Business Partnership (HBP)
District Management Corporation
Highlands Borough Business Improvement District
Annual Report 2001
HBP Board of Directors
The HBP Board of Directors provides leadership, oversight and financial control of the operations of the corporation, Highlands Business Partnership. The 2nd year, 2001 operations budget was $82,403.58.
The Board is comprised of 17 voting members and four non-voting members. Mayor's designee, Councilman Bob Rauen and the Planning Board Member and Councilwoman, Sherry Ruby, represent the governing body as voting members of the Board. There are seven commercial property owners and seven business operators that comprise the HBP Board of Directors.
2nd Year Objectives:
During the second year of operation the primary objectives include:
New visual improvements
to enhance the public areas that traverse the central business district and
provide an attractive public space environment for customers and visitors to
experience when utilizing Highlands' businesses.
Officers of the Corporation:
Lynn Hunter, Clam Hut, President; Carla Braswell, ShoreGrafx, Vice President; Kathryn Lustig, Christine Michelle Handmade and The Elizabeth Anne Spa, Secretary; Bill Garcia, Fortuna Restaurant Supply, Treasurer. The Officers serve according to the bylaws and form the Executive Committee of the corporation providing the executive and oversight decision making body on behalf of the Board of Directors. These Executive Committee members also serve as Board members and answer to the Board of Directors.
Kathy Armstrong, Cottrells Lobsters and Fish Market; Larys Cartaya, Bolero Café; Doug Douty, Lusty Lobster; Katharine James, commercial property owner; Michael Kovic, commercial property owner; David Stafford, Seastreak Ferry; John Koenig, New York Fast Ferry; Henry Moyer, Off The Hook; Roger Mumford, commercial property owner; Joan Wicklund, Sand Dollar Card and Gift; and Bill Duncan, resident member. The Executive Committee members, comprised of the corporate Officers, who also serve on the Board are Carla Braswell, ShoreGrafx; Bill Garcia, Fortuna Restaurant Supply; Lynn Hunter, Clam Hut; and Kathryn Lustig, Christine Michelle Handmade and The Elizabeth Anne Spa.
These members bring institutional, and corporate private-sector talent to the Board. These members bring an added outside viewpoint to the board that assists in their decision making process. Patti Baxter, Executive Director of the Northern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce; Jeff Flimlin, Rutgers University Cooperative Extension Services; Tom Laverty, Twin Lights Historic Site; Larry Novick, Brookdale Small Business Development Center; Roberta Sheridan, GPU Energy.
Board Members Roger Mumford, commercial property owner; Bill Duncan, resident; Lynn Hunter, Clam Hut; Carla Braswell, ShoreGrafx; Kathy Armstrong, Cottrell's Lobsters all took leadership roles to Chair and Co-Chair HBP Committees. This ensures linkage to the objectives of the Board.
Several professionals were hired after soliciting quotes and reviewing professional backgrounds. HBP Attorney, Ron Reich was retained for HBP business for the year 2001. Mr. Reich provided legal assistance for various HBP issues including corporate record requirements and litigation. Attorney Robert Goldsmith, Greenbaum, Rowe represent HBP and the Borough with litigation regarding property class inclusion in the district. Legal publication notices, as outlined in the state statute for BIDs, announced HBP meeting schedule for four regular meeting in 2001. State of New Jersey filing fee, dues for membership in Downtown New Jersey, postage, stationery, educational conferences were administrative expense line items. As required by the state statute, an audit was completed April 2001 and filed with the Department of Community Affairs, Division of Local Government Services, Borough of Highlands and with HBP corporate records. Charitable Registration was completed for HBP 2001. HBP Insurance is provided through a partnership with the Borough and the Monmouth County JIF, Joint Insurance Fund. Professional management services are provided through the Bayshore Development Office (BDO). Kathaleen Shaw serves as HBP Business Advocate. Offices are located at 945 State Highway 36 Leonardo, NJ 07737 (732-291-4713). HBP has a contract with the BDO for 20% of the HBP BID Assessment Budget.
