The merger of the Grandview Area Chamber of Commerce and the Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce was celebrated March 31 when the newly formed Tri-Village Chamber Partnership held its gala, "Celebration: A New Beginning."

The merger of the Grandview Area Chamber of Commerce and the Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce was celebrated March 31 when the newly formed Tri-Village Chamber Partnership held its gala, "Celebration: A New Beginning."

The event at Ohio State University's 4H Center featured games, drinks, dinner, dancing and, of course, business networking.

It also allowed the consolidated organization's leaders to tout how the merger has made the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership the fifth-largest chamber of commerce in central Ohio with more than 700 members.

"We really wanted to make things different and be a chamber that people will look to as innovators," said Michelle Wilson, Tri-Village Chamber Partnership executive director.

A new website, chamberpartnership.org, was unveiled during the evening. Wilson also talked about the "four pillars" that form the foundation of the new group.

"We have four pillars on which we're building this new chamber: connect, engage, expand and save," Wilson said.

In line with the four pillars, Wilson noted the new chamber now has more networking power by bringing together businesses and organizations from throughout Grandview Heights, Marble Cliff and Upper Arlington.

She said those resources should provide opportunities for members to become more involved in their communities, reach out to potential customers and clients and to grow their businesses.

Additionally, she said the enlarged membership and the chamber's affiliation with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce will afford more opportunities for local members to realize operational savings through group employee health insurance plans and other cost-efficiency programs.

"We pull all our members together in order to (create) savings for all our members," Wilson said. "We sure hope your business grows and is as successful as it can be."

Many of the Tri-Village area's businesses and nonprofit organizations were represented at the party, along with public officials from Grandview, Marble Cliff and Upper Arlington, who hailed the recent merger as a positive move toward regional collaborations.

On behalf of Mayor Ray DeGraw, Grandview Director of Administration and Economic Development Pat Bowman declared March 31 as "Tri-Village Chamber Partnership Day" in that city.

Upper Arlington Mayor and City Council President Debbie Johnson called the merger an opportunity for all Tri-Village area businesses and organizations to "show the collaboration, to show the cooperation of really what can be built when you do work together and you do share services."

Before turning the night's festivities over to a dance party, chamber board of directors co-chairs Kevin Fix and Jamie Gentry said they hoped to capture the energy of the night to further propel commerce in an area already making significant strides in economic development and redevelopment.

"We're going to work very hard in the next year to help you expand your businesses, as well as your personal networks," Gentry said.

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