Business & Finance

New Brunswick City Market Helps Keep Downtown Bustling

Credits: Submitted photos
Credits: Submitted photos
Credits: Submitted photos

NEW BRUNSWICK — As a new business owner, Mike Simko, owner of the Dillinger Room, said having New Brunswick City Market, Inc. on its side helped them become part of the city’s bustling downtown.

“When we were under construction, Pam (Stefanek, executive director of City Market) introduced herself to us and told us about its grant offering for façade improvements,” he said. “Sure enough we received a 25 percent grant for our outside façade and last year we were awarded the most improved business.”

Simko said they had participated in City Market’s Facade Improvement Grant Program that offers technical and financial assistance to qualified property owners or tenants seeking to renovate or restore building facades.

Sign Up for E-News

The Dillinger Room, a cocktail bar and eatery located at 338 George Street, has now been in business for a year, and used the grant money to pay for 25 percent of the renovation, while funding the remaining balance themselves.

City Market also offers an Awning Replacement Reimbursement Grant Program with a cap of $2,000 to offer technical and financial assistant to interested, qualified property and business owners in need of an awning replacement, according to the organization.

The goal of City Market is to maximize the return on investment to merchants and property owners of the Special Improvement District (SID), the organization’s website said.

The organization was founded in 1985 to oversee one of the first SIDs established in the state.

Stefanek said the organization receives an assessment from property owners within the SID that pays towards what the City Market does. The SID has approximately 300 businesses located in a 24-block radius.

To reach its goal, City Market works to enhance the mercantile environment by continuing street cleaning, graffiti removal, security initiatives and streetscape and signage improvements as well as by improving downtown street activities; promote New Brunswick as a business destination and attract new businesses to enhance the SID’s retail mix, according to the organization.

Stefanek said she and Fawn Stephens, program manager, are the two staff members of the organization with a volunteer board of 28 active members.

“Our vision is for people to want to come here other than New York or somewhere else,” she said. “There is so much downtown, we have three premiere theaters and a comedy club.”

Stefanek said the organization has a clean team of ambassadors of staff and personnel that help pick up litter and make the environment aesthetically pleasing since the area brings many visitors to the area for the first time.

New Brunswick is a vibrant city of 50,000 residents, a number that triples during the business day with college students, corporate and business employees, hospital and health care workers and visitors, according to the organization.

City Market promotes the downtown as a destination.

Within a few city blocks converge Johnson & Johnson’s world headquarters, Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey, the country’s largest medical school, two premiere academic hospitals, three professional theaters, several four-star restaurants, and two four-star hotels.

“We have been referenced as the health care city hub,” said Stefanek. “We are centrally located with a train station, a bus line, we are off Route 1 and Route 18, and Route 287 is not too far.”

With Rutgers University now a “Big Ten” school, the city garners many out of state visitors that come to the football games.

Stefanek said many events and conferences are held at the hotels located in the district that include the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick and The Heldrich.

City Market hosts many events and partners with the businesses and organizations in the downtown to help promote individual events as well. The organization also partners with Rutgers University on some promotions.

Stefanek said they hold shop local promotions, restaurant week in July, live musical performances, holiday promotions including free horse drawn carriages and a tree lighting ceremony, a cook-off among chefs at the different restaurants to raise money for charity and more.

One of the many events that City Market partners with is the New Brunswick Jazz Project, which began in 2010.

Michael Tublin, co-founder of the New Brunswick Jazz Project, said City Market has been a great partner in helping them with donations. He said their non-profit organization started hosting two free shows a month six years ago to now hosting free shows four nights a week year around held at four different locations in the city.

The organization hosts a “Women in Jazz Series” and collaborates to host The Central Jersey Jazz Festival with Somerville and Flemington.

For more information about City Market visit

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - February 20, 2018


STATEWIDE - Jittery parents are sending their jittery kids to jittery schools this morning, as classes resume after a President's Day weekend filled with wall-to-wall news coverage about gun safety. School districts statewide have been reporting threats - all thankfully not credible - as district leaders are on the highest alert. East Brunswick, for ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 16, 2018


E STREET - While a tired nation is demanding gun control (yet again), Springsteen guitarist Stevie Van Zandt is having none of it. No stranger to political opinions, the New Jersey icon tweeted "What happened to us? We are averaging 2 school shootings per week AND WE DO NOTHING ABOUT IT!" Many tone-deaf politicians on Capitol Hill ...

