HAZLET – Two county freeholders held an information session Tuesday night to explain programs that support small businesses, as well as services that an assist individuals with social services.
The event at Vibe, attended by over 50 people from the greater Hazlet area, was hosted by the Hazlet Business Owners Association. As part of its mission, the newly revitalized group said is will host community events to strengthen the business community.
Freeholder Director Tom Arnone described two programs for small business owners through the county division of economic development. One, called Made in Monmouth, is an annual showcase held in April at Monmouth University for merchants to sell their locally-produced wares. He said that last spring more than 6,000 came to shop and it has grown to become a major source of income for some local makers. His advice was to get on the list immediately, as the event fills up. Arnone said the event known as “Mini Made in Monmouth” is held in December by the Covered Bridge community in Manalapan, and supported by the county.
A facade renovation grant program is also available under the Grow Monmouth program. Businesses in Hazlet’s HUD-eligible areas can apply. Applicants can receive up to $1,850 for a new awning, pain, door or sign. No matching funds are needed. A link to an application and more information can be found on the county website.
Freeholder Susan Kiley, a former Hazlet mayor with a background in healthcare, described her initiative to boost community knowledge and access to the county’s human services programs and partners. The program, known as ACTS (Assisting Communities Through Services) strives to link Monmouth residents with the services they need, no matter where they begin their journey for help. “No closed doors,” is the motto, she said. It is the first public-private program of its kind in the state. Her partners are eager to help connect residents to services that can help their lives, she said.