New Providence

Accent Printing Solutions

Nomination from Don Gleason

I’m grateful for Accent printing’s attention to detail during the pandemic. They were on top of their game when they reached out to me with suggestions for my business.

I was so overwhelmed with what was going on and the thought of closing that I didn’t consider signage would be important in communicating with my customers. They took the pressure off me and designed the items I needed almost effortlessly! Delivery was fast and the quality fantastic.

I’m thankful for their forward thinking and initiative

Union County Small Business Community Champion’s Story

When the Covid-19 pandemic closed the U.S. economy, Accent Printing wasn’t immune from the sudden economic closing and like most other businesses, it suffered steep sales declines. Facing an uncertain future, Mike immediately began to focus on trimming expenses. Realizing shipping expenses were a significant portion of his expenses, Mike created shipping comparison software designed to lower his shipping expenses.

After successfully working out the bugs, Mike began forming partnerships with other small and medium sized businesses to assist them in increasing their bottom line, or in reality, decreasing their losses. Besides lowering their cost, the time saving measure allows business owners to focus on their core business.

This innovation may not save some businesses from closing, but I believe every small contribution to the bottom line may save an employee’s job or can simply keep an existing business open to fight another day.

Linda’s Creative Gifts

Nomination from Brandi Lewis

Linda continues to be generous through tough times. When masks were in short supply- Linda locally sourced artists so our families could be safe with handmade masks.

She has put others first before profits; donating money to families in need here in town. She has reinvented herself through her webpage offering curbside service and delivery. She has poured her heart and soul into this business that supports artists.

This small town store has survived the ups and downs of Covid!

Union County Small Business Community Champion’s Story

Linda’s Creative Gifts is a unique store. We carry the work of over 40 local (NJ) and U.S. artists. Due to the closer last year from March 21st to June 15th it impacted our business and all the artists we sell for. Linda worked alone at the store four days a week and offered to shop for customers and deliver to the curb any purchases and even offered to deliver to their home but most people were even afraid to do that. The local artists made masks for us, and we offered them to residents asking for donations as payment.

Customers were so appreciative to get the masks local, the donations were very generous. After the 3 months we raised $1,567 to donate to the town, (New Providence) Volunteer Rescue Squad and $1,307 to Silver Liming, a local foundation that supports families in need. As an artist herself, Linda loves supporting artists, which is why she opened this store, and now with the year we have had, knowing all the vendor shows/ events were cancelled, it gives the artists at least one location to sell their work.

Linda loves helping her customers find the perfect gift for friends and family and is so thankful she is still open.

Max Challenge of New Providence, Springfield and Union

Business has multiple locations
Nomination from Amy Wagner

Owners Amy Walsh and Allison DiMarzio went above and beyond to keep their fitness center members engaged and to keep their business thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the Governor mandated that they close their doors to in person classes they quickly pivoted to an online platform.

This allowed their members to stay on track with their fitness routines during a time when they needed it most. The online classes evolved over the months from taped work outs to an interactive Zoom platform and outdoor classes when weather permitted. Since being allowed to open to in person instruction they have done so responsibly and have continued the Zoom option for those who prefer that. They have continued to invest in their business and the health and well-being of their clients.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge their incredible staff of instructors who have pivoted with Amy & Allison to keep classes engaging. Malcolm, Joe, Donte, Sara and the rest of the team have been awesome.

Their dedication to all the “maxers” has been unmatched. From the bottom of my heart I thank Allison, Amy and their amazing training staff for keeping us all on track and for providing an opportunity to continue a normal, necessary routine during one of the most challenging times in history.

Union County Small Business Community Champion’s Story

At THE MAX Challenge of Springfield/Union & THE MAX Challenge of New Providence, we are honored to be recognized as a Union County Small Business Community Champion. The last year has challenged us all in ways we could have never imagined, and it has been incredibly fulfilling to be able to adapt to the needs of our community and continue to serve them.

