Issuu on Google+

page 1

2010 Entrepreneur Directory


page 2

I

n this directory, you will find some inspiring people. Many have risked it all to turn their passion into a successful business. Others are capitalizing on a unique skill to provide for their

families. All of them have courageously chosen entrepreneurship as a path toward financial security. Most importantly, they have a lot to offer you, the customer. Our job at the Intersect Fund is to inspire entrepreneurs. More often, though, they inspire us. Many have faced daunting odds to find success, and have created amazing businesses along the way. Within these pages, you will find cutting-edge fashion, amazing, glass-blown art, and mouth-watering culinary confections. But for every entrepreneur who succeeds, there are a dozen being told they don’t have what it takes — that they should just go get a job, that it’s all a waste of time. It shows that becoming an entrepreneur takes more than writing a business plan or getting a loan. It takes a lot of hope. When you get to know the entrepreneurs in this directory, you’ll see what this hope can do. You’ll see the transformative effect that starting a business can have on a life, a family and a community. Whether it’s the personal chef who uses only organic, locally grown ingredients, the storeowner who runs a clothing pantry, or the massage therapist who treats children with disabilities, our clients show us what it means to run a business with a conscience. We hope you will give these businesses a try. You won’t regret it.


page 3

Entrepreneur Directory

2010 photos by Brendan McInerney made possible by


page 4

Meet... THE SEASONAL FORK

4

Personal chef with an eye on the environment

A TASTE OF RUBIES

6

Cheesecakes and cupcakes that will leave you wanting more

FROMAGE FETE

8

Cheese catering and tastings from an expert

GOURMET TO YOUR DOORSTEP

10

Gourmet catering from a French-trained chef

KIDS CAN

12

Tasty desserts with an exotic twist

EVERYTHING AND MORE

14

Dependable cooking, cleaning and childcare

BRUNSWICK SPORTS REHAB & MASSAGE

16

Massage therapy from a seasoned professional

BETTER THAN MOM’S LAUNDRY Next-day laundry service with pick-up and delivery

18


page 5

meet more entrepreneurs online at:

WWW.INTERSECTFUND.ORG

KARING SOLUTIONS

20

Helping grassroots organizations make a difference

MAKING THE CUT PROPERTY MAINTENANCE

22

Meticulous lawn care and snow removal

SP CLEANING

24

Maid service that goes the extra mile

JNC ENTERPRISES

26

Insider discounts on name-brand cosmetics

THE LOUNGE SOCIETY

28

Soaps, oils, and jewelry with a social mission

TAKING TEA IN STYLE

30

Tea parties and blends from a connoisseur

NICK & PIN NOSTALGIA

32

A fashionista’s pick of shoes, bags, and bracelets

ON CENTER GLASS Glass-blowing lessons from a master of the craft

34


page 6

A Passion for Food With a grandmother from Georgia and a grandfather from India, PEARL THOMPSON was exposed early to a variety of culinary styles.

A personal chef, Thompson runs The Seasonal Fork. She offers customers a range of meals made from organic, locally grown ingredients. Her repertoire includes Indian, Thai and Chinese food, and her customers range from professionals short on time to athletes in training. Thompson took classes at the New York Restaurant School and at the Culinary Institute of America, eventually teaching the trade to other budding chefs. She developed a reputation in central New Jersey as an excellent chef, and one adept at accommodating special dietary needs. After catering a conference in Highland Park, she was approached by the event’s vegan attendees, who encouraged her to start a catering and personal cooking business. Since then, she has cooked meals for dozens of clients. Though she will gladly cook meat, some of her previously carnivorous clients have gone vegetarian after tasting her meatless meals, she says. Thompson’s focus on organic, locally grown food makes economic and nutritional sense. “It’s great for planet, great for the local economy, and it’s way healthier,” she says. She buys ingredients mostly from farms in North Brunswick, East Brunswick and Griggstown. Why did Thompson choose to cook for a living? “I love it. I love food. It has such a strong social, spiritual and economic impact on every area of your life.”

