PARSIPPANY-TROY HILLS, NJ (Morris County) – Another $15,000 Morris County Small Business Grant was delivered Wednesday by the Morris County Commissioners, who were joined by Parsippany Township’s Mayor and Council President and the Morris County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) in highlighting the importance of shopping locally when the nation recognizes Small Business Saturday.
“Small businesses are the backbone of Morris County. They are the backbone of entire economy in New Jersey, which is why my fellow Commissioners developed the Morris County Small Business Grant Program earlier this year. We need to support our local entrepreneurs, and this weekend everyone can join in by shopping locally during for the annual Small Business Saturday,” said Commissioner Director Tayfun Selen.
He joined Commissioner Deputy Director John Krickus and Commissioner Stephen Shaw in delivering a $15,000 grant to Rajeev Chopra at Chopra Auto Care in Parsippany. Joining them were Parsippany Mayor Jamie Barberio, Council President Michael dePierro, Ed Ramirez, Director of Business Resources and Professional Development for the EDC, and businessman Mickey Chopra, the shop owner’s brother.
“During the pandemic, I had no business at all. People were not driving, so they did not bring in their cars. This is going to help me a lot. I have some machines that are going to be updated. My tire machine is very old, and my balance machine is going to cost a lot. So, I am very thankful,” said Rajeev Chopra, who was surrounded by his family when he received the grant.
Morris County launched its Small Business Grant Program on Valentine’s Day with $10 million in American Rescue Act Plan funds, and the Commissioners have approved 782 applications to date.
“I know the Parsippany mayor, the council president, myself and other Commissioners, we were passing out application forms for this grant program all over the place, and we hosted events here in Parsippany and Dover and Morristown and elsewhere to get the world out – and we were successful, so much so that we not only put $10 million into the program but had to add another $1.3 million,” Krickus said.
The added funds were approved last month because of a surge of applications filed just before the program closed on Sept. 30. The Commissioners wanted to insure those businesses who applied late, and who may ultimately qualify, would be covered. Morris County is still processing about 85 additional applications.
“Parsippany is filled with small businesses. They make up a big portion of our economy, and we are very thankful to the Commissioner for this grant program. It has helped many of our local businesses, and I hope everyone will get out there this weekend to shop locally for Small Business Saturday,” Barberio said.
The Morris County Commissioners adopted a resolution Monday night declaring this Saturday, Nov. 26, to be Small Business Saturday in Morris County. Since 2010, the Saturday after Thanksgiving has been recognized nationwide as “Small Business Saturday” after it was launched by American Express. The national campaign encourages holiday shoppers to patronize local businesses.
The Morris County Chamber of Commerce and EDC helped Morris County this year promote the Morris County Small Business Grant Program.
“Small businesses are the heartbeat of our downtowns and an essential part of our economy,” stated Craig Schlosser, Managing Director of the Morris County Economic Development Corporation. “We are proud that New Jersey ranks 11th in the United States, with over 861,000 small businesses.”
Meghan Hunscher, President of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce in Florham Park, added, “We are glad to promote all of the ‘Shop Local’ initiatives that will benefit Morris County business owners.”
According to the United States Small Business Administration, there are 32.5 million small businesses in the United States, which account for 99.9 percent of all businesses in the United States and they are responsible for creating 1.5 million jobs annually and account for 64 percent of new jobs created in the U.S.
Despite lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. consumers reported spending a record high total of $23.3 billion at independent retailers and restaurants on “Small Business Saturday 2021.”