Prospects good for increases at Cheshire chamber


CHESHIRE — The Cheshire Chamber of Com­merce is trying to fill a void left by the disbanding Prospect Chamber of Com­merce.

The Prospect group folded in October after more than 50 years, saying the tough econo­my was to blame. It had about 130 members, who were en­couraged to join either the Greater Waterbury or Cheshire cham­bers.

Cheshire wast­ed no time trying to woo new mem­bers from Prospect, send­ing a mailer inviting people to join. In early De­cember, about 35 Prospect busi­nesses held a business- after­hours event with members of the Cheshire cham­ber’s board of di­rectors at a Prospect restaurant.

Cheshire chamber Director Sheldon Dill said several businesses have since signed up with his group.

He said Prospect and Cheshire are somewhat simi­lar in size. The Cheshire chamber’s South Main Street office is only a few miles from the center of Prospect, and many businesses have clients in both towns. Dill said in down economic times, the chamber helps small businesses with mar­keting and networking.

Membership in the Cheshire chamber is about $265 per year, a bit more than the Prospect chamber’s $195 yearly fee. The Cheshire chamber has about 325 mem­bers, Dill said.

The much larger Water­bury Regional Chamber of Commerce, with more than 1,000 members, has been wooing Prospect businesses, as well.

It includes in its membership businesses in the city and 13 other surrounding towns, including Cheshire and Prospect.

To have more Prospect busi­nesses join, the Greater Water­bury chamber is offering a first year member­ship rate of $199 instead of the normal $335. Dill said the Cheshire chamber will continue its efforts to draw more Prospect businesses into its membership, including fea­turing Prospect and its busi­nesses in one of its quarterly newsletters. It will continue to mail to the former Prospect chamber members updates and news. “We want to make busi­nesses in Prospect aware of what we’re doing,” Dill said.