SOUTH ORANGE, NJ -- The South Orange Chamber of Commerce has launched a membership drive and is trying to raise revenue, according to the new president, Kenneth Cucchia.

The chamber hopes to boost its membership from 30 to 100 members, offering to promote businesses, listing them on the Chamber’s website, sponsoring networking events and protecting their best interests, Cucchia said.

The membership is $125 for 16 months and really is invaluable because it helps businesses come together, he said.

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“It’s been so helpful to me to be part of the Chamber of Commerce," he said. "It really helped me grow my own business by meeting new people.”

One initiative that the Chamber has started to raise revenue is a competitive softball league that will have eight teams that will play Saturday mornings in Memorial Park in Maplewood.

The deadline to sign up is Sept. 16. The cost is $875 for each team and there will be $1,000 dollar prize, Cucchia said.

“The main goal is to be able to raise some capital so that we can put events on for the town," he said. "That is the most important thing.”

It’s also a good way for the businesses and the people who frequent the businesses to come together, he said, because businesses will be allowed to sponsor the teams.

There will also be a multi-chamber networking event Sept.13 in Montclair, and the cost is $10 dollars for members,

 Cucchia also said regarding controversy the Chamber has had with Main Street South Orange, that it’s all in the past and their aim will be to work together.

  “Our goals are very similar," he said. "We  both want to help the businesses."

The reporter is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.