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To Merge or Not? What Chamber and Economic Development Pros Have to Say About This Recurring Question

September 11, 2019

Category: White Papers

To Merge or Not? What Chamber and Economic Development Pros Have to Say About This Recurring Question



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This trend is often driven by another important trend – regionalism. For example, the Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce and the Southwestern Michigan Economic Growth Alliance merged in 2019 to form the Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce – an organization that will promote economic development in a region that spans two states. Independently, these organizations were advocating for their own economic development interests but realized they could be far more effective as a regional organization, especially when it comes to business attraction. “Whenever we’re working with site selection consultants or working with companies about locating to new sites or buildings, they don’t care about arbitrary municipal boundaries or even state lines. They care about what the work force is going to look like within a 30-mile drive of this dot on the map,” said Barkley Garrett, Director of Economic Development for the Greater Niles Chamber. By merging the two organizations, Garrett and his colleagues will be better able to address the needs of executives and site selectors. This notion that smaller communities can and should compete much more effectively through closer collaboration has and will continue to drive discussions of organizational consolidations and mergers.




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"On behalf of the officers and directors of the Economic Development Alliance, I want to thank you and your staff for the great job NCDS did in helping restructure the Alliance, and for successful management of the fundraising campaign that fully funded our five-year action plan. The NCDS process and format delivered exactly what you said it would do when you met with Alliance members over eighteen months ago. The NCDS process engaged top regional private and public sector leaders and attracted financial support from large and small companies and communities throughout the region."

Brian Ferguson, Chairman & CEO (Retired) • Eastman Chemical Company

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