Lifestyle

Craft brewers: Developing right infrastructure to grow

Nearly a decade since craft beer first hit mainstream popularity, the industry continues to grow at steady rates. The national craft beer market now tops $26 billion and key players continue to seek new ways to scale their business to meet this increasing consumer demand.

Craft beer popularity has grown in part due to its availability in a wide range of venues — from pop-up beer gardens to fine dining restaurants. Locally, New Jersey is home to over 100 breweries, and according to a study by the research company C + R, New Jersey has seen a 43% growth in the craft beer industry since 2015.

Many breweries across the state are expanding to meet the demand. In 2012, the state allowed breweries to starting selling beer on-site, but some restaurant and bars claimed it hurt their businesses. Recently, New Jersey’s Division of Alcohol Beverage Control announced new regulations for breweries with a craft brewery license; no breweries can sell food, they are required to give guests a tour, and breweries can only host 52 private events per year and 25 public advertised events.

For local brewers seeking to improve production and distribution, and use the new legislation to their advantage, here are some best practices on expanding your craft beer network.

Local, regional and national brewers

Craft beer companies typically fit into three categories based on size: the small, local brewpub; the regional brewer; and the national production brewery. Each has unique needs when it comes to production and distribution.

The local brewpub typically sells most of its beer on premise or at the brewer’s restaurant. This reduces the need for distribution and allows the brewpub to recognize profits quickly. A regional brewer, on the other hand, typically requires more equipment, such as tanks, as well as a larger amount of real estate to produce and store inventory. A regional brewer, on the other hand, might be selling out of a tasting room from one or multiple breweries, but most of their revenue and growth comes through selling its brews into other retail accounts, both on- and off-premise. Between 2016 and 2017, regional craft breweries grew by 5%, to reach 70.6% of overall craft beer industry production volume. At a much larger scale, a national production brewery may have several operations and requires a more sophisticated and robust distribution system.

To grow or not to grow

In today’s market, expansion is a matter of choice rather than survival. Each category of brewery has its advantages and drawbacks, and each has the ability to be profitable. It’s important for investors and owners of breweries to align on objectives when it comes to growth targets and appetite for expansion. Once brewers and investors agree on business objectives, they can set priorities for investment and determine the amount of capital they’ll need to build their infrastructure. If a brewer aims to slowly expand a brewpub, for example, he may not need to purchase a new warehouse to store beer right away; instead, he can gradually scale up distribution. As part of this evaluation process, brewers will also want to consider operational needs to maintain equipment, including maintenance and upgrades.

Assessing where (and how) to expand

Brewers also need to evaluate where to expand. Craft-centric regions, including Philadelphia, San Diego, Colorado and the Pacific Northwest, as well as the newer craft hubs of Austin, Texas, Atlanta, Chicago and Asheville, North Carolina, have turned into highly sought-after destinations for craft beer tourism. This equates to a high demand for craft beer in these areas, but it doesn’t come without fierce competition from brewers seeking to reach the same customer base.

A key partnership for craft brewers are beer wholesalers, who support, sell and distribute their product. As the craft beer industry has continued to grow over the last decade, wholesalers have adjusted their business models from supporting a few key suppliers (such as Anheuser-Busch InBev or MillerCoors) to now having more than 30 breweries to support, sell and distribute. Wholesalers have also increased the training and size of staff, often deploying craft-only sales teams. Today, brewers have the opportunity to work with large distributors as well as craft-only distributors. Craft beer’s continued growth will be in part due to the commitment and support of these innovative beer wholesalers.

What works best for your craft beer?

Ultimately, the value for a particular brewer is case dependent. Key factors to consider include quantitative elements (growth rate and profitability), intangible factors (brand awareness), competition (assessing if similar products are in the market) and, finally, succession planning based on the end goal (for example, an initial public offering or selling to a larger brewer).

Brewers must assess if the distribution strategies implemented would support their growth and closely align their financial strategies with their long-term goals. The craft beer industry has already climbed to nearly one-quarter of the U.S. beer market, and continues to become more competitive for the next generation of entrepreneurial brewers. Though craft brewers face fierce competition and a unique set of industry challenges, their ability to secure capital and the future of the craft brewing industry has never been better.

