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DECA Is to Be Congratulated

97aug07

Response to Scotch Plains Business Directory Has Been Simply Overwhelming, Merchants Say

By JEANNE WHITNEY

Specially Written for The Times

Since 10,000 premiere editions of the Scotch Plains Business and Services Directory were mailed out last week to residents and businesses in the township, business is booming, according to the local business community.

Scotch Plains Business and Professional Association (SPBPA) members and five DECA marketing students from the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School worked together to create the directory.

They say response to the directory has been overwhelmingly positive.

Business property owner Seymour Stein of CEO Executive Suites, Inc., claims a prospective business tenant showed up on his office doorstep the day after the directory was distributed, with a page torn from the directory that contained Mr. Stein’s listing.

Mr. Stein, who is also a Vice President of the SPBPA said other local business owners have hurried to join the association after seeing the inaugural publication.

"Recognition," Mr. Stein said, is a prime purpose of the township directory. "It’s to let people know that businesses are here and its a wonderful place to be."

The directory lists approximately 450 township businesses. There are also photos -- historic and recent -- of familiar township sites. Demographic facts about the township are highlighted along the bottom of each of the 112 pages. Advertisements about local businesses include personalized descriptions of the companies.

Township Mayor Irene T. Schmidt cheered the directory’s arrival, saying, "I’ve been looking for this kind of thing for years. It’s a valuable marketing tool. I want to commend the people involved. It was quite an undertaking."

According to Joseph Donnatelli, Jr., a business association officer and Eastern Marble and Granite Supplies owner, the SPBPA hopes to update the directory every year.

"We anticipate a strong growth in advertisers. We need 200 (advertisers) to do it every year -- otherwise we’ll do it every other year," he said.

President of the business association and owner of Nuts n’ Plenty, Ray Pardon, said the total cost of the directory was $15,000, with half that amount covered by 93 paid advertisements in the directory and the other half paid by the SPBPA.

Mr. Donnatelli said DECA marketing students "did most of the legwork" in creating the directory.

High school student advisors say the directory project grew out of a three-year-old DECA survey of residents and businesses on how to improve business in the township. Survey results indicated a need for a business directory.

A follow-up study on the effectiveness of the directory will be completed this fall, Mr. Donnatelli said.

Mr. Pardon said high school marketing teacher Donald Cababe credited five DECA students with taking top honors in the national organization with the directory project for the first time in 25 years. High school juniors at the time, students Adam Baumwoll, David Gewirtz, Jeffery Gillie, Adam Koster and Brian Spitser worked nine months producing the directory, he said. The students could not be reached for comment by press deadline.

Reportedly, one of the most difficult jobs was compiling and verifying a complete listing of the township’s businesses. The students first contacted local businesses in a letter about the directory idea. The students then showed business owners a prototype of the proposed directory and solicited advertisements.

Encouraged by the results of the business directory project, Mayor Schmidt said she hopes to appoint a committee to produce a promotional booklet that describes the township’s history and development to the present.

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TheWestfield Leader.
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10/25/97.

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