The Cheney Chamber of Commerce has changed its name to the West Plains Chamber of Commerceand says it now will represent the business interests in all of western Spokane County.
Already, the organization is attending to details as diverse as considering updating its bylaws to make sure that Airway Heights and Medical Lake are represented on its board of directors and changing the name on the giant scissors it uses at ceremonial ribbon cuttings, says chamber President-elect Pat Isbell.
He says the chamber is sketching out new plans for its future, is developing a new budget, and is recruiting new members. Within the next six months, it would like to hire a full-time executive director, which it currently doesnt have.
We dont know exactly how things will take shape, Isbell says. He says, however, that as the organization carves out a larger role for itself he is confident the chamber can build on its past successes, when it in served just the community of Cheney.
Our organization is ready to do it, outgoing chamber President John Fryling says of the expansion. Wed like to be a third regional player with the Spokane Area Chamber of Commerce and the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber decided to expand and change its name at a special board meeting last month, after contemplating such a move for at least a year. Last fall, the Cheney chamber asked the West Plains Business Association to consider merging with it to create an organization that would represent the entire West Plains area. A committee made up of members from the chamber, the business association, and businesspeople from Medical Lake, which disbanded its chamber of commerce early this year because of lack of member participation, had developed a draft plan for the proposed organization this summer.
Then, in an advisory vote on the merger in October, fewer than 30 percent of the West Plains Business Associations 90 members voted. That organizations board felt it couldnt approve a merger when so few of its members had voted and decided to remain independent, says Dick Russell, president of the business association.
Our organization fills a need, he says, and it will continue to have monthly meetings that feature a speaker and networking opportunities. It also will work with the expanded West Plains chamber, and the business associations president will be an ex-officio member of the chamber board, he says.
The Cheney chamber has been in existence for more than 50 years and currently has about 130 members.
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