MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Despite the economic climate during the pandemic, Springfield Avenue businesses were resilient, said Jim Nering, Springfield Avenue Partnership president.
He sent along the message in his wrap-up of 2020 along the corridor inside the SAP's latest newsletter.
“While 2020 was a year of hardship, it was also a year of resilience, growth, and even some successes,” said Nering. “As a group, [Springfield Avenue Maplewood] SAM merchants persevered and showed the entrepreneurial spirit that defines being a small business owner.”
He thanked the community, as well, for prioritizing shopping locally and staying loyal to small businesses during the year.
I’d also like to thank the community that shops, eats, and frequents Springfield Avenue. The support of customers is what allowed our many small businesses to stay afloat, and that support was offered in a variety of ways. Customers prioritized shopping locally during the holiday season, purchased gift cards, promoted businesses on social media, and stayed loyal to their favorite small businesses.
He noted the accomplishments of 2020, including 13 new businesses. "We saw a mix of new eateries, retail stores, and service shops open," he said.
"To aid our businesses, SAM took an active role in communicating to merchants the State and Federal financial aid opportunities for small businesses, as well as State and local health mandates. We provided bulk masks to many of our businesses to promote mask-wearing compliance for employees and customers, and shared low-cost sourcing information for PPE. Posters were distributed to promote the wearing of masks, and frequent emails kept business owners informed of grant and loan programs and public resources. Many of our businesses were able to take advantage of these programs," Nering added.
The pivot to events that "reflect the needs and limits created by Covid" included "our storefront poster tour, Walkway of Heroes, to celebrate Black History Month," as well as social media campaigns and moving the Maplewood Farmers Market to Yale Corner. In addition, "SAM hosted a new Open-Air Retail Market for 11 Saturdays from September through December. The market featured both local merchants and home-based artisans, along with weekly live music. It quickly became a gathering point for residents to shop and to explore the Avenue. The Market was even recognized by Downtown New Jersey, winning Honorable Mention in the Winning Winter category."
He closed thanking the community and gazing into the future: "We look forward to growing even stronger in 2021 and serving our businesses, our local residents, and all supporters of Springfield Avenue Maplewood."
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