Chambers are joining together and merging


By Gloria Lloyd, News Editor

South County started 2021 with four chambers of commerce, and it now has two as the longtime organizations are joining together or merging.

The Crestwood-Sunset Hills Area Chamber has a new and more regional name, Southwest Area Chamber of Commerce, and has expanded its area to cover Oakville and Concord after the South County Chamber of Commerce dissolved at the beginning of this year.

The Affton Chamber of Commerce and the Lemay Chamber of Commerce will be merging, a process that will take longer because they have to go through the legal steps to combine organizations. It is unclear what the new name will be.

The joining of the South County and Crestwood-Sunset Hills chambers is not a merger, but what the chamber is calling a “joining together.” Before the South County Chamber dissolved, its former executive director and the new Southwest chamber invited businesses that had been part of South County to join Southwest.

“When we learned that they were going to be dissolving, we looked at where our members were coming from and realized that we could expand our area and invite them into our chamber,” said new Southwest Area Executive Director Deborah Rhodes. “Before when we were Crestwood-Sunset Hills, that was our area, Crestwood-Sunset Hills. But now that we’re the Southwest Area, we can go all the way to the Meramec and then we can go all the way to the Mississippi.”

The Lemay Chamber of Commerce announced in an email May 10 that it is merging with the Affton Chamber of Commerce. The executive director of the Affton chamber, Lisa Rackley, was unavailable for comment on the merger before The Call went to press.

In the email announcing the merger, which is not yet listed on either chamber’s website, the chambers said their merger would “enhance the membership experience of local businesses. The conjunction of the two chambers will create a larger, more diverse organization, giving greater voice to the Affton-Lemay area.”