In Irvington, small businesses play a major role

BY Raven Santana, Correspondent |

The township of Irvington is thinking big when it comes to small businesses.

“Small businesses play a vital role in the economic health of the community,” said Rep. Donald Payne Jr.

Payne joined the mayor of Irvington and members of the Small Business Administration on a tour of three local businesses — Superfresh grocery store, Frontline Industries and Chef Roscoe’s Catering Service — as part of National Small Business Week.

“Superfresh has been a tremendous help to Irvington,” said Mayor Tony Vauss. “Recently we had a Pathmark here that closed down. Superfresh came in, revitalized the area, revitalized the shopping here for our residents and it’s been huge staple in our community.”

According to the Small Business Administration, 1.8 million people are employees of small businesses in New Jersey. In Irvington, 70 percent of people are employed by local businesses.

“Because we have nothing but small businesses in the township of Irvington. We have a few larger businesses but if you look at all of our business corridors, they’re all mom and pop stores. A business this size, this is I think our second largest of two supermarkets that we have in the township. So this is at the higher end of the employment spectrum,” said Genia Philip, Irvington director of economic development and grant oversight. “A lot of people here, those who work here, of course they’re working local. We do have a segment of the population who work outside of the township, but when they do work here, they are working for a small business.

For every $100 spent at a local business, around $68 stays in the community.

In New Jersey, the percentage of people taking out loans has increased.

“It’s a big difference, so when you got those local businesses, it’s important to support them. It’s important that it comes in because if you’re not supporting your downtown, you’re not supporting yourself,” said Alfred Titone, New Jersey district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration. “We’ve been increasing here in Jersey overall and the 10th Congressional District over the last few years. Last year, we did 120 loans for about $52 million, just in the 10th Congressional District. And this year we’re on track for about the same amount of loans, a little less in money. But from my perspective, I love seeing as many loans as possible. The money sounds great, but the more loans you see, that means more folks are qualifying, more folks are getting into the process and more folks are getting more money in their hands to help expand their businesses.”