Armstrong, StrongLand, Allegheny Valley chambers of commerce merging
The Armstrong, StrongLand and Allegheny Valley chambers of commerce announced Tuesday that the three are merging into a vast regional chamber of commerce.
Announced Tuesday evening at the Belmont Complex in East Franklin, the tentatively titled Allegheny Kiski Regional Chamber of Commerce, or AKRCC, would include about 770 businesses throughout 70 municipalities the northeast corner of Allegheny County, northern Westmoreland County, and in all of Armstrong County.
Frank Amato II, board member of the StrongLand Chamber and spokesman for the steering committee of the merging groups, said poor economic conditions for businesses throughout the region necessitated the merger.
He said arrangements have been in the works for about a year.
“When we began this process, all three chambers had read the writing on the wall,” Amato said. “The writing told the story of declining membership, diminishing revenues and eventual extinction if the chambers continued on their current paths.
“We're being forced to reinvent ourselves, just as businesses do every day.”
Speaking before about 50 regional business owners and officials, including Armstrong County Commissioners Bob Bower and Dave Battaglia, Amato was optimistic that the decision will provide many benefits.
“This merger will provide us with financial savings in the areas of administration, finance and record-keeping,” he said. “It will also allow the chambers to eliminate redundant services and provide our members with renewed focus on member benefits.”
He said the merger “will provide our members and communities with a stronger, more strategic voice to legislators, developers, planners and consumers.”
Noting that the merger is still in its infancy, Amato announced 14 regional board members representing each of the chambers who will develop a strategic plan that will determine how the new chamber will operate, staff duties and a central location.
Armstrong County board members include Dawn Kocher-Taylor, Herman Krummert, Fred Orozco and Alex Stockmal.
Lynda Pozzuto, president of the Armstrong County Chamber of Commerce, said a larger, merged chamber will be extremely beneficial to small and large businesses throughout the county.
“I'm really excited about it,” she said. “The Armstrong Chamber of Commerce had 230 members, and now we're going to have over 700.
“We were doing fine and we could've just kept maintaining for many years to come, but that's not our goal. Our goal is to do the most we possibly can for our members, and this will give us the ability to do that.”
“I'm pumped,” said Curt Marino, chairman of the Allegheny Valley Chamber of Commerce. “It's a great opportunity to pool our strengths for the greater good of our membership. We're now in a position to create and enhance programs we already have in place and create new programs to continue to offer more benefits to our members.”
Amato said he's hopeful the new chamber will draw more members.
“We extend our welcome to other chambers and invite businesses that aren't currently members of any chamber to join this regional chamber,” he said. “Ask any member of the steering committee or this regional board, and they will tell you without reservation that this is the right choice for our chambers. Regionalization will keep us operating for many years to come.”
The merged chamber of commerce is aiming to begin operations by Jan. 1.
Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Numine man escapes tragedy when car slides down bank into river
- Another threat yields no bomb at Armstrong high school
- Ford City council overrides veto, police cuts stay
- East Franklin meeting focuses on Affordable Health Care Act
- Kittanning YMCA waives sign-up fee
- Armstrong school will feature two marching bands
- School building’s fate at center of Ford City worries
- Ford City spending limited by mayor’s veto
- Kittanning nonprofit offers $60K in scholarships
- Destroyed Plumcreek feed store to be rebuilt
- Snow brings hazardous driving to Armstrong County