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ROI-NJ.COM Mo n d ay, Fe b r ua r y 1 8 , 2 0 1 9 $2.


year as president of restaurant business. Page 4 Happy Chef knows how to change with times. Page 10 diversity; let’s talk contracts, Harmon says. Page 13

NYC’s loss
of Amazon
should be

ON NEWARK N.J.’s lesson

Why bashing Big Business
and incentives can cost you

hen the state’s audit of the
Economic Development
Authority came out in January,
some folks felt it was, at best, a contrived
exercise to give Gov. Phil Murphy cover to
change the state’s tax incentives — cover
he didn’t need — and, at worst, stunningly
The $11 billion talking point, after all,
has not held up to public
or private scrutiny.
Years from now,
it may be known as
something else: the reason
Amazon did not look to
New Jersey after pulling
out of New York City.
Why would a company that just left a
location because public activists railed against
Paramount Assets is moving to Brick City, an incentive package come to a state where
companies taking incentives seemingly are
where it now owns 40 properties: being demonized — despite the fact that
‘The city has a great vision. We want to be part of it’ the state’s incredible $8 billion package for
Amazon is still on the table?
Tom Bracken, who heads the New
Jersey Chamber of Commerce, has
repeatedly argued that anti-business rhetoric
(and regulations) are hurting the state’s
chances of landing big companies.
“We need to stop the unwarranted
negative attacks on New Jersey’s business
community,” he said in a recent Op-Ed for
Paramount Assets’ Ronnie Levy, from left, Solomon Levy and Maurice Levy at their most recent project, Williams Flats, in Newark. —

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Bellmawr, NJ



Bits & Bytes




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Real estate investment firms teaming up along I-95.

Eric Strauss Go to ROI-NJ.COM to read more of the stories above and for the latest news from around the state.



Emily Bader
Ramapo College Veterans Molloy, who had been interim ROI-NJ has promoted Dwyer
STAFF WRITERS Procurement Resource Expo chancellor to sales
Meg Fry of Rutgers’ manager. In her
What: A networking and flagship New new role, Dwyer
@megfry3 educational event that will focus on
Brunswick will continue to
Brett Johnson veteran-owned businesses.
campus since be responsible
When: Tuesday, Feb. 19, July, was for her sales
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. named to the territory
Where: The Atrium Building, permanent post earlier this while also working with the
Robert F. Russo
Ramapo College, Mahwah month. He replaced “Deba” ROI sales and marketing
More info: Admission is free; Dutta, who resigned after a team to manage new sales
Register at: year on the job. Molloy was opportunities for the print
BUSINESS ramapo-college-veterans-resource- an SVP at the college for five and digital platforms, and
OPERATIONS 2019-expo-54030909906; years, and has served in other to work with advertisers to
MARKETING or call Vincent Vicari, 347-309-7008 administrative leadership create partnerships for ROI-
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@alex_wolmart ROI-NJ is published biweekly by Prospect Publishing Group LLC, 3 Wing Drive, Suite 250, Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ROI-NJ,
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Utilities & Regulations

LaRossa: PSEG needs subsidy

Power unit’s CEO complains rate counsel’s argument covers same ground as 2018 fight
BY ANJALEE KHEMLANI place last summer, that’s because it is. plant last year, LaRossa said. product,” he said. “If the marketplace is Earlier this month, the state’s rate counsel PSEG said there was a shift of not paying enough, that’s where the ZEC
said the truckload of documents provided approximately 20 percent of electric application comes in. It’s going to be as
Public Service Enterprise Group is fighting to the BPU show the utility is not in dire generation from nuclear to natural gas as a competitive as any other; for us, we are going
back. Again. financial need of the subsidy. result of the shutdown of Exelon’s Oyster to be compensated like we should be.
New Jersey’s largest utility is doubling In a 44-page Creek plant in September. “(If) we know we have this other revenue
down on its promise to shutter three response, PSEG said the LaRossa said PSEG has consistently source — because I can bid on 10 if I know
nuclear plants in South Jersey if it does not claims made by the rate stated that keeping the nuclear plants open I need 12 to run, because I get two from this
get approval for up to $300 million in state counsel are relitigating helps provide New Jersey a clean energy other revenue source. If I wasn’t getting the
subsidies annually for the next three years. old issues that were option in the buildup to stronger wind and two from someplace else, I have to bid 12 and
Whether or not PSEG should receive the brought up during the solar energy production (both of which then I’m going to be out of the market.”
zero emission credits, or ZEC, is a question the legislative battle, and PSEG has dabbled in). And the threat of closing down all
state Board of Public Utilities is deliberating that the rate counsel is Nuclear is a clean energy option, but has three plants, rather than just one or two, is
on and will have an answer for in April. unfairly characterizing fierce competition from cheaper and more both a cost-benefit issue and affects PSEG’s
Ralph LaRossa, CEO and president of some of the prices and financial information. abundant gas production — and the process attractiveness as an employer.
PSEG Power, told ROI-NJ last Thursday The unfair characterization is namely using for selling energy into the grid, which “You operate as a whole fleet,” he said.
that the nuclear plants can’t compete with the highest prices available to show revenue, operates electricity for the entire region, Despite lower costs of some labor and
cheaper options and would have to close if rather than the mix of fluctuations for on-peak prioritizes cheaper over cleaner energy in an reduced purchasing of nuclear rods, if only
they are not subsidized for the next three and off-peak pricing, according to PSEG. annual bid process, he said. one or two plants closed, the shared cost of
years. The rate counsel and other opponents of That, LaRossa said, is why the subsidy all three plants make it an efficient endeavor
“As part of that application process, you the proposal are also suggesting that PSEG is is necessary. It helps to cover the costs of for PSEG, LaRossa said.
have to commit that you are closing the using inaccurate methodologies to calculate operating nuclear energy, which operates The costs of operating just one nuclear
plants (if the subsidy is not approved) and we the losses the plants could incur. at the same pace throughout the day rather plant cannot be sustained and would reflect
indicated that with an officer’s signature in In the absence of nuclear energy, gas than with more control over how much is poorly on PSEG for hiring future talent
that document,” LaRossa said. and coal plants would pick up the losses, as burning, like with coal and gas. because it only has one plant, he said.
If it sounds like the same fight that took was already evidenced by the closure of one “The market is going to the next-cheapest twitter: @anjkhem

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Food & Beverage

Tim Doherty, president

and chief operating
officer of Doherty
Enterprises in
Allendale, the 77th-
largest restaurant

company in the
United States.­

recipe After one year as restaurant company’s president,

Tim Doherty explains how he got there,
and where he wants the business to go
BY MEG FRY give us an opportunity to spread our wings, and life?” Doherty said. “I had great training and to work for a supervisor who was not our Dad a wonderful experience, but I realized I was

or someone who works for Dad,” Doherty said. not passionate about the banking industry.
hortly after graduating from Lehigh So, instead, Doherty moved to Dublin in I did not want to sit behind a desk for 10
University — and after years 1999 to work for one year in the international to 12 hours, staring at the numbers on my
spent working part-time in his corporate lending department of Allied Irish computer, trying to make decisions as to
family’s numerous franchised chain Bank, the largest bank in Ireland. He then whether I would lend people money or not.”
restaurants — Tim Doherty took a job at a was transferred back to the bank’s offices His father’s advice to him, Doherty
bank. In Ireland. in New York City to work for another four said, was to find what it was he loved and to
“We were not allowed to work for our years. follow that.
family’s company until we got a job elsewhere, “At that point, I needed to make a decision “Over the course of time, over a few
to both learn what we like and do not like, to — what did I want to do for the rest of my conversations, I found myself becoming


more intrigued by our family business, our become a key leader in the company’s growth expand. our managers surpassed that significantly by
restaurants, our brands, and the people through site selection, lease negotiations, “We’re (currently) looking at other getting involved in nearly 750 community
working within them,” he said. construction, acquisitions and remodeling, brands that may align with our vision and events.”
That, of course, was hardly surprising. becoming the vice president of real estate mission, hopefully at the beginning of their That is something Doherty has no plans
Doherty had been working in the family’s and construction in 2006 and vice president growth cycle, but not necessarily, that we can to alter.
business for as long as he could remember. of development in 2010. get involved in,” he said. “While it is our responsibility to change
“Any time I was home for more than He even got to work alongside his sisters,  with the industry, whether that be responding
24 hours, I would pick up shifts, as a server, Doherty said, as they were integral in the Doherty said he was trained to succeed to changing food tastes or incorporating
a bartender, a food expeditor, a host, an creation of the Shannon Rose Irish Pub and Doherty Enterprises’ then-president, Ed better technology and marketing to help our
assistant — anything,” he said. Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas concepts Choe, upon Choe’s retirement in 2018. guests consume food in the ways that they
Those lessons proved useful, he said, as in 2006 and 2011, respectively. “It made sense for the succession would like, what I think is critical is that some
he is closing in on his first anniversary of The experience was beneficial. planning of our business to begin training of the things that make great restaurants
being president and chief operating officer of “When you are with a franchise group, with him prior to,” he said. successful don’t change,” he said. “Those
his father’s company, Doherty Enterprises in your role is to take that brand’s toolkit, Today, Doherty maintains that his underlying factors of great service, great food,
Allendale, guiding day-to-day operations of whatever it may be, including marketing, proudest career accomplishment thus far is and of being involved in the community, are
the more than $500 million franchisee and operations, training and more, and execute growing the business to the point that it can really the keys to long term success.”
restaurant owner across seven brands. upon it daily to the best of your abilities,” he continue to employ thousands of people. As for working in a successful family
“I see it as my job to ensure that, if you said. “However, in our specialty division, we His other requirement, he said, is to business, Doherty said it can be challenging.
want a job in the restaurant industry, you can took the inklings of ideas and then developed continue to execute upon the company’s “There is no good time to get away or
have a great one with Doherty Enterprises,” our own toolkits, including determining our original vision. take off, so you need to make sure you have
he said. “That is really my core passion today.” brands’ identities, and executing upon those. “Our mission statement is to be the best a good underlying relationship with your
 “That takes a whole different set of skills, food service company in the communities family and also make sure you are passionate
Doherty Enterprises is the 77th-largest but there is a lot more flexibility to do what that we serve, one that operates with about what you do,” he said.
restaurant company in the United States, we want, to be nimble and change as we see integrity, treats people fairly and gives back “Any family business is too tough if you
according to Nation’s Restaurant News data, fit, and that is a heck of a lot of fun.” to our communities,” Doherty said. are in it just to do something — you must
and the 15th-largest franchise owner in the Doherty said that, while the company’s “For example, in 2018, we raised and wake up wanting to go to work every day,
country, according to Restaurant Finance plan is to continue operating and growing its donated in excess of $6 million for local because you will always be thinking about
Monitor. brands within already existing footprints, if causes through various operations — and, how you can improve and best work with
It also employs 3,500 across 48 an opportunity arises elsewhere — including while we require that each restaurant get and alongside others to be successful.”
restaurants in New Jersey alone, bringing in an acquisition — the company is ready to involved at least twice a year in its community, twitter: @megfry3
more than $171 million in sales.
Founded in 1985 by Ed Doherty, Tim
Doherty’s father, the company has grown Are millennials really killing Applebee’s?
from 19 Roy Rogers restaurants to 149
restaurants and 9,000 employees across New
Jersey, New York, Florida and Georgia. Its
brands include Applebee’s Neighborhood
Grill & Bar, Panera Bread, Chevys Fresh
Mex, Quaker Steak & Lube, Noodles &
Co. and Doherty Enterprises’ own specialty
concepts, the Shannon Rose Irish Pub in
Clifton and Ramsey and Spuntino Wine Bar
& Italian Tapas in Clifton and Garden City,
New York.
Reaching the top of the company was
not easy, especially in the beginning, Tim
Doherty said.
He returned to Doherty Enterprises in
2003 to complete the manager-in-training
program at Applebee’s, but he never assumed
the role.
“I think that would have been a tough
decision to make Ed’s kid an assistant
manager,” he said. “A general manager would
have to be very confident with themselves Tim Doherty, president and chief operating officer of Doherty Enterprises in Allendale, said its largest brand is still
Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar — which, contrary to popular belief, reported great earnings and growth throughout
that I was not there to report to the big boss.”
Instead, he chose to become involved in
real estate, training under his father to quickly “Applebee’s is categorically the leading casual dining bar and grill restaurant in the nation,” he said. “Though multiple
articles have stated millennials are ‘killing’ Applebee’s, I can tell you, that is an absolute falsity. In fact, Applebee’s
conducted studies showing that, while nearly 60 percent of guests are Baby Boomers and of Generation X, 30 percent are,
Conversation Starter in fact, millennials, while the remaining 10 percent actually belong to Generation Z.”
Reach Doherty Enterprises at: Doherty Enterprises currently operates 41 Applebee’s locations in New Jersey., “The brand appeals to guests across all socioeconomic demographics throughout urban, suburban and rural markets,”
or 201-818-4669. Doherty said.


