WESTERLY - Last week, Washington County Superior Court Judge Brian Stern made a ruling against a temporary injection that was aimed to prevent the South Kingstown Chamber of Commerce from changing its name to the Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce (SRICC).
The injunction was filed by the United Chambers of Commerce, a group consisting of the Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area, Charlestown, Narragansett and North Kingstown chambers. The group, however, is unsure of which direction to head in next.
Executive Director of the Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce Lisa Konicki said that the chambers are now faced with the difficult decision of whether to continue with the lawsuit, or to close it.
"I'm not sure where we are going to go next," she said.
"Where we are now is all of the chambers involved are meeting with their boards individually and basically asking, 'what do you want to do?'"
She said that the two courses of action that seem to be rational possibilities would be to try to generate more evidence and continue the fight against the name change legally, or to close the suit.
According to a press statement from the United Chambers, the group finds the reinvention of the South Kingstown Chamber of Commerce into the SRICC to be "a gross misinterpretation of the geographical area that the organization serves."
"The name change is more than presumptuous," the statement continues, "it is offensive to the four viable, active chambers throughout South County Rhode Island and is flagrantly misleading to the public."
Konicki said that one way to move forward with the legal process would be to do independent surveys that could show confusion caused by the name change. However, she said that such an undertaking can cost in excess of $30,000, and her gut feeling is that it is too expensive.
"Given the totality of those fees," she said, "realistically, what each chamber needs to ask themselves is would it be better to put that revenue into actual competition with the confusion."
"This is where the rubber meets the road," she added.
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