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Thirteen Small Business Clients Receive Recognition for Their Success At the 17th Annual NJSBDC Small Business Growth Awards Luncheon

admin | December 16, 2019

(Newark, NJ – Dec. 13, 2019)America’s SBDC New Jersey, also known as the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers (NJSBDC), recognized 13 small business clients from around the state for their successes, at the 17th annual Small Business Growth Awards Luncheon held at The Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township, NJ. The NJSBDC program is part of a national network of SBDCs. NJSBDC has provided comprehensive small business assistance and services for small business owners in all 21 counties for 41 years. NJSBDC’s Headquarters is located at Rutgers Business School in Newark, NJ, with 12 centers statewide.

Lieutenant Governor Sheila Y. Oliver was scheduled as keynote speaker, but, at the last minute her schedule changed so she could join Governor Phil Murphy in Jersey City in response to the recent tragedy. A representative from her Trenton office attended the luncheon on short notice.

Her office provided the NJSBDC network with Ms. Oliver’s December 13, 2019, letter, in which she sends regrets and states that, “Governor Murphy and I fully acknowledge the Center’s programs have had a great impact on New Jersey’s regional and state economy – its assistance for small business owners and entrepreneurs has certainly contributed to the state’s overall economic health and helped create jobs for our residents.”

She continued: “Governor Murphy and I are grateful for the work that the Small Business Development Center does, and with unemployment levels at a record low in New Jersey, we realize that you are helping to drive this economy forward by helping our small business community grow.” Ms. Oliver sent her congratulations to this year’s business awardees. She also stated that, “I remember well from my days in the Assembly that the New Jersey Small Business Development Center has an impressive presence in Trenton advocating for state, matching SBA federal funding, and other private sector support.”

More than 200 small business owners, higher education Deans/Vice Presidents, private sector and banking executives as well as other economic development organization leaders in the state attended the event which has become an annual tradition.

Assemblyman John DiMaio, Minority Budget Officer of the Assembly Budget Committee, received the special NJSBDC award as “2019 NJSBDC Legislator of the Year” for his strong support of the 12-center network and the thousands of small business owners NJSBDC assists. He addressed the packed audience and commented on several current legislative issues and the importance of this program to the small business community.

“The New Jersey Small Business Development Centers is truly an asset to the business community, particularly small business owners who are able to take advantage of the services that are offered without having to ‘break the bank,” said Assemblyman John DiMaio. “It is essential that the SBDC continue to provide these services so that small business owners can grow and prosper.”

Drawing attention to the difficult times faced by entrepreneurs and small business owners, Assemblyman DiMaio added “the NJSBDC is needed now more than ever to help startups and existing businesses.”

“We appreciate the Legislature’s role in funding the program to maximize assistance for small business owners and entrepreneurs across the State,” said Deborah Smarth, NJSBDC network chief operating officer and associate state director. “It’s all about generating jobs, new businesses and business expansion.”

“This is a memorable event,” said Brenda Hopper, NJSBDC network Chief Executive Officer and State Director. “Successful clients of our network are recognized for their development and growth with our experts’ assistance. We are rewarded by these success stories.”

Platinum event sponsor PSEG, and Gold event sponsor PNC Bank, joined once again in the festivities. Bank of America is a key grant financial supporter. New Jersey Business magazine participated as an in-kind media sponsor.

NJSBDC small business clients recognized for their successful achievements include:

IN VITRO DIAGNOSTIC SOLUTIONS (Rob Harper, President) located in Mount Laurel, NJ, develops, manufactures and markets innovative Point-of-Care diagnostic devices for rare metabolic diseases. (Client of NJSBDC Technology-Commercialization Specialty Program)

MARILYN SCHLOSSBACH GROUP (Marilyn Schlossbach, Owner/Operator), located in Asbury Park, NJ, owns and operates restaurant venues in Monmouth and Ocean counties. (Client of NJSBDC at Brookdale Community College)

SWEET HARMONY, LLC (Tara Buzash Bhrushundi, Business Owner) located in Plainfield, NJ, is a special event group of musicians from soloists to quartets playing various instruments and engaged in national markets for music at corporate events, weddings, etc. (Client of NJSBDC at Kean University)

EL AGUILA DORADA (Israel and Irma Romero, Owners), located in Bayonne, NJ, specializes in Mexican food with 50 full-time and part time employees contributing to its successful restaurant. (Client of NJSBDC at New Jersey City University)

– GLOWHOUSE KIDS, LLC (Elisa DiChristina, Owner), located in Pompton Lakes, NJ, specializes in facilitating interpersonal play among children through various events and programs. (Client of NJSBDC of Northwest Jersey)

K9 BOOT CAMP (Emily Adams), located in East Rutherford, NJ, offers boarding services and training for dogs. An early stage business, it has already grown to seven employees. (Client of NJSBDC at Ramapo College of NJ)

NIGHTINGALE NJ (Kelly McNamara & Christopher Kellogg), located in Somerville, NJ, helps seniors and families navigate the complexities and challenges relating to eldercare, growing to five employees. (Client of NJSBDC at Raritan Valley Community College)

COOKIE MUNCHERS (Brandon Lucante & Cassandra Aron), located in Glassboro, NJ, provides homemade delicious snacks and baked goods for students living on and off campus for parties and late night studying sessions. (Client of NJSBDC at Rutgers-Camden)

ADSORPTECH, INC. (James Flaherty, President/CEO), located in Middlesex, NJ, is a manufacturer of industrial scale new adsorption-based oxygen producing equipment and offers engineering consulting services; with its patented technology, it has expanded into the global market. (Client of NJSBDC at Rutgers-New Brunswick)

PURPLE GRACE, LLC (Purple Grace Seck), located in Little Falls, NJ, produces beverage brands using natural and organic ingredients in high quality teas now being sold in 22 stores. (Client of NJSBDC at Rutgers-Newark)

TONY BEEF (Anthony and Nicholas Della Vecchia, Owners), located in Galloway, NJ, is a specialty burger restaurant that has created a niche market with its unique ingredients and menu. (Client of NJSBDC at Stockton University)

FRANKYE’S RESTAURANT (Vicente & Carmen Barrientos, Owners), located in Trenton, NJ, serves traditional, savory Guatemalan food and has been in business for 25 years. (Client of NJSBDC at The College of New Jersey)

GIANNELLA’S BAKERY (John & Donna Imparato, Owners) based in Paterson, NJ, has invested in expansion and equipment. The husband-wife team has grown its company sales to several million dollars annually with 65 employees. (Client of NJSBDC at William Paterson University)

About America’s SBDC New Jersey

The New Jersey Small Business Development Centers network provides comprehensive services and programs for small business in New Jersey, helping businesses expand their operations, manage their growth, or start new ventures. Expert staff and practicing business consultants help small business owners and entrepreneurs to develop business plans, find financing, accounting and financial analysis, identify new markets, initiate marketing strategies, find procurement and international trade opportunities, learn green sustainability practices, commercialize technology and develop an E-commerce presence. This non-profit network, a federal-state-educational partnership, leverages funding from the Small Business Administration (SBA), the N.J. Business Action Center (through New Jersey Legislature), educational institutions that host the 12 centers as well as other private sponsorships and additional grants. The NJSBDC Headquarters, located at the Rutgers Business School in Newark, NJ, oversees the statewide network, which is part of a national network of SBDCs. Up to 1,000 centers and satellite offices serve small businesses across the country, generating jobs and economic development. Visit

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