Nazareth and Bath borough businesses are joining forces in a combined effort to foster economic success and preserve the heritage of both communities.
Today they announced publicly that they will share a chamber of commerce in name as well as function and be called The Nazareth-Bath Area Chamber of Commerce.
"It came about as a discussion at a recent board retreat at Woodstone Country Club in Danielsville," said Tina Smith, Nazareth chamber president. "It is a natural fit, with the areas just four miles apart and with Nazareth and Bath boroughs sharing much history and similarities."
Bath did not have a Chamber of Commerce.
"We view it as validation that the borough is progressing on a path of revitalization," said Tom Petrucci, Bath borough manager. "We hope to continue to help the businesses that are here in Bath to survive and thrive and hope to attract new business to the area."
The 460 members of the Nazareth chamber already have been sharing some of their efforts and events with about 20 of its members from Bath, such as annual awards dinners and professional networking mixers.
"We look to do some more things with them [and] to grow upon what we have already established there," Smith said.
One of their projects includes an upcoming meeting with the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. to shine a spotlight on some of the smaller boroughs in the area that might sometimes feel as though they are left in the shadow of their larger chamber counterparts.
There are other projects under consideration for next year geared toward the business community in Bath.
"We are planning to have a real estate trolley tour, where commercial Bath properties will be featured," Petrucci said. "We're also looking at the possibility of having a 'Taste of Bath and Nazareth' event, geared toward businesses where restaurants could feature their cuisine."
Other events are in the less-formal planning stages.
"We have some [other] irons in the fire, but it would be premature to share that now," Smith said.
According to Smith, the name change was passed without opposition from either borough, and the groups look forward to formally joining forces for the common good.
"It is with great pleasure that we are announcing the long overdue addition of Bath to the Nazareth Area Chamber of Commerce name," said Cindy L. Fairbanks of Essroc Cement Corp. in a letter to fellow chamber members. "It is more than just an addition of a name, as it is recognition of the close ties and shared histories held between our two communities."
Despite the emphasis on Bath and Nazareth boroughs, Petrucci emphasized that their chamber is "nonterritorial."
"Basically anyone from the Lehigh Valley can join," Petrucci said.