West Chicago, Warrenville chambers merge

  • West Chicago's Railroad Days celebration, sponsored by the city's chamber of commerce, will not be affected by the chamber's merger with Warrenville.

    West Chicago's Railroad Days celebration, sponsored by the city's chamber of commerce, will not be affected by the chamber's merger with Warrenville. DAILY HERALD FILE PHOTO

 
 

Seeking more influence on local and regional legislative matters, the chambers of commerce in West Chicago and Warrenville are combining forces.

The two chambers merged, effective Jan. 1, into the Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce. The new chamber will serve more than 400 members in the two communities.

"Expectations for chambers have really changed," said David J. Sabathne, president and CEO of the new chamber. "To deliver what our members need, you have to be able to specialize."

The new chamber also will have more resources to cross-promote both communities, Sabathne said. "Whether it's their cultural arts programs or a community festival or it's a business ... the communities will really gain a benefit from this," he said.

The management team consists of Sabathne and Wayne A. Lofton, Jr., from the West Chicago chamber, and Patricia Haskins, who was president and CEO of the Warrenville chamber. "Together, we have 24 years of chamber-exclusive experience," Sabathne said.

The headquarters will be in West Chicago, with an office in Warrenville. The 17 board members are divided about equally between the two communities.

West Chicago's membership brings a heavy commercial, industrial and manufacturing base to the mix, while Warrenville's is stronger in the retail, hospitality, professional and office research categories.

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"The dynamic of the two memberships really complements each other," Sabathne said.

The new chamber also has invited the Winfield Chamber of Commerce to join.

Residents will see no difference in popular chamber-supported community events, such as West Chicago's Railroad Days or Warrenville's Summer Daze, Sabathne said.

"The same people will be there with smiling faces and pride in their community," he said. "Nothing is going to change."