LIVINGSTON, NJ - The Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce’s Mayor’s Breakfast was held recently at Nero’s. Board President Monte Ehrenkranz, who is also the vice-president of business development for Regal Bank, led the event. He welcomed new and existing Board Members to the Chamber, welcomed members and guests, and introduced Mayor Michael Silverman.
Ehrenkranz began by speaking on Livingston’s ‘theme’ for the year—‘shopping local.’ He said that the goal of the Chamber is to promote doing business amongst members and in town.
“I have a watch from George Press,” he said pointing to his wrist. “I have a tie from Sam’s,” he said pointing to the one he was wearing. “As President of the Chamber, I feel it is important to promote business within Livingston.”
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He also explained that the format for the Monthly Resource Breakfasts, which began in 2014, will continue in 2015. Each month, a different Chamber member will host a breakfast meeting at his/her place of business. Attendees get to see the host in his/her own work environment, and the host has the opportunity to explain what he/she does for a living and offer tours and samples when applicable. He said that those interested in becoming Chamber members and hosting a Monthly Resource Breakfast should contact the Chamber’s Executive Director Beth Lippman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last year, these ‘Breakfasts on the Road,’ were held at places including Jan Press, Argyles, Saint Barnabas, Bernheim Apter Funeral Home, New Media Connection, Eye Level, and more. Each host was free to supply breakfast from any venue. The benefits were two-fold—members were able to enjoy food from various local restaurants and caterers, and those same businesses had the opportunity to introduce their menus to people who might not have been familiar with them prior.
Ehrenkranz also described another member benefit for Chamber members, called the ‘Member Spotlight Column,’ where members are entitled to have a profile done in partnership with TAP into Livingston. Members interested in being profiled should send an email to email@example.com. The column runs for a week on TAP into Livingston. A few past ‘Chamber Spotlights’ include:
Next Mayor Silverman took the podium and congratulated everyone at the meeting who had recently taken a new office and thanked Ehrenkranz for his efforts in running the Chamber.
He then turned the talk over to the business community and said that the Council is here to work together with everyone to make Livingston better for everyone.
One topic he mentioned was the temporary sign ordinance, “sandwich board signs,” as an example of successful hard work between the Council, Chamber, Planning Board, Engineering Department, BID, committees and Township employees for the betterment of Livingston.
“After many trips back and forth to the Council, it was approved unanimously,” said Silverman.
“That is a perfect example of when change takes place when you work together,” he added. “Working together as a community with businesses and government, we can make things happen.”
“I also know that I speak for the entire council as a group we look forward to continuing business in Livingston,” said Silverman. “No matter the size, whether it is at the Livingston Mall or is the smallest of boutiques, the health and welfare of the business community is paramount to the economic success in Livingston. We know it; we want you to know we know it—and we want to be there with you. And I am thrilled that the retail for rent signs are diminishing, they are going away. It’s really nice. You have all seen the great growth at the old Linens and Things site on Route 10? We have a new Fresh Market, Bottle King—there is renewed excitement and new life at the Livingston traffic circle. And watch for some exciting things to happen at the old Margarita’s location. There’s a lot going on but there is more to do.”
Silverman then began discussing Town Center. “With the addition of new shops, and Anthony’s Cold Fired Pizza, there’s a buzz in the Town Center. If you haven’t been there is a while—go. Eat there, shop there and yes, park there. I park in the deck—it’s ok.”
This statement was met with laughter from the crowd.
“We are looking to keep Livingston growing,” said Silverman. “We want retail and commerce to be in Livingston.”
To that end, Silverman explained that the process program designed by the Town’s engineering department has made a “one contact” liaison for the process of permitting and work to be done in Livingston
He turned to Livingston Township Manager Michelle Meade and said, “Michelle, thank you—it is working.”
He shared that a new task force is on the horizon of a group of builders, contractors, building owners that will meet on a regular basis and critique the process because there is always room to make it better.
“No one has all the answers, the more people we get involved in the process—the better,” said Silverman.
He continued, “As many of you know, I have been a staunch supporter of the Livingston business community and I will run around town defending the business community as long as it takes. I am a business owner myself. I understand the problems and obstacles that each of you have. It doesn’t matter if you own the business or are a salesperson; we all have issues and problems. The hard part shouldn’t be your home. Livingston should not be causing you trouble. Let the hard part be going out and prospecting, getting new clients and getting new customers. That’s your job. We can’t do that for you. We’ll help you. Livingston will help you. But we don’t want to be your problem—the Livingston government is looking to work with you and make your business easier, so that more businesses come into our 13 square miles. A successful Livingston business community is successful Livingston—it’s that simple.”
The talk next turned to what is the Livingston theme for 2015—‘shop local.’
“Whenever possible, I will tell people to shop in Livingston,” said Silverman. “It is very easy to shop online, but it is our responsibility as an organization, as a Township, and as a business community to work together to make this happen.”
In conclusion, Silverman said, “I live in Livingston because I want to. I love Livingston because of who is in it, and I shop in Livingston because like this nation, Livingston was built on the back of small businesses—it is important that we do this together.”
for a video of the meeting that was created by New Media Connection.