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Chamber merger positive move

The merger of the West Fargo Area Chamber of Commerce and Fargo Moorhead Chamber will become official five weeks from now after vote tallies of membership revealed a large majority on both sides in favor of combining the two groups.

An excellent complement to an already 50-plus year run by the West Fargo organization intent on promoting the community first known for its meat-packing prowess and in the past decade shifting the focus to its reputation as the ever-expanding city on the grow.

Since the vote made the merger official, those we have talked to say they are excited and looking forward to the new array of opportunities the larger, merged organization will afford.

Throughout the merger discussion the one common bit of opposition that rang through loud and clear was the fear of loss of identity if a merger occurred.

We believe that fear is unfounded. West Fargo will continue to thrive as a member of the newly merged organization. West Fargo has a unique identity that is not going to dissolve, fade away or become obscure, just because the two organizations have decided to unite.

West Fargo businesses will continue to flourish thanks to their loyal customer base, their stellar and influential business practices, and the great service offerings they have cultivated through the years.

West Fargo will also maintain its identity on the board of directors when four members of the present board are seated along with the FM group, playing a vested, influential role in the decision making of the merged board, with the best interest of the entire membership in mind.

The identity factor will also continue to flourish through the promotion of seasoned and popular West Fargo events, like the upcoming annual West Fest celebration. Even though they may no longer end up being chamber promoted events, we have already heard it said from a couple of very reliable entities that they are willing to step up to the plate and take over the coordination of these events to ensure their longevity.

There was also talk that West Fargo members would like to see the town's name included in the new chamber logo. The newly merged chamber will be called the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo Chamber, a decision that will stand at least for the time being, until the board pursues a more all-encompassing regional name, indicated as part of a longer range plan.

Another identity issue was the physical presence of a chamber office in the West Fargo community, at least one certainly closer than Moorhead, to not only serve chamber members but members of the community as well, who often turned to the organization for information and business referrals. That too will happen, with retention of the present Chamber office in the Lodoen Community Center, at least until May of 2011, when the idea will be revisited and evaluated.

On that note, businesses will also still be able to 'identify' with chamber staff as the two West Fargo employees will be remaining in their present roles as part of the merged organization.

What is also worth mentioning is that several members of the West Fargo Chamber are also members of the Fargo Moorhead Chamber, so there is already a familiarity and huge positive impact in terms of what these members are already bringing to the table on behalf of the West Fargo business community.

It goes without saying that each and every member of the West Fargo Chamber has been key to the organization's long-term success as it operated independently. These members will also be key to its success as it operates as part of a greater whole.

Included on this roster are well over 150 businesses unique to the West Fargo Chamber, all core and vital to the chambers everyday existence.

It's easy to understand the uncertainty and fear connected with change, but in this instance, it appears that the change is being welcomed for the most part with open arms as a new venue for growth made possible by merging the two chambers into an even more fortified regional Chamber of Commerce.