Merrimack Chamber of Commerce young at 90 years


For The Merrimack Journal

The gathering that celebrated the founding of the Merrimack Chamber of Commerce by seven local businessmen in January of 1928 was hosted recently at the Courtyard by Marriott in Nashua.

The crowd mostly donned business apparel for the event. But retired U.S. Air Force veteran John Elias, a Chamber member and owner of the Merrimack franchise of JDog Junk Removal, and his associate, Ricky Marte, sported work gear printed in a camouflage pattern. The company’s vehicles also are wrapped in camo graphics featuring a “JDog” bulldog ready to pounce on any project.

Karen Keating, identified online as a vice president for Optima Bank & Trust commercial lending department, is the current president of the Merrimack Chamber of Commerce. Her remarks from the podium addressed a diversified membership representing more than 100 regional businesses, nonprofits and entrepreneurs.

“We’re a vibrant and dedicated board,” Keating said. “We’re the catalyst for growth between the town and its businesses and we have so much to offer as we plan, build and hustle.”

A new logo and a new website reflect members’ intentions to greet the Chamber’s 90th year with the kind of gung-ho attitude that invites increased networking and learning

opportunities, along with renewed outreach efforts to the community.

Keating congratulated all who contributed to simplifying the group’s membership structure, one that now incorporates a basic membership fee but permits upgrades to “sustaining partner” levels. Currently, sustaining partnerships are the pride of a trio of businesses that include Eversource, Fidelity Investments and Merrimack Medical Center Immediate Care, a part of Southern New Hampshire Health. Elizabeth LaRocca, of Eversource, commended the enhancements as ones that enable participation at any level.

Chamber board member Yvette Couser, director of the Merrimack Public Library, expressed admiration for the Chamber’s longevity and the professional caliber of its participants. She commended the addition of programing to include an educational component, a monthly book group focused on business topics.

“There are certain things you learn as part of getting a degree,” Couser said. “Nevertheless, there are other things you learn on the job and I think the business book group supplements one’s professional development, as do the various workshops and behind-the-scene facilities’ tours that the Chamber sponsors.”