Cathleen Callahan is a senior vice president and market executive for Bank of America.

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Life Time Bridgewater ready for grand opening (SLIDESHOW)

Life Time is opening its new Bridgewater health and wellness club Monday, it announced this week, capping a $50 million-plus project that has created 400 jobs in Somerset County.

The property, the company’s sixth athletic resort in New Jersey, had a ribbon-cutting Thursday and is opening to “founding members” over the weekend before its official opening slated for Monday.

General Manager Ashley Sikora speaks at the ribbon-cutting event.

The 130,000-square-foot property features a 40,000-square-foot outdoor pool area, plus dedicated fitness studios, more than 400 pieces of exercise equipment, space for athletic performance and recovery, two full-size basketball courts, an aquatic center, “Kids Academy,” café, spa and more.

“We are excited to provide Somerset County with our first Life Time location and showcase this unique health and wellness resort experience to our new members and the Bridgewater area,” General Manager Ashley Sikora said in a prepared statement. “Life Time is passionate about inspiring others to live well-rounded, happy, health lives, and with our diverse offerings for our littlest members to most seasoned adults, we can’t wait to see the impact we’ll have on creating a healthier community.”

The facility has more than 400 full-time, part-time and season employees, the most of any club at opening, the company said.

Life Time’s other New Jersey facilities are in Bergen County, Berkeley Heights, Florham Park, Mount Laurel and Princeton.

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Red Bulls, Horizon team up to grow healthy eating effort

No, farro is not a one-on-one soccer move the New York Red Bulls players are testing out. It’s a grain that’s the focus of a new salad being offered at Red Bull Arena, as part of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey’s “Horizon Health Goal Food Stand” effort.

Horizon, a partner with the Harrison-based soccer club, is expanding its healthy food offerings at the stadium, starting with this weekend’s game against rival New York City FC.

The new items will include a turkey avocado wrap and the aforementioned farro salad, the club told ROI-NJ. For the NYCFC game, the stand will also feature a blender bike, where fans can make a banana berry smoothie.

“Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is a valued partner who, like our club, believes in health and wellness for people of all ages,” said Marc de Grandpre, general manager of the Red Bulls. “The new, delicious culinary additions to their Healthy Goal stand in Red Bull Arena will be a big hit with our fans.”

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Princeton-based CMA acquires Weblications, an internet marketing firm

CMA, a communications, marketing and association management firm based in Princeton, announced Tuesday it has acquired Princeton-based Weblications LLC, an internet marketing firm.

Under terms of the deal, Weblications will operate as a standalone subsidiary of CMA.

The acquisition will help enhance each company’s client offerings and expand their business footprints, CMA said.

“The Weblications acquisition is a strategic fit for CMA, as it continues to build on the commitment to providing a full spectrum of cutting-edge marketing and communications solutions to its clients through in-house resources,” Jeffrey Barnhart, CEO and founder of CMA, said. “Bob and I have known each other and worked on various projects together for more than 20 years. We saw it as an opportunity to join forces, to increase our client bases.”

Bob Weber, former owner of Weblications, will remain on as president and lead the group. He will report to Christian Amato, president of CMA.

“We’re excited to be partnering with CMA under one roof,” Weber said. “The acquisition enables the Weblications team to focus on business expansion and web design, while removing the operational component. The long-term vision is to grow Weblications through the use of combined sales forces, as well as provide the complete range of marketing services to Weblications’ clients through CMA.”

Financial terms were not disclosed.

“Bob and his group bring extensive knowledge and experience in digital marketing, which will be major assets to CMA and its clients as it continues to grow,” Amato said. “This catapults CMA further into the digital marketing arena, by offering clients an expanded breath of robust solutions. CMA has a long-standing relationship with Bob and Weblications. I’m pleased to be working with him in this capacity.”

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N.J. ranks among Top 10 worst states to retire

New Jersey has been ranked the 9th-worst state to retire, according to a Bankrate.com report.

