After Months of Talks, Greater Keene & Peterborough Chambers Close to Merging
Keene, N.H – The Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce are close to becoming one regional Chamber. Earlier this year, boards of both Chambers voted to proceed with the idea, forming task forces to conduct due diligence and work out other details. The new Chamber will have close to 700 member organizations.
“The two Chambers have collaborated on a number of events together in recent years, so this is really a natural next step,” said Tom Minkler, from Clark-Mortenson Insurance in Keene, and Chair of the Board of the Greater Keene Chamber. “The Chambers have very similar missions, and there are economies of scale we believe will benefit the business community throughout the Monadnock Region. Our Chamber already has members in more than 40 communities, and our Chambers also have a number of members in common.”
“We have worked collaboratively as sister organizations in the Monadnock Region for several years. The pandemic of 2020 has demonstrated the importance of a strong group to represent the business community, and we believe we can do that most efficiently and effectively going forward as one regional organization,” added Patty Blake, from Peoples United Bank, and Co-Chair of the Board of the Greater Peterborough Chamber.
The idea of Chambers merging is not new, nor unusual. It’s happening all over the country, as well as in New Hampshire. In the past year, the Souhegan and Merrimack Chambers have merged, as have the Lebanon and Hanover Chambers, an organization now known as the Upper Valley Business Alliance.
A number of details are yet to be worked out, such as what the newly evolved organization will be called, and how the events each Chamber has sponsored in the past will be presented in the future. But the integration has begun. In October, two members of the board of the Greater Peterborough Chamber, Patty Blake and Karen Hatcher, were elected to the board of the Greater Keene Chamber.
“This is an exciting time for all of us,” says Phil Suter, the current President/CEO of the Greater Keene Chamber who will continue to be the President/CEO of the new organization. “Much of what we do has a regional flavor to it. We have a lot of work to do, but we have great volunteer leadership, and I’m confident we’ll gain efficiencies with this new business model, without losing the local flavor we value so much in each of our communities. We’ll be engaging our members in the months ahead, to hear their thoughts and ideas. It is for our members that we exist, and we are committed to providing meaningful value to them, large and small.