Join us and help to restore
the Victorian Lady
40+ Years and
Still Going Strong
The Chamber and Community a Vital Relationship
Why are we embarking
on the project now?
Broad project scope for the greatest return on investment:
A Letter From The Mayor
The Revitalization of Apponaug
Print A Brochure
| 40+ Years and Still Going Strong
| Verbal history tells us that the Warwick Chamber of Commerce, an outgrowth of the Apponaug Chamber of Commerce, had existed on and off for many years. Our most recent records indicate that the Chamber formally adopted by-laws on August 27, 1969, which stated, “The name of the organization shall be “The Warwick Chamber of Commerce” and this vision was championed by a small group of local entrepreneurs.
• 1976 - James Rassol, the President of the Board of Directors of the Warwick Chamber of Commerce and Richard Schoon, the Executive Vice President of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, agree upon an affiliation agreement with Greater Providence.
• August 14, 1980 - A Warwick Beacon headline reported, “Warwick Chamber of Commerce ends ties with Greater Providence”.
• February 12, 1981 - David E. Nash, the Chamber’s first full-time Executive Secretary was introduced by John Howell, publisher, in the Warwick Beacon. • October 1994 - The Warwick Chamber of Commerce expanded and incorporated under the name Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce and the growth continued.
• September 11, 1995 - Lauren E. I. Slocum joined the Chamber as director of membership sales and special events planning. Through the efforts of Lauren and the staff the membership base grew earning its position as a true powerhouse in the business community and one of the largest Chambers in Rhode Island.
• 2001 - David Nash announced his intent to retire and after careful consideration the leadership of the Chamber appointed Lauren E.I. Slocum, IOM as the new President/CEO.
In the past 12 years Lauren has gained the unconditional respect and admiration of her staff, members, colleagues and statewide leaders through her dedication and commitment to the Rhode Island business community. Lauren is well known as one of the most tireless advocates for business and community and has successfully guided the Chamber, with the help and support of her volunteer Boards, through one of the most challenging economic periods in history.
“That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” reminds Lauren, “and our members are strong, vital and inspirational businesses’ ready to carry Rhode Island into the future with passion, dedication and the sense of accomplishment which comes from incredible hard work, forward thinking and invaluable partnerships which are available and often born with membership in the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce.
Victorian Lady Leadership
Steven H. Kitchin
Leah M. Prata
Mayor Scott Avedisian
Thomas J. Celona
Aram G. Garabedian
Joseph J. McGair, Esq.
Steven A. Colantuono,
Jason D. Bianco, CPA
Michael A. Grande, CPA, MST
Alfred L. Grant
Sen. Erin Lynch
(Joseph W. Oakes)
Rep. Joe Shekarchi
The Chamber and Community a Vital Relationship
| The Chamber is designed to serve and support the business community but in fact it’s so much more. The support reaches beyond, to every resident, every non-profit, in fact the support of the Chamber is the financial, historic and economic engine to our community. Does the Chamber do it alone? No, of course not. BUT is it an integral and formidable partner to the overall success of a community in times of prosperity, economic challenge and disaster.
Our Chamber has led and continues to spearhead the charge. Virtually every day the Chamber and its representatives are monitoring legislative initiatives that all too often could have substantial and damaging impact on the business community. Our members are by and large small to medium sized companies who are working 12 or more hours a day; at their office, their flower shop, their pizza parlor or their manufacturing company and simply don’t have the time to keep their fingers on the pulse of what’s happening on the hill. Without the Chamber’s efforts and dedication, who knows the bills that would have been passed, the taxes that would have been levied or the anti-business legislation that would have become law. This is a crucial effort and the Chamber is there for you!
Your own professional business consultant on call five days a week, that’s part of the value of the Chamber. We are the “go to” person business needs. Spend a day at the Chamber, you might hear:
• “Can you help me with...”
• “Who do I...”
• “Where should I...”
• “What are the steps I need to take...”
• “How do I write my business plan...”
• “I need financing for...”
• “Do you know where I can get...”
These and hundreds of others are questions fielded by the Chamber professionals every day. Without the Chamber’s relationships and guidance where would these members turn for the direction and guidance they desperately need?
A disaster may strike one company suddenly closing their business with orders to fill, and frightened employees looking for help and direction, or the flood of 2010 which directly impacted hundreds of businesses and thousands of people. In these cases the Chamber swings in action in a massive way - relationship, relocation, area availability, funding and financial assistance or even locating generators when none are readily available to keep product frozen and viable. When the head of the Chamber of Commerce calls, the phone not only gets answered but the right person is speaking on the other end.
The Chamber and the Community - a true vital and effective partnership.
• Many times businesses and the community at large have asked “is the Chamber closing”, because of our “curbside impression”. The staff has to take time out of their day to explain “no we’re strong, we’re healthy, but we just can’t justify the cost of painting every 2-3 years.” With the paint peeling off the building we don’t look like the success we are. Successful people, successful businesses walk the walk, talk the talk and look the part and so must the Central Rhode Island Chamber.
