chamber of commerce rebrands
THE EXEC TEAM — Pictured is the DeLand & Greater West Volusia Chamber of Commerce executive board for 2023. The board is made up of President Libby Molesky, President-Elect Matthew Maniscalco, Secretary and Divisional Vice President Donna White, Divisional Vice President Waylan Niece, Treasurer and Divisional Vice President Matt Brown, Divisional Vice President Adam Samei and 2022 Past President Elizabeth Godwin. Also pictured are DeLand Mayor Chris Cloudman and Chamber CEO Janet Knauff.

Chamber CEO has big plans for the new year

The start of the new year brought big changes to the DeLand-based Chamber of Commerce.

For starters, the chamber has a new name: DeLand & Greater West Volusia Chamber of Commerce.

The 133-year-old institution born as the DeLand Commercial Club had a good year in 2022, with 162 new members. Going into 2023, the chamber is 571 members strong, and it is rebranding, looking to hold larger events and also to offer more online services to aid business owners.

Chamber CEO Janet Knauff said changing the name (formerly the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce & Orange City Alliance) is less of a change and more of an explanation of the area served by the chamber.

THE BIG BOSS — DeLand & Greater West Volusia Chamber of Commerce CEO Janet Knauff, pictured, took over the chamber in 2019. Knauff is also the newly elected president of the Volusia County Chamber Alliance for 2023, marking the first time the alliance’s president has come from West Volusia.

“To be honest, it’s not a change at all in the area we serve,” she said. “What it is is a clarification.”

The rebrand comes, Knauff said, amid “growing pains” the chamber is experiencing thanks to new members and larger events. Downtown DeLand events that used to draw smaller crowds, she said, have ballooned in attendance.

“The question is constantly, ‘Are you just DeLand?’ ‘Are you DeLand and Orange City?’” she said. “We have members who have been with us 50-plus years in Deltona. We’ve got members all over West Volusia; we’ve always served all of West Volusia.”

In response to The Beacon’s question about whether the rebrand could confuse West Volusia business owners, WVRCC President Sherry DeCrenza offered, “No comment.”

The DeLand-based chamber also plans to put more time and resources into municipalities like Deltona and DeBary, specifically in the form of area-specific councils.

“There will be a chamber counselor for DeLand, Orange City, DeBary and Deltona,” Knauff said. “The idea will be to bring our members from that area to serve on that council from diverse industries, and perhaps an elected official or a city official.”

The plan is for these councils to meet regularly to, as Knauff said, “keep a better finger on the pulse of these communities.”

IMAGE COURTESY DELAND & GREATER WEST VOLUSIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE NEW LOGO — Along with the DeLand & Greater West Volusia Chamber of Commerce’s new name and rebrand came a new logo, pictured here. With the Historic Volusia County Courthouse in the background and modern buildings and a tree in the foreground, the logo, according to CEO Janet Knauff, captures the chamber’s full mission. “We’ve got the history as our background and foundation, and yet we’re business-forward and looking ahead and thinking about growth, sustainability and economic vitality,” she said.

Chamber(s) of Commerce

In addition to the newly christened DeLand & Greater West Volusia Chamber of Commerce, two other chambers serve the West Volusia community: the Volusia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the West Volusia Regional Chamber of Commerce.

While the DeLand-based chamber has an ongoing partnership with the Hispanic Chamber, there’s no formal partnership with the WVRCC. A dialogue was opened up between the two Chambers about a potential merger, but the discussions fell through, Knauff said.

Asked whether having “West Volusia” in the names of two Chambers could confuse some business owners, or strain the relationship between the Chambers, she said she didn’t think so.

“I don’t feel like it’s stepping on any toes. It was not meant that way. It was strictly meant as a clarification of where we serve,” Knauff said. “It was not at all meant to create confusion. It was actually, in a sense, meant to clarify.”

The WVRCC, which was formed by the merger of a number of other business organizations in 2010, has 230 members across West Volusia. Some are crossover members that belong to more than one chamber. The chambers encourage all businesses to join as many business-support organizations as they can.



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