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Five Area Chambers of Commerce Form Alliance

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A new partnership spearheaded by the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce will make it easier for small businesses throughout central Virginia to succeed.

The unprecedented alliance brings together five different chambers of commerce: Greene County, Orange County, Fluvanna County, Louisa County and Charlottesville.

Leaders from each chamber gathered Tuesday morning in Greene County to formally announce the new alliance, which will make new resources and a larger regional marketplace available to chamber businesses in each participating area.

"We all travel through this region on a regular basis, and there are businesses here that we may or may not be aware of, and this introduction helps us know what kinds of skills and capabilities we have,"said Trish Cluff, Charlottesville chamber chairwoman.

The state chamber of commerce made regional alliances like this possible last year.

The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce was the first in the state to create such a partnership.

Chamber leaders are confident this will make it easier for small businesses to succeed in central Virginia, and in turn better serve their patrons.


Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce Press Release

(Charlottesville, Virginia – November 13) The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce today announced that it has entered into "regional Chamber affiliations" with the Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Orange Counties Chambers of Commerce small business members bringing a wide range of Chamber member benefits – and a broader regional marketplace – to more than 1,400 Chamber member businesses and civic organizations.

The regional chamber affiliations came together over the summer months earlier this year as the respective Chamber Boards of Directors approved the agreements.  The Charlottesville Regional Chamber, with approximately 800 member enterprises, approached each of the neighboring County Chambers of Commerce about a mutual affiliation for those member enterprises, based in each county, with ten or fewer employees.  Small businesses and civic organizations make up the bulk (80 %+) of each Chamber's membership.  Approximate total membership in each of the County Chambers is:  Fluvanna County – 180 enterprises;Greene County – 90 enterprises; Louisa County – 180 enterprises; and, Orange County – 280 enterprises.

This model was initiated by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce last year.  The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce established affiliation agreements with both theFluvanna County and Greene County Chambers in 2001 and was in the process of entering into an affiliation with the Louisa County Chamber when the concept of a wider set of "regional Chamber affiliations" with the neighboring County Chambers arose.  Last year, the Charlottesville Regional Chamber was among the first Chambers to take advantage of a Virginia Chamber of Commerce offer to member Chambers throughout the Commonwealth that smaller size Chamber member enterprises (ten or fewer employees) could enroll in Virginia Chamber's "Small Business Chamber Alliance" membership at no additional charge. 

Eligible Chamber member firms and organizations – ten or fewer employees, based in the neighboring counties and members of those County Chambers – will become affiliated members of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, at no additional charge.  Reciprocally, Charlottesville Regional Chamber member firms will become affiliated members of the neighboring county Chambers, at no additional charge.

"Small businesses non-profit and civic organizations are at the heart of our national, state and regional economies – and our chambers of commerce," said Patricia L. Cluff, Associate Vice President at the University of Virginia Health System, who serves as the 2012 Chair of the Chamber Board of Directors. "The regional chamber affiliations offer distinct opportunities for our Chamber members, and our neighboring Chamber members, to network and market their products and services to a broader regional marketplace." 

"The Fluvanna County Chamber is very pleased to continue its long-standing affiliation with the Charlottesville Chamber," said Jim Bogdan, President of the Fluvanna County Chamber of Commerce.  "As all of the Chambers in the region join forces, we add power to the voice of business in our region, encouraging a positive business climate and providing needed resources to help smaller enterprises thrive and grow.  Fluvanna's businesses look forward to working with other affiliate members to create opportunities for networking and generating new business." 

"The chamber affiliation even further broadens the host of benefits of being a member of the Greene County Chamber of Commerce," said Robbie Morris, Greene County Chamber of Commerce President.  "It will mean more networking opportunities, expanded educational offerings and a greater value for our members." 

"The Louisa County Chamber of Commerce enthusiastically endorsed the affiliation agreement with the Charlottesville Regional Chamber and the three other Chambers," said Dr. Jack Manzari, Chair of the Louisa County Chamber of Commerce.  "The benefits to the members of the individual Chambers improve our ability to satisfy the goals of the individual organizations. These goals include creating a better understanding of businesses and their problems, being a voice for business with government, improving economic development, solving manpower problems, providing social networks, educating members, and espousing the free enterprise system with fairness. The affiliation is a win-win situation for all." 

"The Orange County Chamber of Commerce is excited about the opportunity to affiliate with the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce and three additional chambers," said Jonathan Chasen, President of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce.  "It allows our Chamber to further our tradition increasing the value of membership and expanding the marketing capacity of our members throughout the regions.  We feel confident that this arrangement can take our regional economic cooperation to the next level."

The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to representing private enterprise, promoting business and enhancing the quality of life in the greater Charlottesville communities.  Founded in 1913, today Chamber member enterprises employ more than 45,000 people in Greater Charlottesville, representing an estimated total payroll of more than $1.75 billion a year.

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