LAKEVIEW — The Lakeview and Roscoe Village chambers of commerce are pooling their resources by merging by the end of this month.
Leaders of the groups announced Thursday they will form the Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce. The combined organization will represent businesses in the western portion of Lakeview and all of Roscoe Village, a territory roughly between Irving Park Road and Diversey Avenue to the north and south, and the Chicago River and Racine Avenue to the west and east.
The neighborhood names will remain the same, but the combined chamber will be able to better serve its members, said Dillon Goodson, executive director of the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce.
“We understand each community has its unique identity and neighborhood pride,” said Goodson, who will retain his role as executive director of the combined group.
Goodson said the merger, which was in the works before the pandemic hit, should be complete by Dec. 31. Both chambers will retain all their staff, bringing the organization’s combined workforce up to seven employees.
This will allow the team to expand on neighborhood events like the Low-Line Farmer’s Market and business workshops and services, Goodson said.
“When I first started working at the [Lakeview] Chamber in 2015, we were only a staff of three,” Goodson said. “So that represents a significant increase that will allow us to strengthen our future.”
The Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber will have a combined membership of more than 400 businesses spanning across the chambers’ service areas.
Goodson said the next steps of the merger include reaching out to business owners and community members to learn what initiatives they’d like to see the chamber prioritize.
The Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber will collect feedback through a survey on its website.
“In combining, we really want to keep listening to our businesses and the consumers to deliver what needs to be delivered for our communities,” said Lisa Santos, a board member of the Lakeview chamber and owner of Southport Grocery and Cafe, 3533 N. Southport Ave.
“Outreach and trying to understand what the neighborhood’s needs are is one of Lakeview’s biggest strengths,” Santos said. “We’ll be learning a lot from the other chamber, too.”
Sandy O’Kane, owner of Winnie Cooper Boutique at 2013 W. Roscoe St. in Roscoe Village, said she’s looking forward to learning from long-time business owners in Lakeview.
O’Kane is a relatively new business owner, having opened her Roscoe Village boutique apparel, accessory and gift store in November 2017.
“I’m excited to expand my personal networking opportunity and business experience,” O’Kane said. “We’re expanding into a larger community.”
Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.