This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang, but with a whimper
Thus wrote T.S. Eliot in one of his best-known stanzas.
Perhaps melodramatic as an opening for a brief article on the demise of a local business organization, but the Greater New Hope Chamber of Commerce had accumulated a rich history of not only dedicated volunteerism and camaraderie, but also a clubbish attitude at times, with relatively lax financial compliance and control systems.
So when the chamber held its open meeting of business owners Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. at the Eagle Company Fire House in New Hope amid steadily worsening weather conditions, attendance was predictably light. Many business owners were sitting this one out, as they have with other business meetings of late.
Unfortunately, the chamber had hung its hat on garnering a large turnout to support their plans for reviving the moribund organization.
“This meeting is open to those merchants and business people who would like to see the chamber remain, and who are interested in helping to make that happen. We invite all interested parties to join us and discuss how we can keep the chamber alive,” they had said in announcing the gathering.
The chamber had been on a self-described “hiatus” since early November, 2014. As of Wednesday night, five acting board members remained, below the seven needed for quorum, and the 13 total directors required under the group’s bylaws. Despite organizers’ pleas at the meeting, volunteers did not step forward, and the group voted to disband.
Whether the business community of New Hope will step forward and embrace any of the current chamber alternatives remains to be seen, with a prevailing wait-and-see attitude among the business cognoscenti.
There are many who believe that moving the two communities closer together in their commerce approach makes manifest sense. There certainly are some signs of momentum in that direction, although a populist backlash on either side of the Delaware River could lie just below its semi-frozen surface.
But on Wednesday night, a New Hope tradition ended, not with a bang, but in an orderly fashion, and from disinterest.