The Jaffe Briefing - January 15, 2018


TRENTON - As state lawmakers are set to announce a bill at 11 a.m. to decriminalize pot - an issue that has consumed the Statehouse -  the Record is reporting on an often-ignored issue: the state's ridiculously antiquated liquor laws. For example, supermarkets in the state can only have up to two liquor licenses, stemming ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 14, 2018


ON AIR - Gov. Phil Murphy had his very first "Ask the Governor" monthly program last night. He appeared on News 12 New Jersey to field your questions about all things New Jersey. Impossible to recap an hour segment. Of course, we will try: New Jersey should be a better place to retire. The state pension mess will be solved.

The Jaffe Briefing - February 13, 2018


ON THE RAILS - Perhaps Donald Trump is still ticked that New Jerseyans had no interest in his team, the New Jersey Generals, which played football in the now-defunct USFL. Or, perhaps he is angry we didn't frequent his now-defunct casinos in Atlantic City. Or, perhaps he is seeking revenge for the fact that 546,345 more New Jerseyans voted for ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 12, 2018


ON THE RAILS - Anyone who commutes by train should be laser focused on Donald Trump today. Not to capture the latest buffoonery, but because the President is unveiling his long-awaited infrastructure plan. Will this "master of the deal" step up and deliver the $15 billion of so that was promised for the Gateway Tunnel project? Or will he play ...

RU Students Rejoice: Starbucks Reopens at The Yard@College Avenue

February 20, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - In what many consider to be the biggest news of the day on the Rutgers University campus, the Starbucks at The Yard@College Avenue has once again reopened.

Officials with the New Brunswick Development Corp. reported this morning that the popular coffeehouse is open "for good."

The Starbucks at The Yard@College Avenue, located at the corner of College ...

Don’t Blame Hurricanes for Most Big Storm Surges in Northeast

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Hurricanes spawn most of the largest storm surges in the northeastern U.S., right? Wrong, according to a study by Rutgers University–New Brunswick scientists.

Extratropical cyclones, including nor’easters and other non-tropical storms, generate most of the large storm surges in the Northeast, according to the study in the Journal of ...

Criminal Charges for Rutgers Student Protesters From $15 Min. Wage Campaign

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Police have issued charges to a dozen of the Rutgers University student activists who disrupted a public meeting in December.

The students, from the Rutgers chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops, disrupted the Dec. 12 Board of Trustees meeting as part of their campaign for a university-wide $15 minimum wage.

As the meeting started, students pushed through a rope ...

Verizon Features Vets4Warriors on FiOS 1 News

February 12, 2018

Fatima Aguilar’s first day on the job at Vets4Warriors was anything but normal. A military veteran serving as a Second Lieutenant with the New Jersey National Guard, she found herself in a potential suicide crisis situation as soon as she hit the phones.

“I started around three and a half years ago on the overnight shift, and my very first call was a US Marine veteran who was on a ...


Letter to the Editor: Low-Income Families Who Need Safe Cribs Have Nowhere to Go

February 15, 2018

One recent email came from a pastor in East Orange, sharing the struggles of a young couple who have no safe place for their baby to sleep.

Then, there was also a phone call from a Newark hospital, making its fourth request in two years, as well as a frantic text from Puerto Rico, for a family who lost everything in the hurricane.

They all pleaded for the same thing: A safe crib for a ...

Somerset Patriots Sign Frontier League All-Star RHP Randy McCurry

February 17, 2018

The Somerset Patriots have announced the signing of right-handed relief pitcher Randy McCurry for the 2018 season.

“I’m excited to play in the Atlantic League this year,” said McCurry. “It’ll be a transition for me but I am ready to face some really good competition and help the team win.”

McCurry enters his first season with the Somerset Patriots and ...