Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce is strong, says president in wake of Manchester counterpart's closure

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BENNINGTON >> Reacting to news of the closing of the Manchester and the Mountains Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce says there's nothing to worry about as far as its future is concerned.

"Our financial picture is secure due to a more steady membership base," said Ed Woods, president of the Bennington Chamber and publisher of the Bennington Banner.

"We believe that this news from Manchester leaves us with an opportunity," Woods continued. "The BACC executive board will meet this week to explore what action we may take within our chamber and in cooperation with our community partner organizations."

Woods said the board will be exploring ways the BACC could serve the communities formerly served by the Manchester chamber. That may mean an expansion or through some other means in conjunction with Bennington County community partners, Woods added.

The Manchester chamber announced Friday it was closing immediately. It cited declining membership and lost revenue because it no longer provided health insurance to its members, a result of the Affordable Care Act and the subsequent creation of the Vermont Health Exchange.

Woods said the Bennington chamber has several revenue streams, which include membership dues, events, sponsors, and the Area Guide.

While the chamber has a contract to manage the state Welcome Center, any revenue generated from that must go toward the center's management and is not considered a direct revenue stream for the chamber.

- Staff reports


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