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Newmarket, East Gwillimbury chambers of commerce consider merger

'As an emerging market, we see opportunities to partner with East Gwillimbury to the benefit of both chambers,' Newmarket chamber board chair says
The Newmarket Chamber of Commerce Love Local sign. File photo/ Greg King for NewmarketToday

The Newmarket Chamber of Commerce is exploring a merger with East Gwillimbury’s chamber.

The two organizations said a merger would proceed only if it benefits membership and that all members will have the opportunity to engage and participate in the process.

Newmarket Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Chris Emanuel said the merger could bring about cost savings, and the two communities share plenty in common. 

“We have far more in common than distinct. I often say the only people that care about borders are tax collectors and politicians,” Emanuel said. “For the consumer, it’s borderless.” 

There is no definitive timeline for the process, the two chambers said. They have hired a consultant to oversee the process to examine the issues, including events, streamlining governance, financial sustainability and improving communications.

An East Gwillimbury Chamber of Commerce board member approached Newmarket with the idea, Emanuel said. After that, both boards discussed it, and each board voted to proceed with an exploration phase.

“As an emerging market, we see opportunities to partner with East Gwillimbury to the benefit of both chambers,” Newmarket chamber board chair Seana Fardy said in a news release.

There have been no discussions with other chambers about mergers, Emanuel said. But regardless, he added that they hope to have better partnerships with other neighbouring chambers like Aurora.

While there are many details yet to be determined in the event of a merger, Emanuel said, if it goes ahead, there would be a corresponding rebranding.

“If you go down the road and the merger does make sense, there will be a consideration to a unifying brand,” he said. 

East Gwillimbury chamber board chair Lori Woodyatt said the two chambers would be stronger together.

“I’m hopeful this exploratory process will highlight opportunities we have to better deliver results for our members,” Woodyatt said in a news release.