Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Tenafly Makes Headway in Luring Businesses

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Tenafly Makes Headway in Luring Businesses

Article excerpt

TENAFLY -- Determined efforts to lure new businesses to the downtown apparently have paid off: At least seven businesses have opened in the past six months, and vacant storefronts in the well- manicured business district are being snatched up.

Among the new names to adorn front awnings are Subway, Dumpling King, Fusion Cycles and Tenafly Beauty Bar, while other recent openings include a yoga studio, an art gallery and a test preparatory center for college entrance exams.

Khalid Mansur, president of Tenafly's Business Improvement District, attributed the growing roster of businesses to a variety of factors, including an improved economy, a more streamlined application process at Borough Hall, lower business application fees and more consumers who shop locally.

"Over the past few years, the town has become more business friendly and easier for more businesses to come in," Mansur said. "The BID has also worked on a campaign to educate people to shop locally."

Farah Ramezanzabeh, who recently opened Y2 Academy, offering SAT preparatory programs out of its Washington Avenue storefront, said she sought out Tenafly because of its renowned school district and the value residents place on learning. "We thought people here would be particularly interested in higher education," she said.

Business has been slow to take off, but she said she's optimistic.

The BID, created in 2008, is a special district that collects funds from businesses within a designated area for improvements and promotes the district. It has taken several years for the BID to get off the ground. At the start, some business owners were uncertain about its role and were unhappy the organization was collecting a tax from businesses without doing much in return. The group hired and then lost its paid directors.

Now the BID is run almost entirely by volunteers in the business community who have developed a positive working relationship with local groups. In addition, the board has agreed not to take any more funds from local businesses in the coming year.

Another group that has worked to revive the downtown is the Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit group established to boost borough business that has run business promotions, street fairs and networking events, and has worked on drawing more businesses to town. …

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