The strength of the West Town Chamber comes from its members and the community at-large. As a part of the Chamber, you will be a valuable part of the 300+ businesses that make our neighborhood so unique and welcoming. As the voice of the business community, the West Town Chamber works with its members to accomplish what no person or single business can do alone. Become connected and engaged with the West Town business community by becoming a member today!
By becoming a Member of the Chamber, you’re able to interact with a unique and welcoming collective of neighborhood businesses.
Capacity to build your network through Chamber-hosted events and industry cohorts
Invitations to participate in Chamber-sponsored events
Opportunity to host educational events or happy hours to introduce your business
Weigh in on new and ongoing advocacy efforts
Voting privileges on neighborhood issues, for Members within our Service Area
Chamber membership means you are a part of a collective of businesses working together to promote West Town as a vibrant place to explore for residents and visitors alike.
Member-maintained listing on our online business directory
Inclusion in relevant West Town community guides (digital and print)
Proud Chamber Member digital and window decal
Monthly Chamber Member Newsletter, including technical resources, access to capital resources, Chamber-hosted events, and small business opportunities
Area-wide marketing opportunities:
Tertiary PR/Marketing representation through the Chamber’s contracted agency, Six4 Creative.
Inclusion in @westtownchicago social media and newsletter content via response to Calls for Content/Info.
50% discounts on street-pole banners within the West Town Special Service Area
Reduced Member rates at West Town festivals for Members located within our Service Area
Our team is here to support your business at all stages of development
Personal referrals and introductions to local experts and other Members
Opportunities to sponsor additional Chamber activities
Access to commercial real estate database and neighborhood demographic information
A large array of business services (link) through our status as a Neighborhood Business Development Center
Community Partner (+$150)
Community Partner’s receive all of the benefits of Core membership, as well as:
Listing and link in the Chamber's monthly Member newsletter
Logo and link as "Community Sponsor" on Chamber’s website
Access to the Chamber Member mailing list (does not include email addresses)
Community Champion (+$500)
Community Champions receive all of the benefits of Core membership, Community Partner, and:
Specialty icon highlighted in Discover West Town community map
Business name/logo inclusion on one street pole banner within SSA 29
Business name/logo inclusion on website sponsor page of one Chamber organized event or festival per year
Resident members are West Town advocates. They are small business lovers who want to be first in the know with everything happening in the neighborhood.
Invitations to Chamber events
Access to Monthly Chamber Member Newsletter
First invite to volunteer opportunities
Note: Resident Membership availability is limited to no more than 10% of the overall Chamber Membership base.
More About Membership
West Town Chamber of Commerce Service Area
The Chamber’s official service area is Division Street to Hubbard, Halsted Street to Kedzie Avenue. Dues-paying business members within that service area are eligible to vote on neighborhood issues, Chamber committees, and Board elections. Business members located outside of the Chamber service area receive all of the same perks of membership except the right to vote.
What Does the West Town Chamber Do for Local Businesses?
Neighborhood Business Development Center (NBDC) Services
The WTCC is a Neighborhood Business Development Center (NBDC) with an annual grant and work plan from the City of Chicago. The Chamber works with the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) to provide small business support services, technical assistance, referrals, and more. The Chamber's NBDC business support services are available to entrepreneurs and small business owners as they start-up and grow. Click here for more information on the NBDC program.
The WTCC as an NBDC assists Chamber members to navigate City licensing and permitting requirements, provides zoning information, public way use and signage permit resources, and referrals for access to capital. The WTCC may serve as a liaison between a member business and the proper City department or official.
The Chamber keeps business resource information such as contacts for the City and State, community demographics, financial resources, and a list of commercial spaces available in West Town on this website in an effort to retain existing businesses and recruit new businesses to move to West Town Chicago. The Chamber also summarizes all resources relating to COVID including the latest restrictions, and funding and relief opportunities.
Opportunity for Involvement
The WTCC involves the local business members and holds regular Board and Committee meetings to assess the needs of the business community and create programs, events, stance letters, and initiatives with the direction of the local business community. All Chamber programs are initiated and steered by local business representative volunteers.
Networking & Educational Opportunities
The WTCC holds a variety of networking events and informational seminars throughout the year connecting members with local experts in various fields with topics including: business licensing and zoning information, financial resources and management, technology and marketing strategies, legal and accounting counsel, employer and hiring resources, and most recently, strategies and programs to recover from the economic strain of COVID. Topics, days, times, and locations vary. The meetings are geared to assist local businesses to succeed through lead generation, education, and contact and technical resource sharing. Free City resources, programs, and classes offered by the City’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) are shared in the WTCC monthly Chamber Member E-Newsletters.
