The New Britain and Berlin Chamber of Commerce will affiliate in a historic regional partnership. According to William F. Millerick, president of the New Britain Chamber, the groundbreaking new partnership will mean that area businesses can belong to a larger, local Chamber with one membership fee.
“It won’t cost members any more, but they’ll get a larger, regional business market and all the benefits of a full-service Chamber as part of their membership, “ Millerick said.
In November, the Berlin Chamber had announced that due to the economy, it would not be able to continue operating on a day to day basis and was closing its doors.
“For many businesses and non-profit organizations, Chamber membership is critical to their success and the potential loss of the Berlin Chamber was a troubling development, not only for Berlin but for the region,” Millerick said. “We began discussions with Berlin leadership, and also encouraged them to speak with other Chambers to ensure they looked at all of their options. To me, what always drove the discussions was simply, what would be best for member businesses. My feeling was that a regional Chamber, that has a local flavor and gives members a greater footprint and all the services at the same price is perfect.”
The new affiliation will mean modifying the name of the organizations. It will now be the Greater New Britain Chamber – New Britain, Berlin. “We are all very proud of our communities, so we didn’t want to lose the identity,” he said.
Millerick also announced that to launch the new affiliation, Berlin businesses will be offered a special, half price membership incentive for the first year.
“It’s called “100 for $100” and it will mean that the first 100 Berlin businesses who join the new affiliation can join for half price, just $100 for the first year,” he said.
“Berlin members have gone through a lot in the past year and leadership from both organizations thought it would be helpful to offer an incentive to let them know not only that we appreciate their loyalty but to help them see all the benefits of a full service Chamber that they may not be aware of,” Millerick said.
“My sense is that Berlin businesses will discover that being part of a regional Chamber with a local flavor can be an enormous benefit, especially in this economy. I think we’ll see not only a lot of Berlin members support this affiliation but we’ll see a lot of businesses that may have been on the sidelines join in the effort.”
“In this economy, the tools and services of Chambers like ours can be a tremendous boost, a relatively small investment,” he said.
Millerick credited the leadership of both Chambers’ Boards of Directors and the support of the two Boards in bringing the two organizations together.
“Ron Buccili, chair in New Britain and Atty. Richard Pentore, chair in Berlin have been wise and patient and thorough. The support of Board leadership, John Miller in New Britain and Paul Smith and Tom Satalino in Berlin has been critical in ironing out details and identifying areas that needed to be addressed.”
A group of Board members from each Chamber will form an advisory committee to oversee the partnership going forward. Additionally, the New Britain Chamber Board of Directors will now be expanded to include Berlin representatives.
Buccilli said one of the critical factors in the future of partnership was expanding the networking opportunities for member businesses.
“We think our already successful networking tools will be boosted immeasurably for all of the members,” Buccilli said.
Miller credited the experience and professionalism of the Berlin Chamber leadership in helping to successfully craft the agreement.
“Berlin businesses should know that their representatives really worked hard to ensure that the Berlin Chamber would be a part of the region in coming years. They have been a pleasure to work with.”
Atty. Richard H. Pentore, chair of the Berlin Board said, “We are enthusiastic about the prospects of the affiliation and the resources that will be available to our members. The Berlin and New Britain communities have a historical link, making this merger both logical and convenient for our members.”
Longtime Berlin Chamber member and Board member, Paul Smith said, “Being involved in the Berlin Chamber for more than 10 years, this is a natural fit for us and our Chamber members. The Greater New Britain Chamber will have more people for our Berlin members to network with. I am so looking forward to this new opportunity for all of us.”
The affiliation takes place immediately. For further information on the affiliation or the special “100 for $100” Berlin business membership incentive, contact Teresa Riccio, Membership Coordinator, 860-229-1665, ext. 210 or teresa@newbritainchamber.