After a year of coordination, two Braintree business organizations have merged to create a Braintree Chamber of Commerce.
The fourth-largest chamber in the region -- behind the South Shore Chamber, Quincy Chamber, and the Plymouth Chamber -- the new Braintree organization was crafted out of members of the Braintree Business Council and the Braintree Board of Trade, and will provide a new means for advocacy and networking for businesses in the South Shore community.
“[We] merged the two groups together so we would have one voice for businesses in Braintree, figuring it was strength in numbers,” said Michael Wilcox, chairman of the new organization and an officer with South Shore Savings Bank.
A previous member of the Board of Trade, Wilcox said the two organizations each had their own strengths, and often found their networking and advocacy work was overlapping.
Discussions on a merger have been ongoing since last February, and the unification was finalized on Jan. 1.
“It just made sense to us, as a Board of Trade, to formalize our partnership with the
Braintree Business Council, which will deepen our relationship with the South Shore
Chamber of Commerce and strengthen the Braintree business community”, said Dick
Frye, former president of the Braintree Board of Trade, in a release.
So far, the newly created chamber has gone before the Town Government, and reaction has been good.
“I’m excited for the future,” Wilcox said. “I’m excited about the reception we got from the mayor, Town Council, and local businesses thus far. We’re 10 days old now, so it’s been a great response from the business community and local government.”
With approximately 200 members currently, the short-term goal is growth, with hopes to add 40-50 members in the first year of operation.
Wilcox also hopes to meet with all department heads to find out how the chamber can be a resource for them.
“Whether it’s superintendent of schools, police chief, it will be a good method to communicate with the business community,” Wilcox said.
And though the organization is in the process of developing specific long-term goals, Wilcox has high hopes overall.
“Right now we have the mission to support the business leaders and the community through events, programming, and economic development opportunities,” Wilcox said.
That will include becoming the bridge between businesses to help networking, informing the community of what is occurring in the business sector, and bringing new business to Braintree.
It’s an extension of work that has already been ongoing, Wilcox said, pointing out the work the Business Council did in the development of the Braintree/Weymouth landing.
“We have some expertise on how to provide advocacy for businesses at Town Hall. We’ve been doing it at previous organizations for a long time,” he said.
If anything, with the new chamber and an impressive Board of Directors, that type of work will be expanded, Wilcox said.
The Braintree Chamber of Commerce’s official “launch” will be held on Jan. 30 at Granite Grille from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. All Braintree business owners are invited to attend.