By ANGIE FRANCALANCIA
Neighborhood News Group
Posted Dec. 12, 2011
The Palms West Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Lake Worth Chamber of Commerce are planning to merge – creating potentially the largest chamber in Palm Beach County and a regional presence for its members.
Both chamber boards approved an “intent to merge” agreement in October, which is expected to be completed in January. But Palms West Chamber CEO Jaene Miranda already has taken over daily oversight of the Lake Worth chamber.
The Lake Worth Chamber, which will be 100 years old next year, was down to one staff member after its executive director left in the spring.
The merger will give businesses of each chamber a larger networking base and greater political clout, Miranda said. Palms West has about 780 members and Lake Worth has about 420, for a combined 1,200. Only about 30 businesses were members of both.
Though each represents very different areas of Palm Beach County, the merger is expected to create a regional business presence while still respecting the individual characteristics of its member communities, Miranda said.
Each chamber office will continue to exist, giving the combined chamber a presence in both its eastern and western areas. The merger will mean a new name and identity for the combined entity, a task that’s still in the works, Miranda said.
The Palms West chamber was created by the fledgling business community in Wellington and Royal Palm Beach 28 years ago. The Palms West Chamber now represents the entire central western communities, including Loxahatchee Groves, The Acreage and Greenacres.
The Lake Worth Chamber’s identity, which dates to 1912, is synonymous with the coastal city and was created the same year the City of Lake Worth was incorporated. But many of its 450 member businesses are based outside of Lake Worth.