Chamber launched to target Westminster

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There’s a new chamber in town: the Westminster Chamber of Commerce. With five businesses already in the directory, the new organization was developed to promote, support and connect member businesses and organizations to the residents of Westminster through technology, cooperation and community, according to the website, http://westminsterchamber.biz.

One notable person leading the efforts to develop another chamber is city councilor, and Westminster mayor candidate, Bob Briggs, who said there is no one organization that represents all of Westminster. He says the Metro North Chamber of Commerce, established in 1959, does not adequately represent the entire Westminster community.

“We need some organization that promotes the city as a whole, on both sides of the magical line called Sheridan Boulevard,” Briggs said. “The Metro North Chamber does a good job representing the Adams County half of Westminster, but they do not promote Westminster as a total city.”

Briggs said he’s been thinking about another chamber for three years and it’s taken a long time to get the pieces together to finally have the Westminster Chamber come to fruition. Although the chamber news is catching the attention of the community during election season, Briggs said the launch of the chamber is not part of his campaign race of mayor.

“If we could have launched before this time, we would have,” he said.

One person taken by surprise by the news of the Westminster Chamber of Commerce is Metro North Chamber of Commerce CEO Deb Obermeyer. She said the idea seemed to come “out of the blue, with no real explanation of problems Briggs wants to address or benefits that the business community would gain.” She said her office has fielded many calls from Metro North Chamber members wondering what Briggs is trying to accomplish.

“We have always had a good relationship with Mr. Briggs,” Obermeyer said. “It only stands to reason that this proposal would do more harm than good, since it would fracture all our efforts toward regionalism.”

The Metro North Chamber, which represents over 900 businesses in 13 cities, is still fully endorsed by the city of Westminster, according to Westminster mayor Nancy McNally. She said the chamber has been a strong strategic partner in the city’s efforts to establish and maintain a healthy economic base.

“We appreciate the chamber’s collaborative approach to the resolution of regional issues and Westminster businesses have benefited greatly over the years from their involvement with the Metro North Chamber,” she said. “As a city we are concerned that people won’t know the difference between the chambers and be confused.”

Currently the Westminster Chamber is only operating virtually. But Briggs said after enough members join, he hopes to have a storefront in the future.

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