by Paula M. Riley
The Chestnut Hill Business Association (CHBA) will open its new Welcome Center this week at 16-18 East Highland Ave., relocating from 8426 Germantown Ave.
This newly renovated space features a WiFi-enabled sitting area with a professional display of information on Chestnut Hill businesses, restaurants, institutions and activities. A large flat screen will show videos about the area and upcoming events. The Center is adjacent to the Chestnut Hill Parking Foundation’s Green Lot.
During the week, the CHBA’s deputy directors Peggy Miller and Kate O’Neill and the Chestnut Hill Parking Foundation’s Peggy Hendrie will greet visitors and answer their questions. On weekends, a receptionist will staff the center.
In the bright space, partitioned cubicles are shared by Hendrie, the deputy directors and retail recruiter Laurie Wrightman. An office has been set aside for the open CHBA executive director position as well. The kitchen space and office supply room sit in the back beside a private conference room with seats for ten.
“We hope this will be a resource for the whole neighborhood,” Miller said. “CHBA business members can attend workshops and seminars in the conference room, local organizations can promote their events here, residents can bring their guests, and the entire business corridor will benefit.”
Miller envisions visitors stopping by to make plans for how they can enjoy Chestnut Hill – whether shopping, dining, or strolling the Avenue and/or exploring the region’s institutional and natural resources. The air-conditioned space with comfortable chairs provides a perfect starting place for shoppers and rest area for visitors.
Since there is so much collaboration between the CHBA, Chestnut Hill Business Improvement District (CHBID) and local organizations and institutions, Miller expects that the new conference room will be quite busy.
“We are all working towards the same goal – to make Chestnut Hill the best it can be,” Miller said. “The new Welcome Center will make it easier for us all to collaborate together.”
Miller, Hendrie and O’Neill admit they are a bit disappointed to be leaving their location on Germantown Avenue but excited to be in such a professional space.
For more than 27 years, the Chestnut Hill Business Association and Parking Foundation shared the building that once hosted McNamee’s and other retailers. When the BID hired a retail recruiter, a workspace was created in the back room (vacant due to executive director opening). This small space was shared by O’Neill with a meeting table squeezed in between their desks. At the new location, each of these positions has its own professional workspace.
“We are so proud to be able to welcome visitors, residents and business owners in such a beautiful space,” O’Neill said.