THE MAX Challenge is a 10-week body transformation program that helps our members make fast and lasting changes to their health, physical appearance, and overall wellbeing. We do this by combining fitness classes for all levels with simple to follow Nutrition and a system of accountability like no other. Our members regularly tell us that we are so much more than their local gym, we are their support system, their family, and a place where they feel empowered to take care of themselves in a way that they hadn’t been doing before. We take this responsibility seriously, and when the world went into lockdown in March of 2020, we immediately transitioned to a virtual format so that our members wouldn’t miss even one day of self-care. We not only continued to provide daily fitness classes and nutrition support, but we nurtured our community with game nights, book clubs, coffee chats, etc. We continuously sought out opportunities to stay connected to them and foster their connection to each other. There was simply nothing more important as we were all making sacrifices to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe inside.

As the restrictions scaled back, our fitness classes took to the parks for outdoor classes. Members were so excited to be seeing each other safely in-person again and engaging with their instructors and their workouts. Despite their best efforts, many had struggled to make good choices during the previous months, and they thrived with the opening of these in-person classes. When the green light was given to go back indoors, we took cleanliness and gym safety to another level. We invested in top-of-the-line cleaning equipment and trained our staff and our members in procedures and policies that kept everyone safe. Our members regularly shared with us how incredibly secure they felt within our walls, and how grateful they were to still have their fitness home.

During the holidays, we annually have a fun and engaging competition, aptly named Fitmas, between our two Centers, and 2020 was no different. As part of our game, our members raised over $6,000 for the Union Township Community Action Organization (UTCAO), in helping feed local families hit hard by the Pandemic. We were recognized by Union County for our Community’s contribution.

We simply wouldn’t be in business today without the incredible loyalty and support of our members as they continue to be a part of our family and refer their family and friends to the program. We are honored to have expanded our services in the past year rather than having scaled them back, allowing for our virtual program to continue well past the re-opening of our doors. Core members of our fantastic staff have remained with us throughout the course of the Pandemic, keeping our members healthy, engaged, and safe. While our hearts continue to be firmly with those who lost loved ones during the past year, we recognize how much we have gained by remaining a strong and vibrant part of the community.

Thank you all for this honor!

My Gym

Nomination from Emerson Roques

Staying home with the kids has been challenging and I have to say I’m beyond thankful that My Gym took the initiative to do online virtual classes for my children.

These classes were fun and inventive- they were so engaged in the program they almost forgot they weren’t in a real gym! When it was safe to return to the gym they were excited to physically be there!

The amount of cleaning they did before, during and after we left was impressive.

I will continue to bring the kids and am happy they have a safe place to go!

Union County Small Business Community Champion’s Story

As we all know… Covid struck with a fury. On March 15, 2020 I had to shut my doors of My Gym New Providence and My Gym Westfield
Within one week of the statewide shutdown, we adapted to our new situation, offering our customers a fully virtual and live class option 5 days a week.

We were able to provide a fun & engaging program for our families to do at home with their children, while maintaining the personal approach My Gym thrives on, via ZOOM.

In addition, we worked with New Providence and Westfield townships to secure space in local parks to offer outdoor classes and even partnered with several families to set up private classes in their backyards. With everyone missing out on so much in-person interaction, we also offered incredibly unique and personal birthday celebrations for children via ZOOM, which later evolved to include outdoor backyard parties as well. Knowing how important programs like ours are for the development of the whole child, we did everything we could do to continue to provide the opportunity for physical, emotional, social, and cognitive growth in varying ways to meet our customers’ needs according to their varying comfort levels.

When we were able to return to in-person classes, our already extensive My Gym cleaning and safety protocols expanded by following additional COVID guidelines set forth by the CDC. Since children cannot yet receive protection from vaccination, we continue to be proactive in our approach by requiring mask wearing, encouraging social distancing, limiting shared equipment, and sanitizing between every class. We are so thankful to be part of these communities and hope to remain an established source of children’s enrichment for many years to come.

