The New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce has asked the state to approve a name change that might give it more regional appeal in hopes of generating additional revenue for the financially strapped agency.

The local chamber, which largely exists on the dues paid by it's members is considering a change to The South Coast Chamber of Commerce in hopes attracting members from the Taunton and Fall River areas, both of which currently have their own Chambers.  The thought is that a more regional sounding name would present an image of a larger, more powerful organization.   Neither group has been asked by the New Bedford Chamber to participate in a regional approach.

An effort to combine the New Bedford and Fall River Chambers was defeated by the Fall River business community ten years ago because the New Bedford Chamber had considerably fewer members and therefore less money to bring to the table.

WBSM has also been told that Downtown New Bedford, Inc. has been disbanded and that the responsibilities for at least one of the group's annual events, the chowder festival, will be assumed by the local chamber.

New Bedford Chamber President Rick Kidder has so far refused to comment on the filing and whether the local Chamber would seek to "go it alone" using the South Coast Chamber of Commerce" title.

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