Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Business

Wesley Chapel, Greater Pasco chambers of commerce merge

LAND O'LAKES — Two chambers of commerce representing more than 850 business members from west Pasco to Wesley Chapel and New Tampa are merging into a single organization.

The Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Pasco Chamber of Commerce, formerly known as the Trinity Odessa chamber, are combining, the groups announced Wednesday morning. The entity, still unnamed, will be headed by Hope Allen, president and CEO of the Wesley Chapel chamber, and will operate under that chamber's bylaws and organizational structure.

"We believe one united chamber is better positioned to work with local governments, economic development agencies and businesses looking to locate/expand in our community,'' states a consolidation resolution approved by the directors of both chambers earlier this month.

The new group reduces to five the number of chambers in Pasco County. West Pasco, Dade City, Zephyrhills and central Pasco — based in Land O'Lakes – also have their own chambers of commerce.

The Wednesday morning announcement at Land O'Lakes High School drew directors from both chambers, Pasco Commissioner Mike Moore and Pasco Economic Development Council president/CEO Bill Cronin.

"The Wesley Chapel chamber is in line with the same thinking as our board, and that is we need to be an organization that advocates for our members,'' said Mike Cox, chairman of the Greater Pasco Chamber of Commerce board of directors. "PEDC has targeted industries, and they do their job focusing on them. What chambers do is dovetail with that and help very well the businesses not in the targeted industries.''

CHAMBER MERGER: Chambers tried merging in 2016.

The combined chamber will be named following a marketing study, and the new identity will be voted upon by the members.

"We want to do it right,'' said Allen. "We want to have our members involved in the conversation and the community as a whole involved in the conversation.''

The Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce was formed 19 years ago by educators and business representatives as a way to build an identity in the burgeoning area and to bolster school-business partnerships. It absorbed the New Tampa Chamber of Commerce in 2014. It currently has 612 members, including 160 in Tampa and Hillsborough County.

The former Trinity Odessa chamber rebranded itself as the Greater Pasco chamber last summer in anticipation of merging with the Central Pasco chamber, but that affiliation never came to fruition. The group in Trinity began less than four years ago and has 247 members.

After the failed merger with the Central Pasco chamber, the Greater Pasco group began an affiliation with the Wesley Chapel chamber in January, allowing small businesses the opportunity to join both chambers at a discounted price. About 15 have done so, and that became the genesis for the merger discussions.

Under the operating agreement, the Wesley Chapel board of directors will expand from 17 up to 24 members, with five to seven members of the Greater Pasco board joining. Both chamber offices will remain in operation ,with membership coordinators working out of the former Greater Pasco site in Lutz. The new chamber is now the largest in Pasco County.

BORDER WAR: Chambers clashed over mall site.

The merger leaves the Central Pasco chamber, which began 43 years ago as the Land O'Lakes Chamber of Commerce, in the odd position of sitting in the middle of the new, larger chamber's membership draw. The Central Pasco chamber has butted heads with the Greater Wesley Chapel chamber over the geographic designation of the area along State Road 56, just west of Interstate 75. That's where the Tampa Premium Outlets mall opened in 2015. It is designated as Lutz by the U.S. Postal Service, but businesses there market themselves as being in Wesley Chapel.

Cox, however, said he hoped the various chambers could work together.

"Quite frankly, we hope we have more working relationships with the other chambers as well,'' he said.

Comments
Daniel Ruth: City owes Gonzmart and Princess Ulele more than a notice of code violation

Daniel Ruth: City owes Gonzmart and Princess Ulele more than a notice of code violation

By Daniel RuthTimes ColumnistThis has to be height of bureaucratic pettiness, especially for a city whose track record in promoting quality public art falls somewhere between stick figures and finger puppets.Richard Gonzmart is a community treasure. ...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Valet parking? A concierge? Midtown Tampa outlines plans for an amenity-rich office building

Valet parking? A concierge? Midtown Tampa outlines plans for an amenity-rich office building

TAMPA — A sudden boomlet in premium office space is getting boomier as developers detail their plans for the first of three office buildings planned at Midtown Tampa, a $500 million mixed-use development near Interstate 275 and N Dale Mabry Highway.M...
Updated: 4 hours ago
‘Imminent’ bankruptcy filing for law firm of suspended St . Pete lawyer Mark Stopa

‘Imminent’ bankruptcy filing for law firm of suspended St . Pete lawyer Mark Stopa

The law firm of suspended St. Petersburg attorney Mark Stopa is in such chaos that much of its staff has quit — some after suffering stress-related breakdowns — and a liquidation bankruptcy filing is imminent.In an emergency motion filed this week in...
Published: 09/19/18
Apartments, retail centers planned for north side of SR 54 in Land O' Lakes

Apartments, retail centers planned for north side of SR 54 in Land O' Lakes

LAND O’ LAKES — A forest of pine and oak trees and an aging mobile home neighborhood could be replaced by luxury apartments and a pair of retail centers along State Road 54 west of Cypress Creek.In separate proposals, land owners and de...
Published: 09/19/18
These four people made Florida Trend’s list of the 500 most influential business leaders

These four people made Florida Trend’s list of the 500 most influential business leaders

The 180-page Florida 500 is a compelling read for anyone curious about how the state’s most influential business leaders rose to power.Florida Trend magazine undertook some heavy lifting to compile the 2018 roster. Sure, some of the 500 bios read lik...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa Bay businesses feel Red Tide’s sting: ‘Our sales are going to be our lowest ever’

Tampa Bay businesses feel Red Tide’s sting: ‘Our sales are going to be our lowest ever’

TREASURE ISLAND — For the first time during her 15 years bartending at Caddy’s on the Beach, Amanda Hudson had to help close shop early this past weekend because the smell of dead fish coming from the gulf was too putrid to bear."We had to shut down ...
Published: 09/18/18
Ernest Hooper: HCC helps light the way for those on life's winding paths

Ernest Hooper: HCC helps light the way for those on life's winding paths

After he graduated from a Maryland high school, Rickey Murray had a number of opportunities awaiting him at a number of four-year institutions.He eyed the University of South Florida, applied to Florida International University and considered Virgini...
Published: 09/18/18
Port Tampa Bay building new radiation screening facilities for cargo

Port Tampa Bay building new radiation screening facilities for cargo

TAMPA — Port Tampa Bay moved ahead Tuesday with a $4 million project to build three new radiation screening centers next to berths for containers and refrigerated cargo.The port already has a facility at its main exit where U.S. Customs and Border Pr...
Published: 09/18/18
Maximo Marina, long established on a canal off Boca Ciega Bay, completes a multimillion-dollar renovation

Maximo Marina, long established on a canal off Boca Ciega Bay, completes a multimillion-dollar renovation

ST. PETERSBURG — The $25 million Maximo Marina renovation off Boca Ciega Bay is almost complete, but for a few punch list items.Located in the Skyway Marina District on the city’s southern tip, the facility boasts 212 covered wet slips ...
Published: 09/18/18

Hernando Business Digest for Sept. 21

Briefly EMPLOYERS NEEDED FOR JOB FAIR: Pasco-Hernando State College, CareerSource Pasco Hernando, the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce and Hernando County Office of Economic Development are seeking employers to participate in the Open for...
Published: 09/18/18