Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce merging with the Barren County Economic Authority

GLASGOW, Ky, – The Barren County Economic Authority and Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce boards of directors unanimously voted to create a consolidated, streamlined organization to better serve their members and the Barren County area.

This new organization will tentatively be called Barren Inc. Barren County Chamber of Commerce after a vote on July 15th to make the name official.

The current president of the chamber says this merger will be beneficial to business and the two organizations.

“Businesses will know where to come. Visitors will know where to come for any kind of services. A lot of the chamber and the economic authority services were sort of duplicated. So, this way there will be a one-stop shop for anything that anyone needs,” said Treva Shirley, president of the GBCCC.

The consolidation creates an organized system working together according to Ernie Myers, executive vice president of the GBCCC.

“What will have is an organization under one roof which is able to address the business needs of our community and that’s the upside of this I can’t really think of a downside to be perfectly honest I think the idea of bringing us together uniting us under one purpose another one cooperation will be a good effort well-made,” said Myers.

Myers also announced he will be retiring this year after 17 years of service under the chamber and eight years at the Barren County Industrial Development Economic Authority.

Maureen Carpenter, has been selected as the president chief executive officer, taking on the leadership role for both the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development.

“With a combined staff and being able to have everybody cross trained, they are going to be able to get their answers quickly. The other big thing that it does is bring two very powerful organizations together so that when you want to enact change, you have that support, you have the whole business community behind you as long as it’s something that they are agreeable to,” said Carpenter.

The announcement comes after months of conversations about how nonprofits could strengthen and expand services to better meet the economic and community development needs of businesses and residents.

A consolidation review committee was formed with members of both organizations and tasked with finding the most viable path forward for a partnership or consolidation among the entities.  The committee was responsible for the analysis, evaluation of the potential pros and cons of a consolidation and to provide the boards with a recommendation and implementation plan.  In addition to the review committee, five working groups were also established to evaluate specific operational details.

There were several key advantages identified by the consolidation review committee, including one vision for the community; joint efforts to reach organizational goals for the business community; shared resources, all staff will be housed under one roof, share technology, contacts, and expertise; one team with common leadership and cross-trained staff and the power to influence change through catalytic leadership.

The desired outcomes for the consolidation are business growth, more new businesses opening and expanding throughout the county; population growth, attract new residents to the community while enticing those that have left to come back, and revenue growth driven by goal achievement.

The Chamber and Economic Authority will remain intact, funding sources will remain independent, and no jobs will be cut in the consolidation, rather it offers an opportunity to add a full-time membership and programs coordinator.

The group will work over the next several months to finalize the necessary legal work and prepare for the consolidation that is planned to go into effect Jan. 1, 2022. The chamber and economic development team will temporarily be housed at 126 E Public Square until a plan for a more permanent home can be developed.