Redlands Chamber of Commerce unveils new community-focused lobby

The initiative aims to merge tradition with innovation

Redlands Chamber of Commerce unveils new community-focused lobby
Redlands Chamber of Commerce celebrates lobby ribbon cutting April 5. (Photo: Bruce Herwig, Courtesy of the Redlands Chamber of Commerce.)

REDLANDS, Calif. — The Redlands Chamber of Commerce proudly unveiled its new lobby, surrounded by city and state officials, local businesses, and residents, during a ribbon cutting on Friday, April 5. 

This event marked the return of an old tradition of providing the community with a central hub for information and connection.

Why it matters: The Chamber has established a welcoming space at its headquarters on 1st Street in Redlands to guide visitors around the city and provide residents with resources to get involved in their community.

Embracing the future: The refurbished lobby, located at 47 N 1st Street, boasts an array of modern amenities tailored to meet the diverse needs of residents and visitors alike. 

Among the highlights is a touchscreen kiosk that invites viewers to explore the Chamber's Visit Redlands catalog.  

"This is a huge deal. We're the first in the city's history to have an interactive touchscreen kiosk," explained Chamber executive director Evan Sanford during a visit to the lobby before the grand opening. 

The kiosk, developed in partnership with Esri Storymaps, offers a comprehensive map with information on local eateries, attractions, shopping destinations, and accommodations.

For those who still enjoy something tangible, visitors can print out the train schedule for Arrow passenger rail service in a nod to the Chamber's enduring relationship with the railway and emphasis on providing transportation options. Sanford said paper maps of the city will soon be available at lobby. 

The lobby walls also display flyers and brochures of city events, businesses, and organizations. 

Visit Redlands kiosk sits next to display for local business and nonprofit information. (Photo: Community Forward Redlands)

Spotlighting local businesses and nonprofits: Sanford emphasized the lobby's broader mission as a platform for promoting local businesses, nonprofits, artists, and events. He envisions the space as a dynamic showcase of Redlands' vibrant culture and entrepreneurial spirit. 

Visitors will see rotating artists featured on the lobby walls. The first to occupy the space is a photo of the Redlands Bowl by Bruce Herwig. 

Local nonprofits can use the lobby as a physical location for their organizations. The Redlands Area Historical Society proved the concept during the grand opening. Members of the organization were available to help visitors using the kiosk and share more about their work that was on display. 

Returning to its roots: At the turn of the last century, the Chamber looked much different than today, but it reflected a similar mission to engage and inform the community. In the 1890s, the Redlands Chamber was located off Orange Street next to the Santa Fe Depot, with a lobby displaying local products, crates of award-winning citrus, and various historic artifacts. 

The Redlands Chamber lobby was first located on Orange Street next to the Santa Fe Depot. (Photos: Courtesy of Redlands Chamber of Commerce and A.K. Smiley Public Library Special Collections.)

Visitors to the Chamber's modern lobby can also explore historic photos on the wall and learn about local products and services. 

Sanford expressed enthusiasm about the revival of this tradition, emphasizing the lobby's role as a focal point for community engagement.

"We're trying to get people involved. For example, maybe you just sent your kid off to college, and you're an empty nester now - get involved. Come here and find out how. That's what the lobby's for," said Sanford. 

Moving Forward: Dubbing it "the people's lobby," Sanford warmly invited residents and visitors to explore Redlands' storied past and discover its many opportunities.

As part of the grand opening, a plaque was presented signaling a new chapter in the Chamber's legacy of service and community engagement: 

This lobby is in honor of the unique vibrant and diverse community in which we are privileged to live, work, and enjoy. Any member of the Chamber, local resident or visitor to the city of Redlands should feel welcomed here. While it is imperative that we preserve our heritage, we should also embrace the future. We must always do our part to enhance the educational, cultural, and civic vitality of our community.
Evan Sanford reads a new plaque that now hangs in the Chamber lobby signaling a new chapter in the Chamber's legacy of service and community engagement: (Photo: Bruce Herwig, Courtesy of the Redlands Chamber of Commerce.)

The Chamber lobby is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Those interested in additional information about showcasing a nonprofit organization can contact the Chamber at 909-793-2546. 

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