together. The Chamber’s annual Beans, Beads and Booze Mardi Gras fun-raiser was held on February 13 in the 18th and Vine Jazz district. The collaborative event featured live music, Cajun food, a costume contest and visits from various Kansas City-based Krewes throughout the course of the evening.
Both organizations work to will continue to plan for quality events throughout 2018, while showcasing the Historic Northeast community and calling attention to the many shopping and business opportunities. Check out their community calendar at www.nekcchamber.com/events for more information, or make a point to attend a NEKC Chamber event this year. You’ll be glad you did.