THE SEASONAL FORK Contact: Pearl can be reached at (732) 297-5195 Best Buy: Her personal chef services range from $250 to $400 per week, depending on the number of meals


FOOD page 7

G

TE

Meet Pearl, a personal chef who uses local produce.

R A D UA


page 8

FOOD

Meet Ruby, who sells cheesecakes and cupcakes.


When RUBY WESLEY worked as an accountant in New York, she would bring homemade cheesecakes to the office on special occasions. Every time, someone would suggest she start a business selling them. In 2007, she did just that. Armed with an old family recipe, Wesley founded A Taste of Rubies. She began baking cheesecakes, and her repertoire has since grown to include over a dozen different types. In addition to traditional, New Yorkstyle cakes, she offers varieties such as Pecarmel (pecan and carmel), Dalmation (Oreos and fudge) and Caribbean Dream (fresh mango). Wesley sells cheesecakes at the Raritan Bakery in Edison, through her website, and at several restaurants in Newark and Asbury Park. Since getting started, Wesley has expanded her offerings to edible party favors, cupcakes, and mini-cheesecakes. She is also dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship in the region, serving as president of the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners chapter that covers Middlesex and Somerset counties. “I have a passion for what I do,” Wesley says, adding that she is motivated by moral support from her family. Eventually, Wesley plans to open a store in downtown New Brunswick.

A TASTE OF RUBIES Contact: E-mail Ruby at ruby@atasteofrubies.com Gift Idea: The Dalmation, a New York style cheesecake blended with Oreo® Cookies and topped with fudge, sells for $26.99 at www.atasteofrubies.com

page 9

Pleasantly Addictive Pastries


G

TE

page 10

FOOD

R A D UA

Meet Robin, who offers cheese catering and tastings.


When ROBIN WILLIAMS was in charge of cheese at a five-star restaurant in Virginia, his official title was “fromagier.” But he prefers Cheese Guru. His job entailed guiding diners through the restaurant’s wide cheese selection, which would frequently include 30 types on a given night. He would roll the cheeses out on a platter and tell guests about each kind available. They would ask him whether it was pasteurized, who made it, what region it came from, and the wines with which it went best. Mastering the trade was not easy, but it left him with expertise that has come in handy for his latest business venture. Williams and his wife Heidi have founded Fromage Fete, a full-service cheese catering company. Hosts of house parties, birthday gatherings and fundraisers hire Fromage Fete to provide an array of cheeses, presented with the expertise of a guru. Along with the cheese, Fromage Fete will supply silverware, plates, sauces, crackers and bread. They also offer a tasting, teaching guests about the cheese selection. The Williamses will advise a party’s host as to what types of wine, beer or coffee to serve with a given cheese selection. Cheese tastings range from $12-18 per guest and Fromage Fete can arrange for fine tableware, bread and jellies, and waiters.

FROMAGE FETE Contact: E-mail Robin at mail@fromagefete.com Gift idea: Fromage Fete’s gourmet cheese gift baskets range from $45 to $65 at www.fromagefete.com

page 11

The Cheese Guru


page 12

FOOD

G

TE

Meet Sam, a French-trained chef and gourmet caterer.

R A D UA


One often has to choose between quality and quantity. But SAM JOHNSON’s catering company — Gourmet to your Doorstep — brings

heaping helpings of both. The Trenton-based chef serves up outsize portions of Italian, Caribbean, and American cuisines, and he has traveled the world to learn his trade. Johnson’s journey began when he left his native Nigeria for Belgium. He worked as a kitchen aide at an upscale Brussels restaurant, where the exacting French chef soon recruited him as an apprentice. Johnson mastered French cuisine, but he longed for a change of scenery. He came to the United States and eventually cooked at Atlantic City’s Trump Taj Mahal Hotel and Casino. Shining there led him to several other kitchens, including those of the New Brunswick Hyatt Regency Hotel, Kingston’s Main Street Bakery, and Merrill Lynch’s corporate headquarters. He had cooked for two New Jersey governors, but his career’s most taxing turn had yet to come. After the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Johnson was drafted as executive chef of Nino’s, a Canal Street fixture that had become a soup kitchen for firemen, police officers and volunteers. There, he served over 4,000 meals a day. Grateful Ground Zero rescuers eagerly awaited Johnson’s chicken Marsala and pasta primavera. “I could see the smiles on their faces,” he says. When Johnson returned to New Jersey, he brought his culinary talent to the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. He still makes meals from scratch and serves thousands each day. But for the first time in years, the veteran restaurateur has some time on his hands.

