Business Briefs

Business Briefs

Jeff Blum, also known as "the magical songwriter," was one of the winners in an international song writing contest sponsored by Children’s Music Web, a worldwide nonprofit resource for children, families and children’s performers. Blum is a resident of Manalapan. His CD, "Tight Underpants," was chosen by children from around the world as one of seven best recordings in the category for children ages 5-8. For more information, visit the Children’s Music Web at www.childrensmusic.org, or call Blum at (732) 409-6271.

According to U.S. Small Business Administration New Jersey District Director James A. Kocsi, more than 15,000 jobs in the state have been generated or retained as a result of SBA loan programs.

"Small business owners lead the way when it comes to job creation," Kocsi said in a press release. "SBA’s loan programs allow existing businesses to expand and enable others to start up new enterprises."

During fiscal year 2003 (Oct. 1, 2002, through Sept. 30, 2003), the SBA district office approved 2,422 loans for a total of $490.3 million.

According to the SBA press release, loan approvals to New Jersey minority business owners totaled $176.6 million and created 5,430 jobs. Asian-Americans received 511 loans totaling $136.3 million, African-Americans received 115 loans for $11.9 million, and Hispanic-Americans received 144 loans totaling $19.8 million. Women business owners received 463 loans totaling $75.1 million in fiscal year 2003, generating more than 2,312 jobs, and veteran-owned businesses received 137 loans for $21.9 million, helping to create another 674 jobs.

In Monmouth County, 203 loans totaling $49.8 million were approved.

The SBA’s top five lenders, based on the number of loan approvals, are Commerce Bank, Cherry Hill, (529 loans, $116.1 million); Fleet Bank, Princeton (478 loans, $21.8 million); Valley National Bank, Wayne (100 loans, $10.6 million); PNC Bank, East Brunswick (96 loans, $23.7 million); and Unity Bank, Clinton (95 loans, $34.5 million).

"We are pleased that more and more New Jersey lenders are utilizing the agency’s SBA Express Loan program, which offers a revolving line of credit feature," Kocsi said. "This program allows lenders to expedite the SBA loan process by utilizing their own forms and procedures for loans under $250,000. This year, 51 percent of our loans were approved under this program and I expect it to grow significantly in the coming year."

The average SBA loan in New Jersey was $202,765, and 65 percent of the loans were under $150,000, according to the press release.

Pennies From Heaven, the women’s clothing boutique of Love INC, a faith-based organization, celebrated its grand opening recently at its new location, 31 South St., Freehold. The shop offers nearly new women’s work attire at a discount, with everything in the store "buy one, get one for a penny." All clothing is donated to the ministry to help meet the needs of women who are re-entering the work force. The store also carries Christian books and accessories.

The store operations manager is the Rev. DeBorah White, who serves the community through her ministry Heart to Heart. She also sings gospel music and has performed for audiences throughout the East Coast. Anita Ferrar is the fash­ion consultant and the store’s merchan­dising manager. She also has an outreach ministry, Brave Flame, and performs gospel as well as R&B and pop tunes. She has four CDs and is working on a fifth.

The Nov. 1 grand-opening celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony included live gospel performances as well as re­freshments and giveaways.

Appointments can be made to receive free clothing through agency referrals, and at that time the clients will be given an opportunity to conduct a job search by computer. Career counseling and résumé writing are also available. For more in­formation, call (732) 758-9030, ext. 211.

Elliott Rubinson of Marlboro has been appointed vice president of land ap­provals by Kara Homes Inc., an East Brunswick-based home building firm. Prior to joining Kara Homes, Rubinson was director of construction with the Briad Group; a partner and senior project manager with the Kushner Group; and a partner and senior project manager with Atlantic Realty. He received a bachelor of arts degree in economics from Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Century 21 Mack-Morris Iris Lurie has announced that Lorraine Broccoli, Wendy Kirstein, Laurin Manco and Alison Milone are the most recent sales associates to join the office.

Iris Lurie, president and broker, an­nounced that there are plans to move the business into a newly expanded state-of-the-art building before the end of the year. The building, formerly known as the Onyx building, located at 47 Route 9 south adjacent to Lowe’s Home Improvement Center, Marlboro, is being expanded into a 6,400-square-foot office building with conference rooms, and of­fices with computer workstations. Homeowners interested in determining the current value of their homes can con­tact Century 21 Mack-Morris Iris Lurie for a free market analysis. Call (732) 536-2228.

Re/Max has announced that three sales associates have joined the national Re/Max Children’s Miracle Network Home Program. Under this program, sales associates donate a specified amount of money from each sales trans­action to the Children’s Miracle Network. Hospitals associated with the Children’s Miracle Network treat all types of afflic­tions in children. Locally, funds raised by Re/Max will benefit Robert Wood Johnson Hospital with locations in Mountainside, Fanwood, Toms River, Newark, Union and Elizabeth; and Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University in New Brunswick.

The participating sales associates are Joanna Maietta, who is with the Re/Max central Manalapan office; Neftali Flores, a sales associate at Re/Max Homeland Realtors in Freehold; and Josephine Suarez-Aborlleile, who works in the Re/Max Homeland Realtors offices in Freehold and Millstone.

The Western Monmouth Chamber of Commerce will hold a general meet­ing Dec. 11 at 8:30 a.m. at the chamber’s office, 17 Broad St., Freehold. Henry A. Coleman, Ph.D., director of the Center for Government Services at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Safety of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, will discuss "Fiscal Implications of a Changing New Jersey Economy." The fee to attend is $10 per person and includes a continental break­fast. For reservations, call (732) 462-3030; fax (732) 462-2123; or e-mail ad­min@wmchamber.com. For additional de­tails, visit the Web site.