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Saratoga chambers seek collaboration

Boards direct leaders to research options, deliver report

Two chambers of commerce in Saratoga County are looking to expand on the ways they work together.

The boards of the Southern Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce both voted yesterday to direct their leaders to research collaborative options that could enhance the quality of their member services as well as decrease costs.

Southern Saratoga County Chamber President Pete Bardunias said the time is right for such an endeavor, and he expects a report to be ready for chamber members in the spring.

“One thing that we're not talking about is a merger...but we are looking at ways to work more closely together,” he said.

Both Bardunias and Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce Presisdent Todd Shimkus said 2011 saw the two chambers working together in “an unprecedented fashion,” including coming together for a joint State of the County breakfast, launching a buy local campaign and holding a joint mixer.

“We’re going to open it up, and really try to think creatively here,” Himkus said. “I think the reason we’re doing this is that our members in both organizations have asked us to explore ways we can provide greater value to them.”

Though it's possible membership costs could be lowered if the two organizations share more, Bardunias said that's not the primary goal.

“This is such a fast growing county, there's unprecedented economic opportunity, and that's what I think we need to really start evaluating,” he said.

The Saratoga County Chamber has about 2,700 members, and the Southern Saratoga County Chamber has over 950. Shimkus said there are some members that belong to both organizations, though the two groups haven’t sat down to map out those overlaps.

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