We're thrilled to post the next installment in our monthly series titled Local Business Spotlight!🔆

We shine the spotlight this time on Tina's Hair Salon at 26 North High Street in Millville. Tina Gillam grew up in our county and began her illustrious career with hairstyling in 1996. 25 years later, she's recognized as a successful leader in our community and a strong inspiration for the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Learn more about Tina's Hair Salon in our interview just below.

The unmistakable storefront window of Tina's Hair Salon.

Constant Learning and Steady Progress

It began with B&B Barbershop & Beauty Salon on High Street, way back in 1996. At the time, Tina still was living in Bridgeton, where she was born and where she grew up, but just one year later she moved to Millville " continue my hair journey. I fell in love with the town and people."

Two of those people were Diane Bergan and Donna Wiggins, also from Bridgeton. Tina explains that she learned an immense amount from these early mentors and really began to develop her craft.

"I was young, doing friends' hair in my neighborhood when my bestfriend's mom, Diane, noticed my gift. Diane told me to get my hair license, then join her and Donna at B&B Barbershop & Beauty Salon."

Tina learned what she describes as "old-school styling lessons still in demand today", such as Jerry curls, finger waves, and French rolls with curls, all of which Tina still offers at her own salon to set herself apart with a diverse repertoire. "If you can't grow it, we'll sew it. And if you can't achieve it, we'll weave it!"😎

Becoming an Entrepreneur

Eventually Tina built such a strong reputation as a skilled Hairstylist in Millville that she decided to branch out on her own. "I knew I wanted to be on High Street in Millville, so I started from the beginning of the street, taking notice of every unoccupied business space and looking up their phone numbers. It wasn't long before I found 26 North High Street, and the rest is history! I opened up Tina's Hair Salon LLC in August 2015."

It's precisely this drive, this independent streak, this entrepreneurial spirit that we at HCDC admire so very much!🤩 Tina built a career on her own terms, and she made our entire community, both residential and commercial, better off as a result!

Recognition for the Past, Inspiration for the Future

Tina's journey as an entrepreneur certainly didn't go unnoticed by other leaders in the community. Along the way she's been recognized by a wide variety of organizations for an equally wide variety of awards, including:

  • Certificate of Commendation from the Cumberland County Freeholders

  • The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Leading Ladies

  • Director of Hair for Atlantic City Fashion Week since 2016

  • Citation by the Senate and General Assembly of New Jersey "...for bringing honor and pride to our community."

Beautifully put and absolutely accurate!

Just one of the many awards to Tina for her work in our community.

Of course, that dedication doesn't end at the close of business hours. Tina now gives back the same inspiration that helped her become a success. She explains, "My clients see me as a Beautifier. My Stylists see me as a Teacher. And my family see me as the Best!" We share the hope with Tina that the next generation of community members—whether it's entrepreneurs, regulars at the salon, or precious family members—will continue to see Tina as an example of the possibilities in our town.

As for parting words from Tina, "If you can dream it, you can achieve it. Never give up on your dreams! Start small, and think big. There's plenty of room to grow!"

We're honored to work alongside Tina's Hair Salon in our city and look forward to its enduring success!✅

We're thrilled to post the next installment in our new series, Local Business spotlight!🔆

This month we shine the spotlight on Full Circle Training at 14 East Mulberry Street in Millville. Traci Iwaszkiewicz and Lisa Swift grew their business from an idea at the kitchen table into a central part of our local healthcare community. Together they draw on years of experience and an unwavering commitment to excellence in each and every training session.

Learn more about Full Circle Training in our interview just below.

The modern, comfortable training center at Full Circle Training.

Guided By Expertise, Driven By Generosity

Traci and Lisa worked together at the Department of Corrections, and even after retirement they remained close friends. They shared a mutual drive to stay active and to support our community. "We were talking about the next steps at the kitchen table one day. We knew we wanted to keep busy, we knew we wanted to support our community, and we knew we loved our work in training, so we just decided to create Full Circle Training and go for it!"

It was one of those pivotal conversations that entrepreneurs know well.😎

Full Circle Training opened its doors in June 2019, and just a few short months later it went on to support Millville during a healthcare challenge of staggering magnitude.

