Business Notes

Harvey Cedars Business Community Launches Group

By MARIA SCANDALE | May 19, 2016
Photo by: Ann Coen

Weather plays a powerful role in whether the cash ebbs or flows in a summer resort, remarked members of the new Harvey Cedars Business Community. But active promotion as a group is smart business, and that possibility was explored.

The group held its inaugural meeting May 11 to discuss cooperative ways of promoting what the town has to offer.

David Voris of Giglio Awning led the meeting, which also asked business owners how their summer was last year and what they anticipated for the upcoming season.

At least 31 businesses are in the 1.2-square-mile borough, and more than a third of their owners turned out for the afternoon meeting in the fire hall.

Mayor Jonathan Oldham welcomed the group, saying, “I feel it’s the businesses in the town that makes the personality of the town, part of the feeling of who we are. Over the years we have tried to be business-friendly; I think it is something that has become more of a priority of the council from years ago. We want businesses to stay in town – businesses support the fire company and help the town day to day, and I think it’s a great idea that we can work together and make Harvey Cedars a better place and help the businesses.”

As business and restaurant owners stood up to introduce themselves and give their outlook, many said last summer was good or very good. All said they felt positive about the upcoming season.

Several credited last summer’s prolonged sunshine for a good season.

Robert Hill, a co-owner of Neptune Wines & Liquors, said business “pretty much goes by the weather,” so the time from July 4 to Labor Day makes up 75 percent of their business.

“If we have good weather like we did last year, that means all the difference in the world to us,” Hill said. “If we don’t, a few weekends here and there, it hurts us tremendously. Weekends are very strong for us if the weather is good. If it’s not, it’s amazing the difference. People do not come down as much as they would; they don’t visit their friends if the weather is bad. It’s a domino effect for us.”

Paul Rice, a co-operator of Harvey Cedars Marina, which has been in existence since the mid-1950s under several different owners, had “no complaints” about last season.

“The weather for our rentals was absolutely incredible. The maintenance side of the business stays pretty stable from year to year; it’s the rentals that are the biggest change from year to year. Last year was good.”

This cool 50- and 60-degree May has gotten the pre-season of 2016 off to a start that is “a little slow,” mentioned Ann Zaleski of The Red Chair. “That put a little damper on it, but I think overall, it’s going to be a good summer. I don’t know why; I just feel positive.”

Plantation Restaurant and Liquors’ Pete Palladino had led the remarks off with a similar optimism for improvement even over a “good” 2015. “I think this summer will be a better summer than last year; I just feel that.” He added that there is no reason why each restaurant’s patrons shouldn’t also visit another over a week’s time.

“This town has a niche for each of our businesses,” agreed Chris Sanchez of Black-Eyed Susans fine dining café. “Last year we did well. I think it’s great to see everybody here; I think we should all work together.”

Bill’s Surf and Tackle is one business that is not so dependent on sunshine, owner Bill Heitzmann said. His wife, shop co-owner Jenn Heitzmann, who also just started Beachy Clean LBI, suggested that the Harvey Cedars Business Community might want to look into making up its own welcome packages and distribute them for homeowners and vacationers. T-shirts might also be a good promotion, she said.

Peggy Feudi of Foodies had said to Voris that it would be a nice attraction if maybe one day a week the beach were free to anyone showing a receipt from patronizing a Harvey Cedars business. Beach Haven began offering free beach access one day a week last year.

Voris added his ideas, which included a coupon book, or having a promotion in town. Giglio Awning, incidentally, had “the best year we’ve ever had,” he said.

John Tilton of Tilton Construction Co. said his daughter who works in Barnegat Light had success handing out business brochures at the attendant's booth at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park.

Also at the first meeting, at the High Point Volunteer Fire Co. hall, the town’s new chief of police, Rob Burnaford, attended and introduced himself. The state director of the National Federation of Independent Business attorney, Laurie Ehlbeck, offered that organization’s support.

Business owners learned something about each other through the introductions. Jay Zimmerman of Jersey Shore Estate Sales and Services said, “It’s really hard for me to wish good business for myself because it usually means somebody passed away.” It can be a very emotional process for a family to clean out a home and sell a loved one’s belongings, he said, “so I use a lot of my skills with EMS to kind of bridge that gap.” Zimmerman is a firefighter with the High Point Volunteer Fire Co. and captain of the Barnegat Light First Aid Squad.

Anyone wanting more information, or to join, or to fill out the survey asking what would be the best time for future meetings and what should be discussed may contact Voris at or by calling 609-494-3004. There is also a Facebook page.

“Every little bit that we can do collectively more so than individually” will be a plus, Voris said.

“We’re just trying to go on a fact-finding mission of how to get more people to come to our community and what needs to be done to make that happen.”

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