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Eagle business groups merge

EAGLE, Colorado – Eagle’s two business organizations formally merged into one organization this week.

On Wednesday, the boards of the Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce and One Eagle formally signed an agreement to join forces. The effort came after two months of work between the two groups.

“We all decided that it would be what’s best for the town and it is what the town needs,” said Mike Stevens, president of the newly re-named Eagle Chamber of Commerce president.

In a letter to Chamber and One Eagle members, the newly merged organization noted there seemed to be some duplication of efforts in many areas.

“From our first meeting, it became apparent that we were in agreement in many areas and that working together made a great deal of sense. As we kept working we agreed that joining efforts was the most positive thing that the two groups could do to promote our business community as a whole,” said the letter issued this week.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Eagle Chamber will replace the former Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce and One Eagle will merge into the organization. Stevens will continue to serve as president and One Eagle’s former president, Lonnie Leto, will become vice president of the Chamber. Other chamber board members will be secretary Erin Vega, treasurer Chuck Smallwood and board members Doug Seabury, John Shipp, and Susan Soloman. Additionally, the Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce Ambassador program will continue under the direction of Patty Hood.

“This preserves the history of the Chamber as well as saves legal and administrative fees associated in setting up the new organization,” noted the communication to members. “The name change is recommended to better define our geographic service area for those not living in the area and to promote more outside interest. The Chamber, as always, will be made up of the businesses of the town of Eagle and the surrounding area. We will continue to focus on the marketing of the town of Eagle, Eagle-based businesses and businesses that do business in the area.”

Historic ties and splits

As a result of its action this week, the former Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce is actually returning to its roots. The organization was born more than 70 years ago as the Eagle Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber expanded its focus and added “valley” to its name during the 1980s and at its peak, membership numbered around 350 businesses. However, 2009 and 2010 were difficult years for the organization, which faced a huge debt and an uncertain future. At one point the Chamber owed more than $67,000 to local vendors along with a line of credit at Wells Fargo. The debts were the result of dwindling membership and the advent of the Epic pass, which affected the appeal of the merchant pass program, and various management issues. When the issue surfaced, the Chamber cut paid staff positions and retrenched to tackle the debt. The Chamber actually paid off its debt in increments during 2010, and cleared the books by October 2010.

“We have a proud history of more than 70 years of continuous service to the community that we feel is worth continuing,” noted the communication to members this week. “We also feel that our community has evolved a great deal in those 70 years and we need to always be looking for the correct direction of our organization especially in economic times such as we are experiencing today.”

While the Chamber worked out its issues, the One Eagle group was formed as a merchant association to promote businesses and special events in town. One Eagle’s projects ranges from the “Bikes and Bananas” promotion in May 2010 to the Potatopalooza festival in the fall.


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