As Southbury’s business community grows, the voluntary organization will evolve into a Chamber of Commerce

SOUTHBURY — With business growing steadily over the past three years — despite the impact of COVID-19, the Southbury Business Association will soon evolve into something bigger.

After 53 years of serving the business community, the Southbury Business Association will disband and become the Southbury Chamber of Commerce on September 1.

“The SBA operated as a voluntary organization with limited services,” said Wendy Mutter, president of the association. “The need to support the growing business community in Southbury caused the SBA Board to decide that more was needed, so the decision was made to disband the SBA and create a new organization, the Southbury Chamber.

“I absolutely see this as a good decision. The Southbury Chamber will continue to uphold the integrity of Southbury and its business community while being able to deliver so much more.

Southbury Chamber will be a new subsidiary of Waterbury Regional Chamber which includes Beacon Falls, Bethlehem, Cheshire, Middlebury, Naugatuck, Oakville, Oxford, Prospect, Southbury, Thomaston, Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott and Woodbury.

According to its website, the Waterbury Regional Chamber offers a variety of platforms to market and promote its member businesses, referral systems, seminars and training programs.

In addition to local programming and the preservation of the SBA Pomperaug High School Scholarship Program, all members of the new Southbury Chamber will automatically become members of the Waterbury Regional Chamber.

With the support of her board, Mutter approached the Waterbury organization “because of their proven success in partnering with other communities like Naugatuck and Watertown,” she said.

“There are so many benefits to joining the Waterbury Regional Chamber, including an extensive network, resources and advocacy support,” Mutter said, adding that she will be stepping down as president but that she will still retain a position on the board of directors.

A council will be created with nine current SBA board members and nine members from Southbury businesses who are current members of the Waterbury regional chamber, according to the Southbury chamber website. The Southbury Chamber Board will meet monthly to update Waterbury Regional Chamber staff on local programming, select events, public policy and economic developments.

“I think the move from the SBA to Southbury Chamber will be a good move,” said Jeffrey Manville, Southbury’s first manager. “It seems a lot of people from outside Southbury come here to shop and eat out.

“I think the biggest benefit is the increased recognition of Southbury and what it has to offer to the surrounding communities. I find Southbury is known for its walkability and food scene. Especially at night with our award-winning streetscape and lights.