Six years ago, I was asked to join the board of directors for the Metuchen Area Chamber of Commerce. I admit that I didn’t really know what the Chamber did except to promote business in Metuchen. Though my family’s business has been a member for years, my only experience with the Chamber was playing in the annual golf outing.
After receiving an information packet on what the Chamber did, I was truly surprised at the number of events held and run by the Chamber of Commerce that I grew up attending and looking forward to, without giving much thought as to who ran them. As a kid, I scrambled to earn money in September in hopes of winning a goldfish at the Country Fair in October. I decorated my bicycle with streamers and flags for the July 4th parade. My mother bundled me up for the Christmas parade as I anxiously awaited for my first glimpse of Santa Claus.
As I got older, I still went to the Fair, but now it was an opportunity to eat zeppolis or to raise money for my high school class. Then, a few years later, it was the chance to catch up with friends who were back from college.
Sitting in that first Board of Directors meeting seven years ago, I was completely shocked at the extent of participation the Chamber of Commerce had in town. I learned about business card exchanges, ribbon cuttings for new businesses, press releases, the newsletter, the partnership with the YMCA, and on and on. We support programs through the schools, the recreation department, the police and fire departments, and other non-profit organizations. We help businesses through special circumstances that need attention.
I began to grasp the spectrum of the effects the Chamber of Commerce had on the community. Though our primary goal is to promote the businesses in the area, we contributed dramatically to the overall quality of life here. The events we run bring people to town that may not live here. They discover our quality and diverse restaurants, our specialty shops, and our unique charm and personality. They discover friendly personal service that keeps them coming back.
From there, I started to get involved with more activities and events through the Chamber. Not only did I gain clients for my own business, I became a client to others. I have referred my own friends and clients to other members that I have come to know and trust.
I encourage everyone to get involved in town. Come to the parades, the cruise nights, the two fairs, and have fun. Dining, entertainment, and shopping are right down the street, and your friends are right outside the door.
John Jenney, President,
Metuchen Area Chamber of Commerce