Business & Finance

How’s Business? State Lawmakers Get Earful at Westfield Meet and Greet with Local Business Owners

How’s Business? State Lawmakers Get Earful at Westfield Coffee Clutch
How’s Business? State Lawmakers Get Earful at Westfield Coffee Clutch
How’s Business? State Lawmakers Get Earful at Westfield Coffee Clutch
How’s Business? State Lawmakers Get Earful at Westfield Coffee Clutch
How’s Business? State Lawmakers Get Earful at Westfield Coffee Clutch

WESTFIELD, NJ - Every so often, Jerome Pereira wishes New Jersey government would mind its own business.

Doing nothing about -- what he believed – was a burdensome quarterly tax filing requirement placed on his small electronic medical records company in Fanwood, wasn’t exactly his cup of tea.

So, Pereira woke up this week and smelled the coffee, instead.

Sign Up for E-News

“I found this to be extremely helpful,” said Pereira, who joined other local small business owners for what was dubbed a meet-and-greet with Republican lawmakers Wednesday at the Rockn’ Joe coffeehouse and bistro, in Westfield. “And the positive attitudes of the public servants here were encouraging, too.”

Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R-21), Rep. Jon Bramnick (R-21) and Rep. Nancy Munoz (R-21) sat on stools and fielded questions from a dining area full of small business owners about creating jobs and some of the obstacles they face in the marketplace.

“There are things that block small business owners from working productively,” said Munoz. “These are the kinds of things that we have to be aware of.  Unless people tell us these things, we can’t do anything about changing them.”

George Kraemer, a certified home energy auditor and contractor, operates US ENERGY Renovations in Westfield, where he has seen his share of residential foreclosures. He was eager to speak up.

“I’d never been to a forum like this before,” he said. “My intent is to take some action. We can’t wait five or so years. We need action now.”

Kraemer was discussing business with Christopher Devine, a financial advisor for Wells Fargo and a member of the Westfield Chamber of Commerce.

“I live in town,” said Devine. “I use these businesses. I want to make sure places like Rockn’ Joe is here so that I can get my coffee all the time.”

Devine said he often runs into Bramnick during the morning hours at the coffeehouse.

The four-term assemblyman addressed specific topics from concerned business owners about processes involving workers compensation, unemployment and payroll. Bramnick then pointed out where they might find help and what legislation might be drafted to facilitate efficiency.

“I’m walking away with more information than I normally encounter,” said Bramnick. “These are complicated business issues where a person doesn’t know where to turn. And we’re saying, ‘You can call me.’ That’s not a bad start.”

Jay Tintle has been running Jay’s Cycle Center in Westfield since 1979, when his father, “Big Jay,” suffered a stroke and could work only in a limited capacity. In 1984, the business moved to a larger location on North Avenue, where it continues some 50-plus years of service in the community.

“I feel a lot more confident just knowing how accessible these (legislators) are,” said Tintle, a past chamber of commerce chairperson. “They should do this more often.”

Mitchell Beinhaker, Esq., present chairperson of the Westfield Chamber of Commerce and a partner in the BeinhakerMiller Law Firm, LLC, couldn’t agree more.

“I think these town meetings are good not just for the politicians, but it allows people to get things off their chests,” he said.

Kean said the number of citizens who attended the meet-and-greet was impressive, yet equally important was its content.

“A good part of this dialogue is to cut through the malarkey,” said the senate minority leader.  “People are starting to say, ‘Stop.’”

Even after the attacks on the World Trade Center, Lance Marvin “didn’t know anything about New Jersey,” but decided to move across the river to open up Rockn’ Joe and find out for himself.

“I grew up hearing of all the terrible stories about New Jersey,” said Marvin, who stood alongside the counter area listening intently during the forum while continuing to entertain regular customers. “I have to say the perception of New Jersey is all wrong.”

Marvin said he struggles just as much as anyone else and is not naive to the current business climate.

“We pay an enormous amount in property taxes,” he said later near the entrance of the storefront at 20 Prospect Street. “We do our best to hire people and keep them employed.  I think today was very encouraging. There’s a long way to go, but with these folks in here today, it’s encouraging.”


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Buy a Vet ... Program Helps Formerly Homeless Veterans

May 21, 2018

UNION COUNTY, NJ — It started with a collection to help fund a Memorial Day barbecue at the Valley Brook Village veterans facility in Lyons, NJ. When the bucket collection raised $7,000 at John's Meat Market in downtown Scotch Plains, they decided to keep it going and had barbecues all summer. The program has grown ever since.

Steve Hackenberg, a Scotch Plains native, ...