GOURMET TO YOUR DOORSTEP Contact: Sam can be reached at (609) 346-0318 Best Buy: Sam’s Chicken Marsala costs $50 and serves 20

page 13

From a Skillful Chef, Gourmet for Less


page 14

Cooking for a Cause When Americans think about the nation of Haiti, a rich culinary tradition is not the first thing that comes to their minds. Which is unfortunate, says Haitian emigrant and baker TAMARA APOLLON. Few in the developed world can look beyond her country’s poverty and reliance on foreign aid. “People think we only take and do not give,” she says. She hopes to change that perception by bringing a variety of Frenchinspired Haitian treats to the American palate. Apollon’s repertoire includes Marquise, a creamy, frozen dessert with layers of cookie and ice cream; Buche de Noel, a log-shaped Christmastime cake flavored with chocolate or Gran Marnier liqueur; mango cheesecake, and cupcakes with pineapple and passion fruit topping. Though she has yet to take her business full-time, Apollon’s deskbound day job provides ample opportunities for market research. “Every time I cook for work,” she says, “people are saying, ‘When are you going to start your own business?’” Now her business, Kids Can, boosts appreciation of her native culture. Eventually, she will use its proceeds to improve the lives of her compatriots. Her goal is to generate enough revenue to create an educational center for disadvantaged girls in Les Cayes, a city on Haiti’s southern shore. Apollon says that a lack of education and job skills forces many Haitian females into domestic slavery. She wants to hire teachers to train them in a variety of skills so they can start their own businesses. “I want to empower them,” she says.

KIDS CAN Contact: Tamara can be reached at (908) 400-9100 Gift Idea: The Marquise serves 7 to 8 people and costs $15. Cheesecakes are $20-30 and serve ten


FOOD

TE

page 15

G

R A D UA

Meet Tamara, who makes desserts with an exotic twist.


page 16

PERSONAL SERVICES

G

TE

Meet Janice, who cooks, cleans (and does just about everything else).

R A D UA


In a gadget-crazed world, the Smartphone is king. It can check e-mail, manage money and fire off Facebook updates all at once. But believe it or not, there are some things your Blackberry cannot do. It cannot wait for the cable guy, bring your dog to the vet, or fix you a home-cooked meal. That’s where JANICE MCMILLAN comes in. Her business, Everything and More, is about tying up loose ends. “I take care of the little things people don’t have time to do,” she says. For the past five years, the Piscataway resident has made her clients’ lives a little easier. She’ll do the laundry, prepare dinner, watch the kids, and wait for that phone company employee who swears he’ll come by between noon and 5 p.m. Among Everything and More’s clients are medical students with no time to clean their apartments, and doctors whose private practices eat up their free time. The idea for Everything and More came from McMillan’s days as a single mother. For years, she says, she couldn’t go out with friends, spend time alone, or even run errands without bringing her kids along. “You need to have your own time,” she says, “when you don’t have to answer ‘Mommy’ questions.” McMillan wants to give her clients more time to be alone, to work, or to do whatever they would like. And who knows? With everyday stressors out of the way, they may decide to spend more time with their families and less with their phones.

EVERYTHING AND MORE Contact: Call Janice at (908) 705–3995 Great Value: Everything and More charges on a sliding scale that dips as low as $10 per hour

page 17

The Cure for a Hectic Life


page 18

PERSONAL SERVICES

G

TE

Meet Elvis, a seasoned massage therapist.

