Revere Chamber of Commerce History 1915-Present

The Revere Chamber of Commerce was born out of the Revere Board of Trade which was organized in 1910.  It became the Revere Chamber of Commerce in 1915 and continued under its original charter until 1971.  Alfred S. Hall was the first president and Colin F. Chisolm served as Executive Secretary for over 30 years.

First Slogan: “See the Sea”

See the Sea” was the first slogan of the Board of Trade that resulted in attracting people from allover the eastern United States to Revere. The slogan was changed in 1941 to “Build Up Revere.”

The last presidents under that charter were Joseph A. Festa, Sr. of J. Festa Construction Company, and David Selya, former owner of the site that is now home to the Citizens Bank Building on Broadway.

Decades of Service

Since its inception, the Revere Chamber of Commerce has promoted the growth and development of Revere.  Throughout the years, the Chamber has devoted itself to the promotion, stimulation, and expansion of business and industry.  The Chamber also frequently partifcipates and provides leadership for projects intended to effect civic improvement and enhance the social well-being of the community.

In 1920, the Revere Chamber was praised by mayor Walsworth for its good work at a hearing that led to Boston’s elevated service (known today as the MBTA Blue Line) being extended into Revere.  The Chamber also recommended increased pay for local teachers.

In 1930, the Revere Chamber conducted an Industrial Exhibition at City Hall.  At the time, this event was considered the biggest venture ever undertaken in Revere.  The Chamber also promoted Excursions to Revere Beach from Try, NY; Portland, ME; White River Junction, VT; and Manchester and Nashua, NH, along with many other eastern towns.  In 1931, the Revere Chamber held a huge Charity Ball.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Revere Chamber of Commerce awarded prizes for the most attractively illuminated homes and businesses.  It supported street widening projects, light improvements, bridge projects, and held carnivals.

The last presidents under that charter were Joseph A. Festa, Sr. of J. Festa Construction Company, and David Selya, former owner of the site that is now home to the Citizens Bank Building on Broadway.

Joseph A. Festa, Sr. 1961-1966

Mr. Festa had a vision for Revere’s Broadway business district to stay vibrant and continue to prosper.  Keeping an eye toward customer convenience and accommodation, Mr. Festa advocated for expanded parking, imagining the length of Broadway’s storefronts to have adjacent parking lots positioned behind them.  While this dream never came to fruition, Mr. Festa was successful in advancing the creation of Revere’s present-day Municipal Parking Lot.

Continuing through into the late sixties, the Chamber maintained its dedication to aid commerce and progress within Revere.  With the help and vision of David Selya, local optometrist Dr. Arnold Buonfiglio, and Bob Frasier who was manager of Shawmut Bank on Broadway, the Chamber initiated an annual clean-up campaign, held Arbor Day exercises, and produced “Welcome to Revere” Chamber signs.  The Chamber also hosted meetings to discuss a citywide anniversary celebration, commemorating the City’s 50th Anniversary.  Additionally, the Chamber organized informational sessions involving an urban renewal proposal for Revere Beach.  The proposal, authored by Jerome Rappaport who designed the massive overhaul of Boston’s West End, required the taking of 250 residential properties around the Shirley Avenue neighborhood.  This project never came to be.

Then in 1972, because of a lack of succession, the Chamber experienced a lapse that lasted eight years.

The Chamber’s Revival

In early 1978, a meeting took place in the old General Edwards Inn on Revere Beach.  Present at the meeting were four businessmen who would later become “founders’” of the new Revere Chamber of Commerce.  Those men were: Richard P. Dalton of Wonderland Greyhound Park; Robert J. Haas, Jr. of Haas Business Forms; John A. McCarthy of McCarthy Dairy; and Richard Powers, editor of The Revere Journal.  Dick Dalton served as the first president, with John McCarthy as the first vice president, and Dick Powers as first secretary.  Bob Haas would soon become the City’s mayor.

The Chamber “Wave”

In 1979, the Chamber held a citywide contest to develop a logo.  From hundreds of entries, the Revere public school system’s Art Department, acting as contest judges, chose a clever “wave” design that hinted at the city’s long history of Revere Beach while subtly incorporating the letters R-C-C.  That design, created by a young Revere High School student named Michael Mazzarella, has served as the Chamber’s logo ever since.