Bankrate.com determined the rankings by examining 11 public and private datasets related to the life of someone who is retired, broken down into five categories: affordability (40%), wellness (25%), weather (15%), culture (15%) and crime (5%).

New Jersey, which was ranked No. 42 overall,  fared well in crime (No. 5), but was ranked No. 48 in affordability, the study’s most important metric. The Garden State wound up in middle of the pack in the rest of the categories — No. 16 in culture, No. 22 in weather and No. 23 in wellness.

“There are many factors to consider when deciding where to retire,” Adrian Garcia, data analyst for Bankrate.com, said. “Some people may choose to stay close to family, while others prefer to seek out warm weather or affordable living. It comes down to very personal preferences, so it’s important to weigh all factors and determine what is most important for your happiness.”

The Top 5 states to retire, according to Bankrate.com, include:

  1. Nebraska;
  2. Iowa;
  3. Missouri;
  4. South Dakota;
  5. Florida.

The Top 5 worst states to retire include:

  1. Maryland;
  2. New York;
  3. Alaska;
  4. Illinois;
  5. Washington.

To see the full rankings and methodology, click here.

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Show & Tell: How to keep your current employees from looking elsewhere

Richard Singer is director of permanent placement services with Robert Half in New Jersey.

According to data gathered by Robert Half, 43% of workers  plan to look for a new job within the next 12 months. In a tight job market where talent can be hard to come by, how can you keep your current employees from looking elsewhere?

“We advise clients all of the time on retention strategies. The most important thing is that companies know their employee base and what makes each person tick. Are you offering above-market salaries? Are you thinking outside the box when it comes to perks and benefits? More than half of employees (52%) say that flexible schedules and leaving early on Friday would be the best perks a company could offer. Bottom line: If you want to retain your employees and not lose them to the competition, it is time to start looking at your own internal hiring processes and analyzing what makes your company a great place to work.”

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CBD solution: Rosenbaum liked how cannabis-derived oil helped her anxiety … so she created her own company

Alexis Rosenbaum had no desire to experience cannabis, she said, until she developed debilitating anxiety in her late 20s. 

“Then, I figured, what have I got to lose?” she said. 

Her experience was positive — so much, in fact, that Rosenbaum, now 32, founded Rosebud CBD in Jersey City last year as a woman-owned and -run provider of cannabidiol, or CBD, oil.

The business has been a stunning success. Rosenbaum, the CEO, said she had more than $1 million in sales in its first year. And she’s not surprised.

“If this plant has affected me the way it has, who better to tell this story in order to help others open their eyes and perspectives, too?” she said. 

Originally from Cincinnati, Rosenbaum said moving to Hoboken in the summer of 2017 was a key catalyst for her entrepreneurship — and great for business. 

“Establishing myself as a ‘new’ Jersey girl who wants to have a company rooted here, to bring in product and money for the state, has been a huge pro,” she said. 

CBD oil can be taken a variety of ways, including mixed in beverages.

And, much like her product, Rosenbaum said the business’s unfolding has been rather organic, with “amazing” connections having fallen into place. 

“I’ve just tried to be real and honest and show my face while talking about the things I’ve experienced so that I can be here for our customers,” she said. “The plant has been stigmatized, but Rosebud is a safe place in which to continue to ask questions.”

Her search for answers, Rosenbaum said, is what led to her success, after all. 

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After graduating from Morehead State University in Kentucky with a degree in social work in 2011, Rosenbaum said she worked a variety of jobs that gave her lots of opportunity to observe leaders in small businesses, including as a front desk assistant, a sales representative, a personal assistant and a home manager. 

“My husband was chasing his pro baseball career, and it was difficult to have a full-time job and still make time to travel and see him,” Rosenbaum said. 

Her husband, Danny Rosenbaum, played professional baseball for several years, including with the Washington Nationals, Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox organizations. 

That is what gave Alexis Rosenbaum the idea for her first successful business. 

“I saw a niche in my husband’s industry that no one was filling,” she said. “I would go to team stores and would not resonate with any of the gear, because everything marketed toward women was pink and bedazzled.” 

