In 1973, several of the area’s largest corporate leaders who were an integral part of the Secaucus Merchants Association made the decision to form a Chamber of Commerce with a focus on the Meadowlands area. With the support of well-known global brands like Hartz Mountain and Mikasa this newly launched organization continued to grow into an influencer in the area.

The new chamber became famous for its mission and vision.

Vision

The Meadowlands Chamber will always be one of the nation’s leading regional business service organizations by promoting innovative and sustainable economic growth and offering all members exposure to business and professional development opportunities.

Mission

The Meadowlands Chamber proactively accelerates the success and business growth for all members by providing networking and relationship building opportunities, destination marketing, business leadership education and public affairs advocacy.  They seek to be a community catalyst that improves the quality of life for all who live and work in the greater Meadowlands region.

Growth Over the Years

As time went on the organization grew and evolved into a strongly business focused chamber. When the Executive Director, Rich Fritzky, invited Jim Kirkos to take on the role of consultant to the Chamber, Jim had already been a member himself for more than 15 years. Drawing on his experience as a business leader for more than 22 years, Jim was asked to apply his knowledge and experience to complement the ED’s public policy experience and in the process, help to move the Chamber forward into a more prominent role with corporate companies.

As a result of this successful interaction, in 2002 Jim accepted the job as President & CEO. Ever since, the Meadowlands Regional Chamber has been a powerful voice in the community it serves, contributing as a catalyst to the success and business growth of its members. There has been a steady increase in the MC membership from the 260 when Jim arrived to the impressive 1,100 current members listed in the directory.  This was not the result of waving a magic wand. Rather, they have accomplished this feat – and continue to expand every day – by advocating and supporting a positive economic atmosphere that improves the quality of life in the greater Meadowlands Region for all who live and work there.

With the help of dedicated staff and passionate member volunteers, the main objective for this forward - thinking business service organization, which enjoys a  reputation for bringing together entrepreneurs and small business owners, nonprofit leaders, corporate management teams, professional business and trade organizations, the educational system, and local, regional and state government officials, is to combine the power of  all sectors in order to have a positive impact on the greater Meadowlands Region.

With this in mind, the MC is proud to serve small companies and micro businesses as well as start-up entrepreneurial firms, providing them with the appropriate resources and benefits that are relevant for this specific demographic.

Ready to Face the Future

As Jim and his team worked to shape and reshape the organization, identifying new ways to deliver value for this critical segment of the business community, he turned to the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) who was in the process of conducting a ‘future study.’

Under Mick Fleming’s leadership, the future study was conducted and it revealed that the Chamber of Commerce of the future will need to be very different from current Chambers. They will need to be positioned to better serve the entrepreneurial innovators of tomorrow by looking through a new lens, by turning the world of expectations upside down, by applying fresh new perspectives and changing the business model to attract those operating on exciting business platforms like the GIG economy.

Taking this information to heart, the decision makers at the Meadowlands Chamber made a big, bold decision. They understood that what matters to their constituency most is (1) building relationships and connections through networking and collaboration, (2) advocacy, and (3) personal and professional development. Taking these three main pillars into account, the MRCC held to its vision to always remain relevant in the future.  They unanimously agreed that future is now!

With their lease expiring soon, a new building seemed to present a perfect opportunity for Jim and his leadership team. The end result?  In November 2019 after 16 months of hard work and planning, they cut the ribbon and opened the doors of their new 7,000-square-foot headquarters in Lyndhurst.

The facility was designed to meet and exceed the needs of all members, including new startup companies, entrepreneurs as well as long established businesses that were so prominent in the research conducted by the Chamber. The MCHQ was constructed to deliver resources to these members on a day-to-day basis, including availability to a 75-seat Innovation Learning Center, a Meadowlands Live! Visitors Center to promote destination related assets of the region, a podcast studio, two video conference suites and multiple ideation, collaboration zones and huddle rooms that members can reserve as part of their membership.

Even though the building was completed just as the holiday season began, the Chamber members immediately recognized the endless list of benefits. More than 300 people used the facility in January and that number grew quickly to top 400 in February. Usage continues to climb, and Jim anticipates that upwards of 5,000 people will be in and out of the building over the course of the year. There are so many expected and unexpected advantages! A familiar scenario is taking place regularly as a member attends a seminar and, after reconnecting with an old friend, they don’t leave the building but rather seek out a quiet space and continue talking to each other. No one appears to be in a hurry to leave the premises because it has an atmosphere that supports and encourages casual conversation, community building and interaction.

The MC has truly earned its reputation as a catalyst, creating opportunities for enhancing existing connections and identifying new ones.  As the Chamber of the future, the Meadowlands Chamber is now ready for anything.

Visit Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce for more information.