EDC offers businesses help during recession

U.F. connecting area companies big and small with services, other opportunities


UPPER FREEHOLD — Difficult economic times mean local business owners have to work even harder for success.

The township’s Economic Development Committee (EDC) realizes this and is trying to do what it can to help businesses in Upper Freehold and Allentown.

Approximately 50 people, representing 23 businesses in Upper Freehold and Allentown, attended a Greater Monmouth Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) presentation the EDC hosted at its May 4 meeting. Members of the EDC personally called Upper Freehold businesses to invite them to the event and sent invitations to the Allentown EDC and Business Association.

The goal of hosting the presentation was to make area businesses aware of available services that could help them build and advertise their companies in the present financial climate. The meeting also provided opportunities for networking in the hopes that some of the businesses could complement one another, according to EDC secretary Debra Sopronyi.

The mission of the GMCC, formerly the Western Monmouth Chamber of Commerce, is to provide opportunities for business growth and prosperity, offer quality service to its members, and serve as a resource leader for business and the community, according to the presentation.

The GMCC has been in existence for 80 years, and currently serves 13 municipalities. The group has 450 members throughout Monmouth and neighboring counties, including sole proprietors and large corporations, schools and community organizations. The GMCC offers award programs, a Who’s Who in Business directory, and advertising opportunities, including a Freehold Mall resource kiosk, a co-op page in Greater Media Newspapers’ News Transcript, a newsletter and website ads, according to the presentation.

EDC chairman Thomas Frascella said, “After the formal presentation, we adjourned the EDC meeting so the chamber people could mix with the business people present.”

He said some of those in attendance inquired about the GMCC gearing more of its activities toward the agri-businesses and mom-and-pop shops in Upper Freehold and Allentown.

“One idea tossed around was organizing a business tour day for people from the rest of the county and surrounding communities where we would map out business locations and people could tour, shop or just enjoy amenities,” Frascella said.

Sopronyi said that while Upper Freehold businesses are not required to register at town hall, the EDC is attempting to compile a list of the businesses in town to provide them with opportunities, such as the GMCC presentation, in the future. She said the township has had difficulty adding home-based businesses to the list.

Businesses that would like to add themselves to the EDC list should send their name, the name of a contact person, address, phone and fax numbers and website and email addresses to edc@uftnj.com or call 609-758-7738, ext. 226.