Arts & Entertainment

McGuire hopes
gallery will help

artists and
for arts


Kathryn Waggener McGuire said she moved into a “hotbed” of

quality artistic work when she relocated to Montclair with her
“As a collector and artist myself, I’ve gotten to know a lot of
artists in town,” McGuire said. “But some of these artists’ amazing
pieces are just sitting in garages and basements right now.”


Montclair, she said, was lacking a the area, such as Gallery L, 73 See, and
high-end art gallery, a space intended for Gold/scopophilia, McGuire said, the work
“academic shows and scholarly perspectives.” typically sells at a lower price point than what
So, McGuire decided to open Clerestory “To know I am helping launch someone’s she intends at Clerestory Fine Art, or the
Fine Art in Montclair to aid in her pursuit of
career by connecting people in this area intent is to showcase more so than entertain
making collecting art less intimidating and scholarly understanding or to exhibit pieces
more accessible. who would have no contact otherwise from all over the country.
“To know I am helping launch someone’s “But I am working on creating a
career by connecting people in this area
is extremely exciting.” consortium of for-profit galleries in the area
who would have no contact otherwise is — Kathryn Waggener McGuire, owner, Clerestory Fine Art to talk about how we can better collaborate,
extremely exciting,” McGuire, the space’s create art walks and cross-publicize to help
owner and director, said. make Montclair into a visual arts-based
She has the chops and the knowhow to tourist destination,” McGuire said. “I also
make such a feat happen. would like to be able to point patrons in
While earning advanced degrees in different directions if someone cannot afford
studio art, art history, museum education $30,000, you care about where it comes that you want to learn about and have a deep what I am selling, to be able to challenge
and historical research from both Franklin & from,” she said. “Therefore, I wanted to be connection with. galleries in the city.
Marshall College and Columbia University, the bridge point between these collectors “Think about it. If you are going to “I view Chelsea as my competition,
McGuire traveled the world, she said, living, and those artists creating meaningful bodies pay $5,000 for a couch, you might want to not any of my neighbors — they are my
working and studying in countries such of work I thought should be in museums and consider paying $5,000 for a painting instead colleagues in arms.”
as Bulgaria, Austria and Russia, before Artforum International Magazine.” that will outlast you and you can hand down McGuire said she also is happy to be
returning to New York City to accept a McGuire said she and her family sold an to your children.” exhibiting with other New Jersey-based arts
prestigious curatorial internship with the investment property to be able to properly Owning art is more attainable than organizations.
Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2005. renovate a 1,300-square-foot space on people think, McGuire said. “A lot of people are unaware of Glass
From there, McGuire gained professional Church Street, with enough space to show “People do not start out as collectors, but Roots in Newark, for example, despite their
experience with for-profit galleries such as two exhibitions at a time while also hosting once you work your way up to it and discover inspiring story and the way their teaching
Galerie St. Etienne in New York City and educational workshops and panels. what it is that you love, you know what you artists work with low-income students, so
the Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries Clerestory Fine Art is expected to open are then willing to invest in, instead of simply we’re planning an exhibition with them
in Norfolk, Virginia, before returning to in March. purchasing a piece of artwork that you think in the spring and speaking with collectors
the Metropolitan Museum of Art as an “Clerestory is the architectural term looks nice,” she said. “You then become both who are on their board,” she said. “And Art
education associate within its exhibitions for the most elevated row of windows in a a patron and an advocate for that artist.” and Prozac is a group of three bartenders at
and communications department. church, designed to let light in, and the name One goal, McGuire said, is to have a Egan’s and Sons in Montclair, a poet, a visual
However, McGuire changed paths also is a play on our representation of local collector with an artist’s work in their home artist and a performer, that put on these
following the births of her three sons, to artists, as Montclair means ‘clear mountain’ be able to run into that artist at the grocery guerilla art pop-up shows with musicians
pursue smaller projects in and around her in French,” McGuire said. store. and fine artists and photographers.
new town. Clerestory Fine Art will sell pieces The other is to lead a massive rebranding “These are the types of organizations I
“I’ve always had my foot in the door, between $5,000 to $25,000, with the idea of of Montclair as a cultural tourist destination would like to highlight, to emphasize that
even after leaving work full-time,” she said. also helping to train people how to effectively for fine art. there is all this hot blood that is starting to
For example, McGuire has directed purchase art. “To do that, other galleries and local art bubble to create these open, creative spaces
programs for artists with Alzheimer’s and “It’s about properly building local organizations must work together to put in our area. I want to be able to connect
dementia at the Montclair Art Museum, collector-creator relationships,” McGuire Montclair on the map,” McGuire said. collectors with these people who are starting
created an incubator for emerging artists said. “We’re not selling work intended to For example, Studio Montclair is to express themselves.”
at Studio Montclair, and also founded the match your living room — we’re selling work a nonprofit consortium for more than Her overall goal, McGuire said, is to get
Montclair Figure Drawing Group in her 400 artists producing smaller exhibits in works featured at Clerestory Fine Art into
home studio. conjunction with public buildings. Artforum International Magazine within
“That’s why people of well-established Conversation Starter “The incubator program for emerging two years and to have her artists represented
Reach Kathryn Waggener
means often would come to me seeking artists, for example, is in the Academy Square by museums within five.
McGuire of Clerestory
advice on works they should buy, but were Fine Art at: building, which houses small businesses and “It’s exciting as an art historian to be
not sure where to start,” she said., lawyers and such,” McGuire said. “But there able to catch something new,” McGuire said.
What motivates real collectors, McGuire are restrictions of the kinds of work they “Everybody can research DaVinci, but I can
said, is getting to know the artist. or 757-810-4890. want exhibited in such buildings.” be the one to write the narrative.”
“If you’re going to buy a piece for And as for other for-profit galleries in twitter: @megfry3


Goods & Services

OnGO Energy Spray is designed to supplement other forms of caffeine intake. ­— COURTESY ONGO ENERGY SPRAY

Inventor of caffeine spray
aims to fill need for athletes, others

He thus came up with OnGO Energy

Spray, a caffeinated energy spray that can,
Jain has powerhouse Olympians Chris
Mazder and Trischa Zorn Hudson helping
supposedly, effectively supplement all other to market OnGO as brand ambassadors.
Ashu Jain used to wake up in the middle of forms of caffeine intake throughout your day. Hudson won 55 medals over 24 years as a
the night with puffed-up, swollen eyes. Jain, a former Olympic elite athlete — Paralympic swimmer. Mazder, who won
It was from his sleep apnea. the official term given to an Olympic-level the U.S. its first-ever medal in the sport of
Coffee and tea took too long to refresh athlete who didn’t compete in an Olympic luge, used and tested OnGO formulas as
him, so he looked for a solution. Something Games — in table tennis, represented the
that would help him stay awake but he could United States in the 2001 and 2002 World
always keep on his nightstand. Championships. Conversation Starter
“I had a retail business and young kids,” Jain “I most certainly had athletes in mind Learn more about OnGO Energy
told ROI-NJ. “I wouldn’t sleep well at all, and it when coming up with this product,” Jain Spray at:
would take me a long time to get out of bed.” said. “But I didn’t want to limit it to athletes.”


he trained leading up to the 2018 Olympic based in Red Bank with two marketing
games, according to Jain, and apparently still specialists out of Orlando, Florida, his head
uses it as a mid-workout supplement. of marketing out of San Diego and a chief
Jain’s background as an athlete at such a digital officer working in the area.
high level granted him a greater benefit, he He said about 48 percent of people
said, when starting a company than others. that consume energy products do so for
“There is a massive drop-off of functional purposes, the rest for recreational
Olympians not being able to live fulfilling ones. Jain’s only trying to reach the functional
lives after they compete,” he said. “I found users, the ones that, he said, really need that OnGO Energy Spray’s
it to be the contrary. It’s important to learn boost. small size makes it
from loss, because that’s how you get better. twitter: @alex_wolmart convenient to take it
Not having that quit.” with you anywhere.
The OnGO spray itself is created in
an FDA- and NSF-certified facility in a
confidential location somewhere in the
U.S., while the parts to the can are created
in Europe. Jain wishes to keep the facility’s
location confidential because, he said, no
formula has been created like it in history.
He apparently went to 40 or so different
facilities trying to find one that could
produce exactly what he wanted.
Three sprays, or about 1.5 milliliters
(mL), of OnGO equals a serving size and
provides about 50mg of caffeine per mL.
For comparison, an energy shot is about
3mg of caffeine per mL and Mio Energy,
the energy additive you put in water, is
about 25mg per mL.
Jain sells the spray on his website as
OnGO Energy Spray MAX for $29. Each
container is about 20 servings and requires
no refrigeration or preparation. As opposed
to other topical energy sprays such as
Sprayable, OnGO is oral and therefore
absorbed by the body faster — just as is the
case with any substance taken orally.
The product is sugar-free and contains
B3, B6, B12 and Taurine. According to Jain,
one bottle is the equivalent of a two-week
supply, or approximately 18 energy drinks.
To address safety, Jain says the sprayer
on the container cannot be removed and will
give resistance when being pushed too often
to prevent the product from being abused.
Jain started OnGO in 2017 and is now

Ashu Jain at a recent TechLaunch BullPen event.


