TOMS RIVER – A group of council members who will discuss ways to make the town more prosperous for small businesses will meet for the first time on Tuesday, March 15 at 6 p.m. in Town Hall.
This roundtable discussion will be the launching place for the Special Advisory Committee on Small Business that was created by the Township Council.
“Our small businesses were hit very hard by the pandemic and the often ill-conceived regulations imposed by our state and federal government,” said Councilman Josh Kopp. “Now is the time to let small business owners know that we have their back and we will do all that we can to help them open and thrive.”
Kopp is chair of the committee. Councilman Matthew Lotano is the vice chair and Councilman David Ciccozzi is a member. Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill is an ex officio member.
Members of the business community are more than welcome to attend and share your ideas. If you’re interested in attending, reach out to Art Gallagher in Mayor Hill’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 732-341-1000, ext. 8469.
Specifically, the committee members are looking for ways that local town government can support business owners and entrepreneurs.
Even before the pandemic, small businesses had challenges. In the last few decades, large box stores were allowed to build here which starved out the mom and pop shops. Amazon and online commerce in general has been the next step as customers seek low prices and convenience. Now, some of the big box stores are going dark, and small businesses are some of the only businesses that are starting up.
“As councilmembers we are often pitched ideas for how to improve Toms River,” Lotano said. “We intend for this engagement with business owners to lead to policies and initiatives that encourage investment and job creation in Toms River.”
“Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy and an integral component of our community, said Ciccozzi. “We need to support them and we need to listen to their concerns and ideas about how we should be supporting them.”