With a new name, a new logo and a new brand, the Palms West and Greater Lake Worth chambers of commerce officially announced their long-planned merger at a luncheon Monday, Feb. 27.
Now known as the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce, the organization will extend its reach from the western communities to the coast, offering businesses increased exposure, marketing and services.
“We are observing today not a victory but a celebration of new opportunities,” CEO Jaene Miranda said. “It’s symbolizing an end to what we have known for 28 years at the Palms West Chamber of Commerce and 100 years at the Greater Lake Worth Chamber of Commerce. More importantly, it’s a new beginning, signifying renewal as well as change.”
Miranda said that the merger was born out of a passion for business, for economic development and for a strong community and chamber.
“Once in a while, an opportunity comes along that can change everything,” she said. “We dared to imagine the possibilities. Who would have known that a conversation on a warm July evening… would lead us here.”
She called it a historic moment. “This moment will go down in history,” Miranda said. “You can say that you were here for this moment.”
Merging the two chambers was no easy task, and Miranda credited a dedicated team of passionate individuals from each chamber.
The group included Bland Eng, Rachelle Crane, Terri Wescott and Frank Gonzalez from the Palms West Chamber, and Rick Tourville, Greg Rice, Roger Manning and Dan Perrin from the Lake Worth Chamber.
Carmine Priore III, chairman of the Palms West Chamber, noted that the merger is a way for both chambers to continue to thrive in a changing economy, allowing for improved services.
“I think that we can all agree that the business world we operate in today is much different than it was 28 years ago,” he said, “and especially 100 years ago. Not only are we facing tough economic challenges, but we are moving through a more diverse, global environment. Businesses that choose not to change will be challenged.”
Tourville, chairman of the Greater Lake Worth Chamber, said that members would have increased marketing opportunities.
“Usually when something seems too good to be true, it is,” he said, “but this is a different story.”
The Central Palm Beach County Chamber will encompass 1,200 businesses, offering 57 networking events, 12 signature events, five educational programs and six membership support programs, Tourville said.
The expansion will also afford the chamber a larger sphere of influence in governmental issues, Priore said. The chamber now represents one-third of the incorporated municipalities in Palm Beach County — nearly 400,000 residents.
Tourville said that members of both chambers could now enjoy those benefits.
“It does not matter whether you are members of the Palms West Chamber or the Greater Lake Worth Chamber, or maybe both,” he said. “The bottom line is that this merger delivers the benefits of the new organization to its members that would not have been realized by these individual entities.”
Though its new web site remains under construction, information about the Central Palm Beach Chamber can be found at www.cpbchamber.com or the “Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce” page on Facebook.