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3 Davis Chambers may merge

Countywide entity would carry more political muscle

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The three chambers of commerce in Davis County may soon combine, creating a single countywide entity as early as Jan. 1.

North Davis, South Davis and Kaysville chamber committee members have agreed to discuss a merger, with the North and South Davis boards already voting to immediately begin discussions on pursuing a merger.

Kaysville's board of directors will vote Monday on whether its chamber will join in those talks.

If the three chambers were to combine, the new Davis County Chamber of Commerce would be the third largest in the state, with more than 1,000 members.

"This is really kind of a move toward strengthening what is already there," said Gary Birdsall of the South Davis Chamber of Commerce. "The results are phenomenal, having the three of us on the same page."

Twenty years ago, the north and south ends of the county were in competition, said Chris Dallin of the North Davis Chamber of Commerce, because of an imaginary split at Farmington. But over the years the two chambers began to work together more and realized the positive results of being a team.

By completely consolidating services, the new countywide chamber would continue to help businesses through providing greater networking opportunities and being a more powerful source for government advocacy on a state level, Dallin said.

"We're going from fifth or eighth (in size) to third," Dallin said. "We carry some political muscle behind that."

The three chambers have some experience with working together through the formation of a joint legislative affairs committee. The joint committee gives them more weight when talking with county legislators, Birdsall said.

Membership in the three chambers ranges from nonprofit organizations to home-based businesses and large corporations. The number of members could increase if the three merge because of the increased number of services and benefits that would be available, Birdsall said.

"If we didn't think this was a positive thing, we wouldn't be doing it," Birdsall said. "This will make Davis County a stronger player not only in the top of Utah but in the state of Utah."

While both North and South Davis board members are enthusiastic about moving ahead with the merger, Mike Reid of Kaysville's Chamber of Commerce, who has been the only representative from Kaysville at the merger meetings so far, says he isn't sure what the outcome of Monday's vote will be.

"We feel we've been able to best serve the Kaysville businesses by having our own chamber of commerce in Kaysville," he said, but added that he also sees the benefits of consolidating with the rest of the county.

E-mail: ehayes@desnews.com