Before I share my vision for 2014, I would like to personally thank my predecessor, Jon Fey, a devoted business leader who has given tirelessly to Berwyn. During his tenure as president of the Berwyn Development Corporation, we saw Berwyn recognized regionally and nationally for its coordinated business development and retention activities. One can also look at the burgeoning dining and entertainment venues on Roosevelt and the continued development of the Gateway Plaza on the west end of Cermak Road as a true testament to Jon’s dedication to Berwyn.
Moving into 2014, the BDC will give its highest priority to economic development. To assist in attracting and retaining businesses and home buyers to Berwyn, I have asked two individuals to bring their expertise to the Economic Development and Chamber Services teams. John Aranza, of Horrorbles and Autre Monde Café & Spirits, will serve as vice president of Economic Development, and Berwyn resident Jousef Mondragon, will serve as vice president of Chamber Services. Now, for the first time, all BDC commissions, led by members of our board, will have direct representation at the executive level. This, in conjunction with the award winning BDC staff, will see Berwyn poised to have a phenomenal year.
I’m proud of the BDC’s innovative array of resources available to Berwyn businesses, including programs designed to help develop and promote their products and services. Understanding the importance of access to capital, we recently introduced micro-lending to our commercial lending program.
We’ll continue to examine all business corridors and how to best serve each, in order to create a better experience for those who live, work and shop in Berwyn. To this point, a recently completed comprehensive corridor analysis provided tremendous insight into business needs, concerns and development opportunities. This critical information was used in a recent joint strategic planning session with the mayor, aldermen and the BDC Board of Directors.
Now, I ask all of Berwyn, with its unique and diverse populations, to join the BDC in this renaissance, and show the rest of the region that Berwyn is truly a destination for one and all.
Mal Montoya is president of the Berwyn Development Corporation