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Posted on Sun, Jul 8, 2012 : 3:38 p.m.

A2Y Chamber of Commerce moving Ypsilanti office into SPARK East and cutting hours

By Ben Freed

Effective Monday, The Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber of Commerce is moving their Ypsilanti office just a few yards down the street.

The Chamber is moving in to the SPARK East Business Incubator at 215 W. Michigan Ave. The previous office, a 3,360 square-foot space at the Key Bank Building in downtown Ypsilanti, will be taken over by a Washtenaw Intermediate School District program for special needs students.

Diane Keller.jpg

Diane Keller is the president of the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber of Commerce

“The Ypsilanti Area Chamber of Commerce enjoyed close to two decades in that location, however with the merger of the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Chambers two years ago, the large space was not being utilized to its full potential,” Diane Keller, president of the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber, said in a press release.

After the merger, the Ypsilanti location went from operating five days a week to two, open only on Mondays and Wednesdays, said Trish Reilly, vice president of marketing at the chamber.

“We have been alternating so different employees work at that office on different days," Reilly said. "Our membership and sales people are the primary people working there, but as appointments come up, we all go over there.”

With the move to the new office space, beginning Monday the Chamber will only be operating in Ypsilanti on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment.

Reilly said the chamber is looking forward to the increased partnership with SPARK because both organizations are supporting business growth in the region.

Ann Arbor SPARK is committed to using the SPARK East facility to support the economic redevelopment of Ypsilanti and eastern Washtenaw,” Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK, said in the release. “We are pleased that the A2Y Chamber recognizes and will use the Ann Arbor SPARK East location.”

Along with changing location, the chamber will look to be more involved in Ypsilanti community events, Reilly said.

“We’re going to be involved in the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival,” she said. “And we are looking to have more after hours events and receptions in Ypsilanti as well as the ones we have in Ann Arbor.”

According to 990 tax forms from 2010, the most recent financial statements available on, the Ann Arbor Chamber paid $126,820 in occupancy costs, while the Ypsilanti Area Chamber paid $46,864.

The documents also reveal that the Ypsilanti Area Chamber was running a deficit of $8,160 for the year and was $101,241 in debt before the two organizations merged.

The space in the Key Bank Building had been shared with two other organizations promoting business growth in the region. The Michigan Small Business Technology Development Center, a Washtenaw Community College program, will move into the SPARK East incubator and the Procurement Technical Assistance Center, run by Spellman College, has moved to the Ann Arbor chamber location.

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Ben Freed covers business for Reach him at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2


Lets Get Real

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 8:06 a.m.

Ben, please get the facts right. People looking for assistance from the Small Business and Technology Development Center will have trouble finding it at SPARK since they moved into space on the Washtenaw Community College Campus. And, the Procurement Technical Assistance Center is part of the Business Development Center at Schoolcraft College, ot Spellman College. Come on Check your facts so as not to mis-inform the readers.

Raven Uber

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 1:18 p.m.

It's nice that the truth finally comes out that the Ypsi Chamber was running a deficit of $8,160 for the year and was $101,241 in debt before the two organizations merged. Hmmm maybe the Member's should have known this information. Now let's see if they run the A2Y Chamber into the ground. And how does a trap shooting contest/outing benefit the members? Oh that's right it's for the select unfortunate that WE the members do not get a chance to help make decisions about the kinds of events that would help US grow OUR businesses.


Tue, Jul 10, 2012 : 3:23 a.m.

I still do not know what the Chamber actually does, especially for businesses in Ypsilanti. We have the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the YDDA, the Downtown Assocation of Ypsilanti, the Depot Town Merchants Association and Spark. All of these organizations do something to promote Ypsilanti. But what does the Chamber do? Not much from what I see!


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

I am already registered for the next Ypsilanti A2Y Chamber event - "The Corporate Duck Challenge." For $100 we can watch our individually decorated ducks race down the Huron River at the Sunday afternoon at the August Heritage Festival. To get your own duck - more info here: See you there?

Jaime Magiera

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

A former friend of mine used to own that building - with the rest of us managing it. We had so many plans for it. He couldn't keep his act together and he lost the building. A shame considering all the activity happening there now.


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 3:12 a.m.

Well, we knew when the two Chambers merged that Ypsilanti would be getting the short end of the stick. Let's just call it what it is: "The Ann Arbor and To Heck With Everybody Else Chamber of Commerce."


Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

Or "The World Needs Ditchdiggers Too".


Sun, Jul 8, 2012 : 9:49 p.m.

Let's see how SPARK spins this into "jobs created"

tom swift jr.

Sun, Jul 8, 2012 : 9:31 p.m.

Does anyone know what the WISD program for special needs students is. A bank is an unusual location for that type of program.