Morristown’s Just Jersey shop just edged out four other finalists to win a $100,000 promotional package in a contest co-sponsored by the New York Jets.
“We’re still in a little bit of shock,” said Just Jersey partner Paul Miller.
The South Street store, which added a Montclair venue last year, sells items handcrafted by Garden State artists and designers.
As winner of the Jets’ second annual Small Business Showcase, Just Jersey will get stadium signage for all Jets 2019 home games, commercials on Jets broadcasts on 98.7 ESPN, a presence at the Jets training camp presented by showcase co-sponsor M&T Bank, and a presence at a Jets home game.
More than 200 businesses from the New York metropolitan area applied to the contest.
At a pitch night on Monday at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, Miller and business partner Tina Bologna went up against finalists Benefits Square of Edison; Greens Do Good of Hackensack; Casale Jewelry of Staten Island, NY; and AJ’s Gourmet Cheese Shop of Bay Shore, NY.
Entries were judged on their depth of community involvement, worthiness of business and brand, and their business- and sponsorship category “fit” to partner with the Jets and M&T Bank, according to the Jets.
“In partnership with M&T Bank, this program provides a great opportunity to support our community and the local, small businesses within it. The Jets gladly welcome Just Jersey into our family, and we are thrilled to work with them throughout the 2019 season,” New York Jets President Neil Glat said in a statement.
“We join the Jets in congratulating Just Jersey and all of this year’s finalists for their inspiring entrepreneurial skills and passion for their businesses,” said M&T Bank Vice President Giuseppe Mastroeli.
“Small businesses not only play a vital role in their local communities but our country’s economy as a whole,” he said in a statement.
Together, they launched Just Jersey as a Christmas experiment in 2014, and re-opened for good a few weeks later.
Over the years they have donated a portion of profits to charities. A percentage of greeting card revenues has bought more than 1,000 sandwiches for Morristown’s Community Soup Kitchen, by Miller’s count.
The Small Business Showcase award also will benefit nearly 250 New Jersey-based producers of goods sold in Just Jersey, added Bologna.
“It will allow us to enhance to our nonprofit partnerships and increase our collective impact on issues close to our hearts,” she said.
Miller thanked both sponsors for the opportunity “to celebrate the economic and social value that small independent retailers like Just Jersey contribute to their communities.”
The shop’s challenge now, he joked, “is to let people know we don’t sell jerseys.”
Not yet, anyway.