I am excited and honored to announce that on Monday, December 8th I was inducted into the NJBIZ Hall of Fame at the NJBIZ Business of the Year 2014 Awards. It was a fantastic event and I am proud to have been a part of it.

The NJBIZ Business of the Year Awards is an annual event created to honor businesses for their outstanding contributions to the New Jersey Business Community. The awards recognize an elite group of businesses and leaders who stand out from the rest in New Jersey. In addition to those awards, each year business leaders are also chosen and inducted into the NJBIZ Hall of Fame. They are hand-selected by an independent judging panel for showing long-term commitment to business success in New Jersey as well as proven dedication to the state.

As the evening closed a very elegant man approached me and complimented my speech noting that he has gone to so many awards events over the years and wanted to let me know he found the topic very interesting and one of the best acceptance speeches he has ever heard. WOW! Here is my speech:

“Thank you Dave Schankweiler and the NJ Biz team. I am deeply honored and touched to receive the 2014 NJ Biz Hall of Fame Award. Congratulations to my fellow honorees for their outstanding accomplishments.

I would like to pay special recognition to Tom & Chris Gray, the father and son management team at Mrs. G. I am so appreciative of their dedication and their excellence, without whom I would not be standing here tonight. Tom & Chris allow me the time that so many small businesses owners don’t have, to continue to build upon my grandmother’s foundation of fostering relationships both in business and the community, and to lead a crusade for local independent businesses.

You’ve probably heard the statistics on a family business survival rate: only 30% make it to the second generation and of those, a mere 12% will survive the 3rd generation. So how does Mrs. G’s continue to thrive in a very intensely competitive retail environment located within the most saturated area of appliance stores in the country? There are 6 big box appliance retailers within ½ mile of Mrs. G’s. Not to mention all the internet appliance retailers that still have the competitive edge of not having to collect NJ sales tax.

How have we been able to thrive for almost 80 years? It starts and ends with a commitment to the exceptional Customer Experience. It’s our way of marketing. Mrs. G’s #1 priority is to make like better for our customers by offering a great customer experience before, during and after the sale.

I’m sure many of you are curious on how Mrs. G’s competes on price. As an active member of Appliance Dealer Cooperative located right here in NJ, together with Nationwide Marketing group with over 3000 independent appliance dealers across the country, we collectively have over 14 Billion Dollars in buying power. Because of this relationship, Mrs. G’s is able to compete successfully with the national and regional chains.

As vice-chairwomen of the board of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association I would like to share a few statistics. 1 in every 4 NJ employees work in the retail industry. 95% of retail companies operate out of one location and 86% of retail companies have less than 10 employees.

So as a crusader for locally owned businesses I encourage all of you to create your own local Multiplier effect, which is the boost to the local economy that results from locally-owned independent businesses, owners and employees spending business revenue within the region. When you spend $100 at a local business, $68 dollars stays in your community. Spend that same $100 at a non-local business and only $43 stays in the community. Last (and the least), when you spend $100 on-line from an internet only business not located in NJ, $0 stays in the community. When you spend your money locally, you’re helping to make better schools, better roads, more support for police, fire and rescue department and a stronger local economy.

Lastly, I ask all of you to contact your member of Congress to settle the issue of sales tax fairness that would level the playing field between brick and mortar and internet-only retailers. Once this loophole is closed, NJ can expect to add more than $300 Million dollars in sales tax revenue that is currently uncollected.
Thank you again for this wonderful honor. Have a Happy and Healthy Holiday season everyone!”

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