SOMERVILLE, NJ – New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is planning to visit the borough Saturday, stopping off at Somerset County Democratic headquarters before visiting with eight Main Street merchants to discuss issues of concern to small businesses in New Jersey.
Murphy will be mingling with the normal Saturday crowds, plus an influx of shoppers looking to take advantage of the previously planned Sidewalk Sale sponsored by The Downtown Somerville Alliance.
Murphy’s walking tour of the downtown shopping and restaurant district is expected late in the afternoon, according to preliminary plans.
After his visit to the Somerset County Democratic headquarters on Bridge Street, Murphy and his staff, along with county and local Democrat officials, including Mayor Dennis Sullivan and members of the Borough Council, will work their way towards the center of town, visiting the following locations:
Murphy’s first stop will be at Verve Restaurant, Bar & Bistro, recently voted the Best Bar in New Jersey; Cheech’s Own Coffee Company; Crystal Palace and the Hungry Hound.
The group will cross the street to visit Mannion’s Irish Pub and Restaurant; Evolve clothing store, Village Brewing Company and the Chicali Mexican Grille restaurant.
Borough Councilman RanD Pitts,a Democrat like Murphy, and the owner of Evolve, intends to address the $15 minimum wage with the governor.
“Businesses like mine, as small as I am, having to pay a high school kid $15 an hour to wait for customers to come in is ridiculous.”
Borough Councilman Fred Wied V added, “It’s great that we can have state officials come speak about state issues with our local businesses, there’s only so much we can do to help at the local level .”
Pat Mannion, who will be celebrating the pub’s 20th anniversary in November, said “It’s an honor to be one of eight places the governor will stop in to visit, I think it’s really great.”
Mayor Dennis Sullivan said merchants up and down Main Street were hoping the governor would stop and visit their stores.
"He has limited time but he's welcome to come back," Sullivan said. "We hope he returns early and often.
"It's nice to know we're on the map," Sullivan added. "I can beat the drum all I want, but here we have our chief executive shining the light on our downtown. It's exciting that the governor recognizes the importance of small businesses and their contribution to downtown traffic and our local economy."