BUSINESS OWNER SPEAKS HIGHLY OF GUADAGNO AS 100-COMPANY TOUR CLOSES
By Mary Ann Bourbeau/NJBIZ
November 21, 2011
A visit to Switlik Parachute, in Trenton, last week was the final stop for Kim Guadagno’s 100 Business Initiative, which has given the lieutenant governor a front-row seat to what drives New Jersey employers.
At Switlik, Guadagno was able to hear first-hand about the fourth-generation, family-owned company, which manufactures safety and survival products for the aviation, marine and government services industry. It produced 70 percent of parachutes used by the U.S. military during World War II, including the one that saved the life of former President George H.W. Bush over the Pacific in 1944.
Guadagno had been visiting the companies since February in order to foster an ongoing dialogue with many of New Jersey’s job creators. The effort to make New Jersey a home for economic growth included businesses of all sizes across key industries, including manufacturing, life sciences, service industries, transportation, finance, wholesale, telecommunications, construction and educational services.
“These discussions with job creators throughout the state and across these vital industries has only reaffirmed that our administration’s blueprint for economic growth is the right one for the state and its ongoing recovery,” Guadagno said. “The state’s Business Action Center was able to assist several companies with a range of advocacy services, while the benefit of these conversations with the private sector on matters of taxes, regulatory issues and other obstacles to growth will prove critical to sustaining our positive momentum moving forward.”
One of the companies Guadagno visited and subsequently helped was Flying Fish Brewery, in Cherry Hill.
“I was impressed with her,” said Gene Muller, president and founder of Flying Fish. Guadagno “was engaged and very engaging. She toured the plant and talked to employees, and we talked about issues affecting small businesses, specifically breweries in the state.”
Currently, small brewers cannot offer samples at the brewery or off-site locations, and retail sales at the brewery are restricted to two six-packs. The Garden State Craft Brewers Guild is pushing for legislation that would amend these restrictions, including the limits on the amount of beer that craft brewers can produce annually.
“Wineries have a lot more leeway in what they can do,” Muller said. “We’re trying to get parity with them.”
While many companies are laying off employees, Flying Fish is expanding. The company recently purchased a new manufacturing facility more than four times the size of the current one, and expects to hire about 15 full-time employees.
“We were supposed to close on the building the day after the lieutenant governor was here,” Muller said. “There was a glitch with the Department of Taxation, but her aides took care of it for us, so we were still able to go ahead with the closing. That’s government in action.”
Through pro-growth policies such as the New Jersey Partnership for Action and the Red Tape Review Commission, New Jersey companies have committed to generate and retain over 28,000 jobs, bringing more than $4.6 billion in total public-private investment to the Garden State since January 2010.