135 years of Advocacy, Progress, and Innovation
Greater Rochester Chamber has evolved with the times, but our focus has remained the same, tied directly to the mission of those who founded this organization – be a voice for businesses in this region and help them to thrive.
Learn more about some of our key organizational milestones below.
Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce launches a new brand identity, website, and member relationship management platform to better serve their members, potential members, and community.
Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce earns 5-Star Accreditation from the United States Chamber of Commerce. The top designation recognizes sound policies, effective organizational procedures, and positive impact on the community.
Rochester Chamber releases a brag book, "We #ROC: 100 Reasons to Love the Rochester/Finger Lakes Region"
Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce hosts a 130th anniversary celebration at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. More than 500 people attended and heard remarks from Rochester Chamber CEO Bob Duffy and representatives from the City of Rochester and Monroe County.
RBA returns to its roots by rebranding as Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce. This move clarifies its position as the Chamber of Commerce serving the nine-county Finger Lakes region.
The Rochester Business Alliance board of directors appoints former Rochester Police Chief, Mayor, and New York Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy president and CEO upon Sandy Parker’s retirement.
RBA and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership announce the formation of Unshackle Upstate, a coalition of organizations and businesses with the goal of achieving reforms in Albany that make Upstate New York a stronger place to do business.
Rochester Business Alliance convenes the Rochester Community Coalition, a precursor to the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council. The group of local leaders presented priority projects to lawmakers for state investment and attention.
Rochester Business Alliance and Wegmans CEO Danny Wegman form the RBA Health Care Initiative to create a healthier community and to seek ways for businesses to save money on health care coverage.
Sandy Parker becomes Rochester Business Alliance president and CEO upon Mooney’s retirement.
Rochester Business Alliance consolidates former Chamber and IMC operations at 150 State Street.
Facing a decline in Rochester’s manufacturing base and the potential for the failure of one or both organizations, the Greater Rochester Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Industrial Management Council merge to form Rochester Business Alliance. Mooney serves as CEO and former IMC leader Sandy Parker becomes president of the merged RBA.
The Chamber launches its first website with only two documents available: The course catalog for the Rochester Corporate Training Initiative and the Chamber’s regional wage and salary survey.
The Greater Rochester Metro Chamber of Commerce goes into direct competition with the Industrial Management Council by offering staffing services provided by partner vendors.
The Chamber hosts a closed-circuit viewing party for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce program “What Every Small Business Owner Needs to Know” featuring Paychex founder B. Thomas Golisano.
A name change to the Greater Rochester Metro Chamber of Commerce solidifies the Chamber’s regional reach.
The Chamber holds its inaugural Rochester Top 100 program, celebrating the region’s fastest-growing privately held businesses.
The Chamber’s annual meeting is combined with dedication ceremonies for the Riverside Convention Center, built on the site of the Chamber’s former building.
Thomas T. Mooney becomes the first full-time Chamber president, relieving the annually elected chairman of most operational duties.
A new name, the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce, reflects the organization’s increasing attention to regional development. Gilbert McCurdy launches a publicity program that leads to the television series “Pride in our Past…Leadership for the Future.”
President Donald A. Gaudion declares that business leaders have a responsibility to support “art, culture, and political purpose.”
The Rochester Chamber of Commerce’s membership reaches 6,700.
A business show, “Industry on Parade,” is staged in the new War Memorial auditorium.
Alexander M. Beebee launches a drive for new industries.
President Joseph C. Wilson’s address, “Rochester’s Declaration of Independence,” proposes that the Chamber pull back on its objections to public housing and labor unions and develop a new interest in civil rights programs.
A Rochester Chamber of Commerce banquet features the broadcast of WHAM-TV’s first program.
Chamber trustees endorse the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan.
A Council on Postwar Problems is formed, leading to employment and housing programs for veterans.
The Chamber and the Industrial Management Council begin applying Rochester’s manufacturing skills to war production programs.
The Rochester Chamber of Commerce Golden Jubilee celebration is clouded by threats of war in Europe.
George Eastman commits suicide at his East Avenue home.
The Community Chest begins the first emergency drive in the nation, bringing in $150,000.
President Gilbert J.G. McCurdy attempts to reassure the community, saying, “Business isn’t headed to the bow-wows. An Unemployment Benefit Plan launched by 14 Rochester firms is praised throughout the country and by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
A four story addition to the Chamber headquarters, also paid for by Eastman, is dedicated. The building is considered the nation’s most adequately equipped for civic, social, industrial, and commercial functions.
The Convention and Publicity Bureau brings 66,000 delegates to Rochester.
The Chamber starts a series of New Citizen banquets to welcome Rochester’s newly naturalized immigrants.
The Rochester Chamber charters a Better Business Bureau.
President Harper Sibley dedicates the new Chamber headquarters.
George Eastman offers $500,000 for a new Rochester Chamber of Commerce building. President George W. Todd adds more than $100,000 and construction begins on St. Paul Street.
Rochester Chamber President Robert M. Seale, leads a group of 50 business leaders on a three-day automobile excursion to neighboring towns to strengthen their ties with the city. Publication of Rochester Commerce begins.
Secretary Sidney R. Clark, noting that Rochester’s best prospects lay in its specialty industries, coins the slogan “Rochester Made Means Quality.”
Clinton N. Rogers, the last of the Chamber founders to serve as president, persuades the city to curb the smoke nuisance and proposes a power dam on the Genesee River.
Chamber membership opens to suburban businesses.
The Chamber’s publication, Rochester, the Power City, is the first to depict the city as a budding metropolis. Trustees sponsor a number of concerts in city parks.
George Eastman joins the executive committee, which achieves such objectives as all-night streetcar service and the publication of a glamorous Rochester Illustrated.
The Rochester Chamber of Commerce moves its offices to the top floors of a 13 story building at Main Street and South Avenue.
Chamber membership increases to 550, exceeding that of the Buffalo Merchants Exchange.
Chamber committees begin work on proposals involving one-cent postage rates, port improvements, and an increase in the city’s water supply.
The top story of the Rochester Savings Bank at Main and Fitzhugh streets becomes the first Rochester Chamber of Commerce headquarters.
Railroad and canal problems, banking concerns, trade with Canada, a growing city, and a host of other issues prompted 20 Rochester business leaders to gather in November 1887 to discuss forming a board of trade. In December, the group approved the Rochester Chamber of Commerce constitution and elected patent medicine king Hulbert H. Warner president.