EDITORIAL: Chamber mergers could build strength

2012-10-11T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Chamber mergers could build strength nwitimes.com
October 11, 2012 12:00 am  • 

The Hobart and Lake Station chambers of commerce are discussing a merger. That's a worthy pursuit.

"It makes all the sense in the world," said Hobart Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mike Adams.

Adams said he broached the idea of a possible merger to Lake Station chamber members at a few meet-and-greets with Hobart chamber members.

William Eaton, Lake Station's chamber board president, said his chamber has a committee discussing joint activities.

Lake Station's chamber has 59 members; the Hobart chamber has more than 300.

Adams said he has also talked to representatives of the Crossroads Chamber of Commerce. Crossroads was formed when the Crown Point and Merrillville chambers merged at the start of 2010.

Adams is interested in a consolidation that would also include Winfield and Portage.

A merger would mean businesses wouldn't have to join as many chambers. It also means fewer chamber executives would be needed.

A larger chamber of commerce also means better opportunity for networking and collaboration, which builds stronger communities.

The creation of the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce set a decade ago the chamber mergers in motion. That was when the East Chicago and Hammond chambers merged.

Since then, the Lakeshore Chamber membership has grown dramatically, many more than the two chambers had before. It's proof of the synergy that can happen through a merger.

If the Hobart and Lake Station chambers merge, with or without other chambers included, it would be following in the footsteps of previous mergers in Lake County. The creation of the Lakeshore and Crossroads chambers of commerce had good results.

We encourage the Hobart and Lake Station chambers, as well as others, to pursue this merger.

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