SHIP BOTTOM, N.J. - At January 10 State of the Chamber, the 104th year of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce was called to order by Second Vice President Jeremy DeFilppis. It was with anticipation that the 2018 business calendar was presented bringing on landmark events like the return of LBI Region Chocolate Week taking place February 11-18, the 10th Anniversary of iconic Wedding Road Show and 30th Anniversary of world famous Chowderfest Weekend. The chamber also added new events such as May 9 Business to Business Happy Hour titled Commerce & Cocktails, food allergy class for restaurant members, and Founded in Family Workshops.
Lori Pepenella, CEO of the Southern Ocean Chamber announced 2017 member and involvement numbers that exceeded goals across the board. The member owned and operated visitor center directly served 5250 individual consumers. 121 business became new members from January to December, 75 law enforcement and community leaders gathered for the first ever Hometown Security Initiative held in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security. 63 official press releases were issued this past year, 27 membership meetings took place including Innovate & Caffeinate, Women in Business, Pop Up and Non Profit forums as well as 7 After Hours and Networking events. The organization's integrated social media platforms are followed by 33581 fans. Participation was up and active with 83 member businesses taking part in Chowderfest Weekend, 51 LBI Region Report radio interviews recorded, 37 members helped launch the Holiday Redefined Shopping Program, and 21 members hosted Shop Small Saturday Events. Other new programs launched with 15 new Partner Members which include Anderson Insurance Agency, Atlantic City Electric, Barlow Buick GMC, Creative Click Media, G Anderson Agency, Jetty Life, Makeshift Union, Skye Gibson, CFP, Panzone's Restaurants, Reynolds Garden Shop, The Sandpaper, TD Bank, Terrace Tavern Restaurants, Van Dyk Group and Volatile Media Management. Seven businesses received Southern Ocean Made Accreditation which established the beginning of the first brew trail which includes non alcoholic stops featuring South End Surf and Paddle, Ann Coen Gallery, Tuckerton Seaport, Jetty, Pinelands Brewing Co, Manafirkin Brewing Co and Ship Bottom Brewery. The trail is featured on the LOYALE app and on the chamber's www.southernoceanmade.com website. The new Mobile Billboard program ran 60 ads for members and community organizations. The Downtown Driven program has four local municipalities partnering including Borough of Beach Haven, Barnegat Township, Borough of Tuckerton and Borough of Ship Bottom. It also led to establishment of the Water Ferry Exploration committee bringing together Southern Ocean Chamber, Tuckerton Seaport, Boroughs of Beach Haven and Tuckerton as well as the Ocean County Planning Department. Its first year led to a pilot program which ran 32 successful trips. The new Land & Sea Guide advertised 44 members and distributed 25000 copies throughout the state, travel shows and visitor centers. The organization also received a $146000 Destination Marketing grant from NJ Division of Travel and Tourism to market the region and qualified to re certify as a globally recognized Destination Marketing Organization through Washington DC's DMAI. The program included Key note Speaker Joel Naroff, Phd who presented economic forecast and Dr Brian Tyrrell who discussed the Visitor Profile Study facilitated by Stockton University.
The 2018 Board of Directors are Jillian Elsasser, Panzones Pizza as President, Christopher Schwab 1st Vice President, Anderson Insurance Agency , Jeremy DeFilippis , 2nd Vice President , Jetty Life, Andrea Driscoll, Treasurer, The Sandpaper, Lori Pepenella, CEO Southern Ocean Chamber, Michele Cuff, CFO, Southern Ocean Chamber, Laura Benson, Berry, Sahradnick, Kotzas & Benson, Malcolm C. Burton, AIA, Elizabeth Giglio, Barlow GMC, Timothy Hart, Ocean County Culture & Heritage, Tanek Hood, Reynolds Landscaping, Dot Lassik, TD Bank, John Bell Maschal, Bay Village, Lew Richards Crust & Crumb Bakery, Rick Temple, Temple Construction, Jerry Thompson, The Van Dyk Group with welcoming two incoming board members Michele Collins-Davies Stockton University and Carol Holmes of Health Village Imaging. For more information on upcoming Southern Ocean County Chamber events and programs please stop into visitor center located at 265 West Ninth Street Ship Bottom, call 609 494 7211 or go online at www.visitlbiregion.com . You can also follow on social @southernoceanchamber or @LBIregion
Members of the regional chamber celebrated organization's highest post Sandy growth and success at January's State of Chamber, with focus on providing more opportunity to strengthen business community in 2018.