BOSTON – Local legislators joined with Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce Board President Josh Harrington today to announce that the Chamber has been awarded a $24,745 state grant under the newly created Travel & Tourism Recovery (TTR) Grant Pilot Program.
The funding will be used to support the Chamber’s development of a “Shop The Readings” marketing program to coincide with the SBA’s Small Business Week campaign. The marketing plan will include hand-lettered signs painted by a local artist on 40 storefront windows, local newspaper ads, a billboard on Main Street, social media posts, and a direct mail piece distributed to every local household and business, all featuring the “Shop The Readings” and My Local MA logos.
The Chamber is also planning to launch a website featuring a comprehensive list of local businesses and the amenities they offer, including curbside pickup, online shopping and delivery options. In addition, the Chamber will give individuals the option to sign up for weekly text messages highlighting local business promotions.
House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn), and State Senator Jason M. Lewis (D-Winchester) each submitted a letter to the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism in February supporting the Chamber’s grant application, as did Reading Town Manager Robert LeLacheur and North Reading Town Administrator Michael Gilleberto. Legislators praised the Chamber’s ongoing efforts to help local businesses keep their doors open despite the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
“The Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce has been a powerful voice and a tireless advocate for the needs of the local business community for many years, and that commitment has remained strong throughout the pandemic,” said Representative Jones. “The Chamber’s ‘Shop The Readings’ campaign not only will encourage people to shop locally, but also will help attract visitors to Reading and North Reading by highlighting the many independent businesses and natural amenities the two communities have to offer.”
“These important resources will go a long way towards supporting the Chamber and economic recovery,” said Representative Haggerty. “Small businesses were terribly impacted by this pandemic and we must continue to provide tools to communities so they can promote local business and job growth.”
“Giving local businesses the tools and resources they need to succeed will be a crucial element of a strong post-pandemic recovery for our small businesses and local entrepreneurs,” said Senator Lewis. “I’m very pleased that the Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce will receive this state support to encourage residents to shop local and support our small businesses.”
“It is important to remind people when they shop local, they are re-investing dollars back into their hometowns,” remarked Chamber President Josh Harrington. As a local resident and business owner of JH Insurance Group, Harrington continued “we are excited to highlight the many great services, restaurants and retailers found right in North Reading and Reading. Our goal is to bring awareness to the importance of shopping right in town.” The Chamber Board praised the Chamber’s Executive Director, Lisa Egan, for the time, effort and dedication she has shown in helping local businesses, especially over the past year.
The TTR Grant Program provides funding to support marketing projects that will enhance tourism recovery, have the potential to increase visits by non-residents, and support the My Local MA campaign, which was launched in August of 2020 in response to COVID-19’s economic impact on small businesses and communities. A total of nearly $1.6 million in TTR grants were awarded this week to 59 tourism organizations, chambers of commerce, and municipalities.
The TTR Grant Program is open to any public, nonprofit agency, 501(c)3, or 501(c)6 that has been in operation in Massachusetts for at least two consecutive years since January of 2019 and is in good standing with all state taxes, licenses and registrations.
To learn more about the Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce, please visit https://readingnreadingchamber.org/.