Chambers of Commerce merge

Owen Falquero believes there is strength in numbers.

As a driving force during the process of dissolving the Brome Lake Chamber of Commerce at the end of 2017, and joining forces with Chambers in Cowansville and Farnham to create the new Brome- Missisquoi Chamber of Commerce, Falquero says it is simply good for business.

“The new Chamber embraces 27 towns and 250,000 people. We bring a stronger voice to the table,” said the Knowlton resident and lawyer recently. “With a bigger group and central budget we can have more conferences, workshops and mentoring programs. There will be more support for the promotion of events, and increased services for members throughout the larger region.”

By the same token, Falquero does not want TBL to get lost in the shuffle. “We have created Action Lac Brome, a sub-chamber of the greater whole to work with our local community and address its specific needs.” For example, Brome Lake’s 115 members are about 80 per cent self For example, Brome Lake’s 115 members are about 80 per cent self- employed and used to bilingual services that reflect the local demographic. The Christmas nutcracker figures distributed throughout the municipality are one example of a purely Brome Lake initiative. It is hoped the new, improved Chamber will expand business opportunities, and offer greater credibility in the eyes of existing enterprises, municipalities and provincial bodies. Ultimately, the Chamber’s objective is to have a greater voice in matters of regional and tourism development, with stronger budgets and a larger membership.

When the merger was announced, 77% of Brome Lake members renewed their memberships for 2017. The 2018 renewal is set for March. “We’ll see then who signs on, when fees go to the central chamber,” Falquero said. “Some small local businesses may not want to appeal beyond Brome Lake. Others will see potential in the larger community.”