Chambers should take opportunity to meet together

Posted: Friday, January 15, 2010

At its luncheon this week, the Kenai Chamber of Commerce passed out a survey to members asking if there is interest in meeting biweekly instead of weekly. The survey also says that the Kenai chamber would like to work with the Soldotna chamber in scheduling luncheons.

We think this is a great idea.

Both the Kenai and Soldotna chambers do wonderful things for our community -- Christmas Comes to Kenai and Soldotna's Progress Days celebration, just to name a couple. The chambers provide an excellent forum for members to network, and the weekly luncheons and other business functions are great opportunities for learning what other members of the business community or our representatives in local, state and federal government have to say about issues affecting businesses.

That said, we like the idea of the Kenai and Soldotna business communities working together. After all, what happens in Kenai affects businesses in Soldotna, and vice versa. Indeed, many in the business community finds value in belonging to both chambers.

The chambers work together successfully on many occasions. For example, during the 2008 election, just about every candidate made an appearance at one of the various joint luncheons. The only major candidate not to appear was former Sen. Ted Stevens, who was detained in Washington for his trial.

On the more practical side, the chambers frequently book the same speakers. Working together would create an opportunity for a wider variety of presenters.

More importantly, more regular joint meetings would provide better opportunities for even more networking. It would be great for and RV park or bed and breakfast owner in Kenai to be able to recommend a tackle shop in Soldotna to clients this summer.

There has in the past been a rivalry, sometimes friendly, sometimes not, between our two cities on the central peninsula. But at a time when the economy is down and local businesses are facing more competition than ever, a little teamwork might be just the thing to keep the doors open, the lights on and the books in the black.

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