South Oakland Area Regional Chamber Launches with…

South Oakland Area Regional Chamber Launches with HP, OP and Ferndale

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Feb. 22, 2021)

Ferndale, Hazel Park, Oak Park MI- There’s a new Chamber in charge in SE Oakland County.

Born out of a collaboration between the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce and its Oak Park Alliance, and city leaders in Hazel Park which was previously part of the Madison Heights Hazel Park Chamber, the South Oakland Area Regional Chamber of Commerce is hoping to demonstrate the strength in numbers.

Joy Wells served as the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce Director, and is retaining leadership as the President. Plus the board has representation from all communities as well as from Oakland County.

Chairperson of the Board is Josh Champagne from Incubizo in Ferndale.  Blake Scheer of Level One Bank in Ferndale is the Treasurer.  Mia Perrone of Quick Check Books is Secretary.  Among the 13 current board members are Oak Park Mayor Marian McClellan and Hazel Park Councilperson Mike McFall.  Annaka Norris represents the County.

“When Communities Unite, Everyone Wins,” is the motto touted on the Chamber’s new website.  A landing page shows the new logo, and the full site is expected to be launched by the end of March.  According to Wells, SOAR came about because it simply made sense. Pooling resources such as membership dues, volunteers, audiences, and staff means resources left over to invest in programming and benefits.

The restructuring had been long in discussion, but the quiet of the pandemic gave Wells and her team the space to pull it off smoothly and launch it fresh.  “COVID gave us a chance to have a clean slate,” she said.  “We can all come out of this stronger, together.”

While Chambers are most known for their networking events, Wells said theirs is “using this opportunity to provide relevant programming for all, that is carefully crafted to serve both the small business community and the industry leaders that are part of SOAR.”

Hazel Park Councilperson McFall told Oakland County Times, “I’m excited for this new chapter for Hazel Park as one of the founding communities of the new chamber. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need to work together. This community partnership will give Hazel Park a larger voice and increase the resources we can provide our city’s businesses.”

Ferndale Mayor Melanie Piana is excited about the collaboration.  “The Ferndale Area Chamber applied a growth mindset to expanding its impact throughout the pandemic,” she said. “Joy Wells has been a critical partner in Ferndale’s ability to rapidly respond to our small business needs during the pandemic and now focused recovery efforts. What has been so striking is how the Chamber, DDA, and City Economic Development team have been able to combine their strengths, expertise, and resources this past year to assess and respond to our business owners. The “Trifecta Power Team, as I call them, has brought new approaches, ideas, and projects that would have not been possible if each entity had worked independently. This strategic expansion will benefit all the cities involved because we are stronger when we work together.”

Champagne took on the role of President because he was excited about the momentum he was seeing.  “Joy has a vision for the SOAR Chamber of Commerce that is going to create tremendous value for the members, cities and the communities we serve,” he said.  “I’ve been involved with the Chamber of Commerce for a few years and have been close enough to see how hard Joy has worked to create this exciting new path for us.

“When the opportunity to join the board came to be, I felt both privileged and compelled by the positive impacts SOAR will have on the region.”

Those that want more information can contact Joy Wells at joy@ferndalechamber.com.  The website is http://www.southoaklandarearegionalcc.org/

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