Franklin County Chamber of Commerce move to historic Deerfield complete, visitor center underway

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Posted: 02/14/2022 07:41:39

Modified: 02/14/2022 07:39:45

DEERFIELD — After announcing the move from its Greenfield location in early January, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce is “settling well” in its new home in Historic Deerfield.

“We like it here,” said chamber executive director Diana Szynal. “We’re really excited about this.”

Speaking in his newly furnished office on the second floor above the Deerfield Historic Museum gift shop, Szynal said the aim was to make the move as ‘seamless’ as possible while the chamber works at the creation of a visitor center to draw the attention of tourists to all leisure activities. opportunities in Franklin County.

“They were welcoming and accommodating,” Szynal said of Historic Deerfield and the new roommates at the Deerfield Inn. “We really like getting to know them.”

The chamber completed the move to 79 Old Main St. in waves, with Szynal being the first to move her office into the building and office manager Marian Noga and marketing manager Lisa Davol following suit. Szynal said the Chamber of Commerce has worked with local businesses and chamber members to facilitate the purchase of furniture and office supplies.

“We are so grateful to have local businesses that we can rely on for the services and goods we need,” Szynal said.

The move was covered by a $27,800 Destination Development Capital grant from the state Travel and Tourism Board.

Although the chamber moved out of Greenfield, where it had an office on Main Street for 36 years, Szynal said staff still worked closely with businesses in the city.

“We’re still very much into Greenfield,” she said, “and supportive of Greenfield businesses.”

Community Action Pioneer Valley, which has an office next to the chamber’s Greenfield location, plans to expand into the now vacant space.

The chamber’s move to Historic Deerfield was spurred on by the idea that the chamber of commerce can contribute to the regional economy by creating a true visitor center in one of the region’s most popular tourist destinations. The former Chamber Visitor Center was located in the Greenfield Motor Vehicle Registry, which was reduced to visits by appointment only when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

In its current state, the new Visitor Center is a sparsely decorated room with piles of boxes strewn about, but in a few months it will be enhanced with resources for tourists to learn more about Franklin County. Szynal said the schedule was slightly “aggressive”, but the staff were working as fast as possible.

“We hope it will be ready by mid-April,” Szynal said. She added that the visitor center will contain all kinds of informational brochures about Franklin County and will feature digital screens to showcase promotional videos created by the chamber.

“It will be a real improvement over what we have,” Szynal said. “It’s going to be so much better.”

Szynal thanked her colleagues and chamber members who supported the move and said she hopes to christen the new building and visitors’ center at a future Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

“I am very grateful to my staff…and the Board of Directors for their support. It was a great group of people to step in with,” Szynal said. “To pick up and move the office of a 104-year-old organization is not easy.”

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