Make us your home page

Apollo Beach, Ruskin business chambers vote to merge

A merger between the Apollo Beach and Ruskin-SouthShore chambers of commerce came one step closer to becoming a reality last week when a majority of available members voted to proceed with the proposal.

The merger would create one, unified SouthShore Chamber of Commerce with about 400 members.

"We would now be an entity that essentially represents businesses from Big Bend Road south to County Line Road and over to Interstate 75," said Greg Conley, the president of the Apollo Beach Chamber.

The Apollo Beach Chamber approached the Ruskin-SouthShore Chamber with the idea of merging a few months ago, Conley said.

"We had been looking at ways to increase our value and increase our reach and exposure in the whole SouthShore area," Conley said. "We were able to accomplish a lot of our goals by simply moving forward with the merger."

More than 50 percent of Apollo Beach chamber members voted. Ninety-three percent of those votes were in favor of the merger. Twenty-five percent of Ruskin-SouthShore members cast votes, 97 percent of whom agreed to merge. The vote enabled the Apollo Beach Chamber to act on a letter of intent signed by both chambers.

Now, directors from both chambers will meet to work out the details, such as staffing, integration, finances, facilities and board representation, Conley said. They expect to complete the merger by July.

For business purposes, the Ruskin-SouthShore Chamber, with its board intact, will absorb the Apollo Beach Chamber, said Joel Meek, the president-elect of the Ruskin-SouthShore Chamber. Because of the chamber's building lease, this route was preferable, Meek said.

To ensure it's a merger and not an acquisition, the next four openings on the board will go to Apollo Beach members, Meek said.

Members will pay only one fee for the combined chambers, using the Ruskin-SouthShore Chamber's lower fee schedule. For those with membership in both chambers, dues already paid will be credited to use on future fees.

Though there were concerns among some members that a merger would cause either community to lose its identity, boards of both chambers are not worried.

"This is not going to become one big Ruskin or one big Apollo Beach chamber," Conley said.

There are still civic associations and other things to create a civic and community feel, both Conley and Meek said.

Instead, combining the chambers will help businesses grow because many draw customers from both areas, Meek said.

Conley pointed out that the new chamber could also profit by drawing more members to its ranks.

The chambers have attempted to merge in the past, but it didn't work out. This time around, it just seemed right, leaders from both groups said.

"We'll be more of a force in bringing businesses here and residents here as well," Conley said.

While the chambers will not officially merge until later this summer, Conley said he doesn't envision any problems arising before then.

"We don't expect there to be any show stoppers," he said. "But the bottom line is, that until we sign the merge papers, it's not a done deal."

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 661-2442.

Apollo Beach, Ruskin business chambers vote to merge 05/26/11 [Last modified: Thursday, May 26, 2011 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. One of the best places for investing in a rental house is in Tampa Bay

    Real Estate

    Two Tampa Bay ZIP Codes are drawing national attention.

    . If you're looking to invest in a house to rent out, few places are better than  ZIP Code 34607 in Hernando County's Spring Hill area, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.
 file photo]

  2. Tampa Chamber of Commerce announces small business winners


    TAMPA — The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce selected the winners of the 2017 Small Business of the Year Awards at a ceremony Wednesday night at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. More than 600 attendees celebrated the accomplishments of Tampa Bay's small business community.

    Vincent Cassidy, president and CEO of Majesty Title Services, was named Outstanding Small Business Leader of the Year by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

  3. International array of artists chosen as finalists for pier project

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — A diverse group of six artists will compete for a chance to install their work at the city's multimillion-dollar Pier District, expected to open in early 2019.

  4. Gourmet food fight between top chefs raises $200,000


    ST. PETERSBURG — The chefs came armed with their secret ingredients — pork rinds, truffle butter, pork bellies.

    (From left to right) Chefs Ryan Mitchell, Michael Buttacavoli, Ted Dorsey and Matthew Brennan compete during Tampa Bay Food Fight at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. The event features chefs from the Tampa Bay area and benefitted Metropolitan Ministries. EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times
  5. HSN star Joy Mangano promotes new book: Inventing Joy


    ST. PETERSBURG — After more than 30 years, Joy Mangano knows a thing or two about promoting products. Now she's promoting herself.

    Inventor and entrepreneur Joy Mangano is releasing her first new book, Inventing Joy on Nov. 7. [TIERRA SMITH | Times]