The Marion and Hillsboro chambers of commerce are planning a joint annual banquet to be held in late January.
Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce President Cynthia Fleming said talks about joint events began during the summer. Earlier this fall, they organized a hospitality tent at the high school football game between the two towns, and a shared banquet was always part of the discussion.
Marion Chamber of Commerce President Don Noller said pooling their resources gives more options for a speaker at the banquet. The scheduled speaker is Ron Wilson of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University. Noller described Wilson as a cowboy poet and said he has a weekly radio show on WIBW.
Fleming said she hopes that getting to know each other will help the business communities of the towns realize they can benefit by cooperating, rather than butting heads.
“We aren’t the enemy,” Fleming said.
There have been naysayers who didn’t think the chambers would be able to cooperate in any meaningful way, she said.
“People said it would never happen,” Fleming said. “Not with an attitude like that, it wouldn’t.”
Noller cited the hospitality event at the football game as a success of cooperation. The joint banquet should help the Marion chamber because it has gone a couple of years without a banquet, he said.
Just getting to know one another should be beneficial to businesses, Hillsboro chamber board member Katherine DeFilippis said.
“There are people in Hillsboro who don’t know everything Marion has to offer and vice versa,” she said.