Sept. 12, 2014 By Christian Murray
Sunnyside shoppers will no longer have to ask for directions—as there will be several maps out there telling them how to find local businesses.
The Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday that it is producing a comprehensive map that will pinpoint the location of every business in the neighborhood. The Chamber anticipates the map will be ready by June 2015 and plans to make it available online—and mobile friendly.
The announcement came at the chamber’s monthly meeting at Ariyoshi Japanese restaurant Wednesday–just weeks before Sunnyside Shines BID unveils its map that will also list many of the same businesses.
Rachel Thieme, the executive director of the BID, was caught by surprise when she heard for the first time—at the meeting– that the chamber was going it alone and doing its own map. She thought that the chamber and the BID were partnering up on the map that is about to be unveiled—where 15,000 copies will be printed and distributed to hotels, real estate offices and other venues.
“This is news to me that the chamber is not partnering with us on the map,” Thieme said at the meeting, adding that she had spoken to Rigo Cardoso, the chamber president, who supported the project. “We need a resolution on this ASAP.”
Thieme said that both organizations logos were going to be on the map—just like last year’s–which was a joint project.
However, Luke Adams, marketing director at the Chamber of Commerce, said at the meeting that the chamber was not happy about the way the BID is soliciting ads that are being incorporated as part of the map.
The one-time ads, which range from $200 to $800, are deemed too expensive, and he didn’t think it was fair that small businesses—many of whom are chamber members– were being asked to pay such prices. Furthermore, he said, the chamber was not aware of the ad rates until some of its members received solicitations.
However, Thieme said that those businesses that are part of the chamber are listed on the map for free—like last year’s version. She said that the ads were just optional and would help cover the cost of printing and distributing the maps.
Nevertheless, the chamber believes that it can create a better map, one that will be digital and include every business in the neighborhood. The chamber has applied for a state grant to go ahead and produce its own.
The chamber’s decision sparked some controversy at the meeting.
Czarinna Andres, who is on the board of both the BID and the chamber, said that she had no idea that the chamber was coming out with its own map. She said that as a chamber board member she should have been made aware of the decision beforehand.
“I should know when these decisions are being made– that is why I am on the board,” Andres said. “That is how organizations are run,” she said, adding that some members who are not on the board are making too many decisions.
Meanwhile, Michael Fonte who is a board member for both organizations, said he too was not aware of the decision to go ahead with the map. He said that there were “too many decisions being made behind the scenes.”
However, Pat Dorfman, a member of the chamber who is actively involved in the creation of the new map, said “we want to support the BID, which is a fine organization.”
“We are not opposed to working with them,” Dorfman said, referring to the landlord-funded organization. However, “the chamber is all about small businesses.”