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Published April 09 2010

Fargo-Moorhead and West Fargo Chambers of Commerce may merge

The West Fargo and Fargo-Moorhead Chambers of Commerce have begun talks regarding a possible merger.

They are addressing concerns that include representation of West Fargo chamber members on a merged board of directors, retention of the West Fargo chamber office and cost of membership, said Kathy Lewin, West Fargo Area Chamber chairwoman. The two groups met on Wednesday.

“The meeting was very productive,” said Craig Whitney, president and CEO of the 1,800 member Chamber of Commerce of Fargo Moorhead. The West Fargo Area Chamber has about 400 members, Lewin said.

The next step is to do some “deep diving” into what programs each organization has, how to merge them, study dues structures and other issues, Whitney said.

“Our big concern that we found when we were polling our membership was the cost of membership,” Lewin said. “We want continuation of West Fest, Taste of West Fargo and of course Big Iron. Those are things that bring a lot of revenue to our community, so we want to continue with those.”

There is no set date for deciding the issue, Lewin said.

“Both sides really want to move on this in a fashion as quick as we can,” she said. “But we also have to slow down and take a look at the whole picture. We don’t want to move too quickly.”

Representatives of both boards plan to meet again in the next couple of weeks. Once membership structure and other issues have been discussed, a forum may be scheduled for members of both organizations to have their questions addressed, Lewin said.

“I think it would then be up to the two boards to vote on it,” Whitney said. “Overall, we are very excited and optimistic about the possibility of a merger. We think it would be very good for both memberships, for the community at large and for the business community in particular.”


Readers can reach Forum Business Editor Craig McEwen at (701) 241-5502