Providence Bar & Kitchen

Nomination from Amy Wagner

Owner Benito (Vesel Kadrija) and his amazing staff went above and beyond during the pandemic to maximize their outdoor dining space and keep the Providence Bar & Kitchen operational. Benito always greeted diners with a warm welcome and delicious food and drink whether dining inside or out. The restaurant was a bright, welcoming spot during dark times. Benito kept his large outdoor dining space warm with many portable heaters when he had to offer only outdoor dining.

Once indoor dining became possible again tables were spaced appropriately and diners felt comfortable returning.

Because of Benito’s ability to adapt to all the challenges created by the pandemic he was able to maintain his staff all of whom are excellent!

This New Providence staple is to be congratulated for their ability to adapt and thrive during such a challenging time!

Union County Small Business Community Champion’s Story

I, as the owner of Providence Bar & Kitchen could not be any more proud of not just my staff but also the customers for their countless & unlimited support.

Even during this very trying times, we still donated (multiple times) to all the front liners in the area including but not limited to the: Police Department, Fire Department, EMS, Hospitals, Charities and Churches, etc.

I am happy to say that our staff remained the same since before the COVID-19 and they have provided lots of love for the business and our very loyal customers.

We were sanitizing out entire restaurant daily. Prior to opening we hire professionals to sanitize all serving areas including tables, chairs and all surfaces where our customers could possibly touch before and after each use.

Our front and back of the house staff has been using face coverings and gloves at all times and we have done weekly testing just to make sure that our patrons are safe and healthy.

Thank you again for selecting us and we are looking forward to things getting better- Where we could all be free to shake hands and hug our clients that we’ve known forever.

YK Salon

Nomination from Juliet Sawyer

This new business deserves a lot of credit for opening during COVID. I can’t image opening my dream business with such chaos all around. It appeared they did this effortlessly but in reality their hard work made it seem this way. They had to add a lot of features to their existing plan to promote social distancing.

They were new to the area and gave to their community. A blow out from this salon will get rid of all your Covid blues! I’m thrilled with the services they provide and feel relaxed in their chair!

Union County Small Business Community Champion’s Story

YK New Providence was in the midst of construction set to open its doors early April of 2020. Yoni, already having a successful salon in South Orange and previous experience opening other locations, was ready to hit the ground running with a business and marketing plan. Everything was lining up for a successful opening, until COVID hit. COVID threw a curveball at all businesses, both new and long lasting. Not only did we have to reevaluate our entire business model but everything from construction to décor came to a complete halt.

The entire beauty industry was shut down with no plans to reopen. It felt like our perfect plan was falling apart. Although at times it felt impossible, we went back to the drawing boards and constructed a new plan. We were forced to pave a path that was not only new for us, but also new to the entire beauty industry.

The roadblocks and challenges did not end there. When we did finally open our doors, nothing was as expected. Loyal clients who have been coming for years were no longer comfortable coming to the salon, no matter what precautions were put in place. Products and supplies were extremely limited, and hard to get. Opportunities to involve ourselves in our community were few and far between. Taking off as a new business, in a COVID world was one struggle after the next.

YK Salon embraced the struggle, and took the challenge of opening during a pandemic head on in Union County! We knew that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how long or dark that tunnel may have looked. We gave our community free services when we had nothing, just to put a smile on people’s faces and make them feel a little better about themselves. Even for just a “quick blowout” we wanted to transcend people when they came into the salon, to forget about everything going on in the world or in their individual lives. For the short time they were there we wanted to create a calming, relaxation environment for guests to enjoy themselves.

Almost a year later, we found that light at the end of the tunnel. Our chairs are filled with happy, healthy, beautiful clients every day. We have adapted as individuals and as a whole, as we learned how to take off as a new business in a COVID world. We give back to the community as much as we can, still giving away free services in addition to donating gift cards and products. We are beyond excited to finally get to participate in community events, as Union County starts to open up more. But, most importantly, we are so grateful we survived through these trying times.