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Making it in small business is never easy but increasing proof of that has been found in New Jersey headlines all year.  

From historic landmarks to newer establishments, notable small businesses up and down the state have announced their permanent closures – and NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka said policymakers need to take heed. 

“Every closing business has a unique story as to why they make the difficult decision to shut down,” Siekerka said. “But at the root of it for most is an ability to make a profit for a prolonged period of time. 

“What we’re seeing more recently are the real-world impacts of the increasing costs of providing products and services, as well as the challenge of filling jobs. So when our businesses face things like a $1 billion unemployment insurance tax increase through no fault of their own or other policies in Trenton that cumulatively add on to the cost of business, there are consequences.  

“We need our lawmakers to recognize this, especial with continuing sky-high inflation – every dollar counts.” 

Siekerka was featured in a report on NBC-10 this week, which focused on three closures in Ocean City alone. Voltaco’s Italian Specialties, a family-owned establishment for nearly seven decades, announced it will close on Oct. 9. 

Wards Pastry, also in Ocean City, which has been open for nearly a century, will close tomorrow. 

“We had a good summer this year, a lot of customers – but we really didn’t make much money (due to) costs of goods overall,” Wards Pastry owner Walter Hohman told NBC-10 reporter Ted Greenberg. 

Ice Cream by Mike, which NJ.com recently lauded as “one of NJ’s greatest ice cream shops,” also recently announced its closure. 

“After 7 years (3 in Hackensack and 4 in Ridgewood) we have not turned a profit,” said owner Mike Elias said in a Facebook post. “I am deeply saddened.” 

Some other publicized closures announced in recent weeks include:

  • Barcade (Newark location) 
  • Tavolina’s Pizzeria in Paterson 
  • Angelo’s Pizzeria in Maywood 
  • The Cheese Cave in Red Bank 
  • Maso’s Deli and Pizzeria in Gibbsboro 
  • The AMC Seacourt Movie Theater in Toms River 
  • Friendly’s Restaurant in Marlton 
  • The Auto Plaza in Egg Harbor Township 
  • Medusa’s Stone Fire Pizzeria in Asbury Park 
  • Sugar Sisters Party Store in Franklin 
  • Hot Shot Subs in Millstone

NJBIA’s 2022 Business Outlook Survey, released last December, foretold some of these closures.  

In that survey, 37% said there would be no change in their future plans due to continued pandemic challenges. However, 28% said they would look to sell or cease their business sooner than previously anticipated due to continued obstacles, while 31% said at the time they were still determining if their plans would change. 

“We should also recognize there are obviously businesses that have opened this year, too,” Siekerka said. “But at the same time, there are many other business closures that occur that don’t make the press, shutdowns we just don’t hear about. 

“So, this is why our policymakers must tread lighter in adding costs to business. We have the highest business taxes in the nation, including this $1 billion UI tax increase, which is a tax on jobs, no less.  

“The business community was told by sponsors that this matter was open for discussion this fall after being stopped during the budget. Let’s get to work on this now before there are many more untold or soon-to-be-told stories of closures,” Siekerka said.