Two chambers working together to serve members better

by | May 31, 2024

Florenceville-Bristol and District Chamber of Commerce and Central Carleton Chamber of Commerce host combined AGM

As they strive to finalize a complete merger, the Chambers of Commerce representing Northern Carleton and Central Carleton counties increasingly share goals, workloads and members. 

During a combined annual general meeting on May 15 at the recently expanded Northern Carleton Civic Centre, the Florenceville-Bristol and District Chamber of Commerce and the Central Carleton Chamber of Commerce outlined their growing cooperation. 

Barbara Meed, the FBCC chamber president for the past six years, explained the two chambers’ close ties as she welcomed those attending the meeting. 

She explained the two chambers now share directors, noting that at the Florenceville-Bristol and District’s last meeting, Central Carleton’s co-chairs Katherine Hann of Customs Communications and Tina Pelkey of the municipality of Hartland signed on as directors for the FBCC. 

Meanwhile, Meed added that FBCC directors had become part of the Central Carleton chamber. 

Meed’s introduced the FBCC directors, including Naith Baulkaran of Amsterdam Inns and Suites, Pam Brennan Shamrock In and Train Suites, Tammy Finamore of Scotiabank, Kathy Graham of McCain Food and Ted Lamont of Carleton Co-Op. 

She also introduced the chamber’s new office manager, Jillian Sipprell. 

“We discovered her in June of last year, so this is her first time attending this meeting,” said Meed. 

Meed also explained the two chambers successfully unified membership fees, meaning fees are the same at both chambers. 

She said the chambers are each looking to add to its membership base. 

“If you are aware of a new enterprise in our area that you would like to encourage, please consider this,” Meed said. “Currently our joint memberships stand at about 82 members.”

The FBCC president explained that the chambers’ challenges include providing a level of membership that benefits both members and the chambers. To that end, she explained, the new partnership should simplify and enhance the value of membership. 

Meed said the chambers added a new membership level for high school or post-secondary students.

“We want to encourage and assist a young entrepreneur as they develop their business ideas,” she said. 

As part of the efforts to promote entrepreneurship, Meed said the changers award two annual $500 bursaries to students pursuing business studies in college or university. 

In her AGM report, Meed outlined several programs and services the chambers provide members, including a “Certificate of Origin.” 

She explained that communications and electronics facilitate business exports, but some countries require the authentication of Canadian-made products.

“There are 11 countries that require a Chamber Seal and signature proving origin,” Meed said. “Our chamber can provide that and this partnership with Central Carleton can assist a wider range of export because of this benefit,” 

She noted that the local chambers, as part of the Atlantic and Canadian Chambers, offer a long list of services and benefits to members. She added that they hope to better inform members and enhance benefits. 

“This year, we will be promoting even more options on our new website reflecting our partnership and cooperation with the Central Carleton Chamber,” Meed said.

The May 15 AGM’s guest speakers further explained benefits and cost-saving options for chamber members, especially small and medium-sized businesses. 

The newly appointed Atlantic Chamber of Commerce CEO Rhonda Tulk-Lane joined the meeting via video feed from Florida, where she was attending meetings. 

Andrew Chamberlain of Chamberlain Wealth Management Inc. attended the meeting in person. 

Tulk-Lane, a resident of Newfoundland and Labrador, explained the Atlantic Chamber’s role in supporting members across the Atlantic Provinces, including the two Carleton County chambers. 

She also detailed the many benefits and support programs available to chamber members on a provincial and national basis. 

Chamberlain explained his background and the building blocks of his wealth management business. He outlined the options his management team offers small and medium-sized businesses to deliver benefits, retirement options, and investment services to employees. 

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