South Orange and Maplewood Chambers of Commerce merge

The Village of South Orange and the Township of Maplewood introduced a merging of their chambers of commerce after unanimous votes by each of the chambers. 

The brand new chamber, Maplewood/South Orange Chamber of Commerce, or SOMA Chamber of Commerce began their new program 12 months on Sept. 22.

The chamber of commerce is made up of particular person enterprise house owners and members of a group to symbolize the pursuits of native companies. Whereas the chambers haven’t any powers to make legal guidelines, they do have the facility to foyer their native, state, and even the nationwide authorities to make sure that the legal guidelines which might be made are helpful to their group.

Mergers are widespread in cities as interconnected as South Orange and Maplewood. The 2 neighboring cities share many providers.

“Maplewood and South Orange, in a number of methods, perform as one group,”  mentioned Gary Jones, Vice President of the Chamber and one of many driving forces behind the merger. “I believe the time was proper.” 

Prior to now, the 2 cities have acted in tandem. The 2 cities share a faculty district, the South Orange-Maplewood College District.

The brand new joint chambers might be headed by Ellen Donker, writer and editor-in-chief of Issues Journal, a life-style journal that focuses on the South Orange and Maplewood space, and Gary Jones, an Edward Jones monetary advisor. 

Earlier mergers of two cities’ chambers have helped the cities higher promote and assist their native companies with out losing time and sources competing with a neighboring city. 

“By being a bigger group, we’re serving broader communities,” Jones mentioned. “That can provide us extra alternative to serve the enterprise group higher.”

“I believe it’s a terrific concept since most native companies, like us, perform inside each cities,” Atif Javed, supervisor of the South Orange Domino’s mentioned. “It is going to be good to have the chambers working collectively to assist the companies in each communities.” 

The newly fashioned chambers could have subcommittees inside it to concentrate on particular wants of sure facets of the group to make sure that the pursuits of everybody within the two communities are being acknowledged. 

“We might be one group that focuses on all the enterprise group,” Donker, president of the brand new chamber, mentioned. “The BIDs [business improvement districts] reminiscent of Downtown South Orange, the Maplewood Village Alliance, and the Springfield Avenue Partnership are charged with serving to these districts entice enterprise.”

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Rylee Nelson might be reached at

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