Booster

EC vs. chamber

Two groups 'join hands,' make nice after spat

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Experience Clintonville and the Clintonville Area Chamber of Commerce have buried the hatchet.

Just where that hatchet might have been buried was unclear this past summer when one of the founding partners of the neighborhood-promoting nonprofit accused the chamber's president of calling the effort "silly," while the other said he was ousted from the chamber board for asking "tough questions" about the organization's finances.

Chamber President Jenny Smith denied saying any such thing to Anand Saha, and then-board President Gary Weaver declined to comment on Jason Janoski's departure.

Now, Saha said, everyone's made nice.

"I'm pleased to inform you that a very productive meeting (took place) between the Clintonville Chamber of Commerce and Experience Clintonville," he wrote in an email.

In a prepared statement, Saha added, "A strong chamber is vital to the community and Experience Clintonville is excited to help support their initiatives."

"Both groups agree that future collaboration will help promote Clintonville as a premier location here in central Ohio."

"Experience Clintonville is dedicated to the marketing and promotion of all things Clintonville and we are not looking to being a membership-driven organization," Jonathan Barth, a member of Experience Clintonville's newly created board, said in the statement.

In a telephone interview, Saha said he decided to tell the chamber's board members and Smith that he was sorry for the statements he made in August.

"If I have to call first and apologize first, I am not ashamed of it," he said. "It takes guts for a man to say 'I'm sorry,' and I did that. I don't want to get into the who did what and why did this happen. It was a miscommunication."

Reached via telephone, Smith said the chamber board required any questions regarding the relationship with Experience Clintonville to be submitted via email.

The response was provided by board Chairman Steven M. Devlin:

"The chamber agrees that Anand Saha has apologized for the comments made this past summer, and we have accepted his apology. Mr. Saha reached out to us and asked to have a meeting to discuss how Experience Clintonville and the chamber could possibly work together in future local event planning.

"Moving forward, it is our understanding that Experience Clintonville will promote the chamber like any other community organization and the chamber will continue to support Experience Clintonville as we do all of our members."

"For me, this is the way that neighborhoods are supposed to work," Saha said. "If we market Clintonville, more businesses come to Clintonville. If they come to Clintonville, the chamber gains because they will grow."

During the meeting with the board, Saha said all parties realized no competition existed between the two organizations.

"The solution was pretty simple: Join hands and move forward," he said.

"It should be all about Clintonville," Experience Clintonville board member Jennifer Williams said.

The owner and proprietor of Weiland's Gourmet Market said she was happy to accept the invitation to join the Experience Clintonville board as "ambassador."

"I grew up in Clintonville," Williams said. "Clintonville has so many great things going for it. It's a great neighborhood, but like a lot of things, people don't recognize the great things around them. I think it's kind of a reminder to residents this is a great neighborhood you live in, and then reaching out to others.

"I think the relationship with the chamber is important because we all need to be working in the same direction."

Saha, owner of Mozart's Bakery and Piano Cafe as well as Vienna Ice Cafe, is president of the board. Olivera Bratich, owner of Wholly Craft, is vice president, while Barth, who owns Clintonville Outfitters, is secretary. Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center Executive Director Bill Owens is treasurer.

 

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