Business in Hudson County improved considerably, and sales and profits were up for a third consecutive year in 2012, according to a New Jersey Business and Industry Association 2013 Business Outlook Survey.
“The findings of this year’s survey are encouraging,” said NJBIA President Philip Kirschner, who presented the findings in a news conference at the association’s Trenton headquarters. “Business is picking up, business confidence is rising, and growing numbers of businesses believe New Jersey is on the right track.”
Almost all local businesses have recovered from the devastation from Hurricane Sandy, and those that are still closed have set reopening dates (Hoboken’s ShopRite expects to reopen in February).
In one less promising statistic, Hudson County’s unemployment rate was 10.5 percent, higher than New Jersey’s 9.7 percent for October. But a few new developments and stores promise to offer more jobs to residents in the future.
Recovering from Sandy
Hurricane Sandy inflicted serious damage on the economy right before the holiday shopping season, but most businesses were able to regain their bearings by December.
Hoboken suffered from flooding and a crippled transportation system. By the end of November, the city sent out a release saying that more than 97 percent of the city’s businesses had reopened. On Dec. 19, the PATH trains started running to and from 33rd Street in Manhattan again.
In order to boost business, the city came up with two free parking programs. During the holidays metered parking is free. Also, visitors can park for four hours for free from 9 a.m. to midnight in December in municipal garages if they spend $20 at local shops.
Among those businesses struggling to reopen, Hoboken’s massive ShopRite supermarket announced that it will reopen some time in February with new features. The city has three other supermarkets, but with a population of 50,000, all are needed.
The city’s A&P was able to reopen soon after the storm.
In Jersey City, most businesses have reopened as well. Businesses such as Edward’s Steakhouse, Tommy 2 Scoops, and Skylark on the Hudson vowed to re-open in the new year after major repairs have been completed. Michael Anthony’s, which is located on a pier in the Newport area, re-opened after having been closed for 14 days.
New jobs on the horizon
For individuals trying to support their families, jobs are on the way.
West New York did its part by sponsoring a job fair in November at which around 50 companies accepted resumes and offered advice to interested job seekers.
Overstock Rugs came to Secaucus in September, landing on 20 Wood Ave.
A new supermarket, Metropolitan Citymarket, plans to open in the spring at the Xchange development.
North Bergen kept pace by welcoming JLA Floor Contractors Corp. and new restaurant MPS (Mom’s Pop Shop) Café, both of which opened in September. MPS’s location in the busy Broadway district is in close range of Robert Fulton School, so it’s likely to see steady business.
In February, an educational company, Pearson, announced they will be the anchor tenant in a 14-story, 500,000-square-foot building on Hoboken’s south waterfront. Pearson will relocate 900 employees from its current offices in Upper Saddle River and Old Tappan. The project will result in 600 construction jobs as well.
In the Meadowlands, neighbors are looking forward to the completion of the gigantic retail and recreation project formerly known as Xanadu, now named American Dream. The project on Route 3 in East Rutherford is expected to add 4,000 permanent full-time jobs. The completion date has not been set.
Financial problems have bedeviled the project over the years, but it has slowly but steadily progressed. The project is eligible to receive a $350 million tax break under the state’s Economic and Redevelopment Growth program once it resumes.
According to an article in the periodical Good News for Builders, “Ugly Mega Project Gets New Look and New Lease on Life,” upon completion, direct wages will be in excess of $120 million a year for the full-time jobs. According to a report, there will be 19,000 temporary jobs during the construction phase.
While businesses like Harmon Cove Outlet Center and Daffy’s Inc. closed their doors in Secaucus, other stores are staying. Children’s Place relocated to 210 Meadowlands Parkway and reopened for business on Dec. 20.
Prato Men’s Wear Outlet will be opening soon at 210 Meadowlands Parkway.
Hartz Mountain is also in negotiations to relocate Gymboree, Van Heusen and Bass from the Harmon Cove Outlets on Fifth Street to 210 Meadowlands Parkway. Lenox and East West Bridals was recently relocated within the Harmon Cove Development and are now open for business.
In addition, the Perfume & Cosmetic Outlet and Candyland were relocated to the Plaza at Harmon Meadow in Hartz’s mixed use development, and will open soon.
Large events should spur revenue, tourists
Xanadu won’t be the only tourist destination in the Meadowlands.
Upcoming events such as Super Bowl 2014 and Wrestle Mania 2013 will bring thousands of tourists to the area, filling hotels and restaurants.
This past June, travel and tourism professionals from New York and North Jersey were invited to network to find out how to take advantage of local opportunities for the upcoming events. The gathering led to the conception of tourism packages for businesses throughout Hudson County and beyond.
Some hotels are sold out for Super Bowl weekend. In Hudson County, the hotels are concentrated in Jersey City, Secaucus, and North Bergen, with one in Weehawken and one in Hoboken. Local residents have also contributed by offering rooms in their apartments for rent during Super Bowl 2014.
An estimated 150,000 out-of-town visitors are expected in the area during the event.
Vanessa Cruz can be reached at email@example.com