The Brainerd Lakes Area and Pequot Lakes/Breezy Point Chambers of Commerce offices could combine as one chamber sometime in the future.
Lisa Paxton, Brainerd Lakes Area Chambers of Commerce CEO, said the two organizations have explored options to merge as one chamber. The two chambers serve the same communities and by merging there would be less duplication of services and increased team efforts and advocacy of business communities, said Paxton.
Ryan Buell, Pequot Lakes-Breezy Point Chamber of Commerce president, said the organizations are looking at what they could do together to be more efficient, such as shared marketing.
"I think the chamber itself would benefit (from a possible merger)," said Buell. "This would be an opportunity for our membership to explore ... There could be major benefits, but also a potential of problems, such as identity."
Buell said 30 percent of the estimated 215 chamber members in Pequot Lakes and Breezy Point, are already members of the Brainerd Lakes Area chamber.
In the Brainerd Lakes Area Chambers, of Commerce, with offices in Brainerd and Crosslake, there are 1,085 members. Paxton said half of the members are from Brainerd and Baxter and the other half are from communities in the lakes area outside of the cities, such as in Crosby or Pillager.
A task force of four chamber members each from Brainerd and Pequot Lakes was formed. The task force will meet later this month to come up with a recommendation on whether the chambers should merge or not. The task force will review bylaws, organizational structure, budgets, marketing, public relations, business advocacy, community identity and staffing needs.
Once the task force has a recommendation on the table about a possible merger, board members of each chamber will vote.
Paxton said she could not say when the task force would complete its mission or whether the two chambers would merge. However, she said she is hopeful of a positive outcome, similar to what Brainerd has had with Crosslake. Crosslake merged with the Brainerd Lakes Area chamber in 1999.
Buell said to help the process of a possible merger, his chamber sent a survey to chamber members to get their opinions on whether the chamber is doing well as an organization; if any improvements are needed; and if members would favor a merger with Brainerd.
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