& Communications/Events Committee:
Co-Chaired by Lynn Hunter and Carla Braswell, also HBP President and Vice President, the committee set an aggressive agenda. Destination marketing is the objective of the marketing activities. Create - Highlands as a destination for visitors. Having so many visitors in the surrounding area - Sandy Hook, Twin Lights and Shore areas - Highlands desires a greater share of the visitors to discover our restaurants and businesses. As a community with three Ferry landings hosting New York commuters and visitors, there is a year-round opportunity to direct market "Highlands as a destination". Commuters are creatures of habit who just want to go home after a day's work like most people who work. HBP has initiated direct marketing programs on-board the Ferry's, with brochures and flyers; along with coupon distribution system that extracts Highlands business coupons from our Website on a quarterly basis. Through the services of HBP businesses can register and design their own coupons free of charge. Coupons can be changed as frequently as the business operator desires. Upon purchase of monthly or weekly ticket book, complimentary coupons are provided. HBP oversees, administers the coupon books and the Ferry Companies include the HBP coupon books with each purchase. Use of Highlands' restaurants and businesses by Ferry riders is being nurtured, encouraged and brought to their attention on a daily basis through our partnership with NY Fast Ferry and Seastreak America. Both Ferry company principals sit on the Board of Directors of HBP. Making Ferry riders familiar with Highlands' businesses and restaurants along with upgrading the quality of our business offering is a long-term marketing investment that has unique and valuable assets for Highlands' businesses. Most downtown's striving to come back from decline must develop a destination agenda from scratch. Highlands has been able to develop and nurture a partnership with an existing resource 2,200 commuters and visitors who arrive daily at one of Highlands' three Ferry landings.
Marketing Consultant, Allen Consulting (ACI), was hired for an additional six months to bring the contract to the end of the calendar year 2001. The initial contract with ACI began in April of 2000 and ended in December 2001 with a "wash" between sponsorship and event income secured for HBP and the expense of the consulting contract. A financial spreadsheet was provided by the HBP Marketing Chair to Board members at the January, 2002 regular meeting that outlined a total cash from events income, corporate sponsors of $47,249 from the start of the ACI contract, April 2000 until December 31, 2001. An additional $30,250 in barter value was presented through Barter Pays!, Comcast, WJLK Radio, Ward Color and New York Fast Ferry. A total investment of $77,499 in destination marketing of Highlands. The total professional expense for the same time frame of April 2000 until December 31, 2001 was $40,000. As a first year experience with professional marketing services, the success can be noted by Board members comments. David Stafford, Seastreak America commented that marketing services are not inexpensive and the single most important business expansion task for a corporation. David Stafford's involvement in Octoberfest, a first time event for HBP 2001, supports his opinion on the success of Highlands' destination marketing. The hard work and commitment made by the committee and ACI made this first time event a sure hit for expansion in next year's HBP event calendar. Marketing services from ACI includes all public relations, media contacts, event calendar development, implementation and solicitation of corporate sponsorship to promote events that will showcase Highlands as a destination. It is important that corporate sponsorship be secured from outside of Highlands, as the community is small; and new partnerships need to be developed to undertake a successful destination marketing plan for Highlands. Sponsorship provides the backbone of funding for events and advertising. Sponsorship funding maximizes the local BID investments funded by special assessment to fund advertising, event expenses and promotions to create destination environment to attract visitors.
Chairpersons for HBP events continue to be difficult to produce. The 2001 event calendar provided a "complete marketing package" for ACI to use to broker and solicit greater sponsorship opportunities for Highlands. Through this process Highlands can expand our destination marketing activities that will enhance the local business environment by attracting new and repeat customers. A comprehensive event schedule is packaged and our consultant serves as a broker between corporate and media partners who will provide sponsorship in return for media exposure.
Holiday Lighting 2001 provided
Not Your Ordinary Dancers, under Lillian Zuar's leadership, entertaining on
Waterwitch Avenue along with local organization and service groups joining in
holiday song to make the event full of community spirit and pride. HBP volunteers,
under the direction of Kathy Armstong, VIC Chair, decorated Huddy Park and several
public areas with the assistance of Tim Hill, Recreation Director and the Highlands
Garden Club, Jaime Terrell, President.
Octoberfest 2001, a first time event, was very successful. A liquor license was secured and beverage sponsors will be expanded for 2002 due to our initial success. A non-Highlands food vendor provided German food loved by the crowds alone with a lively German Band that warmed the crowds with traditional music that young and old enjoyed. Fireworks were postponed for a 2002 event due to wind conditions at the event. Many visitors looked forward to the fireworks, but safety came first with the guidance of our local officials and Serpico, fireworks contractor. Officials and Police support was outstanding and this first time event is a repeat performance for 2002.
Re-Discover the Treasures of Highlands returned for the 2001 event calendar with limited success. The Marketing Committee will work on variations of this event for the new HBP event calendar. This event created an on-line map with call-outs of participating businesses as part of the treasure hunt concept. Highlands Website marketing was undertaken along with a double truck ad in the Asbury Park Press that encompassed Octoberfest and Re-Discover the Treasures. The $2.300 double truck, full page ad was part of an advetorial pull-out section devoted to Highlands stories and related advertising.
Twin Towers to Twin Lights
Bike Tour was canceled due to the events that occurred September 11. Both ferry
companies planned to cooperate with bringing bike enthusiasts to Highlands for
a multi-tour bike event. Bike NY has confirmed the event for HBP's 2002 event
schedule. The response to the event was in excess of 700 pre-registered bike
enthusiasts to visit Highlands and sections of Monmouth County. Bike Tour participants
were informed of the cancellation by Allen Consulting; and 90% of the registrants
donated their fees to the World Trade Center Relief Fund instead of received
a refund. ACI Staff handled the entire cancellation and donation process.
