The economy in New Jersey is, without a doubt, struggling. With one of the worst recessions in recent memory, the state is attempting to adapt to the unstable economic climate in any way possible. The state senate recently proposed a bill to increase the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour. How this will effect the state is still unknown with some sides arguing it will help ease the economic tension and others arguing it will only cause businesses to inflate their prices to compensate for paying workers higher hourly wages.
Bordentown itself is not immune to the recession. According to City Data, the state’s unemployment rate is at 9.7% with Bordentown’s unemployment rate shortly under the state average at 9.5%. Bordentown’s retail trade makes up the second most common industry in the town. This begs the question, in the light of economic hardships, what does that mean for the average small business owner?
Adaption or extinction
The Record Collector in Bordentown is an example of how small businesses are attempting to take on more facets than just “retail” in order to maintain a steady business model.
Whereas record stores used to be able to only sell music and music related items with the recession and the plight of the vinyl record store at the hands of digital media, John Chrambanis has adapted his business to suit those seeking live entertainment as well as CDs or records by holding concert events in the store itself. The racks are all on moveable shelves to make room for a stage. Chrambanis hopes to expand his business even more so to create a small cafe setting where people can relax and listen to live music. Though he does not plan on investing money in a liquor license not only because they’re expensive but because of the way alcohol could alter the chilled out environment.
Chrambanis is only one example of ways businesses in Bordentown are trying to retrofit themselves into the overall feeling of hardship in the state.
April Sette, in charge of public relations for Downtown Bordentown (an association of local businesses) suggested that new businesses hoping for exposure get involved in the community. “Small business owners that get the most exposure,” said Sette, “are the ones that get involved in the community. If they take part in charity or a park project they get their name out there.” She suggested that it’s important to be active in a community because it reflects back on the small business. If a community is aware of business owner and their good deeds for the local community it helps garner new clientele and most important of all, according to Sette, “It’s free exposure.”
With all this in mind, the state small business sector has shown some hesitant signs of improvement. According to Charles Steindel, an ecomonist for New Jersey, the state’s recovery hasn’t been spectacular but it has been steady. Though according the state data jobs in the fields of manufacturing and construction has fell those in wholesale and retail trade as well as professional and business services have grown which indicates high hopes for Bordentown’s economic future it stays steady with the state average.
Below is an interactive Google map of some of the shops located along Farnsworth Avenue in Bordentown.