Richard P. Dalton 1979-1980

Dick Dalton was the first president of the Chamber when it was reorganized in 1979.  One of the prominent decisions made in these early days was to incorporate into the by-laws that no elected official or candidate for public office could serve on the Chamber’s Board of Directors.  This early decision to divorce itself from politics has allowed the Chamber to enjoy a meaningful relationship with elected officials while remaining objective as it strives to identify and represent the needs of the business community.  It was during this first year, the Chamber held a citywide contest to develop a logo.  The Chamber’s kept this logo ever since.

John A. McCarthy 1981-1982

Under the leadership of Mr. McCarthy of McCarthy Dairy, the Chamber supported Revere’s economic growth and revitalization efforts by endorsing the designation of the Washington Avenue/Squire Road section of the City as a Commercial Area Revitalization District.  This advancement allowed Redstone Theatres to reconstruct what was the Revere Drive-In into a $3 million cinema complex that has continued to grow into what today is the 20-screen theatre known as Showcase Cinemas Revere.

Barbara B. Tufts 1983-1984

As the Chamber’s first woman president, Ms. Tufts, representing Revere Federal Savings Bank, worked to grow the Chamber’s membership and increase the Chamber’s visibility within the community.  She was instrumental in engaging the interest of prominent business men and women, encouraging them to join the Chamber’s Board of Directors.  This infused the Revere Chamber of Commerce with credibility and a certain level of respect, paving the way for exceptional growth in the coming years. Maurene Stepp Campbell was the Executive Director from 1984 until 1991.

Bill Ferrullo 1985

Mr. Ferrullo, proprietor of Modern Day Plumbing, continued to grow the membership at a brisk clip throughout his time as president.  His commanding presence and position within the community assured outstanding attendance at all of the Chamber’s functions and events.  During his tenure, the Chamber partnered with United Chamber Insured Plans to provide small businesses access to group health insurance rates.  Under Mr. Ferrullo’s leadership, the Chamber launched its annual Golf Tournament, which remains a highly anticipated annual event within the community and serves as the longest standing fundraiser for the Chamber.

Angelo “Sonny” Todisco 1986

todiscoBy now, the Chamber was starting to grow in leaps and bounds and had to purchase its first computer.  The Chamber began distributing a newsletter to over 500 businesses and launched the Membership Courtesy Card program, which encouraged members to offer each other special discounts for products and services.  Under Mr. Todisco’s leadership, the Chamber improved downtown parking by supporting better access to the Municipal Parking lot on Sprague Street.

Jay Battista 1987-1988

batistaDuring these years, the Chamber’s popularity within the community was evident as annual functions like the Installation of Officers & Directors and Pots of Gold drew crowds of over 200.  The Pot of Gold was especially lucrative, bringing in profits of between $8000 and $9000.  It was during Mr. Battista’s tenure that the Chamber held its first Business-to-Business Exposition.  The event, held at the Wonderland Ballroom, was sold out and attracted huge crowds of spectators and vendors.  Also, around this time, the Chamber produced a 32-page booklet about Revere.  With a full-color photo collage on the cover, the booklet included extensive information about the history, landmarks, culture, community development and health services in Revere.

James A. Dixon 1989

Around this time, the Chamber realized its dream of having a storefront on Broadway.  The office was located at 319 Broadway next to the Revere Animal Clinic.  This new centralized location gave the Chamber the accessibility it needed to better serve its members and the community.  During Mr. Dixon’s presidency, the Chamber produced its first membership directory and printed 15,000 copies.  Additionally, the Chamber established the Holiday Ad Program in partnership with The Revere Journal.  The Chamber would run two full pages with holiday greetings from the Chamber on five different holidays throughout the year.  Members could purchase business-card size ads to run on these pages.

Stephen Reardon 1990-1991

reardonDuring the early nineties, the Chamber experienced some difficult times, owing in part to the general outlook of the struggling economy.  In spite of this and to Mr. Reardon’s credit, the Chamber was able to continue with a successful Golf Tournament and with the help of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, was able to run one last successful Pot of Gold.  Additionally, the Chamber and its board contributed significantly to advance the Revere Santa Fund, a charity gift-giving endeavor that anonymously delivered Christmas gifts to needy families in the community.  The Chamber continued providing traditional benefits to its members, but numbers began to wane.

