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Published February 7th, 2018
The Chamber of Commerce is back, bigger and better than ever
It was standing room only at the Jan. 24 Chamber of Commerce Grand Opening party. Photo Pippa Fisher

There was quite a lively party lighting up Lafayette Circle on a recent, rainy weeknight as over 200 people came by the new Chamber of Commerce offices to help celebrate the grand opening of the new digs.
The Chamber was forced to relocate in July after a massive blaze swept through the nearby complex, destroying the chamber offices at 100 Lafayette Circle along with the much-loved La Finestra restaurant and many other small businesses.
Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jay Lifson says although he and staff were up to speed just days after the fire, they are settled into their new location now and are delighted to be in the new digs just around the corner at 251 Lafayette Circle.
"I can't imagine how crowded it would have been if not for the rain," said Lifson, clearly pleased to have seen so many old and new friends of the chamber, including the mayor and three other city council members as well as the city manager and the chief of police.
With such a crowd present it was hard to see much of the offices and many didn't make it all the way back into Lifson's office to see the album covers there: Beatles, Cream, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Santana, Crosby, Stills and Nash and, of course, the Grateful Dead.
"During the Art and Wine Festival last year, one of our volunteers presented me with a framed album cover of the Grateful Dead's Workingman's Dead," said Lifson by way of an explanation. "She reminded me that everything I had in the old office had perished, so she gave me the first thing to hang up. So I took that as a green light to theme my office with the album covers of my youth."
Lifson said that the staff and board of directors not only wanted to allow everyone a look at the new offices, but also to give a thank you to the community for all the love and support following the fire.
As the chamber celebrates its 70th anniversary this month, Lifson says the theme for the grand opening came from a Phish song:
"You got your nice shades on, and the worst days are gone,
So now the band plays on, you got one life, blaze on."
"We are off to a nice start in 2018. Let's all blaze on!" he said, adding, "It was a great party!"

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