R A D UA


ELVIS MAIRENA is a sports guy. A former professional soccer

player, the New Brunswick-based physical therapist uses sports massage to help his clients — athletes or not — reach their peak performance. Mairena has founded Brunswick Sports Rehab & Massage, which helps its clients recover from strenuous physical activity. Some of his customers have spent all day getting tackled on the field, and others have worked all day in an operating room. Mairena also works full-time as a Rutgers University Athletic Department physical therapist, helping Scarlet Knights recover from injuries quickly so they can return to the field. A few years ago, Mairena said, a Rutgers football player suffered an injury trainers thought would bench him from a bowl game. But once Mairena treated him, he felt good enough to play. Rutgers won the game. Sometimes, Mairena says, area doctors will refer patients to him, telling them that sports massage could heal injuries that might otherwise require surgery. Once in a while, Mairena and his American colleagues travel to Mairena’s native Costa Rica, where they offer pro bono care in areas where healthcare is scarce. A few years ago, the mother of a paralyzed, 10-month-old boy brought her son to Mairena. After an hour of treatment, the boy began to crawl.

BRUNSWICK SPORTS REHAB & MASSAGE Contact: Elvis can be reached at (732) 668-4111 Best Buy: An hour long massages costs $75 for professionals and $40 for students

page 19

The Man with the Midas Touch


page 20

PERSONAL SERVICES

Meet Mike and Casey, who’ll do your laundry next-day.


The best business idea is often the one sitting right under your nose. Sometimes, you can even smell it. CASEY RUFF and MIKE IVERS were juniors at Rutgers when they founded BTM Laundry & Dry Cleaning. The company will pick up your laundry, wash or dry clean it at the laundromat, and return it to you the next day.

At first, they targeted fellow college students who yearned for the conveniences of home — “BTM” stands for “Better than Mom’s.” They knew students don’t like to do laundry. The question was why all students didn’t already pay someone else to do it for them. The reason, Ivers says, is that most laundry companies charge by the pound, meaning customers won’t know how much the service costs until they receive the bill. This uncertainty does not sit well with often-broke college students. So he and Ruff took a different route. Customers who would rather not pay by the pound can stuff their clothes in a big, blue “BTM” Bag, and pay a flat rate of $25 to get them washed. Stuffed to capacity, the bag holds about 30 pounds of laundry. BTM picks up hundreds of these bags from college dorms, but they have also branched out to serve local businesses. After all, doctors’ offices, nail salons, and barbershops need sheets, towels and aprons cleaned every night. Since launching in 2006, Ruff, Ivers and their team of three employees have served nearly 1,000 customers.

BETTER THAN MOM’S LAUNDRY Best Buy: Stuff a “BTM Bag” full of laundry and pay a flat $25 to have it washed Contact: Visit BTM’s website at www.btmlaundry.com

page 21

Airing the Dirty Laundry


page 22

Making Change Last As a freelance consultant, KAREN JOHNSON works with groups who have the best of intentions for their communities. But good intentions only go so far. Without smart strategies for growth, grassroots groups can buckle under the weight of their own passion. Through her business — Karing Solutions — Johnson helps these organizations find the right ways to accomplish their goals. “It’s one thing to want to do good,” she says, “it’s another thing to make it sustainable.” When a group seeks Johnson’s help, she sits down with its leaders to figure out what they need. Often, groups can increase their impact by connecting with like-minded allies and measuring the outcomes of their work. One of Johnson’s most recent projects was helping to organize a health fair in Plainfield, New Jersey. A group wanted to tell community members about available health care resources, but had no money and little manpower. With Johnson’s help, they reached out to local hospitals and corporations to sponsor the event. The fair was a smashing success, attracting 400 attendees. Johnson’s expertise is in issues like education, gang-awareness and economic development. Several years ago, she worked as a consultant to the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, a multi-million dollar project to revitalize Harlem. Johnson facilitated job training for 2,000 neighborhood residents. There, she learned to manage the intricacies of large-scale projects, a skill she brings to the table in helping smaller, local groups. In New Jersey, Johnson has helped organizations that provide anti-gang seminars, G.E.D. education programs, and affordable housing.