Rosenbaum said she therefore began manufacturing and selling items created from leftover baseball glove laces with her sister, Hannah King, in 2013. 

“We made bracelets, lanyards, keychains and more, engraving personal messages onto the leather,” she said. 

With a patent and licensing deals with Major League Baseball teams, the pair was able to take a $100 investment and build a six-figure business in less than two years, with a 70 percent revenue growth year-over-year. 

But, when her husband left baseball, Rosenbaum said she lost interest and sold  Game Day Feels in 2017 before relocating to New Jersey. 

“My husband was offered a job here and we believed we had maxed out our potential in Ohio,” she said. “It seemed like an exciting opportunity to challenge ourselves within a totally new space, next to one of the biggest cities where the possibilities are endless.” 

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Upon relocating, Rosenbaum said she found work as an on-call remote director of business development for a small marketing and communications agency. 

But her anxiety only grew worse — until her sister convinced her to try full-flower cannabis. 

“I saw immense changes in my life and stress levels, but, without being able to microdose, I sometimes became paranoid,” Rosenbaum said. “So, I hunted for something else to use.”  

That’s when she discovered CBD, or the most prevalent phytocannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. 

“It helped me catch my breath, feel more in control and slow down,” Rosenbaum said. 

Because it is non-intoxicating, CBD is legal in all 50 states, regardless of other laws legalizing cannabis.

CBD, Rosenbaum said, can safely reduce anxiety, inflammation and pain in both humans and animals. 

“But the products I was exploring, I still couldn’t identify where the hemp was being grown or how many people touched the product before it reached me,” she said. “That opened the door for me to explore the possibility that I might be able to do this on my own.” 

Rosenbaum said that, through some research and explorative networking, she was able to connect and have several conversations with a farm in Eugene, Oregon, with which she ultimately would establish a relationship and trust over six months. 

“I also was buying, testing and selling their oil in bare packaging, seeing if people would want and enjoy this product as much as me,” she said. “Finally, in the spring of last year, I decided to launch my own brand — and tell my own story — using the products grown at their farm.” 

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Rosebud uses nothing but organic coconut oil and organic hemp in its full-spectrum CBD oils, whereas competitors often use ingredients such as fillers, additives, flavorings or preservatives. 

“We also don’t spray a single thing on our plants, as they are fed with everything they need from the earth,” Rosenbaum said. 

Each 15-milliliter bottle contains nearly 30 servings, with a 350mg bottle ($55) serving nearly 12mg of CBD per drop and a 1000mg bottle ($125) serving nearly 33mg. 

Rosebud also has partnered with Lauren’s All-Purpose Salve to produce a 350mg CBD salve ($75) to help relieve ailments such as psoriasis and eczema, Rosenbaum said.

“The cost of running and growing a successful business, of working directly with a small organic farm, of paying our farmers and their employees a fair wage and of applying for certain certifications — all of that was taken into consideration when creating the pricing for our elevated, high-quality product,” Rosenbaum said. 

Because it is non-intoxicating, the 2018 federal Farm Bill legalizes hemp (from which CBD is extracted) as long as products derived contain no more than 0.3% THC.

“That’s why having a direct connection with our farm is really important. Our product is handled by the same people all the way from seed to bottle, so there isn’t a lot of room for error.”

###

After running the business herself for nearly a year, Rosenbaum said she brought on several independent contractors to help manage customer service, retail sales, marketing, design, events business development and operations in January. 

“I’m creative and I like having the flexibility to work on different projects as they come up, so I like working with people who also value that type of lifestyle,” she said. “But, as a small team, it’s difficult to get ahead.” 

With Rosebud now in more than 100 retailers nationwide (including small cafes, yoga studios, barbershops and more in New Jersey) and moving more than 1,500 units per month online, Rosenbaum said she is now seeking investors to help her grow the business. 

“During the first half of this year, we have been making sure our product, packaging and marketing is up to date with all of the new and upcoming regulations,” she said. “In the second half, we will be all about expanding.

“We want to be that real, authentic, transparent brand that people feel they can trust and talk directly with.” 

Industry challenges 

Alexis Rosenbaum said there are several challenges to working within an industry associated with cannabis.  

