• 11/19/2020 11:13 AM | Tod Abbott (Administrator)

    The Alameda County CARES grant program was authorized by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on November 10, 2020 when it redirected $5 million in CARES Act funds for a small business grant program in response to the economic, health and safety impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The program prioritizes grants for small, local and emerging businesses within Alameda County and is intended to promote and foster inclusiveness in the County’s diverse communities. Grants are intended to assist small businesses facing revenue losses and ongoing expenses for business impacts occurring between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020.

    Eligible businesses can receive a one-time grant of $5,000. The funds will not require repayment. 

    Funds are limited and not everyone who applies is guaranteed to receive funding.

     Full information and the application are available on the dedicated website they launched last night:

  • 09/04/2020 7:14 AM | Tod Abbott (Administrator)

    For at least 30 years (that's as far back as the records go), the Albany Chamber of Commerce has recognized people who make a difference in our community with the Citizen of the Year award. While this year is different (no Stroll parade for the honoree, likely no in-person honoree dinner or event), we are still planning to recognize a Citizen of the Year (we'll likely include them in next years festivities) .

    Nominations are now open. We invite you to nominate someone you believe deserves this recognition for their volunteer work in the community. Self nominations are allowed.

    Hurry! Nominations must be received by September 25th

    To nominate a candidate, please submit:

    • a one-page email or letter with the nominee’s contact information (name, address, phone number, email)
    • the nominator’s contact information, including a daytime phone number
    • a description of the candidate’s accomplishments -- especially those during the last year -- detailing why they should be given the award
    • additional letters of recommendation, as appropriate, by people who are familiar with the nominee’s community contributions


    • email your letter to:
    • mail your nomination letter to the Albany Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 6434, Albany, 94706

    Previous Citizen of the Year Honorees

    2019: Margie Marks

    2018: Jim and Beth Beller

    2017: Florence Wahl

    2016: Alexa Hauser

    2015: Alan Riffer

    2014: Laurie Roberts

    2013: Caryl O’Keefe

    2012: John Nakamura

    2011: Jon Ely

    2010: Mac McCurdy

    2009: Clay Larson

    2008: Jack Rosano

    2007: Peggy Mc Quaid

    2006: Ruth Ganong

    2005: Arthur (Art) Longpre

    2004: Joan Larson

    2003: Dana Milner

    2002: Marsha Skinner

    2001: Ruth Meniketti

    2000: Doug Donaldson

    1999: Mary & Bill Hartung

    1998: Allan Maris

    1997: Frank Jensen

    1996: Ray Anderson

    1995: Jewel Okawachi (second time)

    1994: Bill Lewis 

    1993: Mike Koepke

    1992: Clyde & Margaret Stone

    1991: Jewel Okawachi  & Dario Meniketti 

  • 06/25/2020 9:55 AM | Tod Abbott (Administrator)

    It has been gratifying to witness the outpouring of support for Albany's businesses and their resiliency and inventiveness through these turbulent times. We want to acknowledge and thank our business district for their patience and support as we work through the continuing phases in getting each and every one of our businesses back open. Our collective response to the pandemic has shone a spotlight on what makes the city of Albany so special.

    The City has been working with the Solano Avenue Association and the Albany Chamber of Commerce to develop or update programs to support businesses and help them survive this crisis. The City has made support for businesses a top priority devoting extensive resources from the Community Development Department, the Economic Development Committee, and the office of the City Manager to this effort. As the restaurant and retail community has received clearance to open outdoors from Alameda County, our immediate priority has been to get businesses through the encroachment permit process as quickly as possible. Late last week, some businesses began outdoor operations without having completed that process, potentially placing their customers and staff at risk, exposing businesses to excessive liability, and in some instances, utilizing more space than was fair to the other businesses on the block. Due to extraordinary effort from the City's Community Development Department, all of these uses have now been issued permits, (with some conditions) and we are working with the City to make the encroachment application available and the process as seamless as possible.

    Our organizations will continue to work and communicate together. We overwhelmingly want to provide our businesses with a safe and equitable plan to reopen. We also want to encourage our business community to utilize appropriate public space to dine and do business outdoors. While utilizing public space in this capacity, we must be mindful that the use of public space should benefit the district and not be at the expense of other businesses.

    While we understand and appreciate the desires and enthusiasm surrounding the “Albany Inside Out” program, we want to be clear that it is not a sponsored initiative from the City of Albany, nor is it sponsored by the Albany Chamber or the Solano Avenue Association. We have also been concerned by the social media campaigns against representatives within the City done so in support of the program. We want to repeat very clearly that the City has been extraordinarily supportive of business operations during this period, and has developed and published their guidelines for businesses reopening, including use of public right of way. We all continue to encourage businesses to utilize outdoor space, but wish to emphasize that it be done so with permitted approval.

