The Annapolis Business Association is considering merging with Main Streets Annapolis (a City funded and managed program) to form a single business entity. On September 1, they are asking all members to participate in the vote to merge. The reasoning for the merger was explained in an email distributed to members earlier today.
On September 1 at 6 PM the Annapolis Business Association will be hosting a general membership meeting for a very important vote. As you may have heard, the ABA has been in discussions to merge with the Main Streets Annapolis Program to form a new organization, The Annapolis Partnership. On September 1, we will bring this merger to the general membership for a vote. The board felt it was important for the members to make the final decision because, after all, it is your organization.
Why are we proposing a merger? Last year, the ABA was part of a group of organizations that hired a consultant to ask Annapolis businesses what they wanted or needed in order to be successful. The number one answer was a single voice for the business community – one organization they can turn to for representation and as a resource. So, we set out to create an organization that would represent the entire city’s business districts.
Additionally, although the ABA has been successful in promoting events and helping bring additional business to Annapolis through events like Midnight Madness and Restaurant Week, and positively affected city council legislation, we have come to realize that we need an executive director to manage the day-to-day operations. Our board members have served as volunteers by attending meetings with city personnel, testifying for city council, organizing events, marketing our events, soliciting sponsors, organizing the holiday decorations, recruiting members and countless other tasks. If we can hire a professional to manage these operations, then the board can focus on developing new programs to assist our members with growing their businesses. The Main Streets Annapolis Program has successfully lobbied the city council for some seed money to afford an executive director in the current fiscal year budget. Together, with MAP, we will able to afford this new executive director and be eligible to apply for grants, while continuing to manage our successful programs.
How will The Annapolis Partnership be organized? We plan to have a board of directors that includes seats from each business region in the City of Annapolis, including Main Street, Dock Street, Maryland Avenue/State Circle, Arts & Entertainment District, Inner West Street, Upper West Street, West Annapolis, Design District, Forest Drive, Eastport, as well as a resident, Mayor’s representative, commercial property owner, St. John’s College, US Naval Academy and Historic Annapolis Foundation. This kind of representation will show that the businesses in this city are a unified front. Prior to the meeting, we will share the mission statement, strategic goals, value statement, and bylaws via e-mail to our members.
Why are we doing this now? With the holiday season around the corner and then Restaurant Week soon thereafter, the Executive Director will have plenty to do and we can use this time of year to brand the new organization.
Who can vote? All paying members have the ability to cast a vote, so please mark your calendar today so you are sure to attend on September 1. The meeting will be held in the second floor lounge at Stan and Joe’s on West Street.