TAP into Montclair has begun a series of "Meet The Leaders" profiles that will focus on government and civic leaders in Montclair.
MONTCLAIR, NJ - This profile features Israel Cronk, new Executive Director of the Montclair Center Business Improvement District (BID). Cronk, the former General Manager of Bangz Salon, is looking to make Montclair Center the next Time Out New York.
While he did not dictate the ways in which he plans to accomplish said feat, it was easy to see he is the type of person who gets things done. "First and foremost I am the advocate for the merchants" was his first assertion.
Cronk is a charismatic leader with a great deal of energy, and a long list of goals. He told us that his first step is conducting a merchant survey to understand business owners’ needs and desires. He has been able to assess a hierarchy of needs that includes safety, cleanliness, and walkability.
Cronk is now responsible for the management, and administration of Montclair Center BID’s programs and events with direction from the BID’s Board of Directors. As someone in business for 15 years, Cronk recognizes that business owners are busy running their shops. He said so far they have expressed needing help with “resources, social media, merchandising, branding and communicating upcoming events.”
Those are some of the ways Montclair Center has been, and will continue to be, instrumental. He referenced Time Out New York as being a great resource for visitors to know what is happening at any given time in New York City. Montclair Center is a resource as its tag line, where the suburb meets the city, indicates.
On the heels of this morning's groundbreaking ceremony for the M.C. hotel, we wanted to know Cronk's views on Montclair development projects. As regards the hotel he said, "I think it's fantastic. One thing that has been needed is a place for visitors to stay. It cements Montclair's position as a tourist destination."
While on the topic of development, we asked what he thought about the potential of a senior center at 65 Church St., which has been a hot topic in Montclair, and a source of litigation for the past few years. Cronk said, "The exposure that it could bring to the downtown area is big. You have to think outside the box to think what it can do our economy and the environment down here." In an expression that suggested he supports the project he added, "There's a lot of ageism out there...We need to be more inclusive."
While he did not know the reason his predecessor Luther Flurry moved on, Cronk said about Flurry, "He is one of the most brilliant people I've ever met." He went on to praise Flurry’s business acumen and appreciated the time he spent with Flurry during his transition into this role.
Cronk also voiced gratitude for the Montclair Ambassadors who spend an hour every single morning cleaning up around town and even hauling trash to the local dump. He said the pride they show in their work, in the care for the flowers and streets, is noteworthy.
Some of the events being coordinated by Montclair Center are Ladies Night Out, which just happened April 15th, Montclair Center Stage, April 23rd starting at 5:30 p.m., Fashion Night Out in September, The Art Walk in October, and much more. But Cronk told us that none of these are profit centers, the BID's role is inviting and orchestrating events.
A big goal on his wish list is to bring in a diverse crowd to locations within the mile long strip, such as the empty lot between Mission and New Street, close to Glenfield School. He expressed wonderful ideas that involve culture, kids and the arts. So stay tuned.
He realizes the bar is high, and as such ended by saying, "I'm only one person and while intentions are great, actions speak louder than words." As such, he invited businesses to band together, interested residents who want to help should reach out, coordinate fundraising, volunteer to take leads, and help support his vision to pull people toward the lower end of Bloomfield Avenue as well. Performers, artists, food vendors can all reach out to lend a hand in making Montclair more and more successful and attractive each day.
To promote sustainability, cleanliness and accountability Cronk hopes for continued and increased community involvement.
Contact and more information at www.MontclairCenter.com