Chamber of Commerce celebrates merger
By Matt Echelberry
CRESTLINE — Combine it and they will come.
People from the Galion and Crestline communities showed up in droves for the Galion-Crestline Area Chamber of Commerce after hours event on Feb. 21 at Shenanigan’s. The event was a celebration of the recent merger between the two Chambers, which now operate as one entity out of the Galion office.
The informal meet and greet had elected officials, business leaders and citizens in attendance, with a wide representation of both Galion and Crestline.
Chamber CEO Joe Kleinknecht was thrilled by the turnout that evening, saying it was better than he anticipated. He said that he is also satisfied by how the merger turned out, as 28 members of the former Crestline Chamber (out of 77) have already signed up.
On moving forward, Kleinknecht said the challenge will be getting people convinced of what the Chamber offers and gaining their respect. “We work to save businesses money and we’re here to help them be more successful,” he stated.
Kim Polito, who ran the former Crestline office and now serves as a Chamber Board member, said she has been “delighted” with the merger. “We [the Cresline Chamber] had been a volunteer organization for many years, and Galion welcomed us with open arms. The two communities really are connected and the merger allows us to offer better benefits to our members,” she said.
Polito added that there are some joint events forthcoming and a “Hotdogs at the Gazebo” schedule is in the works, similar to “Hotdogs on the Square” in Galion. “Crestline will continue to have a voice,” she concluded, as two members of the former Crestline Chamber serve on the new Board of Trustees.
Board Chair Jennifer Kuns commented that the event had an amazing turnout, equally-supported by both communities. “I’m excited about the future. This means more opportunities for members that may not have been available before [the merger].”