Fashion & Industry

From left are Howard Curtin, vice

president; Sheila Nadler, bookkeeper;
Joe Nadler, chairman; Jim Nadler,
president; and Jake Nadler, brand
ambassador; of Happy Chef. —

BY MEG FRY  And, in 2014, it introduced
#SMART technology,
ake Nadler said specifically designed to store,
the mission of secure and protect mobile leadership that heads the company.
Happy Chef, a phones, tablets and headphones And it’s been that way since
third-generation from spills and tangles. Nadler’s grandfather, Chairman
family business, But the story of Happy Chef, Joe Nadler, founded Happy Chef
has never an international manufacturer of more than 30 years ago.

the mix
changed. culinary and hospitality apparel that 
“It always currently is headquartered within It all started in the 1950s,
has been about making chefs’ 70,000 square feet of warehousing, when Joe Nadler began working
lives better, with the chef being at offices and embroidering space in with the New Jersey Linen Rental
the forefront of every decision we Butler, is not just about innovation. Association, training under Jack
make,” he said. It’s about agility. Orlinsky.
Nadler, who began working for The company has continually He said his ability to make
both his father and grandfather in changed with the times, both in contacts allowed him to start
Happy Chef has proven 2014, can easily rattle off some of the products it produces and the his own linens rental company,
the company’s key advancements Santowel, in 1958.
as versatile as its products — in the industry:
“I had solicited and built up
 In 1995, Happy Chef enough customers to start a route
third-generation culinary manufactured the first-ever
and purchase trucks,” Nadler said.
To learn more about
apparel business is thriving lightweight chef coat;
 In 1998, the company
Happy Chef, visit:,
He also found the love of his
life, marrying Orlinsky’s daughter,
introduced CookCool or email at: Sheila, a high school English
technology, or heat-reducing teacher.
and moisture-wicking fabrics; The couple had a son, Jim, who


Committed to
Happy Chef often gives
back to the community
by donating clothing,
volunteers, time and
money to various
organizations, Sheila
Nadler said.
Though not a complete
list, some of the
organizations Happy
Chef contributes to
include Action Against
Hunger, Fedcap,
ProStart, Share Our
Strength, Children’s
Aid, and Community
FoodBank of New
Jersey, Jake Nadler

would frequently join Joe Nadler

on his routes when he was a small
In 1975, the company shifted
for the first time, as it began
manufacturing its own linens for
purchase under the name J.H. Jose Urraca works the embroidery
Nadler Textiles Inc. machine at Happy Chef.
“I started contacting the
Underpromise, overperform — and tell the truth
American mills, which took some remember,’ ” Joe Nadler said. One word that drives the
work, to begin manufacturing “That’s how Happy Chef was born.” organization of Happy Chef,
Joe Nadler, its chairman,
and distributing items such as 
said, is integrity.
tablecloths and napkins, sheets and Happy Chef sells chef coats
pillowcases, towels and so forth,” (from $13.95), aprons (from “When (son) Jim (Nadler)
and I started working
Joe Nadler said. “It was a one-man, $5.95), shirts (from $8.95), pants
together, I said, ‘There are a
home-based business that allowed (from $18.95), headwear (from lot of things I can put up with,
me a good living and the time to $4.95), footwear (from $49.95) and but the only thing I cannot is
take my son to tennis practice in more, all manufactured in Asia but lying — if our customers ask
the afternoons.” customized in New Jersey. for something unreasonable,
After Jim Nadler graduated Jim Nadler, who now serves we simply tell them it cannot
be done,’” Nadler said.
from Emory University a few years as president, said the company
later, the company pivoted again. continually updates its offerings. Jim Nadler, president, said
Jim Nadler began working as an On average, he said, Happy he learned his lesson at the
accountant in Atlanta, but it didn’t Chef will introduce three new
prove to be a good fit, his father said. colors each year to be on par with “When I would answer the phones early on, for example, the customer would get upset if they
“He called me one day and fashion-forward design. received an order on Thursday and I had told them it would be in by Wednesday,” Jim Nadler
said. “The customer was not upset that it would be in on Thursday, only that I had given them
said, ‘I hate accounting — I want Jake Nadler, who serves as
false information.
to come home and be in business brand manager, said it’s just the
with you,’ ” he said. latest way the company is changing “We’d rather underpromise and overperform, telling customers that an order will be in within
seven days when it actually comes in three.”
Jim Nadler joined his father with the times.
in business in the mid-1980s to “The problems chefs face
help implement some key changes have not changed over time,” Jake This has allowed us to create more many of whom have been with the with Happy Chef, retirement is
— specifically, branding and Nadler said. “The kitchen is always stylish garments that are often company for years. not for them, they said.
what, exactly, they were to keep going to be a very hot and hectic inspired by current fashion trends.” “In fact, when the guy who Which is great, Jim Nadler
manufacturing, Joe Nadler said. place, so chefs and the kitchen staff Their dedication has led them was in this space previously moved said, as Happy Chef has doubled its
The decision was made to start are always going to need apparel to work with customers such as his business out of state, he said, growth over the last 10 years and
transitioning into chef uniforms — that helps them stay cool and agile. Aramark, SAGE Dining Services, ‘I’ve got these two guys — they’re plans to do more of the same over
and to change the name. “But, right now, with the rise of Doherty Enterprises, Dave & great — can you use them?’ And I the next decade.
“I said, ‘Well, if we are going the celebrity chef and the popularity Buster’s, Princeton University, said, ‘Sure!’” Jim Nadler said. “Now “We’d like to double our
to start private labeling our of Food Network shows, chefs Air Culinaire Worldwide and they’ve been with us nearly 20 years.” business and continue to expand
merchandise, we have to have are wanting their uniforms to be Hard Rock, Jake Nadler said. As for Joe and Sheila Nadler, internationally,” Jim said.
a catchy name that people will more fashionable and recognizable. Happy Chef also employs 40, who now works as a bookkeeper twitter: @megfry3


On …


Harmon, CEO of African American chamber, is pushing
firms to increase their spend with minority-owned businesses


ynicism may not be warranted, but healthy skepticism? Maybe.

If John Harmon, CEO and president of the African American Chamber
of Commerce of New Jersey, were to impart a word of advice, especially
during Black History Month, it might be to keep some of that in reserve
amid back-patting about diversity.
“Many corporations or agencies in New Jersey like to talk about diversity — but, sometimes, it’s not
represented in their spend in terms of actual contracts with African-Americans,” he said. “By and large, New Jersey is struggling
in this regard. Organizations will tout strong minority participation, but when you drill down into specifics, African-Americans
are often at the bottom.”
His organization, as always, is out to fix that.
But to know how to do that, it helps to have some details about the problem. In New Jersey, making that sort of data available
hasn’t always been a priority.


Focus On … African-American Businesses

The Lemon Group Small, but

is one-woman shop,
but she helps
some of region’s
largest companies

BY BRETT JOHNSON “It’s about NOT micromanaging, and giving people some autonomy
Kim Lemon’s enterprise is the very definition
to do what they need to do. That’s one of the most important
of small business — it’s a long-running, one- principles of leadership.”
person operation that brings in less than a
million dollars in revenue each year. — Kim Lemon, president, The Lemon Group
She’s chief cook and bottle washer, as she
puts it.
But the impact she has at her executive behavior,” Lemon said. “Now, this is seen as
coaching firm, The Lemon Group, is far a development resource for all layers of an
from small. organization.”
Since its 2005 inception, Lemon’s Lemon does it all. And businesses call
business has consulted for companies in a on her expertise to guide leadership and
wide array of industries — including some of employees through some tough situations:
the region’s largest corporations and health offshoring, outsourcing, mergers or other
care networks. As the person tasked with business shakeups.
grooming those organizations’ top leaders She described a recent example of having
and up-and-comers, the mark she’s left on to help a local equity research firm’s leader
New Jersey business has been significant. turn the ship with the introduction of a new
Many of the businesses she’s taken on business model:
as clients come from the world of finance, “He was surprised to find people were
which is the sector she emerged from, as well. not welcoming to the notion of change,
She spent about 20 years in various human even if it was paramount to the company’s
resources positions at Wall Street behemoth continuation,” she said. “If they didn’t make
JPMorgan Chase. changes, the company wouldn’t be there in
“As you might imagine, banks, especially five years — to him, that was compelling
early in their development, are increasing enough. Not everyone will buy into that,
market share through mergers and however.
acquisitions, and I was there along for the “There are different motivations and
ride,” Lemon said. “As my experience grew, different modalities and approaches to
it increased my accountability for really communicating that platform. Sometimes
driving changes and implementing them.” you need to reach people in the heart and
Her increasing responsibly led to her sometimes in the head.”
carving out her own business doing what she Different leaders have their own style
felt she had become adept at: helping others and preferences in how they want to handle
be productive, better engaged and more challenges their organization is facing, she
collaborative. said.
To some degree, being an African- Lemon did offer some free-of-charge
American woman makes her a standout advice for local business leaders, based on
among local executive coaches. Lemon is what she’s seen as effective through her years
also a recipient of a YMCA Black Achievers of coaching: Empower employees.
Award, which recognizes successful African- Kim Lemon of The Lemon Group. ­— PHOTO BY KEITH MUCCILLI “It’s about NOT micromanaging, and
Americans in the corporate arena. giving people some autonomy to do what
But there are a lot of people, both in “Back in the early days of executive they need to do,” she said. “That’s one of the
New Jersey and elsewhere, doing executive coaching, back in the late ’70s or early ’80s, most important principles of leadership.
Conversation Starter coaching, talent management, people it was either only at the executive level that Business leaders need to consider engaging
Reach Kim Lemon of
strategy — or any of the other labels this you saw them in organizations, or maybe folks in that way — not so that it’s a free-for-
The Lemon Group at: area of business services has been given. The sometimes coaches were used to come in all, but so people have the running room
or 973-669-9721. nomenclature is always changing as these and fix things if a leader was very talented they need.”
services evolve. but presenting some sort of derailing twitter: @reporterbrett


Focus On … African-American Businesses

Helping his
Lewis’ company cleans up brownfields sites,
but also aims to improve neighborhoods they’re found in

BY BRETT JOHNSON sidelined in this industry. Not to mention,

African-American-owned businesses come

in scarce supply in the environmental
ach Lewis, founder of Lewis services sector.
Consulting Group, has spent “There are very few African-Americans
decades discovering what’s in this business,” Lewis said. “In my lifetime,
hidden beneath the ground — in New Jersey, I’ve come across maybe five or
the chemicals, lead, mold and six total who are environmental consultants.”
other materials mixed in industrial mires. It’s no surprise then that Lewis is
He’s an expert in environmental site appreciative of having a voice like the state’s
investigations of brownfield sites set for African American Chamber of Commerce.
redevelopment after years of abandonment. His clients span different private, public and
Those projects are quite often located in nonprofit sectors, but he’s eager to play a role
urban communities, places that sometimes in the expansion plans of utilities, and the
feel just as forgotten. chamber’s advocacy has been invaluable in
Lewis finds what’s hidden there, too. getting his firm’s qualifications a second look
“One thing my father used to say to me from them.
is, ‘There’s gold in the ghetto,’ by which he There’s no shortage of competition
meant there was a lot of value in the people in the region from other firms doing
there, you just needed to expose, nurture and environmental assessments. National firms
harvest that talent,” he said. “We can make a make for particularly fierce competition.
real impact in our community if we look at it But it’s hard to match Lewis’ local
that way. We can create jobs in communities commitment or the zeal he has for mentoring
and be part of the solution.” in an industry with seemingly limited entry
His company, which has a base in Newark, points. Without coming from a certain
prides itself on participating in programs that educational milieu, environmental services
give back to the communities with which it jobs might seem like a far-flung prospect
regularly interacts through its work. to many.
“We see the highways during morning “And, without a degree, it’s true
rush-hour commutes — it’s all automobiles you may not necessarily be able to
moving into urban communities and then be an environmental scientist, but
leaving right after work,” he said. “They’re there’s opportunities for those in a
leaving, but not leaving resources in technician role,” he said. “We’ve hired
communities. You benefit communities by people for that job, even some who
keeping resources local, and we want to be may have made some mistakes in
part of that.” the past, but we’ve trained them as
Since its 2010 inception, the building environmental technicians. Having
inspection and site remediation firm also has not known about this, they’ve now
made a point of hiring diverse personnel for been put on career paths.”
its 15-person team, Lewis said. It just makes Lewis’ employees have been
sense: His client base, the communities his overwhelmingly supportive of
company focuses on and New Jersey as a these initiatives, he said. For him,
whole are the picture of diversity. nothing is more important than
Still, he believes minorities are sometimes that.
“This is not just a ‘me’
company, but a ‘we’ one,” he
Conversation Starter said. “I’m fortunate that I have
Reach Zach Lewis of Lewis
a talented team; I might be the
Consulting Group at: captain, but I really rely on my Zach Lewis, founder of Lewis Consulting Group, is an expert in environmental site investigations
or 732-276-2420. team to guide this company.” of brownfield sites set for redevelopment after years of abandonment. —
twitter: @reporterbrett