“Banks are not usually interested in taking on the risk of working within an industry that is not yet regulated,” she said. “And there are a lot of barriers to running an e-commerce business in this space, like credit card processing, website hosting, using mail services such as Mailchimp and, especially, digital marketing.” 

Rosebud, for example, cannot advertise on social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook. 

“People are afraid of playing a role in the growth, marketing and sale of a legal product in an unregulated market with no real guidelines yet on how business should be handled,” Rosenbaum said.

Conversation Starter

Reach Alexis Rosenbaum at: hello@rosebudcbd.comor, for more information, visit: rosebudcbd.com

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Nonprofit Profile: Voorhees Animal Orphanage, caring for animals in 21 South Jersey towns

Origin

Voorhees Animal Orphanage is a nonprofit community animal shelter and 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded in 1988.

Mission

To provide compassionate shelter and adoption services for the animals entrusted to our care, with a goal of safely reuniting them with their owners or finding them suitable and permanent new homes. We strive to meet or exceed a 90% live release rate (no-kill).

As part of our role in the community at large, we support pet owners, animal lovers and companion animals through humane education and outreach.

Goals

To be an exemplary shelter and adoption center. Also, to raise $1.6 million for our Capital Campaign.

Programs

Our main job is to provide food, shelter and care for animals in 21 municipalities in southern New Jersey. We provide medical treatment through our VAO Medical Fund, manage adoption services, reconnect lost animals with their owners and provide ongoing socialization and obedience training. We are also an adoption center, rescuing cats and dogs from overcrowded, high-kill shelters on a local, regional and national levels.

Achievements

Saved more than 30,000 cats and dogs; held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction for our new building; kicked off our Capital Campaign, “Building for a Pawsitive Future,” through which we’ve raised more than $1 million. Anyone interested in making a donation can visit vaonj.org.

Fundraising

As we do not receive any county, state or federal funding, we rely heavily on grants and generous contributions of individuals and corporations. Approximately 70% of operating costs are paid for through donations. Donations can be made through our website or through our Facebook page.

Our biggest annual fundraiser is the Woofstock Festival. Our 23rd Annual festival is currently scheduled for Sept. 28. For more details, please visit our website at vaonj.org/woofstock-2019/.

Benefactors

We’re supported by past and present volunteers, families that have adopted from us and owners that we have helped reunite with their pets. We recently received a generous $100,000 donation from one of our volunteers, Barbara Patrizzi, for the naming rights to our new lobby — the Joseph J. and Jacqueline R. Patrizzi Atrium.

We also have received numerous grants from Petco Foundation, PetSmart Charities, Holman Enterprises and Shreiber Animal Foundation Enterprise.

Finally

Some refer to VAO as the “underdog,” and we take that with pride. We’ve had the odds stacked against us almost from our inception in 1988. We serve 16 towns in Camden County which is almost half of the county. We share a passion for animal welfare. We never turn away an animal — stray, abandoned or lost. We do everything we possibly can to give our animals a second chance at life and help them find their forever home. 

Conversation Starter

Reach Jennifer Bailey of Voorhees Animal Orphanage at jen@vaonj.com or 856-627-9111.

In brief

  • Location: Cooper Road, Voorhees, next to Voorhees Township Fire Station.
  • Serving: 21 municipalities in southern New Jersey, 16 of which are in Camden County.
  • Key members: David Semless, president, VAO board of directors; Dawn Mason, operations director; Jennifer Bailey, marketing director; Laurie Ballard, kennel manager; Rafael Santos, canine conduct coordinator; Bill Romaine, feline care manager; Joanne Collier, transportation coordinator; Traci Aromando, volunteer and outreach coordinator; and Olivia Ripca, rescue coordinator.

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13 earn EY Entrepreneur of Year Award for New Jersey

EY announced the winners of its annual Entrepreneur of the Year for New Jersey last week.

The 13 winners (in 11 categories) will not compete in EY’s national contest, where winners advance to a world competition.

Debra von Storch, EY Americas Entrepreneur of the Year program director, praised the group.