KARING SOLUTIONS Contact: Karen can be reached at (732) 648-3645 Her prices vary by organization


G

TE

page 23

PERSONAL SERVICES

R A D UA

Meet Karen, who helps grassroots groups make a difference.


G

TE

page 24

PERSONAL SERVICES

R A D UA

Meet Bill, who does property maintenace and snow removal.


Keeping a well-trimmed lawn has always been a source of pride for BILL RAWLES. He enjoys working outside, mowing the grass, cutting the hedges and edging the walkways. When Rawles decided to turn his gift for landscaping into a business in 2004, Making the Cut Property Maintenance, L.L.C. was born. Since then, Rawles and his team have taken care of hundreds of lawns throughout Middlesex and Somerset counties, as well as several commercial properties in Newark. They mow the grass; trim the shrubs, and edge sidewalks and driveways. They’ll also get rid of leaves in the fall and remove the sticks and mud that accumulate in the spring. For homeowners hoping to spruce up their properties, Making the Cut offers services such as mulching, seeding, sodding, and gutter-cleaning. Realtors hire Rawles to maintain properties they have listed for sale. What started as a part-time business to help Rawles pay for his kids’ education has since become a full-time vocation for the Piscataway resident. Rawles has made sure that he and his team know the ins and outs of property maintenance. During the off-season, they take courses at the Rutgers University Cooperative Extension on snow and ice removal, pesticides, and irrigation systems. The company has also become certified to apply Techni-Seal sealants for paved driveways and walkways.

MAKING THE CUT PROPERTY MAINTENACE Contact: Bill can be reached at (908) 420-2921, or at nicegrounds@aol.com. His website is www.nicegrounds.com Best Buy: For full-service lawn maintenance, Making the Cut charges based on the size of the property. In this area, visits average $35

page 25

A Green Thumbs Up


page 26

PERSONAL SERVICES

G

TE

Meet Sandra, who’s maid service goes the extra mile.

R A D UA


In the seven years SANDRA PEREZ has been cleaning houses, she has developed a reputation for quality. Her clients, she says, often tell her no one has ever gotten their homes as tidy as she has. Perez began at her trade in 2002, when she worked for a Chicago house cleaning company. Starting out as a maid, she quickly rose through the ranks to become a supervisor of several new hires. Her job was to manage her subordinates’ schedules and ensure customers were satisfied with the company’s service. When Perez and her family moved to New Jersey several years later, she had grown tired of working for a company. So she decided to start her own business, S.P. Cleaning. She serves several clients in Highland Park, North Brunswick and Franklin, and is looking to serve more customers throughout Middlesex County. When it comes to cleaning houses, Perez does it all. She vacuums, cleans kitchens and bathrooms, cleans hardwood floors, takes out garbage, changes linen, and she’ll even clean windows — a service for which many other maid services charge extra, she says. Perez’s clients know they can count on her. “They trust me,” she says, noting that she is sometimes asked to look after children and pets while cleaning houses.

S.P. CLEANING Contact: Sandra can be reached by phone at (732) 249-1804 and by e-mail at candela60SP@yahoo.com Best Buy: Sandra’s rates depend on the size of the house she cleans. For small houses and apartments, the fee is $80 per visit. For larger houses, the fee rises as high as $300 per visit

page 27

Mrs. Clean


page 28

He’s Got a Deal for You JAMES CRANDELL has found an innovative way of selling

cosmetics for less. When big cosmetic companies place products on store shelves, they do so on a trial basis. Products that sell quickly get to stay. Slower-selling products are removed. Not because they are inferior to their quick-selling counterparts, but because they are less popular. This leaves warehouses in the region stuck with tons of products that they cannot sell. Their loss is Crandell’s gain: He and his business partners approach the managers of these warehouses and offer to buy their unwanted stock. Eager to reclaim the space and cut their losses, the managers sell the products at a fraction of retail price. In turn, Crandell can sell these products — including lotions, hair and skin care, and organic shampoos — for half of what they would cost in stores. Though his products are not quite as popular as the ones that remain on shelves, they often attract a following. He rents tables at outdoor markets throughout New Jersey, and his customers on eBay shop from throughout the United States and Europe. The most rewarding part of running his business, Crandell says, is saving people money in his community. “I love to see the look in their eyes,” he says, “when they see that there’s a place they can go to get a great deal for their families.”

