The Jefferson Chronicle’s Community and Sports Editor, Michael Chirichella sat down with Dr. Brett Hartman D.C., the president of the Jefferson Township Chamber of Commerce, to discuss the business climate in Jefferson and the Chamber’s role in the community.
Q: What is the role of the Jefferson Township Chamber of Commerce (JTCofC)?
A (Dr. Hartman): The Chamber plays a couple of different roles. We’re a business organization that’s committed to helping businesses in the township and surrounding areas thrive in a number of ways. We help through strategic business development in ways such as networking and promotional opportunities. We offer professional growth through speakers on topics to help our members’ businesses in certain areas as well as networking and the opportunity to learn from other businesses in the community.
We’re very big on community support initiatives. The biggest theme of the JTCofC is giving back to the community. The famous motivational speaker, Tony Robbins said “the key to living is giving”. I think that’s a great quote and the Chamber gets behind the community. We see it as a three-way street with the Chamber, Jefferson Township, and the community as a whole. We have many activities where we give back. Our upcoming Township Awards Dinner on April 20th will spotlight people who are doing really great things in the community. We’ll be honoring our educator of the year, the businessperson of the year, public servant of the year, and a special honoree who’ll receive a lifetime achievement award. Plus we’ll award a $1,000 scholarship to a deserving student.
We have our annual food drive, which we do around Christmas time because we’ve learned that donations to food pantries tend to diminish right after Thanksgiving and we want to help replenish their supplies.
There are so many great things going on in Jefferson Township and the Chamber wants to be part of it.
Q: How would you describe the business climate in Jefferson Twp.?
A: It’s good. There’s no real main street. It could be better if more businesses got more involved. We’re always reaching out. People don’t have to go to every meeting but the special events and drives for donations benefit everyone.
We’re putting up signs that say “Welcome to Jefferson”. There’s one on Route 15 North by the exit for Berkshire Valley Rd. and we’re working on another one which will be installed on Oak Ridge/Berkshire Valley Rd. as you enter the town from Route 23.
Q: What are the Chamber’s Goals for 2017?
A: As an organization, we’re expanding our educational opportunities in social media. We’re going to have speakers throughout the year to educate businesses on how they can grow through the effective use of social media. These events will be free of charge or at a very reasonable cost. Social media has untapped potential for local businesses.
As I mentioned earlier, we’re going to install a new “Welcome” sign on Oak Ridge/ Berkshire Valley Rd., hopefully within the month. It’s going to be dedicated to Doris Roberts who was a former vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce and operated the Shopper’s Friend.
Q: What are some of the challenges you’re facing during the upcoming year?
A: Just getting people involved. To get them to come out of their businesses; even if they come to one event. Just letting people know about the JTCofC and how it benefits them and the community.
Q: What’s on your wish list for 2017?
A: I’d wish that 80% of the businesses in town would join the Chamber. At that level, and with those resources, we could do so much more for the town. We could do more projects to benefit the town. Recently when a fire destroyed the Graham family’s home, we donated some money, but with more members we could give more. We could spotlight businesses in town, and run print ads encouraging people to buy and shop locally.
Q: Money’s no object and no one will comment, what’s your ideal breakfast?
A: I’d start with some Trader Joe’s bacon and fresh eggs from a farm stand cooked over easy in Kerry Gold butter. Add a fresh everything gluten-free bagel from Star Seed Bakery, also with Kerry Gold butter. I’d have some organic coffee with coconut palm sugar, and organic half-and-half.
The Hartman File
NAME: Bret Hartman
DATE & PLACE OF BIRTH: 11.16.76 in Secaucus, NJ
EDUCATION: Wayne Hills H.S., B.A. in Business from Pace University, D.C from Life University in Atlanta.
BUSINESS: Practicing Chiropractor since 2002 Family Chiropractic. Changed name to Total Wellness of New Jersey in 2016. Member of the JTCofC since 2002 though the practice has been a member since 1998.
FAMILY: Wife, Teresa; Daughter, Madelyn 5; Son, Joseph 2
HOBBIES: Golf, Football, Camping, Natural Living
The Jefferson Township Chamber of Commerce’s website is www.jeffersontownshipchamber.org. The website contains information on the benefits of membership, how to join, plus upcoming events and and more.