Mayor Minniti announced on Tuesday that a Saladworks will be opening in Cinnaminson
Mayor Anthony Minniti announced on Facebook this week that Saladworks applied to open a new location in Cinnaminson. Saladworks is to join Chipotle, currently under construction, in the Shoppes at Cinnaminson and will occupy the vacant space Sleepy’s used to occupy.
Saladworks going into an empty space is sure to please residents, as there is an ongoing concern in Cinnaminson over building new businesses when vacant spaces exist. However, Minniti says Cinnaminson has no say over whether the businesses build a new space or occupy a vacancy.
“We are not a landlord. No municipality can order a business to go into a space just because you want them in that space,” Minniti said. “We always try to market our existing spaces first, but most businesses have an idea or a model of what they want. If they decide they don’t want to go in one of the existing spots, we can try to accommodate them somewhere else, or they’ll go to another municipality.”
Minniti says residents might be surprised to find out 90 percent of spaces on Route 130 are already occupied. He added while the empty spaces could be filled with big box discount stores, Cinnaminson is attempting to establish a higher standard for businesses.
“We put an immense amount of time and study into what types of businesses we wanted on Route 130,” Minniti said.
Minniti says the township wants to bring in businesses that are going to enhance Cinnaminson and the lives of the residents and offer some sort of unique service. Saladworks and Chipotle, for example, are popular businesses that offer specific dining experiences. These are the types of businesses Cinnaminson wants. PDQ and Wawa with gas have both also been approved to open in town.
Minniti also put to rest the concern of the township forcing businesses to close so more desirable businesses can open.
“That has never happened. We have never condemned anybody and forced them out of business,” he said.
While Minniti used to have to recruit businesses to come to Cinnaminson and would often have representatives laugh at him, businesses are now seeing Route 130 as the place to be. Leasing agents are contacting the township, and applications are rolling in.
When Minniti first joined Township Committee in 2002, Route 130 was an entirely different place with more motels and lower-end businesses.
“We’ve gotten to that point where people are no longer embarrassed of Route 130,” he said. “It’s a really satisfying feeling.”
Since Route 130 tends to be the first impression for travelers coming into Cinnaminson, Minniti says it’s important to keep it looking nice.
Minniti serves as the liaison between township committee and the economic development department and has been a part of nearly every approval on Route 130 since Wal-Mart opened in the 1990s. Economic Development Director Mike Minton, who was a previous mayor in Cinnaminson, serves as somebody who is regularly available to meet with businesses interested in starting a location in Cinnaminson. All potential businesses go through Minton.
Minniti becomes involved in the process once projects are more concrete, but Minton is there from start to finish.
“[Minton] is with the business owner from the moment they first meet, into the approval process and through opening,” Minniti said. “He is a constant presence and a constant resource.”
Minniti said he is dedicated to making sure owners are satisfied, so much so he provides them with his cell phone number in case they’re having trouble.
“If they can’t get satisfaction on township level, it’s a phone call to me and then I’m on the phone with the township advocating on their behalf,” Minniti said.
One of the appeals that draws businesses in, Minniti says, is Cinnaminson’s reputation for being business-friendly and making the entire process as quick and painless as possible.
Another ongoing concern has been rumors the Friendly’s on Route 130 was closing, but Minniti confirmed it’s not.
“Friendly’s will be a part of our redevelopment plan. Garden State Inn will not,” he said.
Cinnaminson has come a long way from the Cinnaminson Mall, Motel Row and being laughed at by business owners, but it doesn’t stop here, Minniti said.
“Our top priorities are the Highland Avenue and Route 130 redevelopment. We want to see through the applications that have come in for several new businesses,” Minniti said.
Additionally, the sewer authority is making a significant investment to establish sewer service on Taylors Lane, which Minniti hopes will bring in more businesses as local sewer service can save them a lot of money.
While Minniti is unable to announce any other specific business plans at this time, he says there’s lots in store for 2017.