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Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce to change its name to reflect regionalism

The new name will be Tampa Bay Chamber.

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce will be changing its name later this year.

Beginning Dec. 5, the Chamber will rebrand itself as the Tampa Bay Chamber, the business advocacy group announced Thursday.

The chamber has had its current name for its entire 134-year existence. The chamber created a branding caucus about two years ago to evaluate its brand and determine what, if any, changes needed to be made. The caucus consisted of chamber members and staff with expertise in branding and marketing.

The caucus determined the group’s brand should be updated to better reflect the chamber’s mission in the community that emphasizes regional progress through local action on policy and advocacy issues.

The rebrand will not, the group notes, change the way it advocates for current members or affect how it seeks future members.

The chamber will continue to support members in Hillsborough County and surrounding areas throughout the Tampa Bay region.

“It’s important that our name reflect the region when the chamber is advocating for issues of regional impact, for our county and all of Tampa Bay,” the group wrote in a statement.

While the chamber has worked on some Tampa-specific measures, the group has taken a broader role recently in advocating for regional progress and state legislation that supports its members.

The chamber supported Hillsborough County’s All For Transportation sales tax to fund local transit and transportation improvements but also backed regional plans for a 41-mile express bus (some call it bus rapid transit) route along I-275 connecting downtown St. Petersburg to Wesley Chapel, for example.

The move is another in a long line of shifts showing groups, businesses, residents and elected officials are increasingly viewing the Tampa Bay region collectively rather than as a sum of its parts.

The group will continue using its current name until its official unveiling of the new brand at its 134th annual meeting Dec. 5.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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