JNC ENTERPRISES Contact: To find out where James is selling, call him at (908) 307-7236 Recession Special: Name-brand products all sell for half of retail price


page 29

SPECIALTY GOODS

G

TE

Meet James, who has discounts on name-brand cosmetics.

R A D UA


page 30

SPECIALTY GOODS

G

TE

Meet Zakiyia, who sells soaps, oils and jewelry.

R A D UA


The Lounge Society, owned by ZAKIYIA FORBES, offers a wide range of soaps, perfume oils and incense. But the business is about more than smelling good. The company’s profits fund programs that give back to the New Brunswick community. Forbes runs a clothing pantry, sponsors a toy and food drive for the holidays, and hosts programs on entrepreneurship at local community centers. Forbes sources her merchandise far and wide, offering bar soap from Manhattan and jewelry from India. Her goal is to run a socially responsible business that promotes cultural awareness through the arts. Her products include versatile lotions and essential oils that work in lieu of perfume, cologne, or even home air fresheners. Extracted from plants and flowers, they come in scents such as eucalyptus, peppermint and lavender. One of Forbes’s top sellers is an oil home starter kit, which includes a ceramic oil burner and several trial-sized oil containers. Forbes also sells bracelets emblazoned with national flags from Italy to Ethiopia, and others that feature Bible verses. She looks to expand her business while maintaining her socially responsible focus. “You don’t start off with a big idea today and end up with a Fortune 500 company tomorrow. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible if you’re willing to take the steps.”

THE LOUNGE SOCIETY Contact: Zakiyia can be reached at (732) 470-3395 or at theloungesociety@gmail.com Gift ideas: The Lounge Society offers organic bar soaps for $6 each, an oil home starter kit for $24, and bracelets featuring national flags for $10 each

page 31

The Best of All Worlds


page 32

Just Her Cup of Tea For as long as she can remember, SHARON LEVY has started each day with a cup of tea. The drink was a staple during her childhood in Jamaica, and her family brought their love of tea when they came to America. Now, she has turned her passion into a business, called Taking Tea in Style. Levy caters tea parties, offers etiquette training for children and sells 18 flavors of gourmet tea on her website. “I love entertaining and enjoy the tea experience,” Levy says, “and people enjoy my teas.” Levy’s full-service tea catering allows hosts to sit back and relax. She brings teas, teacups, flatware, finger sandwiches, pastries and music. She and her staff wait on guests during the party and clean up afterward. Relaxation is key to unlocking the healing power of tea. Drinking it regularly, she says, can relieve stress and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Tea parties can also be a great way to teach etiquette. Levy offers training sessions for children and adolescents that impart skills like table manners and polite conversation. Levy also offers a variety of exotic blends. Her teas can be purchased on her website as well as at The Little Chef in Princeton and the Main Street Bakery in Kingston, N.J. She caters tea parties in New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York City.

TAKING TEA IN STYLE Contact: Call Sharon at (908) 239-0100, or e-mail her at teaparty@takingtea-instyle.com Gift Idea: Try a 4 oz. pouch of coconut vanilla chai for $10 from www.takingtea-instyle.com


page 33

SPECIALTY GOODS

G Courtesy of Sharon Levy

TE

Meet Sharon, who will come to you and host a tea party.

R A D UA


page 34

SPECIALTY GOODS

G

TE

Meet Rhonda, who sells high-end consignment.

