WILLIAMSTOWN -- It's been 12 months of changes at the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce as Executive Director Jennifer Civello completed her first year.
The North Adams resident assumed Judy Giamborino's position in August 2012 and previously worked as an adjunct professor of sociology and psychology at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
"The most challenging part from the past year will be the same for years to come," she told the Transcript. "I think that will be getting people used to change ... the notion that changes are always going to be happening."
The chamber has worked with Williams College, the Williams College Museum of Art, the Williamstown Theater Festival, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, and Mass MoCA to create a new tourist information booth next to Tunnel City Coffee, she said.
"We collaborated so we could have it open for the summer and have it staffed for a majority of the time," Civello said.
Volunteers logged more than 800 one-on-one contacts with visitors between July 3 and Aug. 21, Civello said.
"People are so grateful for any information you can give them," she said. She added the chamber is currently looking for more volunteers for the booth from now until Columbus Day on Oct. 14.
The chamber has increased communication to members through weekly e-blasts and regular postings on Facebook, she said, and a new website scheduled to launch later this month will be more user friendly and formatted for mobile devices.
"Hotel managers have told us people are putting in reviews for their stay as they're driving out of the driveway," she said.
Civello said she's seen successful partnerships form between chamber members this year. The human service agency Berkshire Family and Individual Resources (BFAIR) partnered with Water Street restaurant Hops & Vines to hold its annual closing event, she said. In addition, Burnham Gold Real Estate has agreed to host a Goodwill of the Berkshire's donation truck twice a month.
The chamber now has 136 members -- a mix of nonprofits and businesses in Williamstown, North Adams, Hancock and Pittsfield, Civello said. The organization had 117 at its annual meeting in November.
Civello said Williamstown is entering an interesting phase -- a new Dollar General is scheduled to open this fall as many residents and officials are talking about affordable housing. Residents are also concerned about the changing landscape of Spring Street -- the Williams Newsroom closed this spring after 120 years of existence.
"I think the chamber ... can be a conduit to help disseminate information from all sides and host discussions on those kind of things, but certainly not take a stand one way or the other," Civello said.
For more information on the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce, visit www.williamstownchamber.com, or call 413-458-9077.
To reach Edward Damon,