Trinidad Tidings: Trinidad Chamber, McKinleyville Chamber enter merger talks

Allie Jones, executive director of the Greater Trinidad Chamber of Commerce, and Board of Directors members Brett Shuler, Tracie Creps, Mel Ward, John Lee and Chantele Leatherwood, with McKinleyville Chamber of Commerce representative Charles Caldwell, held a Zoom meeting last week to discuss the future of the Trinidad Chamber.

The Trinidad Chamber has held the Trinidad Fish Festival, which started out as a Crab Feed on the pier, since 1956. The Trinidad-Clam Beach Run, honoring founder Ford Hess, has been an annual event for 55 years until the 2021 winter race was canceled due to the coronavirus. 

Tastin’ Trinidad is another fall event and the Trinidad Chamber has traditionally held an annual town Christmas party, mixers, monthly dinners, and has been supportive of the Thanksgiving Day Blessing of the Fleet and the Easter Egg Hunt with Trinidad Lions Club. 

The Greater Trinidad Chamber of Commerce in its by-laws is set up to enhance the social, economic and civic life of the greater Trinidad area. Most of the events have been possible with the volunteer support of the entire Trinidad community including other service organizations and local businesses and even non-Chamber members. 

A shrinking pool of volunteers and the COVID-19 challenges has caused the chamber leadership to consider options in keeping the chamber running. A possible merger with the McKinleyville Chamber of Commerce has been suggested. Allie Jones wrote to Chamber members after last week’s meeting:

“The Greater Trinidad Chamber of Commerce board voted to begin discussions about the potential to merge our chamber with the McKinleyville Chamber of Commerce. While key challenges (lack of volunteers, inability to raise funds through events) have been amplified because of COVID, we recognize these challenges aren’t new – they have been keeping our chamber from offering the support our community needs and deserves for awhile.

“We believe in the power of chambers of commerce to help our community thrive, and our decision was rooted in a desire to help our community and businesses.

“Right now, we are at the important stage of discussing this possibility with our current members. In light of COVID restrictions, we are doing our very best to make sure all voices and opinions are heard, and will continue to do so.

“I truly believe this merger would benefit the Trinidad community and presents opportunities to be stronger together, with more collaboration and support at a regional level. At the same time, it is extremely important to us all that we can ensure that nothing gets lost or neglected. I believe we can still have the time-honored traditions, beloved events, and community support with this merger and with the help of our neighbors and a renewed support from our community and other stakeholders.

“Please know that a merger does not need to mean the loss or end of the Trinidad Chamber, it would present opportunities for it to continue on, with dedicated subcommittees overseeing all chamber functions and initiatives. Our branding, marketing, events and community support don’t need to end. But they will require volunteers and community engagement.

“I know some of you have valid concerns and questions. Many community members I have spoken to acknowledge that something needs to change, and we all want to figure out how to move forward in ways that honor the past and consider the future are important to us all. We will move forward slowly and deliberately, ensuring that our decisions take everyone’s perspectives and needs into account.”

Allie Jones ended her communication with an invitation to past and present chamber members to share viewpoints or join a subcommittee which will meet in early April. Email [email protected] to find out more. You can leave voice mail at (707) 677-1610. The chamber’s website is

Email Patti at [email protected].


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