Business & Finance

New Board Members Stepping into Roles with Downtown Millburn Development Alliance

Lisa Hackett, executive director of the Downtown Millburn Development Alliance (DMDA), and John Buchholz, the organization’s outgoing president, gave the Township Committee a preview of its budget for next year during a recent meeting. Credits: Patricia Harris

MILLBURN, NJ – The Downtown Millburn Development Alliance is starting off the new year with some changes to the board.

John Buchholz is stepping down after two years as president. Gina Collabelli will be the new president, Harry Roth will be vice president, Mario Verrico will be secretary and Jose Sotelo is a new board member on the Special Events committee.

“I’m excited to pass the baton to Gina Colabelli to become our board president,” Buchholz said. “Gina brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to Downtown Millburn. She has creative ideas that will help drive business to our retailers and restaurants.”

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The co-owner of Red Carpet Boutique on Millburn Avenue, Colabelli runs the boutique with her sister Roxanne. Red Carpet Boutique just celebrated its fifth anniversary.

Colabelli studied International Marketing and Merchandising for Fashion Design at The Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. Until a year ago she worked as a mortgage banker for Chase while also co-running Red Carpet boutique. 

She has served as the board secretary of the Downtown Millburn Development Alliance, and was one of the key players in the launch of Millburn’s first Girls Night Out, which drew more than 700 women to Downtown Millburn to shop. 

Roth is the owner of Eye Q opticians located at 36 Main Street. He is a NJ licensed optician and has been practicing for more than 30 years. The store in Millburn was opened six years ago and is a destination for quality eyewear featuring premium brands such as Robert Marc, Oliver Peoples, Tag Heuer and many others.

Roth currently chairs the DMDA Marketing Committee which has recently produced a new television advertising campaign for fourth quarter of 2011.

“Harry has contributed so much to Downtown Millburn to date,” Buchholz said. “Harry’s on-air campaign for Girls Night Out had women traveling from all over New Jersey to be here. Harry was able to position Downtown Millburn as ‘the’ place to be for Girls Night Out.”  

“Harry is so funny he could have been a writer for Larry David’s ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’” said Gennaro Raimo, past DMDA president and current board member.

Verrico is the owner of Contessa Designs, a boutique specializing in providing elegant and affordable furniture and accessories for the home that are both practical and luxurious. Verrico is a master at guiding his clients’ room designs and layout with fabrics and trims, wall coverings and window dressings, accessories and furniture, including upholstery and re-upholstery. His specialty is in color concepts. 

Verrico has demonstrated his strong commitment to Downtown Millburn through his work on Girls Night Out and the annual Snowflake Parade. 

“Mario came in as a top-tier sponsor for our first Girls Night Out,” Buchholz said. “His generosity and his willingness to roll up his sleeves and dive into to assisting with this event was remarkable. We are thrilled he has accepted his appointment as our board secretary. Mario is incredibly creative and has tremendous drive and passion to do great things in our community.”

Verrico has a history of contributing to the community where he lives and works. In 2008, he won the Good Neighbor Award from the Township of Verona for is work on behalf of numerous charities. He lives in Essex Fells with his partner, Robert, and their son Mario Jr.

Sotelo along with his wife, Toni and their three children, opened UnWined Boutique in Millburn in June 2011. According to Sotelo, the large number of BYOB restaurants in Millburn led them to choose Downtown Millburn as the location for their new business.

Sotelo has an extensive experience in the food and beverage/hospitality industry. He has held senior level management and executive positions for some of the best, including The Manor in West Orange, Tavern on Green in New York, the Meadowlands, Giants Stadium and Chase Manhattan Bank. 

Sotelo earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Montclair State University with a concentration in hotel and restaurant management. He also has participated in numerous wine seminars, culinary trade shows in New York and New Jersey.

 “We are thrilled to have Jose join the DMDA Board,” Buchholz said. “He brings extensive experience to Downtown Millburn. He has already contributed to the success of our first-ever Girls Night Out with his Wine Crawl/Scavenger Hunt throughout multiple stores in Millburn. I have no doubt our town will benefit from Jose’s contribution in the years ahead.”

Also in the new year, Assistant Director Helen Kyle is leaving DMDA to take a job with Millburn Township.

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