Middlesex County News

East Brunswick Chamber of Commerce is Back in Business

About three dozen business owners met today to take a chance on East Brunswick and themselves. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - . Jazzercize. Holiday Inn Express. Pinot's Pallette. The MAX Challenge. EB Chinese. The Colonial Diner. Bubbly Jen's Farm. Exciting Vacations. The Bonefish Grill. ReMax Realty. Car dealers.  Personal trainers.  Attorneys. Dentists. Chiropractors. Accountants.  Insurance agents. Designers. Advertisers. Engineers.  Payroll specialists.  These are most of the business/service professional people who stood up at the Colonial Diner today and said "Yes!" to the reinstitution of the East Brunswick Chamber of Commerce, marking another step in the process of redevelopment in the township.

East Brunswick Chief Economic Officer Jonathan Sternesky began the meeting by citing the need to tap the "unutilized potential of the business community" in town and the need for a business advocacy organization if the township administration is going to be serious about redevelopment.  Sternesky organized the gathering of about 3 dozen business representatives to provide impetus for those involved to create their own organization. "We took the temperature of the level of interest, but we want you to run this," he said.

Sternesky had worked with some volunteers to create a "proto board" so that the group could register as an official organization with the IRS.  Following the registration, the Chamber will begin actively serving with and for the businesses and professionals in East Brunswick.

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Mayor Brad Cohen was pleased to "see so many people interested in resurrecting the Chamber."  He said, "East Brunswick is on the rise and the Chamber could be a valuable source of information and support."  Cohen commented that his door-to-door campaign for mayor last fall made him aware of the problems facing businesses in EB.  He said that he was interested in "energizing the remaining businesses in town and encouraging them to stay."  He asked for increased support of the SHOP EB property tax-relief program as a way to build a customer base.  "There is a value to staying in East Brunswick," said Cohen.

The Mayor went on to discuss the history of the Chamber of Commerce/Business Alliance in East Brunswick which has ebbed over the past few years.  He invited attendees to share his "vision for the Route 18 corridor," reminding them that the NJ Turnpike extension to Exit 9 in the 1950's led to the importance of the road that bisects the township.  Cohen noted that the "newest project since then is still the Brunswick Square Mall which was built in the 1970's."

Describing the elaborate plan for redevelopment in the township, Cohen said, "I am not really good at failing."

Nonetheless, Cohen credited Assemblywoman Nancy J. Pinkin (D-18) for moving the idea of the Chamber forward. "Business is active, not passive, " said Pinkin at this morning's event.  She added that a Chamber would supply a "core of support" for for non-profits and township programs. "If businesses are not successful, towns are not successful," said Pinkin, who has also served as a member of the Middlesex County Medical Society, located in East Brunswick.  Both Pinkin and Cohen saw the feasibility of East Brunswick as a "medical corridor."

The rest of the meeting was centered on the organizational structure of the EB Chamber and its function as a unit and a community resource.  There was a discussion of monthly meetings an annual events sponsored by the Chamber, with a full rollout of the new organization planned for January, 2018.  Sternesky stressed that membership in the Chamber is an opportunity for a business to "amplify your voice" to the external stakeholders in the community.

*If you are interested in participating in the East Brunswick Chamber of Commerce, contact Jonathan Sternesky at  jsternesky@eastbrunswick.org or call 732-390-6810 for additional information.

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