MCC welcomes new executive director, gets tech-savvy

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Lorraine Labonne-Storch

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The Maplewood Chamber of Commerce recently welcomed a new executive director, who is expected to make big strides for the local business community.

Lorraine Labonne-Storch, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Maplewood Village and a member of the MCC for the last 10 years, has taken over the role from outgoing Executive Director Rene Conlon. Labonne-Storch looks forward to overseeing several key developments within the MCC during the coming year.

“Going forward, we plan to modernize the Chamber, a process that is already under way with initiatives such as a logo redesign and the Maplewood Business Directory mobile app, which is a joint venture with the Springfield Avenue Partnership and the (Maplewood) Village Alliance,” Labonne-Storch told the News Record in a recent phone interview.

The app is already in place for iPhone, iPad and Android, and it boasts a variety of useful features. For example, it divides businesses into three categories — dine, shop and services — each of which includes a map with a pin location for each business as well as available directions to each business. The app also includes a section specifically for upcoming events in the area, opportunities for social media integration and a photo gallery.

In addition, Labonne-Storch will help supervise the redesign and re-launch of the MCC website. The new site is scheduled to go live in early September.

“Our new website will provide a whole host of information and benefits to our members, such as our Monthly Member Spotlight and podcast, highlighting the amazing businesses we have in our community,” continued Labonne-Storch.

The MCC is modernizing the types of businesses it reaches out to, as well, in order to reflect economic change in the area.

“Maplewood is very diverse,” Labonne-Storch said. “You have the storefront type of business but then you also have a lot of professional services. Over the past several years, home-based businesses have really grown. As of last year, the Chamber is reaching out to those businesses in order to offer them the same benefits and services that other members enjoy.”

Labonne-Storch also looks forward to shepherding the valuable networking and training opportunities traditionally offered by the MCC.

“In addition to specific networking events and breakfasts, we have a monthly general meeting. Very often, we have members who provide training during those meetings. They are an opportunity for people to share their knowledge and know-how. As a member myself, I have benefited from both social media training and organizational skills training,” Labonne-Storch explained.

MCC President Rick Gilman is excited at the prospect of working with Labonne-Storch as executive director.

“We are on a very short summer hiatus right now, but when we begin again in September, I am very much looking forward to working with Lorraine. I think she brings a passion for the community as well as a commitment to the Chamber and to serving its members,” Gilman told the News-Record in a recent phone interview.

Indeed, Labonne-Storch’s commitment to the MCC as a valuable business and community resource is strong. She encourages those who haven’t yet joined or become involved to do so during the course of the next year.

“There is one thing that I really want to stress about the benefits of joining the Maplewood Chamber of Commerce. Although social media is integral to doing business in today’s day and age, nothing can replace the personal connections and camaraderie that you experience in the Chamber. We are there for you, figuratively and literally,” she said.

To learn more about the MCC or to join, visit www.maplewoodchamber.org. To access the Maplewood Business Directory mobile app, use the QR codes on the MCC home page or search for “Maplewood Business Directory” in App Store.

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