• Our solutions to the facility improvements must be as permanent as possible, STOP putting bandaids on the wound, and heal it once and for all.
• The City has taken very positive action to modify zoning restrictions now enabling us, along with other businesses, to properly solve their maintenance challenges. We want to thank our City leaders for their effort, dedication and support in getting the village zoning approved in a positive and responsible manner.
• As a leader in the community our outward appearance must reflect the Chamber’s inner strength. The Central Rhode Island Chamber is one of the largest Chambers in the state, an outstanding business service organization, a true business resource, a serious legislative advocate for the business community, an accessible / friendly /helpful organization available to assist and help homebased, small and large businesses alike”.
A fair question and one we’ve given a great deal of thought to. It truly goes far beyond Why Apponaug, to also include Why this location, and Why this building?
Apponaug is almost exactly geographically the center of the state. It’s clear and easy for our members and the community to find us. “Do you know where Warwick City Hall is? We’re directly across the street”. Further, our location is hugely visible, has easy access to the highway and public transportation. Add to that being only a very short distance from T. F. Green Airport and the new Inter-model train district makes us the envy of any Chamber in this or any state. When a business is considering coming to Warwick they’re likely going to start their process at either the Chamber of Commerce or City Hall.
That being said, it leads us to our relationship with the City which is, and has been for many years, a very strong and mutually supportive. While we enjoy a strong working relationship with virtually all city and town officials throughout the state, our relationships in Warwick are and have been unbelievably rewarding and that’s a huge benefit to our membership. When the city officials or the Mayor feel we can add value to a situation we’re there at a moment’s notice, and when we need the help of a city official, including the Mayor, the door is always wide open.
We strongly believe that the re-development of Apponaug over the next few years is going to enhance the desirability of Apponaug. The addition of the round-abouts, period lighting, enhanced pedestrian access and a gateway into the village require our complete dedication to having a first-class business facility to support our first-class, leading business reputation.
Why this building? It is because of its location, ease of accessibility, and its “classic Victorian Lady” style but it also comes down to pure dollars and cents. We have done an extensive analysis of the pros and cons of staying in this “old building”. It’s clear and certain that this is where we belong and what makes sense. Upon completion of this project, we will have accomplished a complete physical renovation which will carry this structure long into the future with a more energy efficient facility requiring much less exterior maintenance.
One of the major factors many do not consider is the rental income this outstanding facility offers. With our multiple small business leaders accessing and utilizing a portion of our facility both short and long term, the revenue stream is important in helping us further our mission and would not be available if we just went out and rented office space. In addition and equally important, those small businesses want and need a first-class, affordable and professional environment to hold their meetings, meet their clients, provide their services and in some cases call their office.
So why Apponaug? Why this building?
* Location, Location, Location
* Professional setting
3288 Post Road, Warwick, RI is the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce,
yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Broad project scope for the greatest return on investment:
• New architectural vinyl siding
• Critical Improvements to HVAC systems
• New insulation for energy efficiency
• Rear and porch roof replacement,
the front and main roof have been replaced
• New lighting, inside and out
• Updated Business Information Center
• Parking lot re-surfacing
• Fire panel to improve safety and comply
with code changes
• New signage for the Chamber and its tenants
Budget = $250,000
Here’s how you can help
| The Chamber, not unlike any other business in today’s times, has been trying to postpone this type of major capital campaign but the time is here to lead our way out as only true leaders do. We must move forward to complete these critical improvements and we must do it today. We need your help and we’re respectfully asking our local business leaders, our strongest partners, our leaders, to consider the following sponsorship opportunities to help secure the long-term success of your Chamber and in return receive your permanent recognition as one of the greatest supporters of the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce and the business community in central Rhode Island.
A Letter From The Mayor
It is a pleasure to write this letter in support of the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce as they embark on the next phase of their “Restoring the Victorian Lady” capital campaign to fund renovations to their building in historic Apponaug Village.
Under Lauren Slocum’s leadership, the Chamber has been a great partner with the City of Warwick as well as a great liaison to our businesses. She and her staff are energetic, enthusiastic, and have become known as “go-to” people within our community.
Lauren’s leadership skills, professionalism, willingness to help and positive attitude, are always on display, and have been critical to our shared efforts to support, expand and promote our business base here in Warwick. In addition, Chamber staff are always willing to step in and lend a hand when help is needed.
A great example of this was during the 2010 March floods. Lauren and her staff worked closely with my office, our public safety officials, the Sewer Authority and the Department of Tourism, Culture and Development (TCD) to ensure that businesses received frequent updates and had information necessary to assure the safety of their employees.
