By Alex Robinson
The Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce has been resurrected two years after it closed its doors.
Community leaders have launched the new chamber to serve the neighborhood’s dynamic business community, replacing the old institution, which petered out in 2012 after gradually losing prominence.
“We’re going to be focusing on economic support for all the small businesses that have been here for many years as well as new entrepreneurs that want to start a business and need to connect with the appropriate partners in the business community,” said John Choe, the chamber’s new executive director.
The chamber aims to stretch across the neighborhood’s diverse makeup and will serve as an umbrella organization for the entire Flushing business community, which was previously served by several associations that only represented specific areas or ethnic groups.
The new chamber has been in the works since 2012, when a number of business leaders from the neighborhood set up an exploratory committee to discuss the idea.
“There was consensus that there should be a chamber that plays the role of helping business people integrate into the local community,” Choe said. “This is especially important in Flushing where there are so many immigrant entrepreneurs who need that kind of help.”
Choe credited a coalition of business leaders in the community, such as Peter Tu, the executive director of the Flushing Chinese Business Association, with helping to get the chamber off the ground.
Choe formerly served as the president of One Flushing, a community-based economic development center, which seeks to build multi ethnic coalitions and empower small business owners, a mission he hopes to continue in his new venture.
“My work in the past three years has been to serve all different ethnic groups in Flushing and that’s going to be the focus of the new chamber,” he said. “We’re going to develop a new network of businesses and entrepreneurs across different ethnic and racial backgrounds.”
Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 260–4566.