Officials with the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce and the Whiteface Region Business and Tourism Center recently announced a new partnership agreement.
The official partnership between the two entities enables the sharing of membership and business services.
Susan Rose-Hockert is president of the Whiteface Region Business and Tourism Center. She says this new alliance has been in the works for several years.
"We know the importance of being part of a much larger group," Rose-Hockert said. "What the folks in Plattsburgh are doing for the northern region is amazing, especially with all of the presence in Washington and Albany. If they know of something that we need, they go after it. Up until this partnership was formed, we didn't have that."
As a small business and tourism center, Rose-Hockert says it's important to gain access to a major group like the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce.
She notes that all of the small chambers of commerce and tourism groups across the region are working toward the same goal - that is, to promote the Adirondack North Country as a major destination.
Rose-Hockert says a number of benefits and services will now be made available to her organization through the alliance with the Plattsburgh chamber. Those perks include health insurance, electricity cost savings, and small business counseling.
"We can't offer stuff like that on our own with a membership of just 125 people - we just don't have the numbers," Rose-Hockert said. "Now, by being part of this group as an associate member chapter, it's a win-win for all of us. And we are helping the Plattsburgh group because the benefits we bring to our members are being placed through their health carrier and through their energy alliance, which helps fund us being part of the group."
This new alliance comes on the heels of several other new partnerships throughout the region.
In January, the Tupper Lake, Malone, and Saranac Lake area chambers of commerce formed the Franklin County Chamber Alliance. Meanwhile business groups from Indian Lake, Ticonderoga, North Warren and Schroon Lake have also made strides to combine resources.
Rose-Hockert says such coalitions are necessary given the socio-economic challenges faced by rural communities in northern New York.
"We all need each other to survive," she said. "The more information sharing we have, the better off we all are. We're learning from each others failures and successes. We're all striving toward the same goal - that is, to keep each other in business."
The Whiteface organization was originally focused on promoting and marketing tourism in the Olympic region.
Rose-Hockert says the group changed its bylaws last year to include business as well.
"We did that because we wanted to support the entire region - all of the businesses, not just the tourism businesses," she said. "That ties into what a lot of the other chambers are doing. They're reaching out to all of their local businesses. By getting together, we're learning from each other."
Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas says the ultimate goal is to develop a united business and economic development community across Clinton, Franklin, Essex, Hamilton and northern Warren counties.