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Todd Zabel, Published February 05 2010

Now is time to unite chambers

With the recent announcement of the West Fargo Area Chamber of Commerce executive director’s resignation, it is time to give serious consideration to merging with the Chamber of Commerce of Fargo-Moorhead.

After years of steady growth, the West Fargo Chamber, like many nonprofits, is experiencing loss of membership due to the challenging economy affecting small businesses and must now search for its third director in recent years.

Other companies working through this business cycle are analyzing their budgets and trimming costs where necessary. Many of those businesses belong to both chambers, and certainly there is an argument that can be made for duplication of services provided by both chambers.

A united voice with a common goal will best serve the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo metro area when it comes to economic development and promoting the region.

The West Fargo Area Chamber of Commerce has done an admirable job of supporting our growing community, but the West Fargo community will continue to grow and prosper given its unique characteristics, and a merger will concentrate our resources while providing the same or enhanced services to its members.

I urge the Fargo-Moorhead Chamber to extend a general invitation to the West Fargo Chamber board of directors, an invitation that promotes unifying the two chambers while preserving West Fargo’s concern over losing its identity as a bedroom community to Fargo-Moorhead. A mutually beneficial partnership with our sister cities is the right direction to go.

Instead of trying to divide and conquer, let’s find a way to unite and speak with one voice on important economic and political issues affecting our business community.

Zabel is president, West Fargo State Bank & Trust.