Focus On … African-American Businesses

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13 getting them to improve,” he said. “So, we’re it’s a trying environment for black businesses.
going to advocate for a statewide assessment He argues, as Jordan does, that’s in large
Count on it being a priority for Harmon. asked of utilities annually to include their part due to how the state has transitioned
His organization is pushing harder than ever spend and hiring practices when it comes to from specific set-asides for minority business
for a detailed disparity study to determine minorities and women.” enterprises to creating goals and set-asides
how well agencies are doing in regard to Information on those hiring practices is surrounding the more all-encompassing
contracts with businesses run by African- something that’s kept too close to the vest by category of small business enterprises.
Americans or other minorities. public organizations currently, Harmon said. “The language has been corrupted in
Out of that, he’s hoping it’s used to shape When it comes to the energy sector as a way that hurts black business owners,”
some minority-owned state contracting goals well as other industries, especially in the he said. “And the whole terminology
for public entities. That’s something Harmon private sphere, sometimes testimony from around small business has never created a
has had on a wish list for many years. businesses is all there is. problem for people to want to make special
The time for it is now, he said. “(African-American-owned) businesses exclusions. When it comes to set asides for
“We believe that this would incentivize can tell you which ones really give them a black businesses, it’s seen differently.”
more participation from minority-owned forum to present their services and which It’s a complicated issue, and one Jones
businesses,” he explained. “New York has a refuse to,” Harmon said. has been involved with for decades.
goal of 30 percent for these contracts and a Ed Jordan, consultant with Voorhees- John Harmon, CEO and president of the African “I can’t say there’s no hope, because then
very aggressive system in place. But in New based Industrial Commercial Cleaning American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey. there’s no point to keep trying,” he said.
Jersey, that doesn’t exist. We’re neighboring Group Inc., a janitorial and facility ­— FILE PHOTO And you won’t catch Harmon turning
states — it makes no sense at all.” maintenance firm owned by an African- cynical, either.
The argument he makes for it isn’t American woman, said the business has had Hanford Jones, who works for the “It appears that this administration,
an emotional appeal for anything like a to give up on work with certain industries same firm, happens to be one of the region’s with the hiring of a chief diversity officer,
handout. It’s this: Taxpayer dollars from due to difficulties in having the firm fairly watchdogs when it comes to burrowing into the state’s first, is on the same page,” he said.
minority communities should at least have evaluated in the contracting process. the numbers behind contracting with black- “That new officer is making rounds with
the possibility of being repatriated back owned firms. He regularly reviews state various state agencies to find out who they’re
to those communities. It’s also a matter of contract documents under public records spending with and how much — and if
holding agencies accountable. Conversation Starter requests to determine how agencies are truly they’re not doing a good job, finding out why.
Reach John Harmon of the
“In particular, utilities come to the state doing on working with African-American So, I’m optimistic that we’ll get change, but if
African American Chamber
for rate hikes and incentives for infrastructure of Commerce of New Jersey: businesses. we don’t have people continuing to make this
projects, but their numbers on minority He said he’s found New Jersey limited in important issue, there will be no pressure to
participation have been poor, year-in and or 609-571-1620. terms of transparency. But what he has seen get it done.”
year-out, and there’s no accountability in over the years, he added, is that there’s no doubt twitter: @reporterbrett


Tech Trends: Esther Surden

Hit the accelerator

SOSV founder O’Sullivan shares history, and future, of his tech-centric Princeton VC firm
BY ESTHER SURDEN FOR ROI-NJ teams these days, we actually give all of our startups personality testing.”
There are multiple types of people: Some
One of the largest decentralized accelerator are more focused on relationships, some
programs in the world, SOSV, is headquartered focus on innovation, some focus on synthesis
in Princeton, a fact that many don’t know. and society, while others are more analytical.
Its founder and managing general SOSV administers this testing before it makes
partner, Sean O’Sullivan, identifies as a a major investment, although not before it
Princeton resident, takes a company into the accelerator, because
engineer, inventor and the team will change and get rounded out as
“now, a venture capitalist.” the startup grows.
O’Sullivan spoke SOSV applicants apply for the vertical they
recently at Startup Grind are interested in and fill out a form. From eight
Princeton about his to 15 teams are accepted into a cohort, funded
entrepreneurship journey by SOSV. Those companies physically take
and his investment up residence in the SOSV space, generally for
philosophy. The conversation was moderated about four months; in a larger space like HAX,
by Startup Grind organizer David Stengle. they can stay for a year. At the end of that
O’Sullivan is a well-known name in the period, they host a demo day. If all criteria are
tech community. For example, he is credited met, SOSV helps them find the best financing
with inventing the term “cloud computing” for the next stage of their development.
with George Favoloro from Compaq. In Startup Grind organizer David Stengle, left, and Sean O’Sullivan of SOSV. —
­ ESTHER SURDEN Then there are specialized services for
1985, he founded MapInfo, which delivered the companies. At the IndiBio accelerator,
the first version of street mapping to personal tried a variety of career paths, even taking a Shenzhen, China (there’s another one in San for example, there are wet lab facilities
computers. stab at being a musician and a filmmaker, Francisco), SOSV has a 50,000-square-foot and all the equipment needed for genetic
Now, O’Sullivan devotes his time to before realizing that his best opportunity to space with various types of manufacturing engineering and synthetic biology.
SOSV, which, according to the company’s have a true impact on the world “was to create equipment and 28 engineers on staff, “I think that community, that sense of
website, “provides intellectual and financial lots of companies.” He invested as a “super O’Sullivan said. The engineers know radio- community, is the most phenomenal benefit,”
capital to accelerate founders’ big ideas for angel” for many years, but he formalized his frequency engineering, industrial design, O’Sullivan told Stengle. “Actually, being able
positive change. SOSV has funded over 700 investments into a real venture capital firm. mechanical design, design for manufacturing to go to others and share really bad deep
startups to date. We currently fund over 150 And, now, he said, “We have about 110 staff, and so on. “We can take a team of two, four problems and the dark moments of the soul
startups per year through our programs: HAX which for a VC firm is huge.” or five people and make them look like a that everyone has as a founder” is one of the
(hardware and connected devices), IndieBio “Our focus is different from most 50-person organization.” major pluses of being in this environment.
& RebelBio (life sciences), Chinaccelerator venture firms. We do something unique.” The team is paramount, O’Sullivan twitter: @njtechwkly
(cross-border internet and mobile in Asia) While SOSV started by backing companies explained. “You can’t just be a single person
and Food-X (food innovation).” O’Sullivan liked and thought had a good and get much done. You have to be able to Name: SOSV
O’Sullivan says the company is taking chance of success, it now goes much deeper work with a team. We won’t back a single Headquarters: 174 Nassau St.,
applications for a new blockchain accelerator into tech. By starting accelerators, O’Sullivan’s founder. Not because a single founder can
Suite 300, Princeton (offices in U.S.,
that will be headquartered in New York City. team found that they could place “a lot of never make it, because they can, but it’s a
Ireland, China)
O’Sullivan grew up on welfare, in a shots on goal and build ecosystems and work slower way to try and make it. You also end up
Public/private: Private, founded by
family with nine kids and a “deadbeat dad” with founders at a stage that I find is most with a lot of psychopaths. If you’ve got a couple
Sean O’Sullivan in 1995
who left for good when Sean was 3. He made enjoyable,” which is very, very early on. of people who are working together and trust
it to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a More than 5,000 companies apply each each other, that’s a pretty good indicator.” Employees: More than 110
technological research university in upstate year to get into the SOSV accelerators, and the There will be hard times, there may be times Specialty: Funded more than 700
New York, and eventually began his career as 150 who get accepted receive between $100,000 when founders need to go without paychecks; startups to date; presently funding
a serial entrepreneur. and $250,000 (depending on the accelerator) and the company won’t get through these more than 150 per year through
“What enabled me to get ahead was for the first commitment; in return, they give lows unless the team has a high level of HAX (hardware and connected
education,” he said, which prompted him to up about 7 percent of their equity. commitment. O’Sullivan said it’s even better devices), IndieBio & RebelBio (life
combine his passion for learning and giving “We take those companies; get them when the team members love each other. sciences), Chinaccelerator (cross-
back by underwriting Kahn Academy in market validation; work with them to get the As a founder, you must build a team and border internet and mobile in Asia)
Mountain View, California, a free educational proper market fit working; and, depending on recognize that you don’t want carbon copies and Food-X (food innovation).
resource, in its first stages of development. which accelerator, we work with them deeply of yourself on it, Sullivan said. You want a Follow: and @sosvvc
After selling his first company, O’Sullivan on the technologies.” At the HAX location in highly balanced team. “When we look at

ROI-NJ has teamed up with Esther Surden, creator of, to bring you weekly insight into the tech world.



