Promoting Economic Vitality
The mission of the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce is to represent our members by promoting economic vitality and fostering a socially and culturally diverse Over-the-Rhine Community. The OTR Chamber stays responsive to the needs of members and the community, and we accomplish our mission through the following ways:
Marketing and Communications
The Over-the-Rhine Chamber seeks to improve attitudes and perceptions about OTR, and increase visitation to the neighborhood. The Chamber has been responsible for creating signature events including the Annual Star Awards, Second Sunday on Main, the OTR 5k and Summer Celebration, and The Malice Ball, bringing thousands of visitors and potential shoppers to the district. In partnership with the merchant associations and other organizations, the OTR Chamber leads an annual holidays campaign with special events. Year-round, it convenes Over-the-Rhine merchant associations on a monthly basis to better connect and cross promote the business districts.
Business Attraction and Retention
The Over-the-Rhine Chamber supports existing and potential businesses of OTR to maintain sustainable businesses, increase employment opportunities, and animate the streets and sidewalks of OTR. Our Business First Grant (BFG) program, a competitive award program whereby new businesses to OTR can apply for up to $20,000 in matching funds, benefits the city by strengthening the local economy, increasing pedestrian traffic and growing jobs in OTR. To date, the OTR Chamber through its supporting partners has invested $350,000 in new businesses. Recipients of BFG include Senate, MOTR Pub, mica 12/v, Park + Vine, and Pho Lang Thang, among others. Our Business Innovation Challenge is administered by our Business Attraction and Retention Committee. The program seeks to award $1,000 grants to businesses with an innovative idea for how to spend it, with a focus on growing new products and services in Over-the-Rhine. All existing businesses located in Over-the-Rhine (as defined by the City of Cincinnati) are eligible to apply.
The OTR Chamber develops initiatives in partnership with the City of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Police, business and property owners, residents, and its members and stakeholders, to enhance the quality of life for the community. Monthly safety meetings, attended by the Cincinnati Police and facilitated by the OTR Chamber, are solution-oriented meetings open to all OTR stakeholders to attend. Other initiatives include the No Trespass sign program, with more than 900 properties participating.
The OTR Chamber was formed in 1985 as a 501c6 organization. It created the OTR Revitalization Corporation, a 501c3, in 2000 to tap into the grants and fiscal gifts available. The organizations work hand in hand to bring resources, events, commerce and awareness to the 360-acre neighborhood.