NRBP Brief History

Connecting and advocating for members is deeply ingrained in NRBP’s history which dates back to its founding as the Newark Board of Trade in 1869. During the ensuing 144 years, the organization evolved with changing times and terminology as the Newark Chamber of Commerce (1922), Newark Association of Commerce & Industry (1959), Metro Newark Chamber of Commerce (1989), and Regional Business Partnership (1994) until restoring Newark to its name in 2006.

While the names have changed, Newark remains an active, dynamic and successful business community. In the early 20th century, giants of American business such as goods manufacturer Abercrombie & Fitch; Ballantine brewery and Bambergers had their early years in Newark. Today, Prudential, Public Service Electric & Gas, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ, Verizon, United Airlines and Panasonic are among the City’s major employers and corporate citizens. And, hundreds of small and mid-sized businesses continue to create wealth-building and job opportunities for more than 150,000 workers.

Interestingly, Newark Board of Trade records from 1905 indicate that the population of Newark was around 283,000 (about what it is today) and that the organization was at the forefront of improving the City’s economic competitiveness by advocating for deeper seaports, improved water systems and better railways while expressing concern over flooding, clean streets and education of the future workforce. More than 100 years later, many of those same issues remain priorities for the Newark business community.

Networking and connecting our members with the goal of building long term business relationships is part of NRBP’s history and remains at the core of our mission. A century-old message to members from the chairman of the Newark Board of Trade stated: “We are encouraging intercourse between business men, advocating the improvement of transportation facilities; We are diffusing information home and abroad concerning the trade, manufactures and other interest of the City of Newark while promoting the development of commerce and industry, plans made to encourage these interests are encouraged and urged”.

Today we are a markedly more diverse organization and employ different words than our predecessors yet what we do remains just as important …Connecting Business for a Greater Newark.

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