SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – The new Executive Director of the South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA), Bob Zuckerman, has hit the ground running. Coming to the village from having run the Lower East Side Business Improvement District in New York City, he claims to have a clear vision of the things that the SOVCA needs to accomplish.
“Improvement districts were first formed about 30 ears ago, based on two tenets,” Zuckerman said. “’Clean and Safe’ was one, especially in urban areas. The other, of course is marketing. That means organizing events like the recent Halloween festivities. It also means taking a comprehensive look at what we can do to attract the kinds of businesses that the people of South Orange and the surrounding towns would like to see here. We will be taking a very proactive approach to business recruitment.”
In South Orange, the SOVCA has three part-time employees that work to keep the sidewalks and areas within the boundaries of the Village Center clean and attractive for residents and visitors.
Recently, the SOVCA developed a kit to guide business owners in how to open a business in town.
“There is a methodology that improvement districts like ours can use to look at what’s needed, do survey research, compile prospect lists, and go out and prospect to bring in businesses and help the landlords fill their vacant spaces with businesses that people want,” Zuckerman said.
Tito’s Burritos is an example of a business that has proven to be successful in other New Jersey towns, and has been courted by the village. Owner Mike Caldarella said that village officials gave him a tour of available spaces and led him through the various applications and procedures needed to open his newest location.
“Everyone in South Orange has been great,” Caldarella said. “Everything just went so smoothly, from working with Town Hall to getting our inspections done. It’s been a great experience.”
Zuckerman looks to build upon the positive momentum the village has been experiencing and claims to see a bright future in South Orange.