Important Information from the Westfield Board of Health

May 21, 2018

To the Editor:

The Westfield Board of Health held a meeting on May 7, 2018.  

The Board discussed bicycle safety. As the weather improves and more people get outside we encourage all bicycle riders to wear properly fitted helmets. All riders under the age of 17 are required to wear a helmet under state law. Bicycle safety information for children can be found at ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, May 22, 6:30 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Sugar Land Skeeters ...

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink Sports


Tue, May 22, 7:00 PM

Westfield Municipal Building, Westfield

Westfield Town Council Meeting



Tue, May 22, 7:30 PM


Westfield Board of Education Meeting


Westfield Police Blotter: Counterfeit $100 Bills, Man Arrested in Car Burglary & More

May 16, 2018

May 8, 2018 2:23 p.m.

A business in the 200 block of East Broad Street reported receiving payment for services with a counterfeit $100 bill. The suspect made a small purchase with the counterfeit bill and received change, depriving the business of $94.24 change and $5.26 purchase. Suspect described as a black male 25-40 years of age, with facial hair wearing a black Nike wind breaker jacket ...

Video: Point View's Petrides Weighs In on Big Box Stocks

May 21, 2018

Point View Wealth Management's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, live at the NYSE discussing stocks of big box retailers:


For more than 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive financial ...

Ask Maria: How can I help my son? 

Q: My son's best friend's mom just passed away. I am concerned for my son and don't know what to do for him. He is distraught. How can I help my son? 


Grief is a normal and natural reaction to the death of a loved one. No two people grieve the same, even in the family. I am certain that your son’s friend and mom are like family to your son. Losing his ...

17 Homes Sold week of May 6 to May 13 2018 in Cranford, Westfield, Mountainiside, Fanwood and Scotch Plains

Seventeen homes sold week of May 6 to May 13, 2018, in Cranford, Scotch Plains, Westfield,  Mountainside and Fanwood:*



Dog Missing from Fanwood Home

UPDATE: Reunited with owner!

ORIGINAL POST: Lexi was seen north side of Fanwood Thursday. She's 25 lbs., tall and looks like a fox.

Lexi is friendly and was wearing a collar with a tag. Call 732-259-5570 if you spot her.

IRS Grants Relief for Taxpayers Affected by Reduction of Maximum Deductible HSA Contributions

The IRS recently announced relief for taxpayers with family coverage under a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) who contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA).


For 2018, taxpayers with family coverage under an HDHP may treat $6,900 as the maximum deductible HSA contribution.


The annual amount had been reduced to $6,850 for 2018 under the Tax Cuts and Jobs ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.


Q. When did you join

I joined in September, ...

Eight Westfield Student Vocalists Accepted into 2018-2019 All-State Choruses

Eight student vocalists from Westfield High School have been accepted into the 2018-2019 All-State Choruses.

Performing with the 2018 All-State Mixed Chorus in November will be Charlotte Geary, Zachary Lemberg, Joseph Maldonado, Vincent Mora, Nicole Player, and Matthew Siroty. The Mixed Chorus will perform at the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) Convention in November and at the New ...

‘Chambers USA 2018’ Recognizes John Schmidt Among List of America’s Leading Lawyers for Business

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper is pleased to announce that John H. Schmidt has once again been recognized by “Chambers USA” in their annual list of leading lawyers for business. Chambers and Partners, which produces “Chambers USA,” is a client referral organization that researches and subjectively ranks attorneys and law firm practice groups nationwide ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

Capitalist or Communist?

Karl Marx may have been the pioneer, but many other Jews were also involved in the struggle for communism, particularly in the early days of the Russian revolution. Personally, I don’t think that we have any apologies to make for this phenomenon. Having suffered unbearably under successive oppressive regimes, many of those political activists genuinely thought communism would be better ...

Stocks Can Rise in a Rising Interest Rate Environment

Investors remain concerned about the potential impact of higher interest rates on stocks. In their most recently released minutes, the Federal Reserve Open Markets Committee indicated the US economy is on solid footing and the economic conditions warrant continued gradual increasing of interest rates. This set off a sale in the stock and bond markets as investors began pricing in a fourth ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!



Donn A. Snyder, 88, died at home on May 8 in Southern Shores, NC, where he was a resident for ...
Read more

New Jersey State Motor Vehicle Commission Returns to South Plainfield

May 21, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – A new state Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) opened its doors in South Plainfield on Monday, just one week shy of a year since the borough’s former agency closed its doors. The office, located at 5000 Hadley Road, will provide in-person services to residents of the borough and the surrounding communities six days a week. 

“I would like ...