An aerial view of Carpinteria | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic havoc still growing in its wake, the Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region, the Goleta Chamber of Commerce, and the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce have united to form the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce — from Goleta to Carpinteria.

“The current economic and cultural climate we find ourselves in calls for change, innovation, and unity,” said Stephanie Armstrong, the interim executive director of the Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region and now the new unified organization’s chief marketing officer.

“By joining forces, we will be a stronger, more unified voice with the combined leadership from our three organizations in achieving our common goal to help our businesses and represent the unique qualities of our communities,” Armstrong said.

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The united organization said its key work will be advocating for responsible public policy, offering networking and community-building opportunities, providing access to business development resources, and supporting visitor services across the region. It said the “unique and distinct qualities” of each community’s culture, events, and neighborhood character will be highlighted and preserved while also putting a new focus on countywide and regional issues.

The merger was formed with unanimous support of the business and civic leaders from all three boards of directors. Initially, it was only the Goleta and Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce boards that voted to pursue a merger, though Carpinteria soon jumped on board.

Merging with the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce also means that the Cannabis Association for Responsible Growers as well as major players in the tech industry, such as LinkedIn and Procore, will join the organization.

“As our current business climate continues to evolve, we tried to forecast our members’ future needs and give Carpinteria a stronger voice in the South County,” said Curtis Lopez, chair of the Carpinteria Board of Directors. “Being a native Carpinterian, I did not take this merger lightly, but I and my fellow boardmembers believe this is our future.”

The new merger will begin its unified approach to tackling the region’s economic devastation July 1, when it is officially joined as Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce — from Goleta to Carpinteria.

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