Press Release
August 6, 2013
3 minute read


Businesses Receive Stronger NJ Business Grant Funds to Support Recovery

TRENTON, N.J. (August 6, 2013)
– Demonstrating the Christie Administration’s commitment to the recovery of small businesses in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Michele A. Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA), delivered a check today to Surf City boutique Fisheads for the first disbursement of the business’s Stronger NJ Business Grant.  She also visited Petitte Home Furnishings and Howard’s Seafood in Beach Haven, both of which received grants from the Stronger NJ Business Grant Program.   The grants will support these family owned and operated businesses in their rebuilding process as a result of damage from Sandy. 

“We applaud the hard work of business owners like these who have demonstrated tremendous fortitude and determination by rebuilding and remaining part of the LBI community,” said Brown. “It hasn’t been easy for them, and we at the EDA are happy to provide Stronger NJ Business Grants to support their recovery.”

Fisheads, a boutique offering clothing, gifts, jewelry and home furnishings, lost nearly all of its inventory, display equipment and furniture in the storm.  The business was approved for a grant of up to $50,000 through the Stronger NJ Business Grant Program and received a check for over $37,500 today.

“I was determined to reopen Fisheads, as I was not going to let the storm win,” said owner Carol Townsley.  “I learned about the Stronger NJ Business Grant Program directly from Governor Christie when he visited Long Beach Island in May.  I immediately applied and am so grateful for the support I have received.”

Petite Home Furnishings, which lost all if its inventory to the storm, received a grant of $100,000, which consists of $50,000 for both their Beach Haven and Surf City locations. Howard’s Seafood suffered loss of inventory and equipment, as well as structural damage.  They received a $50,000 grant.

Petitte Home Furnishings has been located in Beach Haven since 2007, and opened a second location in Surf City in 2009.  The business provides a full line of home furnishings and accessories, as well as complimentary design service.  The storm destroyed inventory and equipment, including its delivery truck.  The Surf City location reopened in January, followed by Beach Haven in May. 

“Like many businesses in the area, we suffered tremendous loss and struggled to get back on track following the storm,” said owner Mary Ann Petitte.  “With the help of the Stronger NJ Business Grant Program, we have been able to better provide for our customers, helping to restore the shore one room at a time.”

Howard’s Seafood, a Beach Haven staple since 1950, was damaged by flooding from the storm surge, requiring complete renovation and replacement of equipment.  The popular restaurant reopened in time for Mother’s Day.

“The damage from flooding was devastating and it took a lot of hard work to get to the point where we could reopen,” Kevin Sparks, Chef and Owner of Howard’s Seafood, said.  “The grant support offered by the State has been a lifesaver.”

Beginning May 1st, storm-impacted small businesses have been able to apply for EDA administered grants of up to $50,000 through the Stronger NJ Business Grant Program. The program launched two days after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved New Jersey’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery Action Plan. Governor Christie called on the EDA to administer $460 million of the state’s CDBG Disaster Recovery allocation to support the recovery of impacted businesses. The Stronger NJ Business Grant program is the first of these CDBG-funded business recovery programs and is utilizing $260 million of the allocation.  On July 1, the EDA unveiled the $100 million Stronger NJ Business Loan Program, which is making low-cost loans of up to $5 million available to businesses and non-profits that were impacted by the storm, as well as businesses looking to expand within storm-impacted communities.

Eligibility for Stronger NJ Business Grants is no longer tied to whether a business has applied for a Small Business Association Loan.  In some cases, businesses may be eligible for reimbursement of repair costs incurred prior to applying for a grant.

To date, the EDA has received 270 completed applications under the Stronger NJ Business Grant Program, and 41 businesses have been awarded grants totaling up to $2.18 million.  Once approved for a grant, businesses have up to one year to submit receipts and invoices for eligible expenses, at which point the EDA will issue a disbursement.

Applications must be received on or by October 31, 2013.  For more information on the Stronger NJ Business Grant program, including the complete list of eligibility criteria and eligible uses of funds visit or call EDA’s Sandy hotline at 1-855-SANDY-BZ (1-855-726-3929). 

EDA business advisors are located at One-Stop Career Centers in the nine most impacted counties to help businesses with the application process.  The Ocean County One-Stop is located at 1027 Hooper Ave, Building 6, in Toms River. Business advisors will be available every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Appointments are suggested, but not required.