R A D UA


RHONDA HAMILTON has a vision: She sees a world in which

people can look good without spending a fortune on fashion. Hamilton runs Nick & Pin Nostalgia, a business offering women’s clothing and accessories at deep discounts. She specializes in dresses, pencil skirts, high heels, hats, gloves and jewelry. An eye for value is the key to selling quality goods at low prices. For Hamilton, it’s become sixth sense. She can scan a sea of clothes, spot something special, and place it in a stunning ensemble. “It’s how you put it together that counts,” she says. This line of work has long been a calling for Hamilton, who recalls dressing up in her mother’s clothes as a little girl. Her passion soon became a career: she ran a women’s clothing shop in St. Louis before moving east five years ago. She now sells clothing at outdoor markets in central New Jersey while taking orders over the phone and via e-mail. Hamilton likes to point out that her business is about more than clothes, that it’s about confidence, too. By putting together a great outfit, she says, “I can keep that smile on my face regardless of whatever problems I may have.” She wants to offer this same type of relief to her customers. “If you feel good on the inside, you should look good on the outside,” she says. “And I love to see people look good.”

NICK & PIN NOSTALGIA Contact: E-mail Hamilton at rubyred7707@yahoo.com for information on sales events, inventory and prices Gift idea: Hamilton sells a bracelet gift box that includes several bracelets, a silk pillow and a mirror set. It costs $10.

page 35

Feel-good Fashion


G

Meet Sean, who gives glass-blowing lessons.

Courtesy of Ryan Johnson Digital

TE

page 36

SPECIALTY GOODS

R A D UA


At 21 years old, SEAN LEWIS was a few semesters away from an engineering degree. Sticking around a little longer would have earned him a safe, fiscally sound career path. But Lewis was looking for a change. When he learned that a family friend ran a glass blowing studio in Tucson, Ariz., he left school and moved west within a week. There, he found his passion. And what’s not to like? You plunge a steel rod into a 2,000-degree furnace, lift up molten glass (which, at that temperature, drips off the steel like honey) and mold it into a slender vase, a colorful ornament, or a million-dollar chandelier. “It’s the best job in the world,” Lewis says, “ It’s one step away from alchemy.” When Lewis returned to New Jersey — his home state — with his wife, Marin, the two launched On-Center Glass, a business that invites outsiders into their fascinating world. They offer evening events for those who want a taste of glass blowing, and a semester-long course for aspiring experts. The Lewises seek to create a community around glass blowing. And in New Jersey, there’s a precedent. During the American Revolution glass was big business in the Garden State (think “Glassboro”). By inviting customers into their studio, Sean and Marin hope to spread awareness of a craft they’ve come to love. They also seek to create a safe and fun hangout for veteran creative-types and young, budding artists.

ON CENTER GLASS Contact: For information about pricing and reservations, e-mail Sean at info@oncenterglass.com Best Buy: Try the Glassblowing Experience and create a paperweight, a cup, and a small blown vessel of your choice for $205 per person

page 37

Building a Glass House


The Intersect Fund is a student-driven organization that empowers entrepreneurs to start and grow strong businesses so they can build assets and spark dramatic change in their communities. We provide business training, small loans, and access to markets for low-income business owners in urban New Jersey. Headquartered in New Brunswick, NJ, the Intersect Fund employs innovative strategies to help our clients achieve business success. In our first year of operation, we have served 86 entrepreneurs. Two Rutgers University students founded the Intersect Fund, and they have remained since graduating to become the group’s first full-time employees. They depend on a volunteer corps comprised of Rutgers’ best and brightest students to serve entrepreneurs. The 16 entrepreneurs profiled in this directory represent a cross section of the small business landscape in central New Jersey and the clients the Intersect Fund serves. With your help, we can connect more entrepreneurs to the resources they need to succeed. Donations to the Intersect Fund, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, are tax-deductable. For more information, visit us at www.intersectfund.org.

G

TE

page 38

About...

R A D UA

The “Graduate” stamp indicates that the entrepreneur profiled has completed a three-month course in business planning. We teach the basics of marketing, finance, and operation.


page 39


page 40

made possible by


http://intersectfund.org/images/uploads/directory