At their core, Chambers of Commerce strive to be the voice of the Business Industry. They set a standard for vigorous social networking and aggressive problem solving that the Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce still strives to improve upon today. On July 1st the two local Chambers made a commitment that strengthened both organizations when they officially merged.
“It gives us a larger voice,” said Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce President Sue Reed. “One of the prime focuses [of the Chamber] is to be the voice of the business community. The more numbers you have, the louder the voice.”
The Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce now has over 700 members to represent. President Reed made it her goal to speak one on one with each of the new members in the first 30 days of the merger.
The two chambers had their first informal meeting at the Lakes of the Four Seasons Clubhouse so the previously Winfield members could meet their extended family in a less overwhelming setting.
Fred Triezenberg of New Buffalo Savings Bank is one of the Chamber members transitioning from Winfield to Crossroads.
“I think it’s a great move,” he said. “Why overlap all those services when we’ve each got something we can offer each other? It’s an opportunity to mix with more people and reunite with people I’ve known in the past.”
Laura Certa, Division Business Developer for Trilogy Health Services and a long time member of the Crossroads Chamber, agreed that the merger was fabulous for both communities.
“The chamber is about getting to do business with people you know and trust. You really have to look at Chamber relationships as ‘you get what you put in,’” said Certa. “You have to go out and make it happen. I’m excited to have a larger group to work with.”
The members from the former Winfield Chamber are eager to expand their connections and with that, their business. They are also excited about the contribution the Crossroads Chamber can give to their annual fundraiser.
One of the programs offered by the Winfield Chamber that will remain the same is their scholarship program. Every year they host a golf fundraiser that earns enough money to fund three scholarships. The money goes to students from the Winfield community, no matter what high school in the region they attend.
Being a part of the Crossroads Chamber means the fundraiser will be able to assist even more students with college tuition.
Pat Hedge, a financial advisor for Edward Jones, was the President of the Winfield Chamber of Commerce. It was he that reached out to Crossroads with the idea of a merger.
“It allows our members more exposure,” Hedge said, “And the opportunity to support many of the businesses Crossroads already represents. One of my goals is to be able to have Crossroads members come support our business, and they’ve done good at reaching out so far.”
The Winfield Chamber was a mostly volunteer organization, with one part time paid employee. “We thought the chamber needed more attention,” said Hedge.
So instead of re-staffing that position when it was vacated, Hedge turned to a Chamber that had an entire staff dedicated to keeping the Crossroads Chamber of Commerce running.
“We’re here to help,” President Reed told her members, old and new. “So please don’t hesitate to call.”
For more information on the Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce, click here.