fbpx

HENDERSON, Ky. (January 25, 2022) – The Henderson Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Henderson Partnership have announced that the organizations will merge beginning April 1.

The boards of each organization made the decision to join forces and streamline their individual missions following a two-month period of study by a merger committee made up of members from both organizations.

The committee worked through such issues as membership, their charters, their by-laws and finances.

The idea to explore merger was launched when the Chamber hired DHP Director Lindsay Locasto on Oct. 29 to become its new president replacing Ellen Redding, who retired. Then-DHP Chairman Curt Hamilton suggested that it would be a good time to explore the opportunity to synergize and collaborate since the organizations have had compatible missions.

DHP actually began its life as an organization within the Chamber organization (then called Downtown Henderson Project) before it branched out on its own to primarily focus on initiatives of the Main Street program.

But in recent years, DHP has shifted that focus from the Main Street program to ramp up its organization and presentation of downtown events, work on beautification and streetscape improvements and support downtown businesses in its membership base.

With the merger, DHP will become a division of the Chamber, which is located at 114 N. Main St. in downtown Henderson, and will continue to organize events and work on its other goals.

Locasto said the DHP’s previous events, including Porchfest, July 4th Fireworks Celebration and Art Hop, will continue.

“We are encouraged and excited to see these two entities coming back together and working as one to grow Henderson and Henderson County,” said Doug Lawson, chairman of the Henderson Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

“This is an example of what can happen when we decide to put the future of our community first,” Lawson added. “The future is bright, and we are all looking forward to seeing the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Henderson Partnership and the entire community flourish under common leadership and direction.”

Locasto explained that there will be “one streamlined membership” to both organizations with all members enjoying the benefits previously offered by each organization.

There had been 48 businesses that invested in memberships to both organizations that will now need only one to get every benefit available. Erasing that redundancy and making it easier for businesses to participate was cited as another good reason to rejoin forces.

“The membership will present a greater value,” Locasto said, “and will be in the best interest of the community.”

One long-time business owner who invested in memberships to both organizations applauded the merger announcement.

“Having been a board member of both organizations and a downtown business owner, I believe this merger is a positive step forward,” said Rodney Thomas, owner of Rookie’s Restaurant. “The Chamber and DHP cross over in so many ways it only makes sense to consolidate their resources. This merger will make both organizations stronger in the future.”

The Chamber will hire a full-time staff member to assist with event planning and the DHP’s other initiatives that will now be added to the work of the Chamber’s Workforce/Education, Agriculture, Government Affairs and Membership missions.

“The Chamber and DHP share the same mission of advancing the interests of Henderson County businesses with DHP focusing specifically on businesses downtown,” said Sean Wilder, board chairman for DHP. “It makes perfect sense for us to combine our efforts to pursue our common goals rather than continuing to work in parallel. We believe that the whole of the two organizations will be much greater than the sum of its parts.”