ROI-NJ. The race for Amazon

“Businesses in our state must deal with
one of the highest corporate tax rates in is not over. Not by
the country, absorb new costs of a higher a long shot. The
minimum wage and expanded paid sick
leave, the new so-called ‘rain tax’ for rules, however,
have changed.
the creation of stormwater utilities and
manage through a morass of outdated and
burdensome mandates.” And it’s important
We may soon find out if that’s true.
The race for Amazon is not over. Not by a for everyone to
long shot. The rules, however, have changed.
And it’s important for everyone to realize that.
realize that.
So said Jay Biggins, executive managing
director of BLS Strategies, a highly regarded —
national relocation firm based in Princeton.
“I think we probably should take
Amazon at its word that it is not looking to has already indicated his intent to have opportunity to resume conversations with The opposition may not have been
relocate this half of HQ to one of the other incentives going forward as part of that Amazon and provide them an opportunity expressing the voice of the people — some
candidate cities,” he told ROI-NJ. strategy. But the legislative leadership and to be a part of its renaissance.” estimates said 70 percent of New Yorkers
Instead, Biggins said, Newark should the governor will need to get together Corporate incentives have been around favored giving incentives to Amazon. But they
look to be part of the incremental growth around a consensus on how robust those for more than 100 years. But they may never certainly were talking in the loudest voice.
that still is coming to the metro area. incentives need to be in order for New have been more important than today. And you can be sure CEOs of
“The recommendation wouldn’t be Jersey to be successful.” Amazon, one of the most significant companies across the country heard them
for Newark to try to pursue what Amazon And there’s no time like the present. companies in the world, received hundreds loud and clear.
said they’re not doing, but rather to pursue “It’s important that they do that timely, of generous offers just for putting out a Now is the time for New Jersey to speak
opportunities for growth occurring within so that we send a signal to the market that Request for Proposals. It was then forced up.
the region as Amazon looks to diversify,” overcomes the negativity and projects unity to back out of a deal after those incentives If it doesn’t, New York’s loss may be
Biggins said. behind a basic principle that is that New led to a backlash of opposition from local ours, too.
“This is an important region for them, Jersey is competitive and intends to be groups. — Tom Bergeron
and they have a reason to be here. They were successful in creating and retaining jobs,”
very clear about that, and they intend to Biggins said. “And that businesses will have
grow in the region. Newark has a reasonable a conducive environment for growth.”
shot at earning some of that growth.” Murphy attempted to do just that
But it’s not the only city that can make Thursday afternoon.
that claim. Biggins said Jersey City is back in “After learning of the decision to
the game now, too. pull out of their chosen HQ2 location, I
“Don’t leave Jersey City out,” he said. contacted Amazon and city of Newark
“Newark was one of the finalists, but that stakeholders directly, continuing a constant
game is gone. And all the rules of that game dialogue that predates my time as governor,”
are over. he said in a statement.
“Everything’s open. Jersey City “New Jersey is open for business, and
absolutely has a reasonable prospect of now more than ever, Newark is the clear
obtaining some jobs from a share of the choice as the next presence for Amazon
growth that they’re planning in the region.” corporate offices. Amazon now has the
But neither city will have a chance opportunity to join in Newark’s story of a
unless the state changes its tune. city on the rise.”
That’s what Jim Kirkos, the longtime Newark Mayor Ras Baraka made his
head of the Meadowlands Chamber who is pitch, too.
well versed in the New Jersey-New York battle “Given the city and state’s assets — a
over business, said after Amazon’s decision. strong talent pipeline, a diverse tech base,
“The Amazon announcement is why unmatched infrastructure and a highly
business leaders constantly talk about policy- accessible location — we are well poised
makers and communities needing to have an to accommodate Amazon, should they
‘Open for Business’ posture — one that creates want to relocate New York City’s portion of
and leverages opportunities while still making HQ2, in whole or part,” he said. “Legislation
sure community concerns are met,” he said. regarding the tax incentives has already
“New Jersey should learn from this been passed, our real estate options are still
devastating announcement in New York.” viable and the community has been — and
Biggins agreed. will continue to be — engaged.
“It’s important that the leadership of “Newark is becoming a national model
New Jersey get behind a positive message for what equitable development should look
to recruit business,” he said. “The governor like across the country, and we welcome the



New Jersey in RGGI is boon for people — and business

usiness leaders disagree private commercial interests also serve the  Creating a more vibrant, sustainable and
on whether New Jersey
should rejoin the Regional
greater good.
What’s good for a company’s bottom line
Passing judgment equitable economy fueled by clean energy,
which itself generates fiscal savings over the
Greenhouse Gas Initiative
or not. The source of this
may impose other costs for the rest of us. That’s
why smart public policies are so important — on RGGI through long-term.
 Redefining competitive advantage based on
disagreement can be traced
back to fundamentally different perspectives
policies that are designed for the common good;
policies that are adaptive to changing market, the typical a combination of a company’s net economic,
social and environmental impacts — often

business lens
on the mission of business and the role of societal and environmental conditions; policies described as “triple bottom line.”
government in the market. that combine pragmatism with foresight. One  Demonstrating how market-driven
For those who believe that the purpose such forward-thinking policy is RGGI. innovation and smart public policy
of a business — and the As a cap-and-trade system, RGGI of ‘maximizing can work together to create shared and
duty of its leadership is a way of doing two critical things that sustainable prosperity for all.
— is to maximize
profits for the benefit of
are necessary to addressing the climate
change crisis: lowering carbon emissions,
shareholder RGGI also has a strong record of boosting
the economy in our state and the region. From
shareholders, keeping a
company’s costs as low as
and lowering the economic, societal and
environmental costs of energy in total.
profits’ seems 2009 to 2011, New Jersey’s participation in
the program produced both economic and

possible is a top priority.
While appealingly
RGGI is not the only solution to
decarbonizing the economy; there is no one
myopic. environmental benefits, including more than
$150 million in growth and 1,700 job-years
simple, narrowly focusing policy that will solve this complex challenge. added to the state’s economy. In its first
on the company’s bottom line ignores the Still, RGGI is an important complement to decade, RGGI has generated a net positive
interests of others who are also affected the state’s Energy Master Plan that is being Thankfully, there is a growing network economic impact of $4 billion, created tens of
by what the business produces and how developed as a multifaceted strategic roadmap of businesses who view the purpose and the thousands of additional job years and lowered
it functions, such as employees and their to achieve Gov. Phil Murphy’s goal of reaching impact of their work through a wider, values- energy costs for all participating states. It’s time
families, communities in which the business 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. driven, longer-range lens in which earning a for New Jersey’s businesses and consumers to
operates and interconnected networks of Passing judgment on RGGI through profit and contributing to the common good go share in these benefits once again.
suppliers. Some companies lower costs by the typical business lens of “maximizing hand-in-hand.
shifting them to other stakeholders. Because of shareholder profits” seems myopic and void To New Jersey’s values-driven business Richard Lawton
this, government has a role to play in writing of long-term considerations for people and leaders, RGGI and the governor’s commitment Executive director
rules and policies that ensure the pursuit of business. to a clean energy plan are positive steps toward: N.J. Sustainable Business Council


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It’s vital to get NJ Transit back on track

he importance of New Jersey Transit to — a federally mandated and essential safety system that Understanding from its outreach that passenger
our state’s economic vitality cannot be monitors and controls train movements. Great progress communication is key, NJT is working to improve its
overstated. All New Jersey residents and has been made in the past year, but PTC implementation messaging to riders so they can plan better for service
visitors benefit from a vital mass transit involves considerably more equipment disruptions and schedule changes.
system that keeps additional cars off the modification and testing before being Recent legislation approved by the
roads, contributing to lower congestion, fully operational. Assembly and Senate and signed by
less roadway wear and tear and cleaner air. Hundreds of Service disruptions will persist in the governor is designed to enhance
thousands of commuters each day rely upon trains and the interim, which are aggravated by transparency leading to a more
buses to get them to jobs in our region that provide for NJT’s shortage of engineers — another responsive agency.
their families, generate state tax revenue and spur economic result of scarce resources that caused the There is no doubt that NJT’s
Chip Jim
development. loss to other railroads of experienced Kirkos professional leadership is committed
With Newark’s commercial and residential revitalization engineers and inadequate attraction of to continuing improvement while
well underway and the Meadowlands catapulting further as new talent. This, too, is being addressed by NJT leadership passengers will need to have continued patience as years of
an entertainment destination, NJT must be restored to its through recruitment and training efforts that will restore a deferred investment are addressed.
one-time leadership as a national model. full team of engineers over the next several years. With state budget hearings and negotiations on the
For too long, NJT’s contribution to our quality of life For those passengers on buses and trains who have way, our elected leaders must recognize that NJT should
has been taken for granted as successive Legislatures and been stuck (sometimes literally) in equipment that has far never again be deprived of the resources it needs to serve the
administrations deprived the agency of adequate financial and surpassed its optimal period of service, the encouraging citizens of our great state who have experienced the effects of
human resources that led to a downward spiral. The comeback news is that orders are in for 85 new articulated buses and that disinvestment.
story will take a while to be finished, but we’re glad that the 113 multilevel rail commuter cars. Unfortunately, NJT can’t Chip Hallock is CEO and president of the Newark
turnaround effort spurred by Gov. Phil Murphy has begun. order such equipment online and have Amazon deliver it to Regional Business Partnership and Jim Kirkos is CEO
There has been extensive coverage of NJT’s “catch- the door tomorrow — that, too, will take years. and president of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber
up” efforts to meet deadlines for positive train control Not all improvements need to take that long. and Meadowlands Liberty CVB.

Three Cheers! (or jeers) Show & Tell

HE’S BAAAAACK: Geoffrey the giraffe is planning a Felicia Karsos is chief nursing officer at Hudson
triumphant comeback, as Tru Kids Brands announced it is Regional Hospital.
resurrecting the iconic Toys ‘R’ Us brand. Details remain sketchy,
but a former TRU exec is in charge and the HQ is still in Jersey. We asked her how you can differentiate your

This could be good news for the state, retail sector and children company in a tight hiring market.
everywhere … but, for now, Toys ‘R’ Us kids should be crossing their
fingers, not counting their chickens. Cheers … we hope. In industries with more open positions than qualified
applicants, employers need to be creative about the
KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW: From Gov. Phil Murphy career opportunities, as well as the work environment
to Rowan to HCCC, the apprenticeship bandwagon is getting that they can offer to both recent graduates and seasoned
crowded. But that’s unquestionably a good thing. Not everyone is professionals. For example, if you’re a smaller organization in an
cut out for a desk job, and not everyone can craft a decorative edge industry where larger systems are better-known, highlight one-
with a router. If young people want to make a living with their hands, on-one training opportunities
there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Cheers to for new staff, and your
New Jersey for getting it — and encouraging it. organization’s unique
cultural emphases
WEATHER OR NOT: Murphy is taking some on staff skill
heat for his policies. But the poor guy probably development
will take it … because, where there’s heat, there’s seldom and customer
snow. And ever since the Rush Hour Fiasco of 2018, it’s easy to relations.”
imagine Murphy flinches every time he hears that word. Plus, with
each storm, the trucks spraying brine look more and more ridiculous
— and the governor becomes less punch line and more punching
bag. It seems unfair to pile on, but … jeers, anyway. — Eric Strauss

“Moody’s improvement of Newark’s bond rating from

a Baa3 positive outlook to a Baa2 positive outlook
reflects Newark’s economic growth, our success
in recruiting new job and revenue-producing
businesses resulting in a larger tax base. ” — Newark
Mayor Ras Baraka


On …


As big-box retail staples close their doors,
different kind of tenant is moving in, brokerages say


.J. Brunelli & Co. partners with companies interested in

expanding into New Jersey’s quiet suburban retail sites.
Companies like — just to take a recent example —
Singaporean virtual reality theme park creators.
Ron DeLuca, CEO and principal of the Old Bridge-based R.J. Brunelli & Co., said Ron DeLuca,
the reality today is that the shuttering of Toys ‘R’ Us and other retail staples left a big CEO and principal
hole in local shopping hubs. of Old Bridge-based
“Toys ‘R’ Us was massive, hundreds of stores in New Jersey alone, coupled with Sears and Kmart R.J. Brunelli & Co. ­
closures,” he said. “Now, what we see occurring is that the uses refilling those vacancies break from what — R.J. BRUNELLI & CO.

was traditionally there.”



