Chamber History


  • The Chamber updates and re-launches with improved functionality and navigation and a responsive, mobile-friendly design
  • Governor Charlie Baker delivers keynote address at Chamber luncheon
  • Chamber reaches 1,000 member mark, adding 150 new members in May drive


  • The Cape Ann Innovators Collaborative (CAIC) is formed


  • The Cape Ann Community Foundation (CACF) makes first round of grants to three Cape Ann non-profit organizations
  • The first 1,000 special Cape Ann license plates are issued and on the road2016 ­– With key support from the Chamber and the Cape Ann Community Foundation, the first Cape Ann Plein Air (CAPA) event is held in October


  • Chamber updates and re-launches Rockport website


  • The first Cape Ann Career and College Fair is held at Gloucester High School, an initiative of the Chamber’s Business/ Education Collaborative
  • Chamber creates the Cape Ann Community Foundation as an affiliated 501(c)3 charitable organization to handle the proceeds of the Cape Ann license place


  • Chamber updates and re-designs its visitor website
  • The Cape Ann license plate initiative officially begins with the approval and registration of the design created by Rockport resident and graphics artist Annalei Babson.


  • Cape Ann welcomes Ken Riehl of Essex as new Chamber CEO
  • Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy and Secretary of Education Matthew H. Malone headline Chamber events
  • Chamber updates and re-launches website
  • The Chamber’s monthly magazine Soundings is converted to an online magazine


  • Chamber celebrates 90 years of support to Cape Ann
  • Chamber’s Manchester Division produces 1st Festival by the Sea (August), successor event to the Manchester Arts Festival
  • The Chamber hosts a Congressional Debate among the 6th District Congressional Candidates Congressman John Tierney (D), Richard Tisei (R) and Daniel Fishman (L).
  • Government Affairs Council is established
  • Tourism Council is initiated
  • Chamber co-sponsors 1st Gloucester Blues Festival (August)
  • Chamber welcomes Robert W. Heidt, Jr. as new Chief Executive Officer


  • 1st issue of the Cape Ann Guide published

2009 - Bob Hastings takes over as Chamber’s Executive Director

2008 - Mike Costello, Executive Director of the Chamber since 1978, retires

2007 – 1st Cape Ann Restaurant Week (October) involves 24 restaurants from all four Cape Ann communities


  • Chamber launches Member-2-Member Savings Connection program to encourage companies and their employees to do business with one another
  • Businesswomen’s Committee celebrates 20th anniversary with the creation of the Carolyn O’Connor Scholarship Fund


  • Rockport Chamber of Commerce merges with the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce
  • Chamber’s Rockport Division creates the first annual Rockport Harvest Festival

2004 - Pat Roy Scholarship created

2002 - Chamber places information brochure kiosk at Burger King Plaza on Route 128 in North Beverly


  • Irish Sweepstakes begins
  • Gloucester Gift Certificate program launched (November); expanded in 2005 to include all of Cape Ann and re-named Cape Ann Gift Certificate program.

1997 – Chamber kicks off 75th anniversary year at the Annual Dinner

1996 – Red Deering Scholarship Created

1991 – Chamber’s Rockport Division hosts first annual Rockport Community Egg Hunt

1990 – 1st Chamber Golf Tournament (May), sponsored by the Business/ Education Collaborative to raise funds for Chamber scholarship program

1988 – 1st Annual Chamber Auction (July)


  • Chamber moves to its current location at 33 Commercial Street, Gloucester (July)
  • Board of Directors creates the Business/ Education Collaborative

1986 – Chamber’s Businesswomen’s Committee formally established with it first luncheon (May)


  • Chamber hosts first Evening Business Exchange (now Business After Hours) at Sudbay Auto
  • Chamber’s Rockport Division creates the first “Christmas in Rockport” month long holiday celebration

1984 – 1st Gloucester Schooner Festival

1983 – Essex clam chowder competition begins, part of Essex Pride Week; becomes Essex Clamfest 1985


  • Chamber hosts its 60th Annual Dinner, with remarks by Governor Ed King
  • Chamber testifies in support of fair taxation for business at Gloucester’s first tax classification hearing


  • Waterfront Festival begins
  • Small Business Week begins
  • Cape Ann Chamber establishes its first scholarship for a high school senior
  • $25K Game begins, first winner Charlie Foster; started as the “Gold Rush”, a $10 K Game

1978 – Mike Costello hired as Chamber’s Executive Director

1975 – Chamber a leader in the effort to establish a 200 mile limit to support Cape Ann’s fishing industry

1973 – Chamber’s service area is expanded to include Manchester-by-the-Sea, and name is changed to Cape Ann Area Chamber of Commerce, in order to reflect more accurately the regional structure and mission of the Chamber

1923 – Lawrence T. Hart hired as Executive Director; serves until his retirement in 1961


  • Herman Lion hired as Chamber’s first Executive Director
  • Cape Ann Chamber is founded; initially incorporated as the Gloucester Chamber of Commerce “to promote the civic, economic and social welfare of the people of Gloucester, Essex and Rockport”