The following announcement was provided by the Charles River Regional Chamber:
The Newton-Needham Regional Chamber has changed its name: It’s now the Charles River Regional Chamber.
The rebranding aims to solidify the chamber’s position as the voice for businesses and nonprofits in Greater Boston’s western inner suburbs. The change follows the 106-year-old business association’s recent expansion into Wellesley and previously Watertown.
“We wanted an inclusive name that reflects our mission, our identity, our history and our future,” said Chamber President & CEO Greg Reibman. “We selected the Charles River because the river flows directly through each of the communities we represent: Newton, Needham, Watertown and Wellesley.
“The Charles also connects us to Boston which is the economic engine that drives our overall economy and competitiveness. And the Charles is a barometer of climate change, flooding and other urgent challenges which must be our shared responsibility and integral to all future policies and decisions,” Reibman added.
Linda Sloane Kay, chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, said the Charles River name resonated with the board because of its community connectivity, but also because of its history.
“The Charles is the reason why industries first came to our suburbs. The river powered factories and mills and served as a highway to transport goods. Today, life sciences and technology companies drive our economy, often in some of those same lovingly-restored or replicated brick mill buildings.
“It’s the perfect metaphor for where we’ve come from and where we’re headed,” Kay added.
The Newton-Needham Chamber’s 984 members are now automatically members of the new Charles River Regional Chamber. According to annual ranking just published by the Boston Business Journal, the Newton-Needham Chamber was Massachusetts’ sixth largest chamber last year, up from eighth largest one year earlier.
The rebranding effort includes a new logo, website (www.charlesriverchamber.com) and a video. New “Charles River Regional Chamber Member” window decals are being mailed to all members.
The organization that is now the Charles River Regional Chamber began as the Newton Chamber of Commerce in 1915 and merged with the Needham Chamber of Commerce in 1969. In 2018, the Watertown-Belmont Chamber ceased operations and its board of directors encouraged their members to join the Newton-Needham Chamber. Then on Jan. 1, 2021 the Wellesley Chamber closed and also urged its membership to join Newton-Needham.
“While we’re expanding our regional presence, our commitment to our individual communities doesn’t change,” said Reibman. “Serving as the voice of our businesses and nonprofits inside city hall and town halls — and in our unique downtowns, village centers and commercial districts — will always be a priority.”
Reibman extended his thanks to the many different chamber members who donated their time and talent guiding the rebranding effort, including the marketing team at WS Development which provided name exploration, design of the logo and brand guidelines. Last Minute Productions of Needham created a video announcing the change. Elisif Photography created a robust library of images of the four communities. Attorney Eleanor M. Uddo of Feigenbaum & Uddo assisted with the official name change.
About the Charles River Regional Chamber
The Charles River Regional Chamber (formerly the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) whose mission is to champion our communities’ economic and cultural vitality through education, advocacy and networking.
Our members represent everything from multigenerational family businesses and multinational companies to start-ups, educational institutions and other nonprofits. They’re based in village and town centers, commercial districts, office parks and home offices throughout Newton, Needham, Watertown and Wellesley. They come from other communities too, choosing to belong to this chamber because they see opportunities here.