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Friday, July 12, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

The Armstrong Chamber of Commerce is merging with the StrongLand and Allegheny Valley chambers, it was announced last month during a press conference at the Belmont Complex in West Kittanning. The chief reason for the change, touted by spokespersons, is to reduce costs for the member businesses and to keep the chamber effort viable.

The idea will make even better sense if the new Allegheny Kiski Regional Chamber of 770 businesses in northeast Allegheny, northern Westmoreland and Armstrong counties realizes that more minds will mean more talent and more creativity.

Chambers of commerce must reflect their communities, not only by reading markets but also by being active participants in their respective communities. Indeed, these efforts need to re-energized.

We believe there is a need for business to have eyes on the larger picture. Business owners must decide what makes their area unique and how it can be showcased throughout the region.

The new chamber's challenge is to keep an eye on how it can strengthen what essentially is a small-town market.

We are confident it can be done, and surely the chamber officers are resolved to do so. They can start by getting out at public meetings — of elected officials or other organizations – and talking up some new ideas.

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