Business Briefs

The Howell Chamber of Commerce will host a breakfast bonanza networking event at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 5 at Big City Bagels, 4007 Route 9 north, Howell. The event features an informative presentation by H&R Block regarding relevant tax information. Breakfast bonanza networking events are held every other Friday at different locations in town and are free for Howell Chamber of Commerce members; nonmembers pay $5. Pay for your own food and drinks. For further information on presenting your business or attending, contact the Howell Chamber of Commerce at 732-363-4114 or

Centro Properties Group announced that a 6,864-square-foot County Line Dollar Store recently opened at Bennetts Mills Plaza at the intersection of Jackson Mills- Lakewood Road and West County Line Road in Jackson. Centro Properties Group is the owner of Bennetts Mills Plaza and was represented by Ron Ruth with Centro Properties Group.

OceanFirst Bank will celebrate the new year with its annual food drive, which is under way and runs through Jan. 27. All donations will help support the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. For details call 732-240-4500. Extensions will follow each branch listing. Nonperishable items may be dropped off at the Jackson Branch, 260 N. County Line Road, ext. 5700.

Bella Italia Pork Store and Catering, 180 North County Line Road in the Jackson Square Plaza between Bennetts Mills and Harmony roads, is celebrating its first anniversary in Jackson.

“I am delighted to be here in Jackson,” said owner Salvatore Sgroi. “The people here have been fantastic. Seeing customers bringing their family and friends here is the greatest compliment.”

Bella Italia is a family-owned and -operated Italian food specialty store. The store carries everything from fresh mozzarella to homemade Italian sausage, hot and cold catering, a full-line butcher department, hot and cold subs, and fully cooked prepared foods.

Bella Italia is open seven days a week, Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The store can be reached by calling 732- 942-1151 or

The Lakewood Township Internet website ( has a new look for the new year. Visitors to the new site, designed by Upper Level, a division of BP Graphics, Lakewood, will find faster and easier navigation and a wealth of information about Lakewood.

According to Steven Reinman, director of economic development for Lakewood, this revision to the website is just the beginning.

“The website is certainly an improvement for now. You’ll love what you see about mid-year or a few months down the line when the site is completed. The completed site promises to add more usability, a number of interactive features, and greater use of video, among other updates that will make the site more user-friendly and navigable,” according to Reinman.

Yehuda Abraham, director of business development and co-coordinator of the Urban Enterprise Zone for Lakewood, has announced that Lakewood will be considering proposals for several professional services with the Lakewood Development Corporation (LDC) for 2010.

Businesses with expertise in corporate counsel (licensed attorney or law firm), auditor (N.J. public accountant and CPA), licensed N.J. engineer, licensed N.J. planner, public relations and marketing consultant, licensed N.J. architect with a focus on historic preservation and restoration, and professional appraisal services (N.J. qualified and registered) may submit an RFP (Request for Proposal) for this coming year.

The award of services will be based on experience and reputation in the field; knowledge of nonprofit corporations, the township of Lakewood and the subject matter to be addressed under the contract; availability to attend required meetings; other factors, such as documented past performance of the same or similar services; demonstrated clear understanding of the scope of work and related objectives; a completed proposal; full explanation of the vendor’s billing for goods and services, including a breakdown of specific tasks; and the vendor’s financial stability and strength, among others.

All proposals are being solicited through a fair and open process in accordance with state statute. Details: Yehuda Abraham, 732- 364-2500, ext. 5217.

BlueClaws Charities, the nonprofit foundation of the Lakewood BlueClaws, contributed more than $150,000 to area organizations and fundraising events in 2009, according to an announcement from the BlueClaws.

Charitable donations totaled $151,602 through a variety of different categories.

Various BlueClaws fundraising events included the annual Phillies Winter Tour in January and the ALS Celebrity Waiter event in May, which has raised more than $100,000 in nine years.

BlueClaws Charities donated thousands of dollars to the Susan G. Komen Fund, American Cancer Society, and Danny Federici Memorial Fund through special jersey auctions at different BlueClaws games last season.

More than $45,000 was raised by local organizations through the BlueClaws concession fundraising program, which enables groups to raise money by volunteering in the team’s concession stands.

Over $50,000 was donated through ticket requests and sponsorships of charitable golf outings.

Organizations received an extra $18,000 from BlueClaws Charities through 50-cent donations for each ticket used as part of a BlueClaws ticket fundraiser. Local organizations also bought discounted BlueClaws tickets and re-sold them for face value to raise an additional $130,000 during the 2009 season.

Dawn and Ray Marzarella, owners of All County Exteriors, Lakewood, and Kevin Cummings, president and CEO of Investors Savings Bank, received special recognition at the 17th annual Harvest of Hope Gala to benefit Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey (CVCJ), held recently at the View Restaurant at Eagle Ridge Golf Club, Lakewood.

The Marzarellas received the Hope Award in recognition of their years of financial support for the Caregivers’ annual golf outing, the Caregivers’ fashion show, and their commitment to opening doors for Caregivers to reach members of the business community.

Cummings received the Philip Rubenstein Award for his commitment of personnel resources that assisted Caregivers in meeting its financial and outreach goals in the Ocean County community.

Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey is a nonprofit interfaith agency whose mission is to assist the frail and homebound elderly with everyday tasks that enable them to remain independent in their own homes. All services provided are free. For more information and to learn about volunteer opportunities, call 732-505-2273, ext. 211, or visit

Dr. Olga Argeros, Somerset, has joined the staff of Ocean Health Initiatives (OHI) as a doctor of obstetrics and gynecology. She will be working in the Women’s Health Department, conducting annual exams, providing prenatal care and deliveries, and gynecological surgery.

Before joining OHI, Argeros was the chief resident in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick. Argeros received her medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa.

Argeros, who was involved in research about ovarian cancer and pregnancy and hypertensive disease, among others, is a member of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists.

She raised more than $4,000 for breast cancer research as a team captain for the American Cancer Society, Making Strides against Breast Cancer.

The doctor will be working out of the Lakewood and Toms River offices of OHI, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Details: 732-363-6655 or visit

The Monmouth-Ocean Chapter of the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants is contributing $50,000 to the NJSCPA Scholarship Fund, which supports the study of accounting in high school and college. A check will be presented to NJSCPA President Robert Traphagen at the chapter’s taxation seminar on Jan. 9 at the Eatontown Sheraton Hotel.

The mission of the fund is to attract the best and the brightest New Jersey students into the accounting profession; to encourage students from diverse fields to pursue an advanced education in accountancy; and to increase awareness about the opportunities provided by a CPA career path.

Items for the business section may be submitted by fax at 732-780-4192.