Chris Farren is fairly new to Milton, but he has embraced the town full-on, quickly rising to become the new president of the Milton Chamber of Commerce.
Farren, owner of CWS Promotions, which makes branded apparel and promotional items, joined the chamber in 2019. Having served on nonprofit boards in his home state of New Jersey, Farren had a lot of ideas for how to help the chamber grow. He joined forces with Randy Brown and Sam Weiland, who both work in Milton, to run as a slate for seats on the chamber’s board.
“I love being involved in the organization,” he said. “It’s not that we want to change everything, but we want to pump some new energy in the organization.”
One of the changes Farren and the new board members want to make is improved communication with the Milton business community. He said improving messaging is one of his biggest challenges as president.
“There were a lot of communications that either weren’t getting out or the members did not know who to communicate with. So we’ve made it a cornerstone to get out and see the current members. We want to be a better partner in the community,” he said.
Farren said another important item was to improve the chamber’s financial situation. He said once the fiscal house is in order, the plan is to begin becoming more visible in the community, through signs or flower plantings around town.
“We want to increase commerce in Milton, and be a part of the growth of Milton,” Farren said.
To do that, Farren and the chamber held its first large-scale public event since the pandemic began in the form of a wine mixer at Hudson Fields April 22. The event drew a solid crowd, with food by SmashMouth Burgers food truck and music by Jeff Evans.
Farren said the chamber had tried holding a mixer in September, but it had to be canceled after coronavirus cases began surging again in Delaware. He said the April mixer was much needed to help get Milton businesspeople back out and about.
“We need to see each other. We need to see our neighbor again, and not on a video screen. We want to try to get people back out,” Farren said.
The chamber’s next big event will be the return of the Horseshoe Crab and Shorebird Festival on Saturday, May 29, at the Milton Historical Society lot on Union Street.
“We’ve got to get back to normal at some point,” Farren said.
He said if the pandemic has shown anything, it’s that tourism in Delaware is not just about the beaches anymore, which works in favor of a town like Milton.
“People want to do destinations where they can get away by themselves. They don’t necessarily want to be standing on top of one another at amusement parks all the time. Milton offers that nice avenue to get out of the mainstream and get into more of a country life,” Farren said.