Sen. Michael Testa and Asm. Erik Simonsen tour Cape May Mall & Small Businesses
Nearly a year after the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic and state shutdown, the First Legislative District Team kicked off their Business Recovery Tour by visiting Cape Island Foods headed by business owner Carl Spatocco.
The First Legislative District Team kicked off their Business Recovery Tour by visiting Cape Island Foods headed by business owner Carl Spatocco. (SenateNJ.com)
“We take every opportunity we can to shop local and we encourage our residents to do the same,” said Testa. “These small businesses are the glue that holds our district together. We are fighting for the safe and sensible reopening of South Jersey. Supporting our small businesses is the first step towards making that happen.”
Senator Testa noted that the state shutdown negatively impacted much of the 2020 spring and summer tourism season when families were barred from eating at local restaurants, entering into small mom-and-pop stores, and unable to enjoy the beautiful beaches and boardwalks. According to TrackTheRecovery.org, as of February 02 2021, the number of Cape May County small businesses open decreased by 40.5% compared to January 2020.
“While 2020 looked different than most summers in Cape May County many of our small businesses adapted and were able to work through the pandemic,” Testa stated. “Our tourism small business owners are the heroes that keep our local economy going.”
Cape Island Foods consists of four separate sister-stores located in South Jersey. The Peanut Butter Company, Olive Oil Company, Wingnutz, and Spice Cellar are all open year round.
Cape May County is home to nearly 95,000 year-round residents, however, during the summer months the population swells to over 820,000.
“Our team is working hard to guarantee that South Jersey’s entrepreneurs and business owners do not miss out on their Spring and Summer season like they did last year,” Simonsen stated. “Our local businesses will not only survive this Pandemic, but flourish if given a fair opportunity to succeed.”
“It was an honor to have both the Senator and Assemblyman take time out of their busy schedules to come in and visit Cape May,” said Peanut Butter Company’s manager, Debbie Hudson. “As we look forward to the Summer season we are continually grateful for the outpouring of support from our customers and local residents.”
The First Legislative District Team has spearheaded legislation that would guarantee local tourism businesses would get their fair share of New Jersey’s Tourism Taxes. 2986/A4731 would allocate all revenue from hotel and motel occupancy fee for arts, historical heritage, and tourism purposes.
“For years Cape May County has sent nearly $500 million in tourism-related taxes to Trenton and only received about $1 million in return to promote our vital tourism economy,” Assemblymen McClellan stated. “This has never been OK and we have always fought for our fair share. But as we head to 2021, the equitable distribution of these funds has become a matter of economic life and death for our small business owners and the thousands of workers they employ.”
The First Legislative District Team will be hosting a series of business stops this spring to hear the concerns of mom-and-pop businesses that were impacted in 2021 by state shutdown orders.
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