LACEY – Recently, Lacey Township hosted an event for the Central Ocean Business Association (COBA) where officials from the townships of Ocean Gate, Beachwood, Berkeley, and Lacey attended to support the growth of quality business in local communities.
Among those at the event were Ocean Gate mayor Paul Kennedy, Beachwood mayor Ronald Roma, Berkeley mayor Carmen Amato, Committeeman Peter Curatolo and COBA Vice President Mary Peirson.
“In Lacey Township we take great pride in providing an atmosphere wherein businesses of all kinds can flourish and the residents are provided with quality and choice,” said Curatolo.
COBA President, John Crisafulli, noted after the event that COBA has been working closely with all of these different towns in order to drive economic growth as well as attract commercial attention.
Both Crisafulli and Peirson are locals who are deeply involved in the business world. Crisafulli is a VP/Small Business Banker at Kearny Bank in Ocean County and Peirson is a second generation owner of a local flooring store, Carpet Castle, Inc. in Toms River. All of COBA’s board members are volunteers.
COBA began as a group of local business owners and professionals that came together to network and raise awareness and economic exposure for the communities along Route 9, such as Berkeley, Bayville, Beachwood, Ocean Gate, Pine Beach, and South Toms River. Lacey Township has also recently joined the association as growth in Lacey continues to expand.
“COBA was founded with an entrepreneurial spirit and a lofty objective: to inspire, motivate and champion the small business community along the Route 9 Corridor, through the stimulation of new ideas, shared information and co-operation with local municipalities; all to encompass a more efficient and effective way to grow and create business in the local community,” according to the COBA mission statement.
“The formation of our business association was due to a need to help local businesses network, grow and bring attention to the business sector and communities as a whole,” said Crisafulli. “We have full support from local town officials including the Mayors from each town.”
The association holds monthly morning networking meetings in Beachwood on the third Friday of every month beginning back in October of 2016. Since then, COBA has become a more formal organization and is now a 501c6 nonprofit with a volunteer board of 12 local business owners and professionals.
On Dec. 5, COBA celebrated a huge milestone as it reached 100 members. The event hosted numerous local and had over 90 people in attendance. COBA members were presented with plaques to honor their work and membership.
“My take-home from the December COBA meeting was that here we have a core group of policymakers, business owners and elected officials who share a common vision for a prosperous Route 9 Corridor – I’m proud to be a part of that,” said Curatolo. “I’ve been a true believer in Lacey Township and our business community and to see Lacey become the destination of choice for new small business and nationwide franchises is something I’m very proud of as a resident and a Committeeman.”