Amid speculation over whether the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce could merge with the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, a leader with one of the chambers said his organization is committed to staying independent.
Danny Zimmermann, North San Antonio Chamber board chair, issued a statement March 23, saying any talks on a suggested chamber merger have not reached a point where such a move could become a reality.
Zimmermann said the North San Antonio Chamber and the San Antonio Chamber losing their respective executive leaders, Cristina Aldrete and Richard Perez, in late 2022 provided an opportunity for the two groups to mull the possibility of a merger.
“Historically, periods of transition have created opportunities for merger discussions; however, the North San Antonio Chamber has always opted to maintain its independence allowing for its continued success,” Zimmermann said in a statement. “The recent departure of our CEO and the San Antonio Chamber’s CEO resulted in another opportunity. Therefore, it was prudent to assess and explore this possibility again.”
Zimmermann said as a result of discussions with leaders from both chambers of commerce, membership feedback, and the outcome of recent chamber events and programs, he and his colleagues felt that their chamber’s “unique value in the business community would be lost or weakened with a merger.”
“It also validated what we have always known: that our chambers have distinct cultures and values that could not be married without unacceptable loss of identity to the North Chamber’s membership, mission and priorities,” Zimmermann said in the statement. “We found it difficult to find enough common ground to move forward successfully.”
Zimmermann acknowledged that recent news reports and commentaries referenced the number of chambers of commerce that exist across the San Antonio area.
However, Zimmermann said, having multiple voices representing the local business community can still be just as effective if not more than having a single voice.
“There is greater strength in numbers, and I asked our outstanding chamber team to redouble efforts partnering with other San Antonio business organizations and community leaders,” Zimmermann added.