Salvatore J. Gesamondo 1992-1993

GesamondoWith budgetary constraints becoming a burden, the Chamber began to feel some relief when Sal Gesamondo moved the office from its storefront at 319 Broadway to an upstairs office further down Broadway at number 655.  Office hours were tapered, with office presence reduced to volunteers filling gaps when the Chamber lacked regular, hired staff.  As a creative alternative to the previous Pot of Gold fundraiser, Mr. Gesamondo directed the Chamber in the production of a series of eight “Fight Nights,” featuring professional boxers.  The events were open to the public and held at the Beachmont VFW.

Charles H. Anderson 1994

AndersonCharlie Anderson, representing The Revere Journal, stepped up to the plate in 1994 to take charge as president of the Revere Chamber of Commerce.  Considering he had only a couple of years experience as a Director on the Board, Mr. Anderson did a pretty good job.  With an interest in Economic Development, he coordinated a breakfast that featured Mitt Romney, then candidate for state senator, to speak at a Chamber Business Breakfast.  Boston television stations 4, 5 and 7 covered the event.  Under Mr. Anderson’s direction, the Chamber also hosted a family event, “Barney the Purple Dinosaur.”  The event was held in the Revere High School Auditorium and attracted a full house of parents and youngsters.  The Chamber’s community vibe was starting to improve.

Daniel Rizzo, Jr. 1995-1996

rizzoUnder Danny’s direction, the Chamber upgraded its office equipment, including computer software and hardware, and the Chamber office found a bright new home on Revere Street.  In an effort to increase communication and camaraderie among members, Mr. Rizzo revised the Chamber’s newsletter to a friendlier, more timely and informative format with a change in distribution from quarterly to monthly.  During these years, the Chamber also held well-attended social events, like “Revere Goes Country” and “A Day at the State House” with guided tours from Representative William G. Reinstein.  The Chamber also continued with annual events such as the Multi-Chamber Business Card Exchange, Annual Golf Tournament, Town Meeting, and Health Insurance Open Enrollment. Laurie Leone was Executive Director from July 1996 until the end of November 2000.

John J. Verrengia 1997-2000

verrengia

Surrounding himself with dedicated people to serve on the board, Mr. Verrengia led the Chamber in hosting what became a four-year stretch of new events like the Business Expo and the Quarterly Business Breakfast Speaker Series.  In 1998, the Chamber launched its first website as a part of Revere Beach.com, moving it later to www.reverechamber.org, where it remains online today.  During this time, the Chamber also participated in the Economic Development Summit for Revere’s Future.  The summit was sponsored by the City of Revere, the Revere Partnership for Economic Development, the Revere Chamber of Commerce and The Revere Journal.  Additionally, recognizing the potential expense for small and large businesses, the Chamber took a stand against changing Revere’s area code.  The Chamber also publicly opposed a garbage transfer station for Revere and closely monitored discussions for extending the MBTA Blue Line and expanding gaming in Massachusetts.

Michael P. Doody 2001

 

doodyWith four years of experience as the Chamber’s treasurer behind him, Mr. Doody, representing Revere Federal Savings Bank then DanversBank, moved into the president’s seat in January of 2001.  The Chamber Office, at this time located in a storefront on Winthrop Avenue near the corner of Broadway, enjoyed more visibility and became more accessible to Chamber members and to the community as a whole.  Chamber events like the Golf Tournament were community mainstays, selling out year after year and providing the Chamber with a steady stream of revenue.  Because of Mike’s ceaseless passion for membership recruitment, the Chamber’s numbers climbed, but never broke 300.  Mike continued as chairman of the Chamber’s Golf Committee until 2006. Janice Corkhum was Administrative Director 2001 to 2003.

Patricia A. Pace 2002

paceMs. Pace was involved with the Chamber for nearly a decade and served as secretary and vice president before becoming the second woman ever to advance as president of Revere Chamber of Commerce.  Representing DanversBank, Ms. Pace’s strong connection to Revere’s business community was evident as she worked to foster goodwill among the Chamber’s members.  During her tenure, the Chamber reinstituted its Member Appreciation program that identified and honored individual businesses for their commitment to the community and long-standing loyalty to the Chamber.  Today, area businesses continue to proudly display Revere Chamber Appreciation plaques and certificates in their places of business.  Additionally, under Patty’s direction, the Chamber organized a candy and flower gift-giving program for local seniors, sponsored by area businesses and politicians.

