July 17, 2023
Starting in January 2024, the GCACC Board will restructure its organization, eliminating its paid position and forgoing its brick-and-mortar tourism office at 95 Albany St.
The board voted to make the change on July 12, 2023.
“We believe tourism has changed and we want to change with the times,” said longstanding GCACC board member Barbara Houghton in a July 12 press release announcing the news. “This small sacrifice will allow more of our budget to be utilized to support local events on the ground level. We think this will have a huge impact on being able to enact some real change in the community and we are excited for the future.”
Upon learning of the planned restructuring, Mayor Kurt Wheeler said the village will strive to continue to support and collaborate with the GCACC — whatever form it may take — for the benefit of the local economy and community.
According to the GCACC, the change also represents a rebranding opportunity.
The organization recently launched “Caz Life,” a marketing and events committee dedicated to fostering local business development, promoting tourism, and implementing effective marketing strategies to enhance the vibrancy and economic growth of the village.
“The chamber has always been a great resource for businesses in Cazenovia, and in that sense, nothing will change,” said GCACC Secretary Beth Fragale in the press release. “We learned from COVID-19 that businesses need to be able to adapt quickly in order to survive, and we think it is imperative to give them the support they need to see them thrive. We want to make Cazenovia a welcoming environment for new businesses and also continue to work together to strengthen our existing businesses.”
Kick-started by a $10,000 donation from community member Ralph Monforte, who owns Cazenovia Jewelry, Caz Life is focused on connecting local businesses to one another via networking events, connecting local businesses to the public via large-scale inclusive community events, and acting as a promotional arm for all businesses providing complimentary marketing support.
On June 19, the committee launched a website, Cazenovialife.com, and debuted a logo featuring two light posts as a nod to the Lakeland Park Pier.
The new website highlights upcoming community events hosted by local merchants as well as non-profits and other organizations.
“We are so delighted to share Caz Life with the community,” Monforte said in the press release. “It can be a little scary, but as an organization, we feel that the time was right for this change, and when the opportunity presented itself, we just had to jump. We want to build upon the incredible work of our executive director and our board and remain relevant and impactful to future generations of Cazenovians. We love this community, and we look forward to sharing what makes it so special.”
As part of the upcoming transition, GCACC Executive Director Anna Marie Neuland will be vacating her paid position but will remain involved on the chamber board in some capacity.
“I am excited about the new plan going forward and the great work that Caz Life is doing to promote the chamber members,” said Neuland, who has served as executive director since 2012.
Earlier this month, Caz Life, in partnership with the GCACC, helped present a very successful community Fourth of July celebration.
Up next is the annual Block Fest Weekend, which is scheduled for Aug. 4-6. Suitable for all ages, the community celebration will feature a bounce house, face painting, balloons, a cornhole tournament, a drum circle, live music, community yoga, and more. The main event will take place at Lakeland Park this year. There will also be sidewalk sales downtown, food trucks, and ice cream. A full list of events will be available on the “Cazenovia Block Fest 2023” Facebook page.
The mission of the GCACC is to benefit the local economy and enhance the community’s quality of life by actively serving, representing, and enhancing business growth and success, and by providing programs and activities to improve interaction between local businesses and the Cazenovia area communities. For more information, visit cazenovia.com.