“There are many successful entrepreneurs in this world, but to build something truly remarkable, you can’t let anything stand in your way,” she said in a statement.

Since its founding in 1986, the program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries throughout the world.

The winners for the Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 New Jersey Award include:

John Ther
Amarin Corp.
Bedminster

Neel Premkumar
Dyla LLC
West New York

Frank Dombroski
FlexWage Solutions LLC
Mountainsid

Mike Bryzek and Rob Keve
Flow.io
Hoboken

James R. Maida
Gaming Laboratories International LLC
Lakewood

Michael Kane
Kane Brewing Company LLC
Ocean

Joe Lorenzo
Lorenzo Food Group
Englewood

Arthur Souritzidis
Momentum Solar
South Plainfield

Patrick Treacy
Onkos Surgical
Parsippany Troy Hills

Abby Taylor and Rob Giuliani
Playa Bowls
Belmar

Jenny Cohen
Triangle Home Fashions LLC
Dayton

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Monmouth Day Care Center: Affordable services for needy families

Origin

In 1969, the Red Bank area was missing a vital service: child care. There were single mothers who had no support system and no affordable child care available while they went to work. There were teenage mothers who were unable to complete their education due to lack of affordable child care. And there were families struggling to stay over the poverty line and make ends meet. It was during this time that a group of people started looking into opening an affordable, quality child care center for these families specifically. It would be affordable, educational to the parents and pay no attention to ethnicity, socio-economic status or religion: All would be welcome.

They then approached several community organizations to secure their sponsorship of this center. The Revitalization Corps, the National Council of Jewish Women-Greater Red Bank Section, the Junior League of Monmouth County, the Council of Churches and the Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club of Central New Jersey all agreed to sponsor the idea.

We ran our first class out of the basement in the United Methodist Church of Red Bank. We then began to grow and used space in the Shrewsbury Presbyterian Church. Within six years, we outgrew our spaces in the two churches and made a major purchase on 9 W. Bergen Place, now 9 Drs. James Parker Blvd., our current location.

Mission

Monmouth Day Care Center serves families seeking quality child care, without regard to race, religion, ethnicity or economic status. The center also extends appropriate guidance to these families.

Goals

Providing a quality early childhood program to everyone, regardless of their economic status, continues to be our main goal.

Programs

Monmouth Day Care Center offers full- and part-time enrollment for infants, toddlers and preschoolers (children 2 months – 5 years) in its specially designed facility. Features include a summer program, meals at no additional cost, daily outdoor play, a food pantry, sliding tuition scale and government subsidy programs, and more.

Achievements

In 1987, Monmouth Day Care Center became the first child care center in Monmouth County and the eighth in New Jersey to receive accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The center continues to maintain this accreditation. In 2009, Monmouth Day Care Center entered into a partnership with the Red Bank Board of Education. In 2018, the center received a star rating from the GROW NJ Kids Program, the fourth center in Monmouth County to receive this distinction.

Fundraising

Special events, a direct mail that we call Honor Roll, plus grants and more.

Benefactors

Two River Community Bank donated $25,000 for our 50th anniversary, with a match challenge to raise another $25,000.

Finally

MDCC supports the entire family. The Visiting Nurse Association’s WIC program holds its weekly clinic at MDCC every Wednesday. If a family runs out of money for dinner, it can stop in at our food pantry and “shop.” Coat drives in the winter and clothing drives year-round, hosted by Rotary Groups, are happening. Free dental visits for those children with no dental insurance take place during our regular school day. Annual, free eye screenings are hosted by the Middletown Lions Club and are available for any children in need.

Conversation Starter

For more information, please contact Heidi Zaentz, executive director, at: hzaentz@monmouthdaycare.com or 732-741-4313; or Amy Thomas, development coordinator, at: athomas@monmouthdaycare.com or 732-741-4313.

In brief

  • Location: 9 Drs. James Parker Blvd., Red Bank
  • Key members: Heidi Zaentz, executive director; Nancy Trimble, operations director; Amy Thomas, development coordinator; Elizabeth Traynor, early childhood education coordinator; Lanae Herman, board president.

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