By Mary Hladky
The Boca Raton and Boynton Beach chambers of commerce have merged, with Boca’s chamber taking over economic development efforts in Boynton.
The two chambers announced the merger on Jan. 24, and the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce has retained former Greater Boynton Beach Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jonathan Porges during an indefinite transition period.
“We are happy the Boynton chamber had confidence in us,” said Boca chamber President and CEO Troy McLellan. “We will take over the operations and bring our resources into that community and deliver them there.”
To avoid disruption, the Boynton chamber’s office will remain open at 1880 N. Congress Ave. until the end of the year, after which other options will be considered. Events scheduled by the Boynton chamber will be held as planned.
The Boynton chamber’s name also will be retained for the time being.
“The Boca chamber is renowned as a highly professional organization which provides immense value to its members,” Porges said in a release. “The Boynton chamber is proud to be joining forces with this respected institution to take our collective member services and business advocacy to the next level.”
Preliminary conversations about a possible merger started during the summer with both chambers conducting “a great deal of due diligence” before culminating a deal, McLellan said.
The merger is a continuation of a national and local trend toward consolidation of chambers of commerce, he said.
For example, Palm Beach North was founded in 2007 as the result of a merger between the Jupiter Tequesta Juno Beach Chamber of Commerce and the North Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce and now serves 10 cities.
Sales, marketing, accounting and other operations can be melded and streamlined, saving money and improving efficiency and effectiveness, McLellan said.
The Boca chamber has discussed a merger with Delray Beach’s chamber in the past, but not recently, he said.
“If we feel like there is a path to go forward, absolutely we will go forward,” he said.
Boynton chamber members will gain access to the Boca chamber’s services, including programming, free professional development seminars, networking and representation by a political action committee that lobbies for members’ business interests and supports pro-business political candidates.
“It is our desire to make Boynton a community where a business can continue to be successful,” McLellan said.
Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer said the merger is a positive for his city.
“It expands the ability for our businesses to reach a new market and for greater collaboration within the region centered on Boca,” he said.