Huntingburg, Ferdinand chambers explore merger

By LEANN BURKE
lburke@dcherald.com

The Huntingburg and Ferdinand chambers of commerce may merge into one.

The two groups announced this morning their plans to explore merging into a single chamber of commerce serving both Ferdinand and Huntingburg, as well as possibly the smaller communities in the county that don’t have chamber representation. The decision comes after 18 months of the two chambers working together on various events and projects.

“We just realized how similar the missions of the Ferdinand and Huntingburg chambers are,” said Sara Schroeder, executive director of the Huntingburg Chamber of Commerce.

By merging, the two entities would be able to share resources more successfully and better represent the businesses in the area, Schroeder said.

Besides working out the details of a merger, the only concern so far has been maintaining each community’s identity while working as a single chamber.

“That’s probably the main concern we have,” said Mike Blume, president of the Ferdinand Chamber.

To mediate the concern, the two groups have looked at chambers in neighboring counties that cover multiple communities. The Spencer County Chamber of Commerce, for example, represents the entire county. Going forward, Schroeder said, having a unified chamber shouldn’t hinder each community’s individuality.

“A true chamber of commerce is here to support those identities,” she said. “We’re not defining them.”

The next step is to form a committee made up of Ferdinand and Huntingburg chamber members and community members to gather feedback about a merger and hammer out the details. No final decisions have been made, but Schroeder said if a merger does take place, the goal is to have it completed by the 2020 membership year. 




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