Cruise Nights 2001 were held under the direction of Lori Bodnar-Nolan and Frank Nolan. During July and August local business volunteers (Lori's House of Beauty) worked closely with the Jersey Shore Cruisers and Bob Dooly. Participation from local businesses provided certificates and prizes for the visitors. Over seventy car enthusiasts participated during the July and August events.
Monmouth Chamber of Commerce Concert Series
Through a partnership with NMCC and HBP four Tuesday evenings in July, Highlands HBP hosted band musical entertainment at the Seastreak beach- front area. The concerts were funded through the NMCC and promoted in partnership with HBP. The bands included the Jazz Lobsters, The Party Dolls,
Highlands Farmers Market was taken over from the remaining officers of the Highlands Farmers Market - Nancy Makafka and Joe Walsh for the 2001 season. A starting balance of funding was transferred to HBP treasury to be maintained in a separate account. HBP prepared and submitted the 2002 Farmer Market grant to the NJ Department of Agriculture. HBP was awarded $500 to be matched in advertising and promotion of the Highlands Market. The 2001 season began the first Saturday in July and continued through until the last Saturday in October. Farmers participated with the Octoberfest event with mums, fresh fall produce, pumpkins and squashes. Kathryn Lustig, Carla & Ken Braswell, and Mike Kovic took on the responsibilities of the market each Saturday. Outside vendors were solicited for the market and there were various successes with adding vendors to the market. Advertising and highway signs were installed to promote the market.
2001 maintained entertainment, rides and vendors for a four-day event.
Printing, advertising, signs, maintenance, entertainers, and installations of
electric, contribute to the event success and these functions were managed through
HBP volunteers, Business Advocate and Allen Consulting. ACI expanded the Clam
Festival 2001 with thirty new vendors. A Clam Fest advetorial was produced with
a HBP investment of $2,300 for a double truck ad showcasing Highlands' restaurants
and businesses as a visitor's destination. Expansion of vendors when from ten
to thirty. Electric demands will require a new look at Huddy Park electric requirements
and new investments from HBP to upgrade event electric.
Seaport Craft Show 2001 was held on Memorial Day weekend with a successful start of 25 crafters. The event was well received by crafters and visitors alike. Committee and Board consensus on the potential of this event make it a repeat for 2002. "Print and save" promotions from our Website and all printed media brought a new dimension to marketing for Highlands businesses. All events held in 2001 provide visitors with coupons and additional event information as well as promoting our Website.
Maintenance and expansion of the Highlands' web site during HBP's has been continued. The Website enables HBP to provide maximum access to HBP information by all business operators and commercial property owners of Highlands included in the BID, as well as, the general public. Minutes, reports, newsletters, organization chart, mission statement, ordinance, budget, events, photo album, bylaws are accessible and printable from your computer. An online map of Highlands with variable call outs featuring participating businesses was continued during the October Re-Discover Event bringing on-line marketing and promotion for all Highlands' businesses. Linkage to the ferry riders through the Internet is a primary goal for the Marketing Committee. HBP is highlighting the Highlands' businesses and direct marketing to ferry customers through the web site and our other complementary marketing initiatives. HBP requested and received brochures or printed promotional information from business operators that are showcased on board the ferry. The Highlands/HBP web site is promoted on the ferry and in all HBP media contacts reinforce the destination marketing objective activities.
As a business improvement district in the Bayshore Region, HBP is taking advantage of a newly developed regional marketing tool for absolutely free. www.bayshorenj.com web site, provides a proprietary database of Highlands' businesses, and is searchable with HBP members noted and special e-coupon offerings. HBP members can access their listing on bayshorenj.com and utilize custom options including the design and posting of e-coupons absolutely free. The Bayshore Development Office created www.bayshorenj.com, which contains a nine town searchable, proprietary database of Bayshore businesses, events and municipal information. www.bayshorenj.com promotes the Bayshore Region as a destination and region center for living, business, transportation and tourism.
Working with our partner and non-voting member of the Board of Directors, Patti Baxter, Executive Director, HBP placed a full-page ad in the Northern Monmouth Area Guide Map published by the Northern Monmouth Chamber. The County of Monmouth Economic Development Office/Tourism and NMCOC mail out this Area Guide and Map to inquiring tri-state region and beyond visitors. This area map and guide represents our Bayshore Region Aberdeen to Highlands. HBP's ad promotes Highlands as a destination along with our largest event the Highlands Clam Festival. The area map supply will continue to be distributed to inquiring visitors until a reprint opportunity is presented to HBP.
