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BETTER TOGETHER by Ellen Donker

Introducing the SOMA Chamber of Commerce

L-R: Ellen Donker, Kris Haas, Sheena Collum, Frank McGehee, Gary Jones and Paul Greene

Two local organizations have made history. The Maplewood Chamber of Commerce and the South Orange Chamber of Commerce unanimously agreed to merge into one entity. The new name is the Maplewood/South Orange Chamber of Commerce, doing business as the SOMA Chamber of Commerce.

The SOMA Chamber leadership: I'm in the middle. To my left is Vice President Gary Jones and to my right Administrative Director Kris Haas.

As a longtime member of the Maplewood Chamber and as the president of the new organization, I am excited for it to function as one group to better meet the needs of the Maplewood and South Orange business communities. Being able to appeal to a larger and more diverse array of business owners for membership will enable them to improve their ability to network, learn from each other, and partner on initiatives.


The SOMA Chamber of Commerce kicked off its new program year on September 22 with an outdoor breakfast event at St. James’s Gate. Not only did members celebrate the organization’s launch, but they heard an update on the towns from Maplewood Mayor Frank McGehee and South Orange Village President Sheena Collum. The mood at the event was upbeat and members were energized about the merger.


Vice President Gary Jones, who championed the merger says, “I look forward to moving forward as one Chamber. Since our towns often function as one community, I see this merger as a win for all.”


Businesses and organizations interested in joining the SOMA Chamber can visit maplewoodchamber.org.