Members of the Lakewood and East Dallas chambers of commerce will soon vote about whether to combine the two groups and form a new chamber with a new name: the Dallas NorthEast Chamber of Commerce.
“Out of this could come one chamber, a new entity, a chamber that will serve the entire area,” says Sherryl Wesson of RE/MAX About Town, chairwoman of the East Dallas Chamber.
East Dallas Chamber members were expected to meet in late July to discuss the possibility of joining forces and will vote near the end of August. Members of the Lakewood Chamber will discuss the possibility at this month’s noon luncheon Aug. 13 at the Lakewood Country Club, Gaston and Abrams. They will vote Sept. 10.
Both chambers must vote to merge by a two-thirds majority for the motion to carry, Wesson says.
“The possibilities would be endless,” Wesson says. “It would be a benefit to both chambers economically. It would give us the ability to eliminate a duplication of efforts.”
Merger discussions have cropped up periodically for years, Wesson says. About six months ago, members of each chamber’s executive committee began meeting to consider a merger and find solutions to potential obstacles, Wesson says.
“The obstacles would be any you would expect two businesses to have in coming together: bylaws, leadership, boards of directors, location of the office,” Wesson says.
“No firm decisions have been made. We’ve got some ideas on how we will do this, and that’s what we’ll go to our membership with. There will be a transition committee to discuss these issues.”
The East Dallas Chamber’s boundaries are Central Expressway on the west to the City limits on the east, extending slightly north of LBJ Freeway to slightly south of I-30.
In the past, the East Dallas Chamber has left most Lakewood-area business concerns to the Lakewood Chamber.
That identity has been a concern, says Bud Doxey of First Interstate Bank, past chairman and current member of the Lakewood Chamber’s board of directors.
But the new chamber is expected to continue the Lakewood Chamber’s major projects, he says, such as the “Lakewood Cares” Christmas gift drive that provides for needy families.
Doxey says he also thinks Lakewood Chamber members would benefit by being involved in some East Dallas Chamber projects, such as this month’s Taste Of East Dallas, which highlights neighborhood restaurants.
“What it really boils down to is a combined chamber with an increased number can have more influence,” Doxey says.
About a third of the Lakewood Chamber members also are members of the East Dallas Chamber, Doxey says. It’s expensive to pay dues to two organizations and hard to schedule time to attend two meetings, Doxey says.
Joining forces “makes economic sense,” he says.
For information on meetings, call the East Dallas Chamber at 321-6446 or the Lakewood Chamber at 827-8921.
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