BY LAURESHA XHIHANI, REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
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.
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