MONTCLAIR, NJ — As the North Essex Chamber of Commerce (NECC) approaches its 50th year, the chamber is celebrating how far it has come and the bright future ahead.

The NECC, which exists to ensure that businesses grow and prosper in the community, while supporting the community in return, has recently introduced new ways for members to grow their business.

One is through the member directory on the NECC website, which currently gets 10,000 visitors on average per month. Members can also take advantage of the NECC Connection Card to generate new business.

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The Connection Card provides discounts at participating member establishments. In addition, it has expanded its impact on the nine towns that it serves through a re-envisioned foundation, a separate fund directed to benefit the community at large.

It was only a few years ago that NECC membership was declining, and the chamber financials were bleak. At the time, the NECC website underserved both its members and the public.

The turnaround began under the leadership of Jo Ann Short, the Chief Executive Officer of the YMCA of Montclair at the time, who served as NECC president from 2013-2015. Under her tutelage in conjunction with a strong board, some much-needed changes were made: expenses were brought under control by outsourcing office and bookkeeping functions to C3Workplace; a new website and database platform were adopted, and the brand reimagined; and, by the end of Short’s term, the organization was in the black and moving in the right direction.

Holly Kaplansky, owner of Minuteman Press Newark, took the helm in 2015. Streamlining processes and growing membership were the hallmarks of her tenure as president. Kaplansky led a strategic plan process that laid the groundwork for fulfilling the NECC mission.

As the current president, Michael Daniels, Senior Financial Advisor at Financial Focus Group, begins his term, the NECC moves forward on membership value, more engaging programming, and growing the impact of the foundation in the communities that it serves.

While the Chamber Foundation continues to award scholarships to high school seniors, Daniels is driving relationships with non-profits in the chamber’s footprint, such as Spectrum360, which serves individuals with special needs.

In the short term, there are two special events of note:

On Thursday, Feb. 15, the chamber will host a multi-chamber event at Fusion Academy in Montclair, which will provide an opportunity for business people to network with other professionals from six Essex County Chambers.

On Monday, April 9, at The Manor in West Orange, the NECC will host its flagship event, the 2018 Taste of Essex. This is a unique food extravaganza where the entire community can enjoy the wide variety of exceptional food and drink offered by local restaurants and other establishments.

More information about these events can be found HERE.

 www.northessexchamber.com/events/

The NECC, is the official Chamber of Commerce for nine nine towns in Essex County, including: Fairfield, West Caldwell, Caldwell, North Caldwell, Roseland, Essex Fells, Verona, Cedar Grove and Montclair.

The West Essex Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1969, became the North Essex Chamber of Commerce in the early part of the 2000’s, when it absorbed the Montclair Chamber of Commerce. The membership base includes large, medium and small businesses throughout the Greater Essex County area, including the surrounding counties of Morris, Union, Bergen and Passaic.

Non-members are encouraged to join, and current members are encouraged to join a committee in order to make lasting meaningful relationships that will help grow their businesses.