Letter From The President
July 23, 2012,
For just under 70 years, the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, Inc. has been getting out the good word about shopping and dining Madison, New Jersey. The Chamber was founded in 1943 as an independent, non-partisan, non-profit business league that promotes the business interests of its dues-paying members and the greater general interests of Madison.
The Chamber is not an entity to itself. It is made up of over 170 members; passionate, committed members who volunteer their time and expertise to the efforts of the Chamber. The strength of the Chamber comes from our members. They are committed to progress and prosperity for all. As a group, it allocates resources and time to programs that assist our member businesses, our customers and the community.
Chamber By-Laws dictate its governance. According to the By-Laws, the board of directors manages the Chamber, which meets monthly. Every spring the membership elects one-third of the directors, who serve overlapping three-year-terms. Every two years, the directors elect a slate of officers, which includes a president, first vice president, second vice president and treasurer.
The By-Laws provide for one paid professional, an executive director. Karen Meyer has been executive director of the Chamber for the last four years. Karen is also co-owner of Sprouts Consignment, 250 Main St.
Many Chamber programs have been part of our tradition for many years. And many others are new. All are meant to advance the interests of Madison, its businesses and its citizens. Here are just a few examples:
· The “Taste of Madison" is an annual event that just celebrated its eleventh anniversary. Besides being Chamber’s largest fund-raiser, the “Taste” spotlights under one roof on one night, the best of Madison’s dining establishments. The Madison Downtown Development Commission, the Rotary Club of Madison and the Chamber are the producing partners of the “Taste.”
· “Easter Fun Fest,”is outdoor, downtown event. Children and parents gather Easter eggs from participating merchants and redeem them for chances to win prizes. It gives each merchant a chance to invite folks into their store.
· The “Fire Extinguisher Inspection Program” is held in June and October. This is an opportunity for merchants and residents to have their extinguishers professionally examined for optimal performance.
· The “Annual Awards Dinner” is the Chamber’s celebration at fiscal yearend in June. The Chamber recognizes certain members in special categories for business excellence.
· At the dinner, the Chamber announces the winners of its “Jack Morris Memorial Scholarships,” which are awarded to graduating Madison High School students. This is one of the largest scholarship distributions in town. In 2012 the Chamber awarded $3,000.00 to three students who intend to pursue business careers after college.
· “End of Season Sales Days”in August is a new program and an opportunity for merchants to put their wares on the sidewalk in a street fair setting.
· In October on Bottle Hill Day, the Chamber produces the “Madison Car Show” with partner its PBA #92 of the Madison Police Department.
· The Chamber “Halloween Costume Parade and Magic Show” is a fun event for merchants and trick-o-treaters alike. After the Main Street parade, children and parents congregate on Waverly Place for a magic show. This event, like “Easter Fun Fest,” gives patrons and merchants the chance to see old friends and to meet new ones.
· The “Home for the Holidays” program is a joint production of the Madison Christmas Committee, the DDC, the Madison Arts and Culture Alliance and the Chamber. Chamber produces the “Holiday Home Decorating Contest” for homeowners and the “Holiday Window Decorating Contest” with MACA to make downtown look spectacular during the yearend holidays.
· After the holidays, Chamber members gather at the “Annual Holiday Party” to celebrate the old year and to ring in the new. Festivities include door prizes contributed by Chamber members and a report to the membership about Chamber’s activities.
· The Chamber also holds a “Spring Membership Party” for the membership to create networking opportunities and business partnerships.
· Other events that draw member interest are things such as our “Annual Bowling Party” at Plaza Lanes and our summer bus "Trip to Yankee Stadium" to enjoy a Major League Baseball game.
· The “Madison Value Card” program features outstanding offers and discounts to some of our shoppers favorite merchants. The distinctive card costs only ten dollars and is valid for one year. Some of our fellow Madison non-profits sell the card as a fundraiser to benefit their programs. The Madison Pharmacy, 66 Main Street, and New Leaf Consignment, 16 Park Ave., also sell the card.
· Chamber’s other important program is the “Madison Gift Check,” which is a gift certificate that can be redeemed at any Chamber-member business. We re-invented this program three years ago in order to make its purchase and redemption easier for patrons, recipients and merchants. The “Madison Gift Certificate” is available only at The Provident Bank, 98 Main St.
· The Chamber also holds biweekly “Focus on Foot Traffic Meetings” and monthly “Networking Breakfasts” as well as other networking parties, events and activities. All are designed to promote business camaraderie and companionship that leads to business growth for all organizations.
· Chamber holds a “Retail Round Robin" several times a year. This is a behind the scenes tour showing how and why businesses run their organizations successfully. Five businesses volunteer to hold an open house and members travel from business to business after hours over the course of an evening.
· The “Nautilus Placemat Advertising” program is a great success and we thank our friends at the Nautilus Diner, 95 Main St., for this enduring partnership that and helps get out the good word about shopping and dining in Madison.
· "Ladies Night Out", "Senior Discount Days"and "Fall Tricky Tray Event” are three new programs that are enjoying wide acceptance by merchants and consumers alike and all drive interest in and increased business to commerce in Madison New Jersey.
· “Late Night Thursdays”is the business community’s effort to bring back Thursday night shopping, Madison’s traditional night for shopping. Accordingly, many Chamber members have hosted their grand openings, open houses and special events on Thursday nights.
· Chamber is improving its worldwide web presence, which will include social media. www.madisonnjchamber.org is the Chamber’s new website and it is consumer-friendly and drives customers to our members business.
· Chamber also has a “Land Use Committee". The mission of the “Land Use Committee” is to advocate for intelligent civic planning and reasonable commercial regulations and to educate members about the municipal land use code.
· The “Merchant of the Month” program is a joint initiative of the DDC and the Chamber. The award recognizes merchants for keeping their premises clean and bright, both inside and out. More than forty businesses have won the award and they are all Chamber members.
Madison is a wonderful and unique borough, certainly a jewel in New Jersey. The Chamber’s mission is to help keep it that way. Madison is many things at the same time: A family town, a historic town, a commuter town, a business town, a restaurant town, a college town and a suburban town.
But what makes Madison so special is the people who love Madison. They are residents, visitors, students, shoppers, employees and community volunteers. The business community is proud to a part of the fabric of Madison and that’s why we all say, Love Madison, Shop Madison.
Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, Inc.