Press Release: Cicero Chamber of Commerces Launches new chapter
More than 44 businesses, and 20 leaders from the Town of Cicero and community groups launched the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce during a dinner meeting at Langostinos Restaurant on Laramie Avenue in Cicero on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019.
The effort was led by Town President Larry Dominick who told the gathering that the business community needed to reorganize to re-establish a professional business networking association to become stronger and more successful.
“It’s very important for the businesses in Cicero to come together and network and work with the Town of Cicero. The Town wants our businesses to succeed and coming together through the Cicero Chamber of Commerce is the first step towards making that happen,” Dominick told the business leaders.
“The Town of Cicero is here to help you and I am proud that we are able to help bring this organization together after a long absence.”
Dominick also reported on the continuing fight to make Cicero the safest community in the state, noting that the activities of street gangs continues to fall and how many of the street gangs that once were in Cicero have fled.
“When I came to office in 2005 there were more than 14 street gang related killings as well as many other acts of violence. Today, that has dropped significantly to one a year. And that is still unacceptable and we continue to work to achieve a total zero tolerance for street gang activity and presence,” Dominick said.
Speakers at the first “Launch Meeting” of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce included Ismael Vargas, the director of Business Licensing. Vargas spoke about the services that the Town of Cicero officers to help businesses. Speakers also included representatives to the Cic era Policer Department, including Captain of Police Mathew Ramirez and Detective Edgar Alba who discussed the increasing safety in the town and how businesses can make their retail efforts safer.
Also attending were Cicero Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias, and State Rep. Lisa Hernandez who detailed state programs that are available to help businesses.
Organizers said the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce will meet monthly beginning in January after the holidays and will provide speakers who can help businesses to strengthen their sales, practices and achieve their goals. The chamber will also offer many other services including hosting a jobs fair to help them find qualified employees from within the community. The chamber will also help publicize and promote businesses by spotlighting them on the chamber’s new website at www.CiceroChamberofCommerce.com. The website lists many of the services the new chamber hopes to provide.
Currently, there is no fee to join the chamber although the chamber’s interim board will at a later date set an affordable and appropriate membership fee to cover services and benefits. Membership in the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce is open to any retail business that has a business license from the Town of Cicero.
Formore information on upcoming meetings, topics and services visit the chamber’s website at www.CiceroChamberofCommerce.com.
New Cicero Chamber of Commerce hosts “Launch Meeting” & Video
The Cicero Chamber of Commerce held its “Launch Meeting” on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 at Langostinos Restaurant and it was a tremendous success.
More than 44 businesses attended the meeting, enjoyed the buffet dinner and participated in a discussion with representatives from the Town of Cicero, the Cicero Police Department and the Director of the Cicero Business License Department, Ismael Vargas.
The program included presentations by several officials that included: Mathew Ramirez, Cicero’s Captain of Police, who discussed new innovative ways to contact the police; Cicero Detective Edgar Alba who spoke about safety issues for businesses, cautioning them to watch out for a new crime that is occurring more and more in suburban communities throughout the Chicagoland area, the theft of ATM Machines; Business License Department Director Ismael Vargas spoke about what his department can do to help Cicero businesses and discussed some of the procedures and typical questions that businesses, new and old, have; Town President Larry Dominick also addressed the Chamber meeting, telling the business leaders that the Town of Cicero is there to help them be successful; and, State Representative Lisa Hernandez discussed programs the state can offer to help new businesses.
“I want to thank all of the businesses that are here. It’s important to me that you showed up and are concerned. Make sure you stay active. Don’t make this a one time thing,” President Dominick said in welcoming the attendees.
“Our town is only as good as the businesses. We always extend a hand to the businesses. We ask that you follow the rules and if you follow the rules we treat you all the same. I believe in treating everyone fairly.”
Dominick also noted how safe Cicero has become in the past 14 years since his election as Town President in 2005, pointing out that the number of street gang killings have dropped significantly from when he took office, graffiti vandalism has decreased significantly, too, and more businesses have relocated to Cicero.
Officer Ramirez spoke about the new innovations that the Police are using to support businesses. Ramirez, who is the assistant Watch Commander working.
“We have new systems to help you as a business. One of them is online reporting. Essentially the Cicero Police Department has come up with a way to file reports online to make things easier for you,” Ramirez said. “It is there for you, 24/7. It will expedite your reporting as well.”
Ramirez said the Cicero Police also maintain a new tip line called Tip411, another way to communicate with thePolice. “You can remain anonymous. You can send us a text and we will send a police car to check out the area and the problem. Send a text to 847411,” Ramirez said.
Detective Edgar discussed a new problem involving criminals who are breaking into businesses and stealing the ATM machines which dispense money.
“They are very light and they are often not bolted down,” Alba said.
Alba explained the ATM thefts are being targeted by a ring of individuals who are using stolen vehicles.
“We believe that 30 to 40people are involved in there rings. It’s not just in Cicero, we are partnering with Police agencies in all of the Western suburbs,” Alba said. He said that the criminals will check the ATM during store hours, often pushing or shaking the machines to see if they are loose.
“They then come back after the store closes,” Alba said. “If you have any suspicions about this, please feel free to give us a call.”
Vargas said his priority is to help the businesses and assist them in meeting the Town’s business requirements.
“I think the main goal as President Dominick has explained is to bring the businesses together so we can work together to make changes that benefits all of us,” Vargas said.
“You are one of the most important pieces in our community to help the youth, to help our schools. You bring jobs. You are a part of the community. This chamber is an opportunity for you as a business owner. My Department wants to be here to care for and work with you. We are there to serve you.”
Vargas also credited President Dominick and the Cicero Police who have helped to make Cicero one of the safest communities in the state. He said that as a result of the increased safety in Cicero, 2,400 new small businesses have opened in the Town of Cicero since 2015.
Langostinos served a fish buffet to the attendees and the groups spent several hours afterwards networking and meeting each other.
Town Spokesman Ray Hanania ended the meeting explaining that the new Chamber will receive strong support from the Town to organize new programs including organizing job fairs each year and helping to promote and publicize the businesses through the monthly Town Newsletter, a new Chamber eNewsletter, the Chamber website, and through activities such as organizing “Grand Openings” and “Ribbon Cuttings.”
“If you have business, even if you have been here 20 years or more, there is nothing wrong with having a re-Grand Opening, we will cover it, we will take pictures, video and help you publicize your presence in this Town,” Hanania said.
Hanania introduced Maru Ayala who supervises the Grand Openings and Ribbon Cuttings.
“We want people to know that you are here and we want to help you grow your business,” Ayala said.
Also attending the evening event were Senior Center Director Diana Dominick, Cicero Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias, and several members of the Cicero Business License Department.
State Rep. Lisa Hernandez told the attendees she is working with the Town to ensure that any state services available to businesses will be made available to Cicero businesses.
Future meetings will address many topics including parking issues, the benefits of TIF districts, speakers who can help the businesses do better customer outreach, and more.