The Chamber is currently partnering with several state agencies as well as our Planning and TCD staff to market the Warwick Station Development District – 95 acres of development opportunities near the airport and intermodal train station – has been a strong supporter of recent zoning amendments to create business-friendly Village Zoning, and has offered insight as the Apponaug Bypass project continues forward.
The business community is certainly fortunate to have a partner in the Chamber, and the larger community is as well. Their involvement in non-profit groups and local events has certainly helped to enrich our community and helped to make it the great place it is to live, work and raise a family.
The Chamber’s Restoration project will not only help to beautify Apponaug Village, but will ensure that this vital business organization is housed in a building that reflects the caliber of the employees who work there.
“It is often said that nice people finish last. However, Lauren and the Chamber prove that nice people can finish first. I hope you will join me in helping to make the Chamber building campaign a reality.”
The Revitalization of Apponaug
| “The purpose of this project is to provide a two-way road around the section of Post Road that is located in front of the Warwick City Hall, between Apponaug Four Corners and Williams Corner. This project would allow the majority of traffic on Post Road at City Hall to be diverted, leaving much lower traffic volumes passing through the heart of Apponaug Village. The reduction of the existing traffic volumes on that section of Post Road is seen by the City as a key to the revitalization and redevelopment of historic
Apponaug Village.” .
In July 2005, Congress allocated federal highway funding for the design and construction of the Apponaug Long-term Improvements project. As a result, final design has commenced and several properties have been acquired. Construction will begin in 2013.
A modern roundabout is a one-way, circular intersection without traffic signals in which traffic flows around a center island. They are specifically engineered to reduce speeds, maximize safety and improve traffic flow. Over the last few decades, thousands of roundabouts have been installed in Europe, Australia and other parts of the world. Recently, they have gained support throughout the United States, having been used successfully in many locations in states such as Maryland, Colorado, Florida, Washington, California and New York. Where roundabouts have been built, they have been widely accepted because of the increased safety, improved traffic flow and their traffic calming effects, along with aesthetic benefits. Several modern roundabouts are presently in design by the RIDOT throughout Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Department of Transportation
| Chamber Leadership
PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD
1980-1981 – JAMES T. RASSOL
1981-1982 – PEG MAGNANT
1982-1983 – JAMES M. CURCIO
1983-1985 – AL ANDREWS
1985-1986 – JO-ANN RIKER
1986-1987 – BRUCE G. JACOBSON
1987-1988 – JOHN I. HOWELL, JR.
1988-1990 – THOMAS J. CELONA
1990-1991 – GINA MEAD
1991-1992 – JOSEPH J. MCGAIR
1992-1993 – RICHARD R. DELFINO
1993-1994 – BARBARA KENERSON
1994-1995 – VINCENT PALAZZO
1995-1996 – PHILIP C. SLOCUM
1996-1997 – MICHAEL A. GRANDE
1997-1998 – MICHAEL J. DACEY
1998-1999 – THOMAS P. CLARKIN
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
1999-2000 – WILLIAM R. PIROLLI
2000-2001 – DANIELLE A. WARREN
2001-2002 – RICHARD F. NAGELE
2002-2003 – STEVEN H. KITCHIN
2003-2004 – JEFFREY C. JOHNSON
2004-2005 – DAVID S. LAUTERBACH
2005-2006 – JEAN HODGE-GAVIGAN
2006-2007 – ROBERT S. DEGREGORIO
2007-2008 – STEPHEN W. HINGER
2008-2009 – JEROLD M. WEISMAN
2009-2010 – THOMAS M. MADDEN
2010-2011 – JOHN M. MONTECALVO
2011-2012 – RICHARD C. HITTINGER
2012-2013 – LEAH M. PRATA
2013-2015 – STEVEN H. KITCHIN
2015- 2016 – JASON D. BIANCO
2017—2018 Board of Directors
Chairman of the Board
Jo-Ann L. Schofield, Mentor Rhode Island
Joseph D. Lajoie, Greenwood Credit Union
Alfred L. Grant, The Washington Trust Company
Brent E. Wyrostek, Arrest-A-Pest, Inc.
Louis F. Amitrano, Jr., CPA, CGMA, MST, Gilligan & Bianco LLC
Jason D. Bianco, CPA, Gilligan & Bianco LLC
Joseph J. McGair, Esq., Petrarca and McGair, Inc.
Maryanne Bevans, Esq. Petrarca and Mcgair, Inc.
Nicole R. Bourque COX Communications
Donna T. Caccia CPA|MST|CFP Cayer Caccia, LLP
John Gautreaux, ChFC Independence Financial Partners
Gregory G. Gould Webster Bank
James E. Hagan Bald Hill Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM Kia
Alice Hourihan National Grid
William McCaffrey Warwick Area Career and Technical Center
Richard F. Nagele Advantage Marketing Information
Leah M. Prata Citizens Bank
Corinne Riley William J. Riley Plumbing & Heating Co., Inc
Frank J. Ritz AAA Northeast
Christine Wilson Coastway Community Bank