Chamber of Commerce move to Historic Deerfield complete, visitors center in progress

  • Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Diana Szynal moves into her office at the chamber’s new location in Historic Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Office Manager Marian Noga and Executive Director Diana Szynal get the chamber’s new location ready. The office is located on the second floor above Historic Deerfield’s museum gift shop. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Diana Szynal in her office at the chamber’snew location in Historic Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 2/10/2022 5:25:12 PM
Modified: 2/10/2022 5:23:29 PM

DEERFIELD — After announcing the move from its Greenfield location in early January, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce is “settling in nicely” in its new home at Historic Deerfield.

“We like it here,” said chamber Executive Director Diana Szynal. “We’re really excited about it.”

Speaking in her newly furnished office on the second floor above Historic Deerfield’s museum gift shop, Szynal said the goal was to make the move as “seamless” as possible while the chamber works toward creating a visitors center to direct tourists’ attention to all the recreational opportunities in Franklin County.

“They’ve been welcoming and accommodating,” Szynal said about Historic Deerfield and the chamber’s new neighbors at the Deerfield Inn. “We’re really enjoying getting to know them.”

The chamber has completed the move to 79 Old Main St. in waves, with Szynal being the first to move her office to the building and Office Manager Marian Noga and Marketing Manager Lisa Davol following suit. Szynal said the Chamber of Commerce has worked with local businesses and chamber members to facilitate the purchase of furniture and office supplies.

“We’re really grateful to have local businesses we could rely on for the services and goods we needed,” Szynal said.

The move was covered by a $27,800 Destination Development Capital grant awarded from the state Office of Travel and Tourism.

Although the chamber has left Greenfield, where it had an office on Main Street for 36 years, Szynal said staff have still been working closely with businesses in the city.

“We’re still very much in Greenfield,” she said, “and supporting Greenfield businesses.”

Community Action Pioneer Valley, which has an office next door to the chamber’s Greenfield location, plans to expand into the now-vacant space.

The chamber’s move to Historic Deerfield was spurred by the idea that the Chamber of Commerce can contribute to the regional economy by creating a true visitors center at one of the region’s most popular tourist destinations. The chamber’s previous visitors center was located in the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Greenfield, which was reduced to appointment-only visits when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

In its current state, the new visitors center is a sparsely decorated room with stacks of boxes littered about, but in a few months’ time, it will be decked out with resources for tourists to learn about Franklin County. Szynal said the timeline is slightly “aggressive,” but staff are working as fast as possible.

“We’ll hope to have it ready by mid-April,” Szynal said. She added the visitors center will contain all sorts of informational pamphlets about Franklin County and will feature digital screens to showcase the promotional videos the chamber has created.

“It’s going to be a real upgrade from what we have,” Szynal said. “It’s going to be so much better.”

Szynal thanked her coworkers and the chamber members who have been supportive during the move and said she hopes to christen the new building and visitors center during a future Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

“I’m so grateful for my staff … and the board of directors for their support. It’s been a great group of people to make a move with,” Szynal said. “To pick up and move the office of a 104-year-old organization, it’s not easy.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.


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