Supporting Our Business and Community

Southern Ocean Chamber’s History

For over a century, the Southern Ocean Chamber of Commerce has enriched the quality of life for the citizens and guests of Ocean County through the promotion of business and tourism in the Long Beach Island region.

Adapting to the Decades

Over the past decades the Chamber of Commerce continued to grow, thanks to the success of educational programs for local businesses and programs to support the community. These professional expansions created the need for the Chamber to undergo several name changes in the 20th century; The Long Beach Board of Trade, the Long Beach Island Board of Trade in 1942, Long Beach-Stafford Board of Trade in 1968, Long Beach Island Chamber of Commerce, Long Beach Island-Stafford Chamber and finally to Southern Ocean Chamber of Commerce in 2007, when they have assumed the official role of Destination Marketing Organization.

Lifting Regional Infrastructure

The Southern Ocean Chamber of Commerce has encouraged responsible growth through the development of infrastructure from schools, paving of safer roads, businesses, public sewers and water. The main element for the organization in 1914 was to build the first automobile bridge across the bay. Since then, the Chamber has also been instrumental in the 1959 and 2014 bridges and the current Causeway projects. For which, the endeavors and persistent efforts of the organization created convenience and enjoyment for the residents and visitors alike on the island today.

Disaster Relief

Southern New Jersey’s shore communities are threatened Over the years the Chamber has helped navigate numerous hurricanes, superstorms, nor’easters, and other natural and man-made disasters that have threatened the quality of life and financial sustainability of the region. They have assisted in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for local hunger relief and many local projects. The Southern Ocean Chamber of Commerce with nearly six hundred members continues to play a vital role in support of the $4.2 billion tourism in Ocean County.

Timeline:

March 4, 1914 – People interested in the prosperity of Long Beach Island met in Philadelphia for the first of what was to become many meetings of the now Southern Ocean Chamber of Commerce.

May 1914 – The chamber was founded at Long Beach Island Board Of Trade.

1938 – Our chamber oversaw the first local guidebook and has since served as the main resource for tourism information and guidance to the LBI community.

1940 – We screened the first regional promotional video. Since then we have grown a robust media library, including sponsoring the Just Beneath the Surface Series

1942 – Officially operating as a staffed visitor center, running educational programs out of the office.

1960’s onward – Official Chamber-led programs began to support the regional businesses and support the betterment of the community. Some ran for decades, such as…

Operation Christmas Tree which repurposed trees to fortify the dunes.

Miss Magic Pageant – An annual summer highlight where a young woman was selected to represent the island.

LBI Surf Fishing Classic – A competition for our local anglers, the annual fishing tournament

1964 – The chamber championed a Long Beach Island day at the World’s Fair held in New York.

1989 – The first of Chowderfest Festival was held – a weekend of community events surrounding our Chowder Cook-Off Classic.

1996 – Launched the region’s first Website to represent Long Beach Island businesses and the community

2000’s on – Our organization represents the business community through panels and keynotes at League of Municipalities Annual Convention, Stockton University Jersey Shore Cast, Ocean County Business and Tourism Advisory Board, Ocean County Culture and Heritage Commission, NJTIA State Tourism Conference, Ocean County College Sink or Swim Business Competition, Destination International Annual Convention.

2007 – Held community strategic sessions to generate name Long Beach Island Region to better reflect out of area marketing efforts by newly established Destination Marketing Arm.

2007 – Held community strategic sessions to generate the name Long Beach Island Region to better reflect out of area marketing efforts by newly established Destination Marketing Arm.

2008 – Wedding Road Show & Party Planning Tour became the premier wedding event in southern NJ.

2012 – Opened Business Emergency Response Center At Stafford Historical Train station day after the storm. First in state to host SBA Recovery center in Stafford

2012 – Super Storm Sandy Response, founded the Radio Show in response

2013– LBI Region Report Radio Show goes on air with WBNJ to promote

2013 – Hosted New Orleans Destination Manager at the State Of Chamber to discuss the recovery process for businesses

2013 – Ran We Are LBI recovery campaign and held media Conference at NY Times Travel Show

2013 – Promoted LBI and NJ at Superbowl Media day in New Orleans

2013 – Appointed as Huddle Zone Captain for tourism committee NJ/NY Super Bowl 2014

2014 – The organization was one of the first in the state to achieve global accreditation through DMAI Washington DC.

2014 – 100th Anniversary of Continuous Service creates the Economic Development Council

2014 – Received Global Accreditation for Visitor Center/ Destination Marketing Organization

2015 – Continuous recognition as NJ Top Chamber Of Commerce

2017 – Featured Speaker at Global Tourism Convention, Anaheim California

2017 or 2018 – The annual Southern Ocean Made Surf & Sip Brew Trail was born, featuring local craft breweries and surf lifestyle artisans

2018 – Became a trusted verifier for Google

2018 – Named the Chowder Capital of NJ, after international competitor at 30th Anniversary Chowderfest

2018 – Re-accredited as one of NJ’s two globally accredited organizations; one of 200 internationally

2019 – Thrive in 105 Year focusing on Volunteer First Responders and community Non-Profits
Established Coastal Resiliency Committee

2020 – COVID-19 Regional response with ongoing support and destination marketing and management