Amy Berry, chair of the Hopkinsville/Christian County Chamber of Commerce, said the partnership between the two chambers will create one of the larger chambers in the entire state.
“Our membership is growing to well over 900 members throughout this region, making us one of the largest chambers in Kentucky,” Berry said.” We also celebrate that our members will have even more opportunities as we create stronger regional partnerships as we attract visitors, shoppers and more residents to the region.”
Mallory Lawrence, president of the Cadiz/Trigg County Chamber of Commerce, said that the Hopkinsville/Christian Chamber will enroll current and future Cadiz/Trigg Chamber members, and that the Cadiz/Trigg Chamber has agreed to share dues with the Hopkinsville/Christian Chamber in exchange for extended benefits and member services.
Lawrence also said that the Cadiz/Trigg Chamber will benefit from the new partnership in many ways, including the hiring of a new staff person.
“Because of this partnership, it will be possible for the Cadiz/Trigg County Chamber to hire a part-time staff person, whose job it will be to grow our membership and perform duties related to our day-to-day operation,” Lawrence said.
The partnership will allow members of both chamber new business opportunities by letting them market to a larger customer base, said Lawrence, who added that both chambers will continue with their day-to-day operations and will still have their own identity.
Businesses based in Cadiz and Trigg County will be able to join both chambers for the cost of joining one chamber, while businesses based in Hopkinsville and Christian County will pay $100 to also join the Cadiz/Trigg Chamber, said Lawrence.
“The concept of regionalism is growing in popularity, and I believe this partnership will speak volumes to legislators, because together we’ll be close to a thousand members strong,” Lawrence said. “It is time to stop allowing the county line to separate our work towards progress for this region.”
Hopkinsville Community College President Dr. James Selbe, who helped facilitate the partnership discussion, said it quickly became clear that both chambers were on the right track with discussions of a partnership.
“What became very clear to us late last fall was that not only was it the right thing to do, but there was a relative degree of urgency to get it done,” Selbe said. “Every month we waited, we were losing business opportunities, we were losing opportunities to develop these communities and to move forward.”
Selbe also said that the “seed was planted” last May, although they didn’t think the partnership could happen at that point, but when he was asked to help bring it to fruition in August, he cautiously accepted.
“I’ve read ‘The World is Flat,’ what I wasn’t sure of was whether or not the Pennyrile was,” Selbe said. “We were able to bring this concept to an agreement, and we’re very pleased to have the opportunity to sign these documents today.”
Carter Hendricks, President of the Hopkinsville/Christian County Chamber of Commerce, said that the partnership will make for a win-win situation for businesses in both communities.
There is widespread support for regionalism, and the Hopkinsville/Christian Chamber is in a good position to bring regional leaders together, said Hendricks.
“Our Chamber of Commerce has committed to looking at our own name … and to look at how we discuss who we are as a chamber, and how we can be better positioned through our name to serve the entire region, but certainly to serve Christian County,” Hendricks said.
Hendricks also said that they will be entering into a regional advisory committee that will have people from Trigg, Christian and Todd counties in order to promote economic growth in all three counties.
Selbe announced that discussions are underway to bring the Todd County Industrial Foundation into the regional partnership to offer the same benefits to businesses in Elkton and Todd County.
Berry and Lawrence signed the regional partnership agreement during the morning press conference.
The Commerce Center, located at 5748 Hopkinsville Road, houses the Cadiz/Trigg Chamber, the Cadiz/Trigg County Economic Development Commission and the Cadiz/Trigg County Tourist Commission.