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Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka Opens the City’s Third Community Storefront in the North Ward

Mayor Ras J. Baraka participated today in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the city’s third community storefront located at 216-218 Bloomfield Avenue in the North Ward. This previously vacant storefront will be home to more than a half-dozen, budding entrepreneurs who have recently completed the program’s mandatory, 12-week Community Business Academy designed and delivered by the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation (Newark Community EDC) in partnership with Rising Tide Community Capital. Just as with the two previous storefront locations, Newark Community EDC helps remove barriers to opening and operating a retail-storefront location. They assume all costs for renovation of the 1,000 sq. ft. space, provide start-up equipment and subsidize participants’ first few months of rent.

With storefronts up and running in both the south and west wards, located at 790 Clinton Avenue and 989 South Orange Avenue respectively, this third location is another successful step in the Mayor’s plan to spur business development throughout the entire City. The program dramatically reduces the barriers to entry that most solopreneurs and entrepreneurs face when starting a new business and allows them to establish a physical presence in a local, retail incubator. These entrepreneurs gain first-hand experience in running their own retail operations — business transactions, inventory management, customer relations, store leasing, etc. in their own communities.

“We are excited to open our third Community Storefront in the North Ward,” said Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “This storefront represents our commitment to ensuring that Newark entrepreneurs can start and grow their businesses right here in the neighborhood.  It is important that we cultivate and keep as many of our resources in our City – and that includes our talent and our capital.”

While Newark Community EDC has worked with various partners since the program launched in 2015, this particular session was developed in partnership with Rising Tide Capital. This group will bring the total number of Community Storefront program graduates to more than 45. The north-ward, retail establishments operating out of the Bloomfield Avenue incubator will provide commercial cleaning products and services, custom gift bags, handmade jewelry and hats, as well as offer the services of a clothier and make-up artist.

“Today gets us one step closer toward establishing small-business incubators throughout the entire City,” said Newark Community EDC Acting President and CEO Scott A. Blow. “The storefront program helps to create wealth and equity within our communities, while continuing to populate Newark’s commercial corridors with new businesses. We are both pleased and proud of the graduates selected to move in to our newest community storefront.”

The north ward’s population of approximately 60,000 residents would easily overflow Rutgers University’s High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway. The next storefront is slated to open in the central ward followed by the east ward.

“The Mayor has challenged us at City Hall to build and develop the entire City of Newark, not just the downtown area or Port Newark,” said Deputy Mayor of Economic & Housing Development Baye Adofo-Wilson. “The Community Storefront Program allows the City and its partners to actively assist entrepreneurs in establishing themselves as solid, business owners.  As their businesses grow, these entrepreneurs and solopreneurs will aid us in revitalizing and reinvigorating our City.”

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