Two major San Fernando Valley Chambers of Commerce have announced they are joining forces through a merger. Pending approval by the California Secretary of State, the Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce (SOCC) and the Encino Chamber of Commerce (ECC) have voted to merge their organizations. According to SOCC CEO Vickie Bourdas Martinez and ECC board president Waltona Manion the two chambers will begin consolidating resources and will operate as a single entity.
Members of both chambers voted unanimously to approve the merger with the Encino Chamber membership ratifying the merger last week. The merger unites hundreds of Valley businesses that will operate together to provide more for their members by bolstering local business growth and retention.
“There is a lot of excitement about the opportunities this alliance will afford our members,” said SOCC CEO Bourdas Martinez. “We plan to continue working to support and enable existing businesses to thrive while attracting new businesses. The combined economies of the Sherman Oaks and Encino communities include major retailers, hospitals, law firms, financial institutions, manufacturers and small businesses. Anchoring our region is the Ventura Boulevard corridor which is the address of many popular restaurants, fashion stores and retail services. All of this translates to a vital and growing business environment.”
“In the past, the Encino and Sherman Oaks Chambers have worked together on many projects so the merger is a natural fit for both organizations,” said Manion. “The Encino Chamber board of directors is very proud to be uniting with the Sherman Oaks Chamber given their reputation and track record. Combining these two organizations and memberships ensures our communities will be supported as we work to address the current challenges of economic recovery from the pandemic, impacts from the homelessness crisis and a changing economy.”
Founded in 1927 by a group of local business people and celebrities, the Encino Chamber of Commerce was one of the San Fernando Valley’s first chambers and one of the oldest in the United States. Thirties and 40’s film stars like Al Jolson, Edward Everett Horton and Don Ameche were early founders and members. The Sherman Oaks Chamber was established in 1948 and is known for hosting the Sherman Oaks Street Fair, the largest public event in the Valley with more than 100,000 attendees annually.
The newly christened Sherman Oaks/Encino Chamber of Commerce will operate out of the existing Sherman Oaks Chamber office until it is determined how the Encino offices will be used. The ECC presently has an approximately 1,500 square foot suite of offices on Balboa Avenue and the new-formed entity is exploring best use of the space.
“Merging these business organizations will enhance our ability to be a more powerful, effective proponent and advocate for a range of businesses from large corporations to start-ups,” said Sherman Oaks Chamber board chair and longtime business owner Tammy Scher. “According to the U.S. Census, there are more than 15,000 entrepreneurs alone in Encino and Sherman Oaks. We are here to serve both the beginners and the well-established and provide the resources they need to survive and grow.”
According to local business leaders, the move is a savvy one that will benefit both organizations.
“These chambers both have played historic roles in the development of the Valley economy,” said United Chambers of Commerce board member and Pacific Premier Bank first vice president Armida Colmenares-Stafford. These chambers have advocated for local businesses, cultivated our business leaders, shared expertise and strengthened the economic well-being of their communities and the Valley. Consolidating their services and outreach is good news for everyone.”
Valley Economic Alliance director of investor relations Jacqui Matsumoto agreed.
“One of the challenges of our local chambers has been to support and assist small businesses through the hardships of COVID and through the ups and downs of the economy,” said Matsumoto. “The Sherman Oaks and Encino Chambers have been there with resources and guidance for small business and their new merger will provide an even stronger network.”
The Sherman Oaks/Encino Chamber of Commerce is located at 14827 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 207, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403. They can be reached at 818-906-1951 or emailed at email@example.com.