Flushing Chamber of Commerce set to close

After 80 years of service to the business community, the Flushing Chamber of Commerce and Business Association (FCCBA) announced it would cease all activities and dissolve.

The association’s co-president, Myra Baird Herce, said that the decision was a long time coming as many new business organizations in the downtown Flushing area have emerged in recent years.

“It isn’t like the commercial strip doesn’t have representation in the area, because they do,” said Herce. “It’s the end of an era for this group, but it was time to move on.”

Since 1932, the Chamber has participated in many major projects affecting Flushing, including the restoration of RKO Keith’s on Main Street, the re-purposing of Municipal Parking Lot No. 1, as well as the development of Willets Point. Herce believes that area is very well represented and she is hopeful that these projects will eventually materialize.

Other business organizations in the area include the Flushing Business Improvement District, Korean American Small Business Service Center of New York, Flushing Chinese Business Association, Taiwan Merchants Association, One Flushing and the Flushing Development Center.

Herce sees the plethora of Flushing business advocates as a major asset to the community and she is positive a bright future waits for the area. She called Flushing a “boom town with a rich entrepreneurial spirit,” and she is positive it will thrive.

Before joining the FCCBA more than 20 years ago, Herce was the director of the Downtown Flushing Development Corporation, which encouraged businesses to come to Flushing and set up shop.

After a number of years serving as co-president with Richard Gelman, who moved out of state, and Jack Hogan, who passed away, Herce became the lone voice of the Chamber. And while she relished the opportunity to represent businesses, a point came when she knew it was time to move on.

“We are not unhappy,” she said. “We’ve seen Flushing grow and we know it is still growing.”

While she is proud of what the Chamber was able to accomplish during its run, she said that the system’s slow nature sometimes hampered progress. However, she thinks projects like Willets Point will eventually come to a completion because the power of jobs is too much to deny.

“The developments coming down the road are major opportunities for Flushing,” she said. “We need to get the shovel in the ground and get going. It’s time to shake the money tree.”