Milford Chamber of Commerce merges with West Haven

Milford Regional Chamber of Commerce

Milford Regional Chamber of Commerce

Contributed photo

MILFORD — Milford Regional Chamber of Commerce is adding another community to its resume.

The West Haven Chamber of Commerce closed up shop during the pandemic. Simon McDonald, director of membership and marketing for the Milford Regional Chamber of Commerce, said it was a natural fit to take the reins to aid those businesses.

“During the pandemic, the West Haven (chamber) was not able to operate due to the closing of West Haven City Hall,” said McDonald. “That left a vacuum for West Haven businesses which we offered to take over. And they were happy to (let) us.”

McDonald said both chambers got in touch this year and made the merger happen.

“We wanted to help the business in West Haven grow, and something that is starting to take seed again after the pandemic is the ability for some businesses to move into West Haven at a lower cost point,” he said.

Having an office at the Connecticut Post Mall and having a website also helped with the merger and made it easier, he said.

“Down the road in a couple of years, as we get more and more invested into West Haven, we hope to have a satellite office in West Haven,” he added.

Having West Haven businesses now being part of the Milford Regional Chamber of Commerce is not new to the chamber, which has included members from West Haven, Orange, Stratford and Bridgeport in the past.

“But we are now actively promoting events in West Haven such as the health, happiness and wellness fair that’s going on Sept. 17,” said McDonald. “The entire purpose is to help business and the community. We are here to form a bridge between the two when they need to happen.”

With Restaurant Week coming up, McDonald said the chamber included West Haven businesses to bring customers to West Haven’s downtown area.

“We are trying to get more actively involved in the West Haven community,” said McDonald. “Most businesses are going to be within a local chamber, and one of the aspects of a chamber is local community. We wanted a chamber representing West Haven business to give them the services chambers offers.”

One of those services is networking — helping businesses get to know each other.

“It’s easier to do business with people you know than it is to do business with people you don’t know especially on a long-term basis,” he said.

Being a representative of the West Haven businesses plays into the goal of the Milford chamber to expand its reach to have the scalability necessary to give businesses more opportunities.

“At the moment, we have about 440 businesses and if we can expand that to 600 or 700 businesses, that gives those members even more opportunities to network with the right person,” said McDonald. “So that’s the idea behind what we are doing.”