Since April, 2000 in excess of 4,423,878 measured print impressions have been made. That means that Highlands' name is getting out there as a destination. Changing perception and customer habits take persistence and consistency. Allen Consulting prepares all new releases for HBP that are approved through the Marketing Co-Chairs. Any business innovations or news are welcomed topics for a HBP media release.
- On the Move
The first HBP Newsletter was compiled by collaboration by the Board, Committee Chairs and Business Advocate to communicate the status of organizing the District Management Corporation. Volunteer editor, John Tedesco, published two subsequent issues of the HBP Newsletter - On The Move. John Tedesco, a Highlands resident, sponsorship professional for Pace University New York, put his talents to work on the Marketing Committee. This internal communication is mailed to all business operators and commercial property owners in Highlands. Additional copies are distributed to committee volunteers, Borough Officials and staff and extra copies are left at Borough Hall and the Highlands Community Center. The newsletter is archived and printable from the Website.
In the fall of 2000 it became apparent to the Board of Directors and Committee Chairs, HBP needed greater communication between our members. Key business operators volunteered to take a block area near their business to network information and follow up on important initiates for HBP. It is easy to say I never got my mail but difficult to say you don't know when a personal visit is made. The success of the programs HBP creates are directly linked to participation and communication. HBP needs to know the issues in order to solve the issues. Block Leaders will continue add another benefit to HBP's communication network. An ongoing challenge for HBP is to maintain strong leaders in the communication network.
Workshops/Group Media Buys
Two marketing workshops were scheduled fall 2000. It became clear by the input from those in attendance that there was a desire for a "group media buy" to bring down the individual business cost of advertising. HBP issued an offer for a "group media buy" December 10th and it will be included in the 2001 initiatives. Several mailings were provided to businesses regarding group media but opportunities. Without a critical mass of ten participating businesses the offer could not be launched. Two (2) advetorial special sections were created through ACI and the Asbury Park Press. A total of $4,700 in double truck ads during October and June of 2001 was initiated through the Marketing Committee with Board approval. Contained in the special pull-out section of the Asbury Park Press were five or more stories highlighting Highlands' as a destination. ACI provided the editorial information that was approved by the Executive Board. One reinforced Highlands' most successful event the Clam Festival and the other extended the season and showcased two fall events after labor day - when perceptions of Highlands' "closing down" provide a slow down in the business climate.
Hiring of our Marketing Consultant, Allen Consulting, is HBP's largest investment from our budget. Marketing was clearly what the Board of Directors, Committee volunteers and business community at large identified as the most important need for the businesses. Freehold Center Partnership's successes, over the past eight years through Allen Consulting, convinced the search committee and Board that this was in investment that must be taken for Highlands. April 2001 will provide a complete cycle for the Allen Consulting contract for Board evaluation. Sponsorship and event income through December 31 is $20,000. After evaluation at the end of the contract, April 2001, the total sponsorship dollars was $26,000 and the consulting fees remaining were credited to maintain the terms of the contract. A $30,000 investment was made in promoting Highlands above the BID assessment dollars contributed by Highlands' businesses. As a first year outside investment - a success for all especially those who contributed time, talent and energy to the event/marketing process.
Improvement Committee -VIC
Chaired by Kathy Armstrong, this HBP Committee has a wide scope of objectives including Parking, Safety, Beautification, Capital Improvement, Maintenance and Design. During 2001 the committee continued their agenda expansion with parking. Kathy Armstrong attended the 2000 Borough Parking Committee Meetings and worked with the HBP VIC volunteers. The goal was to ensure recommendations were developed from both the business district and residential viewpoints. Highlands' neighborhoods are a mix of commercial and residential blocks along Bay Avenue and the waterfront. HBP Board members kicked off this "hot-button" issue with board action to authorize purchase of speed radar equipment. Ferry operators Seastreak and New York Fast Ferry, Highlands Chamber of Commerce and HBP provided a four-way split in the cost to purchase this equipment. The partnership included the Borough to ensure that the speed radar equipment provided by HBP and partners to the police department would be maintained and monitored for placement. HBP requested the equipment be used in a wide range of areas from the Regional High School to Bay Avenue. The equipment is a warning and educational tool not a means to issue tickets. Monthly reports were requested from the Borough for the VIC Committee. Police reports included information on special officer assignments that are paid by Highlands ferry partners, police personnel assignments for special events, and locations that speed monitor equipment was placed during the month. HBP will continue to explore planning options and activities recommendations on parking issues. Speed monitor equipment educates the public (residents and visitors) about speed. The Police Department continues to circulate the equipment to various locations to provide a traffic-calming environment and continue to education the visiting and local resident public.
Parking recommendations were drafted and approved by the VIC Committee in 2000. The HBP Board approved and forwarded the written recommendations to Mayor and Council on June, 2000. The recommendations feature three components that HBP stands behind: