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Addison Chamber History

Strong industrial roots spur growth

From small pioneering shops to large corporate operations, the history of industrial and manufacturing growth in Addison is forged with deep roots.

During the 1950s, as entrepreneurs bought lots, built early plants and grew their fledgling industrial business operations, one issue soon dominated the conversation – roads. With no concrete plans for an industrial district, truckers and area entrepreneurs soon found Industrial Road and Fullerton Road, local entrance roads in the unincorporated area, impassable. Poor road conditions forced truckers to park their vehicles on Addison Road and find creative ways to unload and transport cargo.

The Addison Road Improvement Association formed in 1950 with a focus on improving roads conditions, accessibility and signage. Initial members – including Blackhawk Molding Co. Inc., a family-owned injection-molding shop established in 1949 – discussed topics such as whether roads should be graded and oiled or if factory owners should have roads blacktopped and split the costs.

“Our company founder grew up in Addison and knew the location offered great advantages,” said Jeff Davis, operations director at the 70,000-square-foot facility that specializes in inventing and manufacturing proprietary products and is a pioneer in supplying plastic-injection-molded products to the dairy, bottled water and juice industries. “We remain an active member of the chamber of commerce and over the years have had a strong working relationship with other area businesses and the village.”

By July 1952, the group became known as the Addison Industrial Association and soon expanded its boundaries to encompass the entire area bounded by Route 53 on the west, Irving Park Road to the north, Route 83 to the east, and North Avenue (Route 64) to the south.

Focus shifted as development and industrial expansion slowed and talk of annexing the industrial district to a local municipality began. Road conditions, stoplights, railroad track congestion at area entrances, street lighting, storm sewers, zoning ordinances, licensing, parking and arterial road designations all topped meeting agendas.

Founding group members began exploring annexation issues with both the Village of Addison and Villa Park. In 1956, voters approved annexation to the Village of Addison.

Over the years, efforts focused on improving public service to allow for an ample and reliable power supply, allocating space for additional parking, street illumination, the development of a safe storm sewer system, street paving and area access routes.

In 1991, the Addison Chamber of Commerce and the Addison Industrial Association merged to form the Addison Association of Industry & Commerce. The new organization worked in cooperation with its members from both the commercial and industrial sectors to retain and develop business in Addison, and to represent business to local, county, state and national governmental agencies.

In 1993, members voted to change the name to the Addison Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

The chamber now serves almost 300 members from within the community and neighboring municipalities.

“Although the name has changed, the commitment of service to members and the business community of Addison as a whole remains the same,” said Bernadette LaRocca, executive director of the Addison Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

The chamber offers networking opportunities for members at monthly luncheon meetings, breakfast sessions and seminars with expert speakers, multi-chamber event and meetings, and two annual business-to-business EXPOs. Some of the social gatherings include after-hours events sponsored by members, an annual golf outing, holiday cocktail party and more.

At the annual Student Honors Banquet, top Addison High School graduates are recognized and scholarships awarded.

The chamber’s electronic updates provide information on legislative matters, business conditions, upcoming events and opportunities to advertise.

In 2016, the Addison Chamber of Commerce & Industry celebrates the 25th anniversary of the merger of the Addison Chamber of Commerce and the Addison Industrial Association.

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