Announcements Business South Orange Sponsored

Melissa Hodge Named Acting Executive Director of South Orange Village Center Alliance

From the South Orange Village Center Alliance

The South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA), the nonprofit organization that manages the special improvement district in downtown South Orange, named Melissa Hodge Acting Executive Director, effective February 15, 2021. Hodge replaces Julie Doran who joins South Orange Village as Deputy Village Administrator.  

Hodge has worked as the Events & Operations Manager with SOVCA, since 2014. Prior to joining SOVCA she worked with the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District for two years and the MetroTech Business Improvement District for eight years.  

In her new role, Hodge will report to board chair Deborah Engel. “We are thrilled to have Melissa lead SOVCA as the Acting Director,” says Engel. “She has been a key player in SOVCA’s evolution and success since she joined the organization. SOVCA’s Board of Directors is confident in her leadership ability and look forward to working with and supporting her in her new role.” 

Hodge said, “I am excited to step into this role and take on this new set of responsibilities and challenges. I care about our businesses, they are the heart of our downtown. I plan to work hard to assist the local businesses, promote the downtown and tackle any challenges that may arise with the support of the board.”  

Melissa Hodge

Hodge will continue the organization’s efforts to create a vibrant downtown through district activation, beautification and placemaking, business retention and recruitment and fundraising efforts. Volunteer committees support SOVCA’s efforts and all committees are actively recruiting new members. Residents, business owners and/or property owners interested in serving on a committee can contact Melissa directly at  

About South Orange Village Center Alliance 

The South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA) is a non-profit organization  that is dedicated to making downtown South Orange a vibrant place to live, work and enjoy through events, beautification and advocacy for the downtown business district. SOVCA’s mission is to strengthen the vitality of the downtown business district by supporting existing businesses and attracting new ones to improve the Village’s retail mix; raising funds for improvement and public art projects; producing events that complement existing stores and services; maintaining a clean, safe, and  pedestrian-friendly downtown; and helping our governing body manage new development while preserving the attractive architectural legacy of the downtown area. The organization is run by an Executive Director and a volunteer board of directors made up of property owners, business owners, residents and other stakeholders. For more information, visit

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