MILFORD — A new tenant has moved downtown: the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford.
Executive Director Jo Schmeiser said the organization will soon occupy a first-floor suite in the Windsor Building at 24 NW Front St.
“The Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford was thrilled to be part of the process involved in moving the Chamber to the Historic Windsor Building. We have been searching for the perfect location, and feel like we have found it,” Cheryl Doucette, president of the board of directors, said.
“We appreciate the continued support and generosity of Charlie Burton and the staff of I.G. Burton. They have graciously housed the Chamber, at no charge, for the past five years. This is a prime example of how our community works together and truly takes care of each other.”
Other tenants include the state of Delaware and Community Integrated Services. Although the building currently has several vacancies, Ms. Schmeiser hopes it becomes a “business incubator,” eventually hosting a multitude of businesses to help with the economic development of the downtown area.
“We’ll have a deck in the back and space for meetings, so we’ll get to keep offering the same things we do now. And we’ll get to bring people downtown. So that’s a plus,” Ms. Schmeiser said.
Ms. Doucette added similar thoughts.
“Working closely with Eric Norenberg, the City Manager for Milford, we were able to connect with Mobious Investments. They have welcomed us with open arms. We feel that this move, to the Downtown Milford Area, will benefit everyone. We are thrilled with our new office space and conference area and are happy to be within walking distance of many of our members.
“Our goal is to bring added foot traffic and potential new tenants downtown. With the recent Downtown Development District (DDD) designation from the State of Delaware, we are anxious to see the changes in store for the Downtown Milford Area. We are hopeful that developers and business owners will reach out to the City of Milford, to explore potential qualified DDD projects that would support the Rivertown Rebirth Plan.”
The chamber moved to its shared space with I.G. Burton about five years ago after the building it shared with Downtown Milford, Inc. across from the library was demolished.
“It just deteriorated so bad. So we called Charlie Burton, knowing they had some recently vacated office space. And that worked out well,” she recalled.
They offered free space to the chamber for two years. “But they were gracious enough to let us stay longer,” Ms. Schmeiser said.
Last year, she received the call.
“They asked if we can be out by 2018. I thought, sure. That’s doable. Then they called again asking if we could be out in 2017. Their business is growing and we couldn’t be happier for them,” she said.
The search for a new space began with several ideas coming to the forefront quickly.
“Cory Fetterman offered space in his office. We talked to Joe Wiley about the space behind the art league, although now they’re expanding there so that’s a perfect fit for them. Then we received a call from Eric [Norenberg] with the city who said we should call the folks who own the Windsor Building [Mosbius Investments]. They also own the old fire hall and the state building,” Ms. Schmeiser said.
“We decided the Windsor Building was the best fit.”
Ms. Doucette added, “We hope to be moved in to our new space by Mid-March, with an open house planned for Mid-April. Please plan to stop by for a visit, we would love to see you. The staff and Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford, is committed to promoting area businesses and supporting their successes. There is true power in partnership.”
To help make the process easier on Ms. Schmeiser and Assistant Laurie Judd, I.G. Burton has offered to help move their furniture and other items to the new location.
“We’re going to miss terribly the body shop people and the others. But, we’re looking forward to being back in our vibrant downtown again,” she said.
Jennifer Antonik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org