Focus On … Commercial Real Estate

Sciences have been big part of N.J. for some time,

but their demand for real estate is relatively recent

ON3, above, in Nutley and Clifton is being redeveloped by Edwin Cohen, below, and Prism Capital Partners. ­— PHOTOS COURTESY PRISM CAPITAL PARTNERS


Edwin Cohen’s real estate firm refers to it

envisioned there being a lot of life sciences
tenants with an interest in New Jersey’s first
spec lab development in many years. He was
be met. New Jersey has lower life science
lab vacancy today than New York and other
regional biotech strongholds.
With new developments such as ON3
as a new chapter. But, in his mind, the pages “We’re getting tremendous interest all signing leases with such haste, life sciences
were practically already written. over New Jersey, even from some transitional are expected to become even more of a factor
Prism Capital Partners’ redevelopment people looking to potentially relocate out of in the New Jersey real estate market in the
of the former Hoffmann-La Roche campus Manhattan,” he said. “Needless to say, we’re coming years, especially due to the sector’s
— a project called ON3, on the border of bullish on the life sciences.” recession resilience.
Nutley and Clifton — is adding another What all real estate firms in the Garden It might seem like this is well-trodden
400,000 square feet of life science laboratory State are experiencing is a demand for more territory in terms of New Jersey’s real estate
facilities to the already massive undertaking. spaces for life science-related research and trends. But as a Cushman & Wakefield report
Cohen, principal partner at Prism, development — sometimes more than can from late last year indicates, the growth story


Focus On … Commercial Real Estate

Real estate Rx
In an uncertain market, West
Orange-based Atkins Cos. has
found the broader health care
sector to be a cure-all.
“It’s as recession-proof as you
can possibly get in the real
estate sector,” said Cory Atkins,
an executive at the family-
owned real estate firm. “Health
care might be changing, but it’s
certainly not going anywhere.”
It’s an interesting time for this
real estate niche. Trends in health
care happen to be aligning with
e-commerce competition carving
out vacancies in traditional retail
centers — where health care
facilities now want to set up shop.
“There’s this new influx of
outpatient development taking
place away from hospitals and
in the community, where people
are, and so you’ve had this
market become more retail-like,”
Atkins said.

potentially grow that component in the state.”

Straka thinks of the state’s industry as
being at the tail-end of a transformation.
“Because what we’ve seen for many years
is something of a shift from Big Pharma to
smaller, midtier life science firms and biotech,”
Straka said. “And today in
Prism Capital Partners’ redevelopment of the former Hoffmann-La Roche campus — a project called ON3, on the border of Nutley and Clifton. that segment, we’re seeing
projects all over northern
— both in New Jersey and beyond — is and into the millennium’s turn. And it was in major drug manufacturing operations. New Jersey, and not just
actually a more recent phenomenon. just the past eight years that the sector’s job Shawn Straka, managing director of limited to one specific
According to that real estate corporation’s growth advanced by about 70 percent. Also, Cushman & Wakefield’s Morristown office submarket.”
survey, the snapshot nationwide for life in that period of time, the amount of venture and a leader in the firm’s life sciences practice Life science office
sciences included much slower than capital flooding into the industry more than group, said New Jersey has fallen behind in Straka leasing activity topped
expected job growth throughout the ’90s doubled, with last year being a record year some regards when compared to other new more than 1.3 million
for investment nationally. hotbeds for life sciences, such as Boston and square feet in the Garden State last year, making
The life science sector has not really San Diego. it a driver of leasing activity among all sectors.
Conversation Starter constituted a major portion of overall “You have had some emerging life science “And I expect we’ll continue to see life
Reach Edwin Cohen of Prism
real estate space, even in the “medicine markets really grow in the past few years, but sciences’ share of real estate growing locally
Capital Partners at: chest of the world,” New Jersey, the survey New Jersey is still strong and continues to be next year and into the foreseeable future,”
or 201-567-2711. reported. But its piece of the pie is still relevant,” he said. “And it helps to know that the Straka said.
sizable, even as it mourns the loss of some governor is a proponent of the industry and can twitter: @reporterbrett


Focus On … Commercial Real Estate

Levys’ Paramount Assets is finally making the plunge

into city investment — and it’s diving into Newark head-first


n 2014, nearly two decades after the brothers had helped elevate the family real estate business into a growing
force on the outskirts of some of the biggest cities in New Jersey, Maurice and Ronnie Levy decided it was time
to bring Paramount Assets into Newark in a big way. 


Focus On … Commercial Real Estate

The full-service real estate firm had

been in the city for a few years, getting great
returns on a McDonald’s on Broad Street it
had purchased in 2009.
While doing so, the brothers realized the
city’s promise and potential had turned to
reality. And they wanted to get in on it at the
It began with the purchase of Halston
Flats in 2014 and William Flats in 2015,
two mixed-use facilities Paramount Assets
helped refurbish. And it hasn’t stopped.
The company now owns 40 properties
totaling about 750,000 square feet of
space throughout the city. And one of
its acquisitions, 45 Academy St., is in the
process of being refurbished and renovated
to become the company’s new headquarters.
The company is planning to bring most
of its approximately 75 employees from its
current headquarters in Elizabeth by March.
Maurice Levy, the chief operating officer,
said it’s all about a belief in the direction of
the Newark.
“This is probably one of the best located
cities (on the East Coast),” Levy said. “Every A newly renovated interior, above, at William Flats
train, every road, every access point goes in Newark by Paramount Assets. At right are CEO
through here. It’s easy access. Ronnie Levy, Chairman Solomon Levy and Chief
“And, since we are investing heavily here Operating Officer Maurice Levy in the vestibule
in Newark, we felt that it was important for of their most recent redevelopment project, the
us to be here. We’re going to keep growing Williams Flats. —
our portfolio here.
“The city has a great vision. We want to
be part of it.” “It’s such an advantage to have some with
Levy said he and his brother Ronnie, such institutional knowledge that has lived
the CEO, feel the city is on the verge of an through so many real estate cycles.”
economic explosion. And they are eager to The sons have followed his
tell anyone who will listen. entrepreneurial lead.
“This story should be about bringing Ronnie Levy joined the company in
eyes to Newark,” he said “This isn’t about us. 1996. Maurice Levy came on board in 2001.
We don’t need our name out there. Since then, the brothers have expanded a
“We want to get Newark out there.” 12-property portfolio to one that has more
 than 250.
Solomon Levy is the patriarch of And they did it, Maurice Levy said,
Paramount Assets. He founded the company building by building.
in 1976 in Rockaway Beach, New York, at a “We’re in Perth Amboy, Elizabeth,
young age — for the most unusual of reasons. Plainfield, Orange — we’re on the outskirts
“He had a fight with the owner of the of all the major cities,” Levy said. “We never economic downturn in 2008. And why it is grow quickly since coming to Newark.
building about buying pillows,” Maurice said broke into the cities, because the values were still able to do so today. They get the game, he said.
with a laugh. “He figured, instead of fighting, too expensive for us and we were very return- “We were able to expand into Newark “We’re experts in real estate,” he said.
why not buy the building? Here he was, an driven as opposed to potential-driven. so quickly because we have a very good “We’ll eyeball a building from an engineering
immigrant who came to this country at 17, “When you’re starting up, you have to reputation on purchasing,” he said. “We’ll standpoint and a financial standpoint and be
buying his first property at 21. pay mortgages and taxes. You need that come in and sit for about 20 minutes and do able to quickly write a check.”
“He is an inspiration.” immediate return.” a deal on a handshake. Regardless of the asset type.
And still the head of the company. Paramount Assets also wanted to keep “We’ll have a contract done within a “We’re equipped to deal with any type
While Solomon Levy has turned over the things in the family. week and can close whenever (the seller) of property,” he said. “We have multiple
day-to-day operations to his sons, Maurice “Since 2010, we haven’t taken on any wants. There’s no negotiation. No financing. divisions within our real estate firm. We have
Levy said his father is still very much involved. investors,” Levy said. “That was the impetus No contingencies. No refinancing. Just a deal. a development team, an acquisitions team, a
“He gives his blessing on everything,” of staying outside of the limelight. We “It’s back-of-the-napkin stuff and then property management team, a leasing team.
he said. “He doesn’t want to do day-to-day focused primarily on high-return real estate.” we hand over a check.” We have it all. We’re able to come in and deal
activities, but he’s involved. He has the vision Keeping it in the family, Levy said, is one  with any type of situation. And that’s what
and the experience. He’s seen it all, so he’s of the reasons why the company was able Levy said the growth the company had makes us different from most.”
able to steer us. to expand during — and right after — the before it came to Newark has enabled it to CONTINUED ON PAGE 28


Focus On … Real Estate

“The purchasing is happening so quickly because of our reputation. We keep getting phone
calls about people looking to sell, because people want to work with us.”
— Maurice Levy, chief operating officer, Paramount Assets

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27 where there is a city-like feel. And you can
rent here. Most of our employees wouldn’t
The company also has developed a live in any other cities. This has the living
reputation for refurbishing buildings with an environment that our employees want.”
eye toward historical preservation. Levy said the company sees no end to its
“We want to bring buildings back to their growth in Newark.
original glory,” Levy said. He estimates that only 25 percent of its
These attributes have led to more holdings are complete, 25 percent are being
opportunities, Levy said. worked on and 50 percent are for the future.
“The purchasing is happening so quickly One of its biggest future developments
because of our reputation,” he said. “We keep involves the area around the federal
getting phone calls about people looking to courthouse and the Prudential Center.
sell, because people want to work with us.” “All those parking lots around the federal
Sellers aren’t the only ones. courthouse, we’ve just acquired those,” Levy
Levy said Newark officials are a big part said. “We’re in the process now of master
of the process, too. planning our future, based upon what’s
City officials, he said, are open to going on there.”
investment, encourage investment and work The company already has approvals to
to promote investment. do work on properties it acquired in the Four
“The city has been a big part of why we’re Corners historical district.
here,” he said. “They work with us. They’re “Along Williams Street, between North
not looking at investors as an adversary, but Street and University, that’s going to be all
as a partner. brand-new redevelopment properties,” Levy
“It’s an open door wherever we go. Every said.
department has been helpful.” What’s next? That depends on what
 comes on the market next. Levy said
Levy said he feels the city has everything Paramount Assets is interested in any and all
in place to grow — especially in the properties.
millennial age. It’s why Paramount is moving “We’re still acquiring,” Levy said. “We’re
its headquarters to Newark. just getting started.
“It’s great for attracting new employees,” “Our appetite is that tremendous.”
he said. “People today want to be in an area twitter: @tombergeron5 The entry of William Flats in Newark.

Preserving Newark
For all the talk about the new Newark, Maurice Levy said he’s happy to be part of
a movement to save the old Newark. At least, when it comes to real estate.
Levy, the chief operating officer of Paramount Assets, said many of the buildings
his company purchases are historic. He’s happy to keep them that way. Even if it
means more time — and money — to refurbish them.
“Character is the heart of a city,” he said. “And Newark has so much character.
For us to raze these buildings and rebuild doesn’t do justice.”
Levy said his group is eager to work with Newark officials.
“The city has a local historical preservation committee that oversees it, so we
just follow whatever guidance we get from them,” he said. “Our interests are
aligned. We believe in historical preservation. It’s a great partnership: They
believe in what we are doing and we believe in what they want.
“They’re trying to figure out how to get buildings fixed, and we believe in
maintaining their original feel, from corner edges to repurposing visible brick, not
covering it.
“We want to bring buildings back to their original glory.”
Levy said he’s not the only one who wants it.
“Millennials have an appetite for these older buildings,” he said. “People are
freaking out for things such as exposed brick or a high ceiling. You can’t afford to
build them like this anymore.”


