JUNE 23, 2014 LAST UPDATED: MONDAY, JUNE 23, 2014, 11:03 AM
BY JENNIFER VAZQUEZ
SOUTH HACKENSACK - The Hackensack Regional Chamber of Commerce courted South Hackensack to join the organization - saying the move would be beneficial for the township as it moves forward with its economic development efforts.
"Our vision is to create a large chamber of commerce across the region where we are all connected....strengthening the business community...foster and build relationships and develop the economic well-being for the region," Kevin Konovitch, co-director of the chamber, said during the South Hackensack Township work session on June 5.
Lodi, Garfield, Saddle Brook, Bogota and Hackensack are among a number of municipalities that currently form part of the Chamber.
"We are also talking to Rochelle Park, we are talking to South Hackensack...and Teterboro," Konovitch said.
Fellow co-director David Hollenback, who is also the PSE&G regional public affairs manager, contends that South Hackensack's location is prime to it joining the chamber, particularly since the township does not have its own.
"You have a great business community and we thought it would make a perfect fit because the Hackensack Regional Chamber is in the county seat. You are so close. I think it would be a good mix," he said.
Being that South Hackensack is in the middle of finalizing its Department of Economic Development, the proposal to join the Chamber comes at an opportune time.
"I think it's the perfect timing that we come before you and talk about you being in the Chamber because we can do the things...you are busy taking care of the community and the residents," Hollenback said. "You have a lot on your plate. There is a lot that a chamber of Hackensack's size can bring to the business community that you can offer them."
Hollenback said the events that the organization hosts will be beneficial to South Hackensack business owners, especially when it comes to networking.
"What does South Hackensack have for our businesses to move in here and bring ratables - which we all want," Hollenback asked. "The Hackensack Chamber can bring you networking. We have different seminars on how to run businesses we can tie them into different banks for lending opportunities and so forth and the list goes on."
Chamber President Anthony Ursillo, who owns Ursillo Realty, contended the same."We are very pleased to be here and we would like it very much if you considered joining with us," Ursillo said, adding the opportunity will allow for South Hackensack to grow. "We have a lot of different events that you will all enjoy."
According to Ursillo, there are approximately 300 members that form part of the Chamber.
Aside from many events and organized gatherings, members can sit in at the Chamber's monthly meetings and are provided with access to a website.
"There is a website we have," Konovitch said. "The intention is to have for all the towns that come under the umbrella of the Hackensack Regional Chamber... a town page. There will be a South Hackensack page that will provide information about the town. Obviously, anyone that joins from South Hackensack will have access as a member to that website. They'll be able to see what is going on with other towns, join the membership directory, there's a blog on there, membership discounts. So it really does add value to any company or business."
Furthermore, the Chamber is part of a consortium - which allows for additional networking opportunities.
"Part if the Inter Chamber Consortium which consists of a number of chambers in Bergen, Essex and Passaic counties...so there a lot of opportunities to foster business across the region. All the towns are so close together," Konovitch said.
The membership fees were briefly touched upon when Ursillo said the Chamber tries to make all events affordable.
"We are not very expensive, we are not a pie in the sky. We try to make everything very affordable," Ursillo said.
According to the Chamber's website, fees are contingent on the number of employees a business has.
Committee member Vincent Stefano, who was instrumental in spearheading the creation of an economic development department within the township, said he would like to see South Hackensack become part of the Chamber. According to Stefano, the organization fits the overall mission of what the township wants to do with its economic development plans.
"I think it would be great," he said. "We have a lot of big business industries...we don't have much retail here."Ursillo stressed that if South Hackensack decides to join the Chamber, the benefits will be two-way.
"We'll share, we'll learn more, we'll do more and we'll be a better community," he said.
Discussions pertaining to the topic will take place at a later day.