The Lone Tree Chamber of Commerce will merge with the South Metro Denver Chamber effective in July.
According to a recent email to Lone Tree residents sent by Linda Kolstad, chair of the Lone Tree chamber's board of directors, the South Metro chamber will retain its name. The “Lone Tree Business Coalition" will be seen as a Lone Tree-specific advisory board to the South Metro chamber.
Bob Golden, president and CEO of the South Metro chamber, referred to it as a "finger on the pulse" of the South Metro chamber workings.
“There is power in numbers,” Kolstad wrote in the email. “More members mean more opportunities to network, greater exposure for Chamber members and the ability to offer exceptional speakers (and) programming and business training.”
Golden said several businesses owners are sensitive to the use of "merger" and said "an alliance" would better describe the combining of the two chambers.
The South Metro chamber, which is based at the Streets at SouthGlenn shopping center in Centennial, will grow to about 835 members with the addition of the Lone Tree chamber's roughly 135. The consolidation would allow for a wider range of networking opportunities and an expanded level of services to current Lone Tree chamber members. Those services include meetings and conferences with high-profile speakers and events like South Metro's "The Tank," a competition similar to the TV series "Shark Tank" in which nonprofits compete for a $20,000 prize.
Golden said despite relative size, the deal would not impede on the desires of any Lone Tree members.
"We have a responsibility to stay out in front of that and, I think, be sensitive to the type of things they may want and need that we may not be aware of," Golden said. "It'd be very hard to find a scenario where it isn't beneficial to do."
The South Metro chamber is active in state legislation and has taken a collective position on more than 100 issues, from business-specific policies to transportation, according to Golden.
Lone Tree's population of about 15,000 typically reaches nearly 30,000 during work days due to a large number of commuters and shoppers. The annexation of Park Meadows mall in 2006 and the growth of the Charles Schwab campus near I-25 on Lincoln Avenue have allowed Lone Tree to develop into a metro-area economic powerhouse. The location and rapid expansion of the two areas, Golden said, makes for a fitting relationship.
"The most exciting part of all of this is Lone Tree," Golden said. "We're sitting in such a vibrant, growing area."
Jeff Howell, economic development director for the City of Lone Tree, said the Lone Tree Chamber of Commerce has not had a full staff for nearly a year. The process has been in the works for about the same amount of time. The enlarged chamber will have one staff and one membership system.
“(It's) beneficial to have a singular voice representing the business community,” Howell said.
Kolstad pointed to better representation in the South Metro chamber as a major benefit of the merger. She said special events and ribbon cuttings will continue and events will be hosted at the Lone Tree Arts Center and CU South Denver campus.
“Joining together our resources is good business sense and ensures we are better stewards of your membership dollars,” Kolstad wrote to close the email. “Our desire is to provide you with exceptional value for your membership and we believe this partnership positions us well for the future with many exciting opportunities ahead of us”
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