The New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce could be undergoing a name change.

Chamber officials released a statement on Tuesday saying that, at its most recent retreat, the Board of Directors directed the staff to begin the process of consideration of re-branding the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce as the SouthCoast Chamber.

A Re-Branding Committee was appointed and it ultimately recommend a new brand for the organization that they feel matches the Chamber's service area more closely.

Chamber CEO Rick Kidder says that, despite the name change, the organization's structure and size will remain largely intact.

"The Chamber has intensely strong ties over 130 years to New Bedford and those ties will be in no way diminished by any name change. We are not merging with any other entity, nor are we seeking to advance our footprint beyond the area we currently serve," said Kidder "We have strong partnerships in place with other chambers, including the Fall River Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry. We will continue to work with other Chambers and want those partnerships to grow, especially in the areas of supporting the business community of the region through advocacy and economic development.”

The Chamber's Chair-Elect Joe Michaud did say that they would be involved in the restructuring of Downtown New Bedford, Inc. and would be taking on a new event.

"The Chamber has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the New Bedford Economic Development Council and is assisting Downtown New Bedford, Inc. with its reorganization following the departure of its executive director who is entering the world of real estate," said Michaud "Starting next year, the Chamber will take on the annual Chowder Festival and work closely with the EDC, the DNB Board and Jim McKeag, the TDI representative working on Downtown revitalization, to help make certain that the downtown area of New Bedford maximizes its assets and economic vitality.”

Michaud also dismissed media reports, including from WBSM's Barry Richard, about financial troubles at the Chamber.

“Despite a report from a radio personality to the contrary, the Chamber's financials are strong and the organization continues to function along budgeted projections of profitability,” said Michaud.

Chamber officials say they have moved to re-secure the name SouthCoast Chamber with the state, which it has held since 2006, but had been allowed to lapse.

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