Working Through the Pandemic

While Traci and Lisa couldn't have foreseen COVID-19, they quickly positioned their business for maximum support of healthcare professionals on the front lines. CPR and First Aid are two prominent examples, as they are necessary skills for healthcare professionals to maintain their certification. Full Circle Training decreased the size of its training sessions, raised funds to purchase more equipment for safe individual use by participants in the sessions, and just kept pushing forward, despite the risks. In another sign of persistent work for the greater good during a crisis, Full Circle Training just recently became an official training site with the American Heart Association!

As the pandemic begins to subside—not one moment too soon—Traci and Lisa plan to expand their training accordingly to security officers who will play a key role in the reopening of retail shops and schools.

Two student perspectives on the training session, as a healthcare professional and as a security officer.

A Virtuous Cycle of Community Support

Traci and Lisa make clear in their reflections on Full Circle Training that the local community in Millville played a critical, meaningful role in their success—from businesses and nonprofits to professionals and residents.

For example, Lisa previously volunteered at the Holly City Development Corporation and soon learned about the Creative Enterprise Center within the same building. When it came time to select a headquarters for Full Circle Training, Traci and Lisa appreciated the turnkey capability of the Creative Enterprise Center and the "phenomenal" guidance of HCDC along the way. They started with training sessions in the hallway for just a few participants, but soon negotiated for beautiful additional space, which they captured in the pictures above. Giving to the community through HCDC eventually led to operational support from HCDC, which in turn brought more good to the community in a virtuous cycle.

Traci and Lisa sometimes cross paths with former participants from their programs, such as staff at the local doctor's office, and they're eager to integrate Full Circle Training even more tightly with our community through upcoming public events. They explain, "If you find something that you really enjoy and give it your all, you never know where it can go." It's inspiring advice, and as we've learned from our interview, when we go together, we can go far.

We're honored to work alongside Full Circle Training in our city and look forward to its continued success!✅

We're thrilled to introduce our new series, Local Business spotlight!🔆

This month we shine the spotlight on MGM Carpet & Flooring at 23 North High Street in Millville. Owned and operated over the past 10 years by George Martinez and his family, MGM is an inspiring example of the power of perseverance, quality, and generosity.

Please enjoy our recent interview with George just below.

The storefront of MGM at 23 North High Street in Millville.

The Story Behind the Storefront

Before the turn of the century, George and his family, including a brother and a sister, grew up in nearby Delsea Gardens. He therefore always felt a strong personal connection to Millville, and years later he would remember fondly his childhood in Delsea Gardens while visiting the town on work projects.

George actually got his professional start with horse farming in Estell Manor, but he says it was "basically a 24/7 job", and soon he felt the drive to try something new with more time for raising a family and for engaging with the community. That drive arose in George 20 years ago, and since then he's been honing his craft in carpet and flooring. He moved back to Millville in 2006 with his family and started MGM just a short while later, building his reputation for excellent quality, one job at a time.

Meaningful Local Experiences

While he derives great satisfaction from his work with customers through MGM, George also gets involved with the local community through his motorcycle club, where he rides a Harley. George explains that the motorcycle club gets him out into town among his neighbors. If he sees an opportunity for a learning moment along the way—say a group of youngsters getting into mischief—he and his fellow riders aren't shy about sharing some advice, respectfully and sincerely. It's a kind of informal mentorship that speaks to George's role as a community leader, both in business and in life generally.

Parting Advice for Future Small Business Owners

"Build relationships with other local businesses, because you never know what doors are going to open." A great example would be running out of a material on a job site. Thanks to his friends in the industry, George always can rely upon them to swing by and spare extra materials for the day.

Another piece of advice? "Take advantage of programs out there to support your business, even if it's just to get yourself started." Of course HCDC couldn't agree more!😄 We have a number of programs that help small businesses in Millville, but it doesn't stop there. Just a little research reveals even more grants, loans, and other programs that aim to build up our town through finances and guidance.

In the same way, MGM builds up our town through craftsmanship and mentorship, and we couldn't be more proud to have this business, George, and his family here alongside us.✅