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Holland and Zeeland Chambers are planning to merge | Business

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Holland and Zeeland Chambers are planning to merge
Business, News
Holland and Zeeland Chambers are planning to merge

The Holland and Zeeland Chambers have decided to move ahead to merge the two organizations.  The following statement was released today (December 12) by the two chambers.

In November of 2011, the Boards of Directors for both the Holland and Zeeland Chambers unanimously approved this statement:

The Holland Area Chamber of Commerce and Zeeland Chamber of Commerce will move ahead with continuous due diligence drafting bylaws for a united organization of both Chambers of Commerce.  Bylaws will be written subject to approval by each board of directors.

For the past 24 months, the boards of the Zeeland and Holland Chambers have been reviewing ways to engage in collaborative efforts to create synergy and greater value for their members.  A Collaboration Committee, with representation from both organizations, has been meeting regularly to discuss the process and look for outcomes to benefit members.  Several collaborative programs, including Governmental Affairs Breakfasts, Tech Lunches, and the Try It Local retail marketing program, have proven successful.

This past summer, the Collaboration Committee engaged the Carl Frost Research Center of Hope College to measure the interest of Chamber members in continuing the collaboration and eventually creating a combined Chamber.  Based on the positive response, the collaboration committee sought board approval from both Chambers to formally move ahead.

"Combining resources, talents, members, and staff will produce a more vibrant, empowered organization," states Jim Schoettle, President of the Zeeland Chamber.  "With the same number of staff, we will be able to do much more for our members thanks to the elimination of duplicative work and services."

The proposed organization would retain both the Holland and Zeeland offices.  It will promote a common mission while being respectful of the distinct needs of the two communities.

As the scope of business has become increasingly global, there has been a corresponding push to become more regional in marketing business communities in an effort to "speak with one voice."  The intent is to increase regional recognition, to create improved access to regional supplier bases, and to gain attention and traction in the clutter of the marketplace.

"By joining forces, we will be able to lead the greater Holland/Zeeland area into the next phase of economic and community growth," said Jane Clark, President of the Holland Chamber.  "Our business communities are already seen as one economic area, it makes sense for the combined Chamber to deliver services to businesses along functional, not geographic lines."

The boards of both local chambers understand their mission as follows:
►  to increase area wide recognition for business members
►  to offer training, networking, and educational opportunities
►  to facilitate job creation and growth to improve the overall economic climate of the area
►  to work with schools and governmental units
►  to make this an area of choice to live, work, and be educated

The Holland Chamber currently has 1100 members, and the Zeeland Chamber has 350.  There are 150 businesses that are members of both Chambers.

On behalf of the Boards of Directors of both the Holland and Zeeland Chambers, we are excited about this opportunity, and will continue to move forward in a thoughtful and timely manner.

Jane Clark, Holland Area Chamber President
Jim Schoettle, Zeeland Chamber President

Business, News