Washington restaurant, lodging groups merge

The Washington Restaurant Association and Washington Lodging Association have formalized their merger and will announce a new joint brand Oct. 1.

The two groups began operations under a joint agreement last October, combining staff and operational functions in the restaurant association’s Olympia office.

Earlier this week the two associations signed final contracts “and created cornerstone plans for a united hospitality association in Washington,” according to the WRA website.

WRA President and CEO Anthony Anton will lead the combined association.

“This is an exciting time for our membership and the businesses they represent across Washington. Combined leadership capabilities and viewpoints also create more opportunities for innovation,” Anton stated.

“We will have a new name and some new policies from the ground up,” said WRA spokeswoman Stephanie Davenport said Friday.

The combined association will have more than 6,000 members and advocate on behalf of an industry that employs more than 250,000 Washingtonians and generates $17.7 billion in revenue each year, according to the WRA. It will also serve as the primary source of hospitality information for the state’s restaurants and hotels.

C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535