By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Several months in the making, the Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce has officially merged with Malibu, launching under the banner: Malibu Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce.
Following two “challenging” years of COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions, representatives from the Palisades Chamber reported the organization began working with Malibu to merge in fall 2021.
“The last couple of years have been challenging, not only for you and all our local businesses, but also for the Chamber of Commerce,” Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Bob Benton wrote in a message distributed to all members of the chamber at the time. “During this time, we have done our best to operate virtually via eBlasts, social media, Zoom meetings and events.
“Unfortunately, despite our significant efforts to continue to provide value to our members, the Palisades Chamber, and so many other chambers across the country, have seen a substantial decrease in membership since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.”
In addition, Benton explained the landlord would not be renewing the chamber’s lease on Antioch Street, which had housed the office for nearly 30 years after a relocation from previous offices on Via De La Paz and above the Village Starbucks location. They vacated the space in December 2021.
“The Malibu Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to helping local companies grow through business programs and education that create a strong local economy, help the businesses and communities go green, and foster a strong sense of neighborhood community and prosperity,” according to the newly relaunched website.
The chamber will be led by CEO Barbara Bruderlin, with Chris Wizner serving as Chairman of the Board. Bruderlin confirmed the chamber was working with leaders from the Palisades chamber, including Benton, Sarah Knauer and Richard Blumenberg.
“Welcome to the new and stronger Malibu Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce, carrying the tradition of excellence and core competencies of two of Southern California’s strongest and most successful chambers of commerce,” a press release about the merger read. “Since the grand opening ceremony of Sunset Boulevard at Pacific Coast Highway in 1925, the communities of Malibu and Pacific Palisades have been intimately connected with very similar topography, similar challenges and similar benefits.”
The history of the Malibu Chamber dates back to 1948, while the Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce was originally founded in 1949. The two chambers made their combined debut at the 2022 Fourth of July parade in Pacific Palisades.
“Together, the combined Chamber will be stronger and even better able to serve those community’s needs and support the members and residents of both communities,” the statement continued. “They will continue to participate in legislative and environmental advocacy to support the efforts of businesses to go green while protecting the economic interests of businesses through these changing times.”
Upcoming events hosted by the chamber include a sunset mixer, “Summer Somewhere Wines, Charcuterie and Thee!” on July 21 at Summer Somewhere Wines in Malibu (3822 Cross Creek Road) from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
“We are here to support your needs and concerns,” Bruderlin shared in the statement, “and hope you will join the new Chamber, participate in our many new committees serving each sector, and enjoy our events and networking opportunities.”
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