Focus On … Real Estate


Beauty is in the eye

Legend Heroes Park, which is
of the beholder
introducing worldwide a new concept
involving an immersive indoor virtual reality “We Buy Ugly Houses” — maybe
you’ve seen the billboards.
experience, is one of those. R.J. Brunelli & Co.
was announced last month as the company’s It’s a registered trademark of
exclusive broker for its entry into the United Texas-based HomeVestors. As
it turns out … the company buys
States market.
ugly houses.
“We’re getting to a situation in real estate
where these uses are becoming the norm in And, apparently, the property
flipper, which purchases homes
mainstream retail development uses, not just
even in not-so-great shape,
in malls but even big-box centers,” DeLuca are doing a lot more of it in the
said. “And entertainment in particular is Garden State these days.
being embraced to fill many vacancies.”
“It’s actually one of the biggest
With still-standing traditional retailers growth areas we have in the
finding themselves at a crossroads with new country,” said David Hicks,
e-commerce dynamics, they need shopping HomeVestors’ CEO. “Part of the
centers to be more destination-like, DeLuca reason for that is the simple
said. When people have more of a reason to fact of there being so many
people there, and such a large
visit retailers because of their surroundings,
market. Also, because we deal
the thinking goes, they might be inclined to R.J. Brunelli & Co. is the exclusive broker for Legend
with houses that are older and
stop in regularly for in-store returns or other Heroes Park, which is introducing a new concept need repair, there’s a lot of older
business. involving an immersive indoor virtual reality houses in that area because it’s
With so much shopping taking place experience. —
­ COURTESY LEGEND HEROES PARK an established market — and that
online today, the relevance of a lot of retail means more opportunities for us.”
business is on shaky ground. However, there Those toy emporiums took up a lot of quality The company has more than
have been some standbys in retail centers locations that are now available, Harding 1,000 franchises, with 27
that have proved resilient to the internet shift, said. His firm just finished up a pair of new independently owned and
operated in New Jersey.
DeLuca said, such as grocery businesses. deals in buildings that housed the former
“Four or so years ago, the trend of home international chain. “We just added more franchises
delivery seemed like it’d be huge,” DeLuca But a lack of potential tenants for larger there, and part of it is because
the ones we do have there have
said. “For whatever reason, it didn’t take storefronts could be a problem, Harding
done well,” Hicks said. “We
off with the magnitude that people had said. And if more corporations start to scale started with just a few there, and
anticipated. It began to wane.” back brick and motor operations, vacancies now it’s becoming an exciting
That is, he said, until Amazon’s purchase will really increase in visibility across Garden area for us.”
of Whole Foods. State retail hubs.
“So, that’s putting a wrinkle in the trend, The potential of that might rest on
and home delivery’s relevance is coming how well business is doing on the whole in Bill Hanson, president of commercial real estate
back,” he said “But I still don’t see the grocery coming years. In an industry so tied to the firm NAI James E. Hanson. —
segment going massively in that direction. I economy’s health, Bill Hanson, president of
know when I go the grocery store, I want to commercial real estate firm NAI James E. Even if Investors did complete a $42
pick the plump apples I want to eat for the Hanson, said the potential of a recessionary million loan to refinance commercial
week. Sometimes, what people get at the period is a regular topic of discussion. mortgages on 27 retail properties in
door isn’t what they want.” “Especially because we’ve had this very December, Orefice admits the bank walks
Matthew Harding, CEO of suburban long economic expansion,” he said. “It makes away from quite a lot of potential retail deals
retail landlord Levin Management, said people want to sit on the sideline when it today.
grocers are still seen as reliable anchor comes to the real estate market. But my view is “Even as retailers adapt to new models,
tenants in shopping centers. that things seem to be under control for now.” the truth is that we don’t know where the
“I don’t think it’s as susceptible to that The recent retail sector bankruptcies and bottom is in this sector,” he said. “From the
e-commerce disruption as other retail late last year’s sudden end to a wider market lending standpoint, I expect it’ll be hard to
segments,” he said. “The better grocers are winning-streak aren’t being blithely ignored see that improving.”
already evolving their model.” by the financial industry component of real In the meantime, local real estate firms
Of course, Toys ‘R’ Us or other legacy estate transactions. will continue to be purveyors of drawing
retail was just as sought-after in its heyday, Joseph Orefice, head of commercial real people to retail centers with entertainment
Harding added. estate lending at Investors Bank, said lenders concepts that sometimes break from the
Looked at one way, the closure of are exhibiting some extra caution when norm.
something like Toys ‘R’ Us presented real considering how much risk e-commerce “Not always, but sometimes, we’re not
estate professionals with opportunities. disruption presents. just thinking as much as basic economics as
“We’ve had difficulty getting our arms the attraction a property might have as a pure
around some projects,” he said. “The way draw to a shopping center,” Harding said.
Conversation Starter
we look at it as a lender is that there are still “It’s a very interesting time – challenging in
Reach R.J. Brunelli & Co. at: good malls and shopping center operators, some ways. You definitely have to be more A before and after living room of an “Ugly

or 732-721-5800. and there’s still success stories, but we have to creative.” House.” —
analyze these deals carefully.” twitter: @reporterbrett


Food Fella

‘No Tricks. No Shticks’:

Bingo now open
Remembering Denise Bartone
in Lakewood Rutgers Food marketing specialist had kind and generous heart
We all
recognize BY DAMON RICCIO Denise and I worked on a food and was surprised to see a birthday cake with my
that a beverage project together and, as we name on it. She had found out my birthday
“Bingo” sign communicated back and forth on ideas was the day before, and wanted to celebrate
usually In our busy, hectic world, where and project details and deadlines, I truly it.
represents we deal with so many people was touched by her dedication to her job, That was the kind of person Denise
a fun, and personality types, some her family and those around her. She was a Bartone was, putting others ahead of herself
smoking have a lasting effect on your life food marketing professional at Rutgers Food and finding ways to encourage and lift others
Friday and need to be recognized and Innovation Center in Piscataway, and up!
in that role and others, she was Wow: Just think what things would
night at honored.
a VFW truly a thoughtful, compassionate be like if we had more people like her
hall. It’s difficult to refer to Denise Bartone in and caring individual who you in this world.
Well, the past tense, as we had become colleagues could always count on to be “in Denise, thank you for your kind
think and friends just this past your corner,” who always would and generous heart that you shared
again …
year. The tragic loss of find a way to encourage those with your colleagues and friends.
this one
represents this kind and considerate she worked with. Though you had just a short
a new way of human being no doubt My first week on time here with us, we are
shopping for Kosher food. has had an impact on me the job here at ROI-NJ, forever touched and we
Bingo is New Jersey’s newest and so many colleagues I set up a meeting with will always remember your
Costco-style, “mostly kosher” in the food industry she her and the staff at the dedication and loyalty to us!
warehouse store, and it’s just worked in. I’ve received so many phone center. I walked into the You will be greatly missed,
opened a second U.S. store, in calls from mutual friends and colleagues conference room to talk and your daughters and loved
Lakewood. The store is located
expressing their disbelief and grief at her about future projects, ones are in our thoughts.
in the Town & Country Shopping
Center and is about 70,000 passing. and, as we sat down, I twitter: @damonriccio

square feet. The company also

opened a store in Brooklyn, New
York, last year.
Situated right on Route 70 in
MEND Gala for good cause on March 9
this heavily Orthodox, kashrut-
observant town, the superstore Mark your calendars to support a great local charity for its special mission! MEND will host its annual gala March 9 — the
is selling tchotchkes in bulk, and Green Bean Gala — at The Woodland in Maplewood. The theme is built around “the green bean,” a converted school bus
also offers kosher meat, fish, MEND uses to collect and distribute healthy food to its patrons, which is at the heart of MEND’s goal of addressing the
fruit, vegetables and specialty root causes of hunger.
desserts like halvah, rugelach
MEND, or Meeting Essential Needs with Dignity, is a hunger relief network serving Essex County since 1980. In 2018,
and babka.
MEND served more than 128,000 patrons, nearly 40 percent of whom were children. MEND’s
Bingo is a partnership between tagline is “Together we feed our community.”
Weiss and Osher Ad, a grocery
MEND’s mission is simple: “We
chain with 20 stores in Israel.
help strengthen food pantries
“This is the second store,” said across our community
Yehuda Lanaido, managing through fund-raising
director at Osher Ad. “We plan to efforts, healthy food
open many, many stores.” donations, volunteer
Bingo Wholesale is part of and outreach programs,
a fast-growing retail and and by bringing together
wholesale segment that caters its network of pantry
to a market for specialty managers to share ideas
and kosher food, said Burt and best practices.”
Flickinger III, a New York-based
supermarket analyst.
While the newly opened Bingo
obviously targets predominantly
Jewish consumers, Flickinger
also said that its prices and
quality make it “a United Nations
for consumers.”
With a company motto that For more
promises, “No Tricks. No information
Shticks.” it might be worth on how
checking out, bubbelahs! to get involved,
go to:
The website is:


Diana Food planting itself French fries franchise? Absolutely

in new Bergen County location A new food franchise concept made its debut
in New Jersey just two weeks ago, adding

French Fry Heaven to Newark’s diverse
ord operations as well as executive, sales and landscape of fun food. The new
has administrative teams, while providing the location, at 155 University Ave., is just a
short walk from the Rutgers School of
come firm with ample room to grow operations
t o out of a well-located, modern building. Prior
the “Food Fella” that to coming to Heights Plaza, Diana Food had According to Scott Nelowet, director
of franchise marketing for French
Diana Food, a pioneer been splitting its administrative, executive
Fry Heaven, the concept started
in the development of and sales teams between offices in Saddle
as a mall kiosk-only, snack-only
natural ingredients and Brook and Teterboro. brand in 2010, but has recently grown into
flavorings for the agro- With a presence in 14 countries an even bigger meal idea. In 2015, Nelowet
food industry, has inked a across the globe, Diana Food is at the said, he brought in a consultant group from the Wing Stop franchises to help
lease deal with commercial forefront in developing healthy and clean him create a new vision and new ideas for the french fry chain to continue
property owner Alfred ingredients for the changing demands moving forward. He said of the consultants, “They were geniuses, and they
Sanzari Enterprises for office of consumers. It has a dedicated team really helped us get to the next level for rolling out this concept.”
space at Heights Plaza, located at of agronomists that work closely Well, the franchise has now been purchased by a company called Hickory
777 Terrace Ave. in Hasbrouck with seed producers, farmers and Foods, which also owns Bubba Burgers and Peterbrook Chocolate, and, yes,
Heights. researchers around the world to bring there is a chef responsible for these unique french fry meals such as Italian
Chicken Parmigiana, Chipotle Chicken Taco, Robusto Bruschetta and Classic
Its lease of 8,455 square feet, their food clients a wide variety of
Canadian Poutine. They are the recipes of veteran corporate chef Jeff Smith,
according to sources, will provide natural ingredients.
who started with Hickory at Hickory’s Peterbrook Chocolate division. Nelowet
a new home for its food testing All the best to Diana Food in its said the company is ready to roll out more franchises in two specific regions,
and research and development new home! the Northeast and Southeast U.S. New Jersey ranks high as target market
area for more franchisees, and the franchise team and Nelowet are both
anxious to show the concepts success for these “spud-tacular” menu options.
Conversation Starter Conversation Starter Expect more French Fry Heavens to be served up as a main course
For well-positioned
For more info on Diana Food, here in New Jersey in 2019. For more information, go check out its site:
commercial office space,
go to:
go to:

Hackensack Brewing
opens its doors to public
Happy to report a new craft brewery opened with much fanfare Feb. 2 in the
northern New Jersey enclave of Hackensack. The owners, Mike Jones, Alex
Ferenczi, Herbert Lamont Barr III and Irfan Qureshi, are a close-knit group of
friends who decided “It made more sense to sell Mike Jones’ beer than to just
drink it all.” … Thank you for sharing it with us, guys!
According to its website, in 2017
it secured a 4,000-square-foot
Conversation Starter warehouse at 78 Johnson Ave. in
Learn more about Hackensack. Roughly two-thirds of this
Hackensack Brewing at: space is dedicated to manufacturing and packaging beer. The remaining
space is used as a taproom.
Hackensack Brewing is setting out to be a small-scale microbrewery, focused
on producing a wide variety of fresh, quality beers. Offerings run the gamut from
classic, time-tested beer styles to unique manifestations of those styles with
Hackensack Brewing’s own unique twist. I’ve tried the Pepper Coast, and I can
tell you it’s a winner, definitely worth a try, but the business has a variety that
should satisfy all craft beer lovers.
Though the beer will be found primarily in Hackensack, there will also be a
handful of select craft beer bars carrying their products outside of the city limits.
As the inventory builds, they will grow their distribution in other areas of the state.
We wish the team at Hackensack Brewing much success, and I can tell from the
crazy opening day crowd that filled the brewery to capacity, you’re off to a good
start and will capture a good chunk of the local craft beer market. Cheers! Hackensack Brewing’s grand opening. ­— HACKENSACK BREWING/FACEBOOK

Have a question, idea or news about the food business? You can reach Damon Riccio at or 973-512-7525.