The WTCC releases two monthly newsletters: the "What's Happening in West Town" newsletter is a promotional summary of neighborhood happenings and business events, and the other newsletter is for Chamber Members announcing Chamber meetings and programs.
Advocacy & Safety
The Chamber is a voice for the local business community representing the WTCC Members' stance on issues relating to commerce, zoning, licensing, safety, and commercial development to City and State officials. The WTCC has a Commercial Development Committee which reviews proposals for new developments and zoning changes in the district, then presents recommendations to the Board of Directors who vote to write stance letters to the appropriate local Aldermen and City departments. The Chamber works closely with local Aldermanic offices to seek support for economic development activities.The Chamber also has a Safety Committee that plans bi-yearly Safety Tips for Businesses meetings and connects with local 12th District Police business district liaisons to share safety tips and news.
Social Media, Marketing, and Public Relations
The Chamber operates @WestTownChicago and many of the individual Chamber produced special events are also on Facebook and Twitter: @DoDivisionStreetFest, @WestFestChicago, @DancingInTheStreetsChicago @WestTownArtWalk. Chamber Member business events, specials, local news, plus details on Chamber meetings and special events are shared via social media outlets.
WTCC works with a professional PR firm to secure publicity for the member businesses and Chamber special events in local, national, and international publications; and on radio and television. The PR firm manages the West Town Facebook and Twitter accounts and promotes local business specials, news, and happenings. Members submit their happenings through a monthly call for information and member events and promotions are featured in the "What's Happening In West Town" newsletter and on @WestTownChicago social channels.The Chamber has a "Members Only Facebook group" and shares timely information to members via social media.
Public Art & Beautification Programs
As the service provider for the West Town SSA, the Chamber manages the decorative street pole banner program which identifies and brands the area, and installs annual holiday decorations. The SSA funds and the WTCC manages a street maintenance crew that picks up garbage, takes down posters, and reports graffiti 3-5 days a week (above and beyond what the city provides). The SSA also funds power washing of sidewalks, landscaping of public areas, snow removal on sidewalks, and coordinates a robust public art program.
SSA Rebate Programs & Grants
The West Town SSA maintains multiple rebate grants, including Facade, Graffiti Abatement, Security, Public Art, and Website & Online Marketplace Upgrade grants. These grants fund a variety of property and business support programs. The Chamber offers a streamlined process with no application fee and the applications are available online here. Properties must be located in West Town SSA boundaries to qualify.
The WTCC has a Commercial Development Committee which reviews proposals for new developments and zoning changes in the district, then presents recommendations to the Board of Directors whom vote to write stance letters to the appropriate local Aldermen and City departments. Chamber members located in the service area can serve on the Committee and review local matters to make recommendations to the WTCC Board. Available commercial spaces are listed on the Chamber's website to encourage new businesses to move in to the West Town area. All of the chamber programs and policies are geared to promote positive economic and commercial development.
The West Town SSA Commission, WTCC Board of Directors, and a panel of community stakeholders, created the We Are West Town: 5 Year Master Plan to aid the entire community in district planning. It includes a "What We Can Do" section, which are the different areas the Chamber can work on supporting development in the district, a "What You Can Do" section, so residents, business owners, and property owners know how to get involved, and a "What They Can Do" section to suggest and encourage the City and City officials to support certain local programming.
The Chamber collaborates and works with neighboring business associations such as the Wicker Park & Bucktown Chamber of Commerce (WPBCC) and the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago (ICNC). The Chamber offers a 50% discount on dues to businesses that are also members of a neighboring organization. The WTCC also works with other local non-profits, schools, community and park groups to promote programs and provide opportunities for collaborations and fundraising.
Special Events & Fundraisers
The WTCC produces a number of fundraisers and special events in house throughout the year to promote the West Town commercial districts, to foster economic development, and provide area wide marketing. Funds raised at these events supplement the Chamber’s operating budget, fund Chamber programs and services, and proceeds also benefit local schools, parks, and other local non-profits.
The Chamber supports the local community and donates proceeds from special events when possible to partnering local schools and other local non-profits. In 2022 the WTCC donated over $64,000 generated by street festival fundraisers to local non-profits and school PTOs.
West Town Pop Up Project
The WTCC created the West Town Pop Up Project in order to provide an accessible way for businesses to explore the market of physical retail before making a large investment in a permanent retail storefront. Access to a short-term temporary retail space allows brands, products, makers, artists, and home-based businesses and entrepreneurs the ability to meet their current customers and gain new ones. The mission of the Pop Up Project is to provide lessees with short term access to a physical retail storefront space in order to experience the West Town Chicago marketplace, while also encouraging retail business development along the West Town Chicago commercial corridors.