Albert J. Terminiello, Jr. 2003-2004

terminalloMr. Terminiello, representing the Independent Newspaper Group, set immediately to restore traditional Chamber events like the Pot of Gold and Mother’s Day Brunch.  These events brought in extra funds which allowed the Chamber to design, craft and install the eight foot “Welcome to Revere” sign which stands at Brown Circle today.  Al’s energy and enthusiasm appeared contagious as former members rejoined the Chamber and City Councilors renewed their support.  Kathy Magno was Administrative Director from 2003 to 2004.

Mr. Terminiello returned to the board in 2008 through 2010, bringing the same creative commitment he showed when he was President.  During these later years,  Al served on the Chamber’s Government Affairs committee, representing the business-interst public before the City Council.  As chairman of the Special Events Committee in 2009, he spearheaded the Texas Hold’em, served as the Chamber’s volunteer photographer and helped the Chamber nurture strong ties within the community and among other organizations.  In December 2010, Al successfully persuaded Revere’s City Council to prioritze funds to refurbish the Chamber’s “Welcome To Revere Sign” that had previously suffered damage during escavation work at Brown Circle.  Revere Beautification Committee deserves thanks for this endeavor as well.  

Bob Silverman 2004-2005

Mr. Silverman began his presidency with the motto, “Let’s Get Down to Business” and vowed to have a stronger relationship with city government.  Starting with plans to launch a membership drive, strengthen the business breakfast speaker agenda and improve Chamber influence on business related issues, Bob envisioned the Chamber as a “point organization” for all business happenings in Revere.  The annual Golf Tournament continued to flourish as did newer events like the Chamber’s Holiday Party.  But at this time, a troubling problem with officer succession emerged. Nancy Sherry was Administrative Director from 2004 to mid-2007.

John J. Verrengia 2006-2007

Recognizing the Chamber’s need for continued leadership, Mr. Verrengia stepped forward and resumed the position of president.  He worked diligently with board members to review the by-laws, reinstitute project committees and devise a working calendar of events. Throughout the years, John continually proves his sincere commitment to Revere Chamber of Commerce and remains a genuine link to the Chamber’s evolving history, accomplishments and steadfast mission to represent, promote and serve Revere’s business community with integrity.

Jeffrey M. Howe 2007-2009

Jeffrey M. HoweDuring these years, interest in Chamber events climbed. This was in part to Mr. Howe’s prominent presence in Revere’s business community as Vice President and Branch Manager of Citizens Bank in the heart of Broadway.  Along with the return of Laurie Leone as Executive Director, Jeff and the Chamber’s board embarked on a rejuvenation of the Chamber office, installing new software, acquiring new office furniture, and designing a new full-color newsletter. The outstanding efforts of the Revere Chamber of Commerce included promoting the Chamber’s signature initiative “Spend Locally SHOP REVERE” to aid the local economy, supporting member business endeavors like permitting outdoor seating for Antonia’s Restaurant on Revere Beach, recognizing member milestones like 35th anniversaries for Maggio’s Restaurant and Peter Lattanzi Insurance Agency, and helping to celebrate Lighthouse Nursing Care’s statewide recognition as #1 in the state.  In 2009, with Jeff’s direction and support from the board of directors, the Chamber fought and won the fight against proposed increases to Boston Harbor Tunnel tolls and delayed Revere’s adoption of the new local option meals tax.  The Chamber felt this tax unfairly burdened the restaurant industry.

During Jeff’s tenure, the Chamber and its board were optimistic and cheerfully worked together on projects they hoped would improve the Chamber’s financial standing and raise its social capital.  In 2009, the Chamber celebrated the 30th anniversary of its reorganization by sponsoring a four-page spread in The Revere Journal featuring congratulatory ads from  its members and friends.  Thanks to the newspaper’s generosity in donating the space, the Chamber raised $3,000 from this initiative.  The annual Multi-Chamber Business Card Exchange held at Showcase Cinemas Revere continued to draw 120 or so businesspeople from Revere and nearby communities.  Business breakfasts were very popular with regular attendance of 70+.  Among the featured presenters were Mayor Thomas Ambrosino, representatives from MassHighway, Speaker of the House Bob DeLeo and Chip Tuttle, COO of Suffolk Downs.  In 2009, with Jeff’s perseverance, the board’s commitment and the generosity of new board member Howard Cook, owner of Sound & Vision Media, the Chamber launched a brand new, fully loaded website.  The Chamber also held two golf tournaments, a Meet & Greet Honoring Past Presidents, two speed networking events, and the first ever Chamber Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament at Suffolk Downs.

Lauragale D’Amico President 2010-2011

We look forward to bright years ahead.