The Chamber of Commerce is a business membership organization with more than 400 members from the Greater New Britain business community. Members may utilize the organization to network, receive Chamber news and notification, and further enhance their marketing through the Chamber.
A Chamber of Commerce embodies the business interests and the civic interests of a community. Each of the members are representative of the city. A great Chamber stands for the interests of every individual in the community. The opportunity is yours, and the door is open.
Let us represent you. Join the Chamber.
Like any great organization, the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce has changed over the years, but remained true to its mission, “the organization shall devote its energies to united of the influences of our citizens for the more effectual protection and promotion of the public welfare of the City of New Britain and vicinity, and to aid in the development of all legitimate enterprises which will tend to increase its prosperity.”
In 1900, the New Britain Business Men’s Association formed to promote mutual interests and by 1914, they became a full-fledged Chamber of Commerce with a Board of 12 Directors and three Directors at Large. Formerly known as The New Britain Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber was organized in October 1914 and incorporated on April 20, 1915. Until the 1950s the Chamber was the only business men’s organization in New Britain, Connecticut.
Throughout the years the Chamber has seen major milestones such as appointing the first female chairwoman in the 1980s, electing a female president in 1994, the consolidation of the New Britain Downtown District, Municipal Economic Development Agency and the Chamber, publishing official City Guide Member Directories, extending Business After Hours, adding a Women’s AM Network group, joining forces with the Berlin and Plainville Chambers, reviving the Annual Golf Outing, celebrating our centennial anniversary in 2014, adding international Chamber Travel opportunities, and creating a Young Professionals Networking Group. While these are not all of the changes the Chamber has made, these are among the most important accomplishments.
Read more about the history of our traditions and events below.
1914: Annual Meeting & Dinner
Every year hundreds of people gather at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting & Dinner. This tradition dates back to September 16, 1914 when the Chamber’s president, Ernest W. Christ, and Arthur H. Andrews organized the first Annual Dinner & Meeting in Turner Hall (currently Martinez Boxing Club). With over 500 citizens attending the event it quickly gained popularity in the City. The New Britain Herald even said the evening “will mark a new era in the history of New Britain.” It was even named the “social event for the season” by many community members.
1923: Elise Traut Fund
In 1912 while walking to her home on Arch Street, Mrs. Elise Traut, a wealthy socialite and author of Christmas novels, noticed a few children decorating an outdoor shrub and stopped to speak to them. The children stated that they could not afford an indoor Christmas tree so they decided to decorate the shrub. After their conversation, Mrs. Traut suggested for the City to have a Community Christmas Tree that she would help fund. Three years later, Mrs. Traut teamed with the Chamber to provide decorations for the Central Park tree at her expense. After her passing in 1923, the Traut Fund was established to continue providing the Holiday decorations for many years to come. More than 100 years later, the Chamber still honors the tradition.
1926: Chamber Travel
By 1926, the Chamber formed relationships with nearby New England Travel and Tourist Bureaus and began offering a new program for its members. The Travel Bureau of the Chamber allowed members to find information about hotels, railroad companies and steamship lines, and obtain maps. These days, the GNBCOC still offers Chamber Travel, but it has dramatically evolved. The Chamber’s partnership with CI Destinations allows members to take a vacation to select sites around the world at significantly discounted rates.
1994: Annual golf outing
The Chamber’s Annual Golf Outing is a signature summer event that attracts large and small businesses for a day of social golf and networking. The tradition began in 1994, but abruptly ended. Six years later the Annual Golf Outing was revived and quickly became the largest fundraiser with most of the proceeds going directly towards the Chamber’s scholarship fund which is awarded to local high school seniors continuing their education in a business related field.
1995: Municipal Economic Development Agency, Downtown District and Chamber of Commerce
Throughout the years the Chamber has led in promoting civic improvements and promoting local businesses. In 1995, the Chamber joined forces with the Municipal Economic Development Agency and the New Britain Downtown District in order to better coordinate economic development and to cultivate a pro-business environment within the community. Although the three organizations are no longer in the same office suite, the partnership still exists today.
2000: Women’s AM Network
The Women’s AM Network began as one of the first exclusively female support groups sponsored by a Chamber of Commerce in Connecticut. Over time, the group evolved into a professional business networking group where women can visit to share information, ideas and resources. Women of all ages attend the meetings to learn and support one another.
2001-2002: First City Guide Member Directory
The 2001-2002 digest-sized black and white booklet was the first official City Guide and Member Directory with information on various businesses in the New Britain area. Prior to this guide, the Chamber issued a 3-foot by 2-foot poster in 1996 in the form of a New Britain map with a telephone directory and calendars for 1996-1999 issued on the back.
In 2004 the first digital copy debuted along with the first color print version. By 2007, the City Guide upgraded to a full-sized book with 100 color pages. In 2011 the City Guide was revised once again to add full stories and photos of events along with a member directory. All print Visitor Guides have a shelf life of approximately 2 years.
The Chamber embarked on a new journey in 2015 by adding Berlin to the Visitor Guides and began offering digital guides that could be updated immediately by contacting the Chamber. In 2017, the Chamber partnered with the New Britain City Hall to create a New Britain Visitors Guide. These guides can be found in City Hall and in businesses throughout the area.
If you have any questions regarding the Visitor Guides, want to request a copy, or are looking for advertising opportunities in our digital guide please contact our office at (860) 229-1665.
2012: Berlin Chamber of Commerce & New Britain Chamber of Commerce Join Forces
In November 2011, the Berlin Chamber of Commerce suffered from the economic climate and was forced to permanently close its doors. By 2012, the New Britain Chamber sought to find a solution by creating a historic regional partnership with Berlin’s Chamber. The new affiliation triggered New Britain’s Chamber to modify the organizations name to Greater New Britain Chamber – New Britain, Berlin (GNBCOC).
2017: Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce — Berlin, New Britain & Plainville Chamber of Commerce Partner
In April 2017, the Plainville Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors unanimously voted 13-0 to partner with the Greater New Britain Chamber of commerce. By June 1, 2017 the two Chamber’s aligned. The GNBCOC now provides management and oversight of many operations in the Plainville Chamber.
Our logo has also changed quite a bit throughout the years. Check out all of our previous (and current) logos below.