Friday, February 20, 2009

River North Association Re-launches as River North Business Association


The River North community, home to Chicago’s most eclectic mix of hotels, restaurants, art galleries, nightlife, retailers and many businesses and services, announces the re-launch of the River North Association under its new name, the River North Business Association (RNBA) (222 Merchandise Mart Plaza; 312-645-1047). Under its new name, the RNBA provides the same membership benefits and networking opportunities the organization has always offered, however the new name helps highlight the association’s dedication towards promoting and securing prosperity for neighborhood businesses.

During a strategic planning session last fall, it became clear to the association’s leadership team that becoming the River North Business Association would give members, and the public, a better understanding of the association’s purpose, which includes a dedication to promoting and securing the prosperity of the neighborhood and its business community. “As simple as it may seem,” says RNBA President Mark Kelly, “adding the word ‘business’ to the association’s name helps to emphasize the true focus of our efforts, and helps prospective members quickly recognize the value of being a part of the River North Business Association. All of the services, support, events and opportunities of the RNBA provide our members make it quite obvious that we really do mean business in River North.”

The RNBA serves as a resource for all River North establishments, including its 400 members, and is even a tool for businesses outside the River North area. The RNBA’s mission is to operate as a business association that promotes awareness and visibility, fosters responsible business development, stimulates growth and advocates constructive influence for the River North community. The organization hopes to become the strongest visible advocate of responsible business growth and community development in the River North neighborhood, through membership and progressive leadership.

In addition to providing businesses a voice, guidance and opportunities to be successful, the RNBA offers a host of benefits to its members. RNBA membership benefits include: a company listing on RNBA Web site, quarterly newsletter and River North Directory; free monthly mixers including the Spring Fling, Showcase, SummerFest and Holiday Party opportunities; networking with hundreds of area businesses and residents; advertising on RNBA bi-weekly e-blast and newsletters; use of RNBA’s member mailing list; Street Banner advertisements; opportunities to increase reach and generate new business, and much more.

“We Mean Business in River North” Button Program
To help people understand the depth of business variety in River North, the association is launching a button campaign featuring: “we mean business in River North.” As part of the launch participating businesses will distribute special “We Mean Business in River North” buttons beginning March 25. There is no cost for the button, but wearing will have many benefits including discounts at participating restaurants and retail stores, as well as business services including accounting, legal, public relations, graphic design, advertising and other service oriented business calling River North home. RNBA member businesses will be providing special discounts to those wearing the button on designated RNBA Days throughout the year. The first RNBA Day is scheduled, appropriately for Tax Day, April 15. A complete list of participants and their discount offers is available by visiting the RNBA Web site at: http://www.rivernorthassociation.com/.

Customers taking advantage of the discount program need not be a member of the RNBA however; all participating businesses must be a member in good standing. Those businesses that choose to participate in the button program, will display a poster in their store window or office to their customers. The buttons will continue to be used for various discounts and promotions by RNBA members throughout the year.

Sharon Romack, Executive Director of RNBA, explains the benefits of joining RNBA. “Businesses looking for River North resources, seeking out new customers, reaching for greater exposure, or even looking to have a voice in city government can join RNBA for those benefits. Not only are the services of RNBA necessary in today’s economy, but they are affordable too.”

Top Ten Reasons to be a Part of RNBA
RNBA has put together the following “Top Ten” list to highlight the ten best reasons to become a member of the most diverse, eclectic mix of businesses in Chicago.
10. Get a River North Reputation.
9. Because RNBA means business!
8. Receive a cool sticker for a business’s window or door.
7. Two words: Street Banners.
6. Minimal annual investment gives local business more bang for their buck.
5. Have a hotline to Dana and Sharon, and play Stump the Administrative Staff for fun and prizes.
4. Gain access to 400 fellow members at networking events and through advertising opportunities.
3. Have a voice in the city government.
2. Learn about River North activities before any other business in the city!
1. Increase business!

About River North Business Association
The River North Association was founded in 1981, and quickly became a force in the community, representing businesses and providing member services to help them succeed. The organization recently changed its name to the River North Business Association, but maintains the mission and ideals of which it was founded. The RNBA hopes to preserve a community environment that will provide a high quality of life for all who live, work and visit River North. For more information, visit www.rivernorthassocation.com or call (312) 645-1047.
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