    Please contact the City of Albany at (510) 528-5760 for more information.

    We recognize we are all in this together. We have listened to the needs of all our businesses and have been moving quickly to make sure those needs are addressed. Our continued efforts are to make sure all businesses are fairly represented and that outgoing information is consistent with City processes and ordinances. We do this in order to ensure safety is prioritized in outdoor operations for our businesses, their customers, transit, and our greater community at large.

    From the Albany Chamber of Commerce and Solano Avenue Association.

    For your reference:

    City of Albany

    City of Berkeley

    Alameda County Health Department

    The CA Governor's Resilience Roadmap with Business Operation Resources

    Contra Costa County Health Department (El Cerrito)

  • 06/17/2020 10:01 AM | Tod Abbott (Administrator)

    The Board of Directors of the Albany Chamber of Commerce is saddened to learn that merchants in Albany have received threatening messages in response to their support of human rights in general and Black Lives Matter in particular. The primary goal of the Albany Chamber is to support and develop a thriving business community in our town, and we want to underscore that there is no place for hate, fear mongering, or threats in that community.

    We know that these messages are hurtful and worrisome and we condemn them.

    As members of this community we all have a responsibility to support one another -- whether they are next door or on the other side of town; whether they are partners or competitors. Please let us know if you or someone you know receives hateful messages or threats at your business. Please let us know how we can help support our businesses that are risking threats and anger because they are passionate about expressing their beliefs. We will share what we learn so that we can all know better how to support each other. 

    We are a small community but we can still speak loudly and make it clear that we will not tolerate harassment and threats.

    The Board of Directors of the Albany Chamber of Commerce

    Shaun Charles, President
    Victoria Lynn Curtis, Vice President
    Tod Abbott, Secretary
    Colvin Datchy, Board Member
    Marie Bowser, Board Member
    Pascha Brown, Board Member

  • 05/31/2018 12:13 PM | Tod Abbott (Administrator)

    The City of Albany is working on plans for a complete streets plan for Solano Avenue.

     This will affect sidewalks, parking, crossings, and more, and the businesses have an exciting opportunity to work with the City on improvements that could bring more people to the Avenue as well as improving features for the businesses.

    But only if the businesses make their voices heard.

    The Chamber and SAA are going to be involved and vocal in this project, but they can only do so much. The City needs to hear from business owners and managers about what changes would help their business, and what changes could hurt. Hearing from actual business people on the street carries more weight than just hearing from a Chamber or SAA representative on their own.

    A vibrant business district is a quality-of-life issue for the City, so it's in the City's interest to listen to their business community. But we've got to speak up in order for them to hear us.

    Make your voice heard by attending a Solano Avenue Complete Streets event, contact Albany Planning and Building Manager, Anne Hersch with your comments (510-528-5765,, or submitting a comment on the Solano Complete Streets website.

  • 12/01/2017 6:46 AM | Tod Abbott (Administrator)

    Santa came to Solano Avenue the first weekend in December, 2007. He spent a weekend at A Child's Place on the corner of the Alameda, then moved down to the Chamber of Commerce office for the next two weekends. From the beginning this has been a very popular event, with hundreds of free photos given out every year -- not to mention the free popcorn!

    Originally a joint project of the Chamber and the Solano Avenue Association, Santa on Solano is now run entirely by the SAA, and enjoys it's fourth year at Chloe's Closet (1545 Solano) for the first three weekends of December.

    Credit for the event falls mainly to SAA Executive Director, Allen Cain. He suggested the idea in 2007, remembering Santa on the street in years past. Since then he has staffed the event for three or four weekends every December, setting up and breaking down the event, and handing out popcorn and supporting the photographer in between. For the last four years, SAA President Jennifer Hansen-Romero has been behind the camera, using her experience as a school photographer to get great pictures of kids' (and adults', event pets') special time with the big guy.

    What makes the event unique is that it is one of the only (and arguably the best) free opportunity to see Santa in the East Bay. Visitors are always welcome to bring their own cameras and get as many pictures as they like in addition to the printed picture they will take with them.

    Santa is on Solano this year from noon to 4, on December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, and 17, at Chloe's Closet (1545 Solano Avenue).

Albany Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 6434
Albany, California 94706
(510) 525-1771 • contact

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