The Chamber of Commerce of Fargo Moorhead and West Fargo Area Chamber of Commerce announced today at a press conference that the organizations will join forces by September 1, 2010.
Four months ago, the Boards of the two organizations began discussions regarding a potential merger. Two town hall meetings were held to answer member questions about a merger would mean and members of both organizations were given the opportunity to vote.
West Fargo Chamber ballots yielded 72 percent yes vote; Fargo Moorhead Chamber ballots yielded a 98 percent yes vote.
"Today is an exciting day for both chambers and especially for the Fargo Moorhead community," said Chamber President and CEO Craig Whitney.
Chamber leaders outlined the following benefits of merging:
*Broadening the focus of a regional Chamber will make the metropolitan community shine even brighter on a national scale. Unified efforts will provide efficiencies of scale and increased value for the members.
*All members of a regional Chamber will have access to established Chamber events and programs such as the Young Professionals Network, business training and networking opportunities, and leadership programs, enriching the experience for all. An expanded membership base enhances the Chamber's ability to influence public policy issues important to the business community.
"On behalf of the Board of Directors of the West Fargo Area Chamber of Commerce and members today is an exciting day for our city, our members and the region," said Kathy Lewin, Forum Communications Printing and West Fargo Chamber Board Chair. "Both organizations share the same mission and passion for helping area businesses succeed."
Fargo Moorhead Chamber Board Chair Karen Lauer, Barnesville Economic Development Authority, spoke of the message she sees this collaborative effort sending to the business community and region at large.
"The merged Chamber will make our community stronger by creating partnerships and fostering relationships across a wide geographical area and a diverse group of industries," Lauer said. "In today's global economy, we all need to work together to position our region as a hub of education, technology and quality of life. A strong regional chamber is a catalyst to help make this happen."
The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce is a bi-state, regional federation of private, public and nonprofit members. The Chamber advocates for a strong metropolitan community and supports the interests of its members, which are located in Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo, Dilworth, Cass and Clay Counties and beyond.