Non Profit

N.J. Leadership
Serving: South
Asian youths
across New
Jersey, the NJLP

is a volunteer-
driven effort
led by a group
of community
leaders seeking to
Encouraging South Asians pay it forward.

to get involved Key members:

NJLP has many
who volunteer
their time and
energy as part
of our Advisory
Council. Among
the prominent
members of our
Advisory Council
is a role model
of South Asians
aspiring to public
service: State Sen.
Vin Gopal, the first
state senator in
New Jersey.

We are most proud of
the enriching experience
our fellows tell us they
have had. We have had
multiple fellows share
with us that NJLP has
solidified their interest in
public service. Parents,
too, have reached out
after the end of the
fellowship to share that
same news and ask how
their children can build on
their NJLP experience.
We especially take pride
in the fact that this
experience has proven
to be rewarding for our
The 2017 NJLP fellowship class in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building following a tour of the West Wing. —
fellows professionally
Origin Goals Benefactors and personally, as they
Conversation turn a room of strangers
Given the lack of South Asian-American Our goal is to continue to provide a We rely on the goodwill
into friends by the end of
summer fellowship experience that Starter and support of members
representation in government and six short weeks.
exceeds the expectations of our For more of the South Asian
politics, a group of community leaders fellows. In the long term, our hope information, community who share Finally
founded the New Jersey Leadership is to stay engaged with our fellows, please contact their time and resources
If you are a South Asian
even after they complete the program, Amit Jani at: with us, because they
Program in 2016 to encourage civic and high school or college
and encourage them to sustain their believe in our work and student interested in
political engagement in the South Asian interest and engagement in politics and our next generation. government and politics,
community. government. learn more about us and
consider applying for our
Mission We offer a six-week summer fellowship program
2020 program.
We provide a nonpartisan platform for encouraging South Asian youth to become that places selected applicants in roles with elected
officials or government entities across the state of
more engaged in government and politics. We offer a summer fellowship program
New Jersey, ranging from the Governor’s Office to the
that focuses on developing leadership qualities, gaining fluency in public policy Treasury Department to the offices of state legislators.
issues and filling the pipeline for South Asian-Americans to work in government or This real-world learning opportunity is supplemented
pursue public office at the local, state and federal levels. through a weekly speakership series and field trips that
offer the fellows an opportunity to hear firsthand from
accomplished professionals and public servants.


Real Estate Roundup

Real Estate Roundup is an occasional feature describing some of the important real estate transactions in the New Jersey region.
Reports are written by ROI-NJ staff. To see more deals, go to To submit your deal, email

Paramount Assets, Newark

First ground-up construction projects at ON3
Prism Capital Partners, Clifton/Nutley
Prism Capital Partners announced
the first ground-up construction
projects at its 116-acre ON3 campus,
which spans Clifton and Nutley.
The new developments will add
approximately 400,000 square feet
of laboratory facilities, expanding
the campus’s footprint by roughly 35
One of the projects Prism is
finalizing is the construction of a
four-story, 150,000-square-foot
speculative laboratory.
Additionally, Quest Diagnostics,
a provider of diagnostic information
services, will be breaking ground soon for its flagship laboratory.
The mixed-use campus, which is within close access to Manhattan and Route 3, is slated for completion Paramount Assets has added a “landmark property” to its
next spring. Newark commercial real estate portfolio, it announced.
The Elizabeth-based real estate firm said it recently
acquired 17 Academy St., a 100,000-square-foot, 12-story
Cushman & Wakefield, Bridgewater office building with ground floor retail.
East Rutherford-based Cushman & Wakefield announced it has Paramount said it plans to lease up the building and
arranged the sale of a four-story building in Bridgewater. modernizing its common areas.
The property, located at 721 U.S. Highway 202/206, sits on The firm currently has three other properties in the Four
nearly 16 acres and has over 200 feet of frontage along the highway. Corners district, including 31 Academy, 27 Academy and 45
Cushman & Wakefield said the 192,741-square-foot asset was Academy.
purchased by a local developer from Mack-Cali Realty Corp. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Journal Squared, Jersey City

Ballantine Brewery site, Newark Kushner Real Estate
The Ballantine Brewery in Group and National Real Estate
Newark has recently been Advisors LLC have closed
sold, according to JLL. on $258 million in financing
A joint venture for Tower Two of the Journal
between Turnbridge Squared project in Jersey City,
Equities and J.P. they announced.
Morgan Asset Wells Fargo Bank N.A. and
Management purchased Capital One N.A. provided the
the five-building, 1.1 construction loan to the real
million-square-foot property estate firm and investment
from RAR Development manager.
Associates for $61 million, Journal Squared is a
JLL said. The pair said three-building project that will
it plans to reposition the bring a total of 1,840 rental
property. units to the Journal Square
Thomas Walsh and Joseph Garibaldi, managing directors; and Katelyn Borovsky, vice president; led the JLL neighborhood, along with retail
Capital Markets team that represented the buyer and seller of 424 E. Ferry St. space and amenities. Tower
The property is located on 22 acres in the Ironbound district of Newark. The five buildings range in size from One was completed in 2017,
25,000 to 726,601 square feet. It is currently 85 percent leased to 30 tenants ranging in size from 2,500 to 159,287 comprising 53 stories and 538
square feet. apartments.

Apartment project, Jersey City’s University Place

A joint venture is planning to build a 132,000-square-foot residential property on Jersey City’s West Side,
as part of New Jersey City University’s $400 million University Place redevelopment plan, the partners
Circle Squared Alternative Investments and an affiliate of The PRC Group of Cos. will build the Class
A property, which will include 144 units of upscale, market-rate housing and related amenities. The project
is a collaboration between the city, NJCU and the developers.
The project represents the second apartment building to break ground at the University Place master-
planned community, which will eventually include four such buildings, plus graduate student housing, a
performing arts center and a shopping center.


Executive Moves
Executive Moves is an occasional feature describing some of the important personnel changes in the New Jersey business community.
Reports are written by ROI-NJ staff. To see more moves, go to To submit your move, email

Sally Glick
Partners for Women and Justice BRIAN HUMPHRIES Marc Kikuchi
Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd.
Partners for Women and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd.,
Justice in Bloomfield will honor a drugmaker that has its U.S.
Cognizant, a provider of information technology, consulting
Sally Glick, principal and chief headquarters in Princeton,
and business process services, announced it has named Brian has named a new CEO for
growth strategist at SobelCo in
Livingston, at its 16th annual
Humphries its new CEO, effective April 1. North American generics, it
Spring Benefit, scheduled for announced.
Humphries, the current CEO of Vodafone Business, will also
May 1 at Mayfair Farms in West serve as a member of the board of directors. Marc Kikuchi
Orange. will be
Humphries joined Vodafone from Dell, most recently serving based out of
Founded in
2002, Partners
as president and chief Princeton,
operating officer of its where he will
for Women
Infrastructure Solutions oversee the
and Justice
business unit
provides legal Group. Previously, he as part of the
services free was president of Dell’s India-based company’s senior
of charge to Global Enterprise leadership team.
victims of domestic violence, Group and before that,
focused primarily on the “Dr. Reddy’s is a great company
he was vice president with a wide portfolio and
obtainment of restraining
orders and issues involving
and general remarkable heritage,” Kikuchi
children, such as visitation, manager, EMEA said in a prepared statement. “I
custody and child support. Enterprise Solutions. am excited to join Dr. Reddy’s
and look forward to leveraging
Glick said she got involved The Teaneck-based my past experiences to steer
with the organization after company also the company’s new growth
speaking with her colleague announced Francisco areas.”
at SobelCo, Rebecca Fitzhugh, D’Souza, co-founder of Kikuchi has more than 20
a member of the board of
Cognizant and CEO since years of experience in the
trustees of Partners for Women pharmaceutical industry,
and Justice, to try to gather
2007, has been appointed
executive vice chairman most recently serving as CEO
resources for a friend. for the Americas at Zydus
to help with Humphries’ Pharmaceuticals Inc. He has
“It’s meaningful to me that transition through
this organization believes I also worked in leadership
June 30. roles at AmerisourceBergen
have enough value to add
that honoring me will help Afterwards, Corp., Johnson & Johnson and
he will others.
them achieve their goals. That
someone really believes I have remain on
the power to make a difference, the board
that is huge for me and, in fact, as vice Thomas C. Regan
is the value of my life,” Glick said. chairman. LeClairRyan

The law firm LeClairRyan has

announced changes to its
Eugene Preston Darlene Bandazian leadership team, including the
NAIOP New Jersey Christie’s Special Properties promotion of an attorney in its
Newark office.
Eugene Preston, a partner at Dermody Properties in Morristown, was Darlene Bandazian of Christie’s
installed as the new president of the New Jersey chapter of NAIOP. Special Properties Real Estate The national
Services has been named to firm said
Preston, who previously served as vice president of
the New Jersey Real Estate member
public affairs, assumes the role from Dave Gibbons,
Commission, representing the Thomas C.
CEO of Elberon Development Group.
northern New Jersey region, the real Regan has
Preston will serve a two-year term leading the real estate firm announced recently. been named
estate association’s state chapter. Litigation
Bandazian, the Saddle River-based
firm’s vice president of regional Department
The following were named chapter officers for 2019:
business development, is a 30-year leader. Regan, who has been
 Gus Milano, Hartz Mountain Industries (VP, public affairs); with the firm since 2008, has
veteran of the industry in both broker
 Sam Morreale, Vision Real Estate Partners (VP, special events); been leader of the firm’s largest
and management roles.
 Matt Schlindwein, Greek Development (VP, education); practice group, Products
 Mark Shearer, Rockefeller Group (VP, membership and “This is a well-deserved recognition Liability and Transportation,
communications); of Darlene’s integrity, expertise since 2015.
 Richard Burrow, Langan Engineering and Environmental Services and experience,” Ilija Pavlovic, CEO
(VP, associate affairs); and and president of Christie’s Special He is succeeding Elizabeth K.
 Stacey Weinberg Kierman, Federal Business Centers (treasurer/ Properties, said in a prepared Acee, who has been promoted
secretary). statement. to president of the firm.