BELMAR, NJ — The Belmar Business Partnership is on a mission: to establish this Jersey Shore community as the destination of choice for shopping, dining, relaxing and just having fun — beyond spending an occasional day at the beach.
And for this nonprofit group’s corps of volunteers, it all begins with fostering economic and commercial activity throughout the borough. For the past seven years, BBP has worked mostly behind the scenes to accomplish that goal through a private-public partnership between Belmar and business owners.
During its annual budget hearing before the Belmar Council on February 6, BBP outlined its recent achievements and also unveiled what’s planned for the year ahead. “When you invest in the BBP, you are investing in the business community, which in turn benefits the whole community of Belmar,” said BBP trustee Tom Burke. “When the Belmar community supports businesses and the BBP by shopping and dining local, we have a win-win for all.”
The Belmar Business Partnership will hold its annual meeting on Tuesday, February 27 at 5:30 p.m., at Anchor Tavern, 713 Main Street.
Under its $138,000 annual budget approved by the borough council, BBP plans to focus on four strategic priorities in 2018:
- Promote Belmar’s central business district as a year-round shopping and dining destination.
- Create a stronger and more creative business presence along Route 71 and Ocean Avenue.
- Strengthen its working and program relationships between Belmar business owners and the borough.
- Identify and expand opportunities to assist business owners secure façade and signage grants.
Over the past several years, BBP has invested significant time and resources to attract visitors, residents and new businesses to Belmar, according to its annual report. “The emphasis has been on promoting family fun and branding Belmar as a great place to visit.”
For example, major BBP-sponsored events include the ever-popular Cruise Nights in the summer, as well as the Belmar Kite Festival, which has grown to attracted thousands of spectators to the beachfront each fall, and the Pirate Walk, held for the first time last spring.
In the central shopping district, BBP and borough public works department work together to liven Main Street and 10th Avenue with seasonal banners and large planters that are filled with foliage of the season.
BBP also provides façade improvements grants to assist Belmar businesses to improve the appearance of their businesses and fit-out grant to help new retail and food businesses offset the interior modeling costs, including the purchase of fixtures and lighting. For more information on these programs, click here.
BBP also offers the opportunity to serve on several committees, including visual improvement, branding and marketing, retail programs, business development and organization.
Its executive committee is directed by a volunteer board of trustees which consists of a cross-section of commercial property owners and business owners. Its members include president Sal Marchese, owner of Salon Marsal; treasurer Gail O’Reilly, property owner; and the following trustees: Tom Burke, civic member; Christine Cardellino, owner of the Blue Hydrangea Beach Cottage and author of the Belmar Beachcomber blog; Norman Einhorn, director of the Center for Visual Rehabilitation; Brian Hadden, property owner; John Sabia, owner of Socialitize; Kate Walters, owner of Sweet Tease Café & Bakery; Pat Tecza, owner of Nostalgic Nonsense Vintage Clothing; and Jennifer Nicolay, Belmar Council liaison.
In 2011, BBP was established by Belmar as a nonprofit district management corporation to oversee its Special Improvement District. Its operations are primarily funded through an assessment on all commercial properties in Belmar, along with some sponsorship and other additional income sources.
For more information about BBP, visit its website or call 732 894-9022.
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