As the economic recovery continues nationwide, residents of towns such as Jefferson that boast both large and small businesses are faced with the choice of what stores to spend their money on. But according to officials in the Chamber of Commerce, those that support small businesses often unknowingly reap the benefits of doing so.
“When you support local business 50 percent of the money goes back into the town of Jefferson,” Jefferson Township Chamber of Commerce President Bret Hartman said. “When bigger-brand businesses are supported, only 20 percent of the money goes back into the town.”
According to Hartman, a free directory listing for small business owners who belong to the Chamber of Commerce is available, among other innovations for 2013. This year will bring new events for the community to come together and support local businesses as well as standards like annual mingling events with other store-owners and potential clients.
"It will be a great way to get their name out there," Hartman said.
The Chamber of Commerce has also formed a relationship with Picatinny Arsenal, which will be a part of the annual awards dinner this year.
Hartman practices what the Chamber preaches, and holds business meetings at the Jefferson Diner.
Jimmy Seretis, one of three owners at the Jefferson Diner, stressed the importance of supporting local businesses.
“Small businesses created this country. There's a time and place for big companies, but this country was created on small businesses, small mom and pop shops which grew into something bigger," Seretis said. “You have to keep the balance between small and big businesses. It keeps the balance between the giants and the smaller people.”
Seretis has been an owner of the Jefferson Diner for 28 years, and now co-owns the J-Towne Tavern and the neighboring strip mall.
“We consider this a small business, even though we've grown. We try to make our customers feel at home. We've done it since day one, up until today," Seretis said.
Seretis credits the Chamber of Commerce in helping his business connect with others and Hartman said residents of Jefferson to continue supporting their mom and pop shops in the year of 2013.
“They do face different challenges, especially when competing against big box stores," Hartman said. "But when I need a tool, you can find me in the local hardware store and not at a Home Depot.”