Had I Known....

Getting Down to Business with the OPRF Chamber

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By Cathy Yen

Executive Director OPRF Chamber of Commerce

Scrolling through Facebook on a Sunday morning, I first learn about so many around-town happenings that happened last week.  Events I wish I had known about before; events I wish I had attended.  Or at least helped to promote.

We suffer from an abundance of riches in Oak Park and River Forest, with no lack of things to do.  We also offer so many programs, resources and information for residents and businesses.  Whether you are interested in healthcare, arts, sports, professional development, activism, festivals, education initiatives, political movements or philanthropy - there is no lack of ways to channel your time and energy.

I chatted with Anne Pezalla, one of our local Small Business Superheroes, on Saturday at OakToberfest.  Anne owns Lively Athletics with her sister Kate Marlin.  Despite independent retail being a 24/7 occupation, Anne is a tireless advocate for Oak Park, small business and local issues.  She is a "show-up" person, one of the faces of Oak Park small business.

As we spent a few minutes together sitting on a curb on Marion Street, we both sighed heavily, recounting the 4-5 evening events each of us had attended this past week - with only one overlap that I could tell.  Anne has more gusto than me.  After a day in the family area of OakToberfest, she had plans to attend the Nasty Women art show - an evening event I could only dream about after hauling my tired bag of bones home by dinnertime.

We have an interesting community conundrum.  I do believe that we need to do a better job promoting events and resources.  At the same time, if we knew more, would we do more? Could we?

Time, of course, is our most precious resource.  You can't go to everything.  Yet I wish we did a better job publicizing.  With a fractured media landscape, a constant barrage of email and the Facebook rabbit hole, I don't have a good answer.

We are working on the Chamber's 2018 strategy now and one of our goals will be keeping businesses better informed.  Sharing information between businesses, residents and government will be an important part of that effort.


Email: cyen@oprfchamber.org Twitter: @OPRFChamber

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