Dunning Chamber of Commerce forms in west Portage Park area



A new Dunning Chamber of Commerce is focusing on serving businesses that are located west of Austin Avenue in the Portage Park area.

“We have a lot of small, independent shops,” chamber volunteer and business development coordinator Jason Quaglia said. Mortgage broker Teresa Giannini and real estate agent Rose Dante were the chamber’s founding members.

The chamber’s goals include attracting new businesses to the area and providing information to merchants on topics such as marketing, customer service and business licensing, Quaglia said. The chamber plans to promote small-business workshops that the city Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection holds for free.

The chamber also is working to raise funds to pay for its incorporation and registration as a nonprofit group, Quaglia said.

The approximate boundaries of the chamber’s service area are Austin on the east, Cumberland Avenue on the west, Belmont Avenue on the south and Montrose Avenue/Forest Preserve Drive on the north. There are about 500 businesses licenses registered with the city in that area, Quaglia said.

A portion of the chamber’s service area overlaps with the far west end of the Portage Park Chamber of Commerce’s service area, but the Portage Chamber has not objected to the formation of the new chamber, Quaglia said.

In addition, the Irving-Austin Business District business group formed a couple of years ago and has sponsored community events at the intersection of Irving Park Road and Austin Avenue, and some of the merchants there have been working with the Dunning Chamber, Quaglia said.

About a month ago the Dunning chamber produced fliers which contained a list of holiday events and ads from local businesses. Alderman Nicholas Sposato (38th) donated the printing of the fliers, and volunteers delivered them to homes.

The chamber also has distributed “Dunning Community Watch” fliers to inform residents about crime trends in the area. Businesses and residents hope to create a “phone tree” to facilitate the spread of crime alerts, Quaglia said.

The chamber and the Dunning Neighborhood Organization will hold a board game night from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, at Momma J’s Kitchen, 7551-53 W. Addison St. Child care services will be available.