SHORT HILLS, NJ – Investors Bank and the companies co-sponsoring the Movers & Shakers Small Business Competition have named two grand prize winners and 10 finalists in New Jersey and New York. The competition recognizes the grit, innovation, and dedication of these companies to their clients and employees, as well as the flexibility that helps drive all small businesses.

The Movers & Shakers competition was put on hold earlier this year because of the pandemic but judging

resumed in late summer, and the winners and finalists were celebrated in a virtual ceremony. The challenges of the last several months have only underscored the strength of these business owners, many of whom spoke during the ceremony about how they have pivoted during the pandemic.

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Park Chateau Estate & Gardens in East Brunswick, NJ, for example, has held outdoor weddings in recent months on its sprawling, landscaped grounds. The venue, one of the top 10 finalists in the competition, draws on more than 30 years of catering experience to host unique events.

 

“At Park Chateau Estate & Gardens, we offer guests the perfect blend of elegance and experience. Our attentive staff, management and owners have spent decades transforming ordinary occasions into unforgettable events,” said General Manager Tom Casella. “Our location in East Brunswick makes this the ideal midway point for many families and friends in the tri-state area.”

 

Investors Bank, the New Jersey Devils and WCBS 880 (WCBS-AM) developed Movers & Shakers as an “elevator-pitch”  competition that drew more than 500 entries from among small businesses in New Jersey and New York. Each company’s entry was evaluated on the three criteria aligned with the key values that continue to drive Investors Bank’s success: Creativity, competitiveness, and community. 

 

In announcing the grand prize winners and finalists, Investors Bank Chairman and CEO Kevin Cummings said, “We are inspired by the compelling stories the small businesses shared in their Movers & Shakers applications. The companies’ owners and employees are committed to excellence in providing products and services, assisting clients, and giving back to local communities. It’s clearer than ever that small businesses are a core part of our regional and national economy. Investors and our partners know and understand that these companies deserve our support right now.” 

 

Alstede Farms in Chester, NJ, and Macondo Networks in Randolph, NJ, each received the $100,000 grand prize that included a check from Investors Bank, advertising from WCBS 880, and a special event with the New Jersey Devils. Alstede Farms uses a variety of farming practices including, among others: natural, sustainable, and certified organic growing methods on permanently preserved farmland. Macondo Networks is a WBENC certified woman-owned business that supplies telecommunications equipment (new and refurbished), conferencing services, and cloud solutions to a wide range of businesses.

 

The two grand-prize winners and 10 finalists were invited to a virtual celebration, hosted by WCBS 880 Small Business Reporter Joe Connolly. “The Movers & Shakers competition attracted a truly incredible group of small businesses,” said Connolly. “Selecting the two grand prize winners and top ten finalists was very interesting and difficult because all these companies are performing at an ultra-high level, in every aspect of their businesses. Even in a challenging economy, they are taking advantage of new opportunities and openings they uncover.”