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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.✅

On March 22, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy took the opportunity to connect by phone with the owners of our various small businesses in downtown Millville. The topic of the day was the NJDCA's Neighborhood Preservation Program ("NPP").

As a champion for small businesses in downtown Millville and the NPP Coordinator for the City of Millville, we at HCDC couldn't be more excited by Governor Murphy's outreach!

Per his tweet that same day, Governor Murphy especially enjoyed a conversation with Eric Nyman, owner of local favorite, Wildflower Vegan Cafe. Check out the following segment of the Governor's press briefing from March 24 for details.

As for HCDC and its administration of the NPP, we have some inspiring updates to share about downtown Millville over the past year. Thanks to funding through the NPP, as well as additional funding through the Coronavirus Relief Fund ("CRF"):

  • We retained 88 full-time jobs and 22 part-time jobs.

  • We kept 32 local businesses open with those jobs.

  • We invested a total of $337,398 in those local businesses.

This monetary investment covered several powerful programs, including:

  • Direct grant assistance to 26 businesses in the amount of $253,125

  • A four-part series on business survival for 15 businesses at a value of $5,000

  • Matching gift cards that generated $50,000 of cards to support purchases at 16 local businesses

  • $5,200 worth of PPE masks and sanitizer for two local businesses

And the year isn't over yet! We still plan to approve another round of forgivable business loans by mid-April, and we're eager to celebrate our perseverance together with Community Dinner Under the Stars, which will bring together residents for delicious take-out meals from three local restaurants in early May.

Looking ahead to next year, we have much more in store for the NPP! Stay tuned for further updates from us, and in the meantime, we thank Governor Murphy and his staff once more for their enthusiastic support of our city during an unprecedented challenge.

When the pandemic impacted their plans for PlayStreets programming, the Holly City Development Corporation partners provided themed activity kits to Millville families to help them stay active. For the past four years, Holly City Development Corporation (HCDC) has partnered with many organizations in the City of Millville to bring the PlayStreets program to neighborhood children. Traditionally for six weeks during July and August, a city block is shut down on Wednesdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Each week a different lead organization runs the program according to a theme such as Arts & Culture, Public Safety, Summer Fit and Fun, Carnival, Christmas in July and a Back-to-School BBQ where the kids receive free backpacks. Last year, we engaged more than 1300 kids over a six-week period. The kids look forward to a safe place where they can play, do craft projects, play games, and run through the spray of a fire hydrant. Every child also receives lunch.

At the request of Millville residents, HCDC and our partners planned to expand PlayStreets and provide additional interactive activities and learning experiences this summer. Then the COVID-19 crisis happened.By May, it was evident we were not going to be able to host PlayStreets programming.

It was a hard decision to make because we did not want to disappoint the kids.

Our team met virtually and decided we had to figure out a way to bring the PlayStreets experience to the children in our community. We decided to stick to our original schedule and themes. We also decided to limit registration to 300 children. Our announcement spread on social media and registration was filled in less than 24 hours!

Our team met virtually and decided we had to figure out a way to bring the PlayStreets experience to the children in our community. We decided to stick to our original schedule and themes. We also decided to limit registration to 300 children. Our announcement spread on social media and registration was filled in less than 24 hours!

Each week, the lead organization created 300 themed kits of activities and challenges for children and their families to do at home. Our team met at 9 a.m. on Monday morning, picked up kits for our delivery areas and delivered the kits to the homes of the children. They were well received and it was great! The kids and parents were so appreciative.

The six weeks flew by and culminated with our distributing stuffed bookbags full of school supplies to 300 children.

Next year we hope to bring back the in-person PlayStreets experience and make it bigger than ever.

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