With the phrase “100 Years Young” as its theme, the Greater Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce today announced that 2022 is a milestone year for the organization, as it marks the 100th anniversary of its founding in 1922.
First known as the Gloucester Chamber of Commerce, it was incorporated during the Presidency of Warren G. Harding—and when Percy Wheeler was serving as Gloucester’s Mayor—“to promote the civic, economic and social welfare of the people of Gloucester, Essex and Rockport.” In 1973, the Chamber added Manchester to its service area; in 2005 it merged with the former Rockport Chamber of Commerce; and in 2021 it merged with the former Ipswich Chamber to become the Greater Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce.
Today, the Chamber has grown to become the largest business organization on the North Shore with 1,000 member businesses in Essex, Gloucester, Ipswich, Manchester and Rockport.
Overseen by a 26-member Board of Directors with Caitlin Pszenny as this year’s Board of Directors president, the Chamber plans to mark its centenary with a range of special programming and events over the course of 2022.
The first of these will be its annual celebration, which is now scheduled for March 10 at the Beauport Hotel and will feature a “Roaring 20’s” theme. Other special events for later in the year are still in early planning stages and will be announced as dates and details are confirmed. The Chamber also plans to share a series of memorable moments and images highlighting its century of involvement at the heart of Cape Ann’s civic and economic life.
“We’ve been talking about this approaching birthday for several years, and we are thrilled to celebrate reaching this historic milestone and all that we have accomplished and continue to do to support our businesses and the greater Cape Ann community. It is also so fitting that Caitlin is this year’s Board President. She embodies the future of the organization and region, as the leader of our Young Professionals, with two young children and running a small business – Cape Ann Lanes and Laneside Pub & Brewery, with her husband Nic,” said Chamber CEO Ken Riehl.
The Chamber re-located to 24 Harbor Loop in Gloucester in August 2020. The new location features a visitor center that supports more than 20,000 Cape Ann visitors each year, and a Community Collaboration Center available for use by members and community groups.
With the creation of the Cape Ann License Plate in 2014, the Chamber formed its affiliated Cape Ann Community Foundation (501c3) in 2015. Using the funds raised from license plate sales and renewals, the Foundation has awarded over $70,000 in grants to more than 25 local area non-profits and Cape Ann school systems over the past five years.