LITTLE SILVER – The Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurship at Fairleigh Dickinson University honored Sickles Market of Little Silver as New Jersey Family Business of the Year during an awards ceremony at the Crystal Plaza in Livingston last Tuesday, October 11.
The 103 year old specialty food market and garden center located on property that dates back to a King’s Land Grant in 1663 was the winner in the category of family businesses with over $10 million in sales.
The New Jersey Family Business of the Year Awards recognize family firms that best exemplify strong businesses acumen, active family engagement, innovation and community involvement. Winners are eligible for the National Family Business of the Year Competition and will be featured in the November issue of ***ITALSNew Jersey Monthly Magazine**ENDTALS. Forty-five businesses throughout the state submitted applications in the contest.
Sickles Market was initially notified in July that it was among eight semi-finalists in its category. There were another eight semi-finalists in a second category for family businesses with sales of “up to $10 million.” In that category a neighboring business, Leonardo Jewelers, Red Bank, was named a finalist. Cooper Pest Solutions, Lawrenceville, was selected as the winner in that category.
At the awards ceremony Sickles was first selected as one of three finalists in its category. Then, the emcee, TV News 9 Anchorwoman Brenda Blackmon, announced that Sickles Market had won first place.
“We’re still flying high on the heels of the announcement,” said Bob Sickles, 3rd generation owner of the national-award winning business. “Our business has been a labor of love for my family for many, many years. A business like ours is not run by a few family members, but by a great team of staff members and I thank them for their passion and dedication to making Sickles Market a first place winner. It has been a difficult three years for all family businesses, but I was inspired by the huge amount of good leadership I saw at the awards ceremony,” said Sickles.
Bob’s daughter Tori, representing the 4th generation of the family, has recently joined Sickles Market as Marketing Assistant. Bob’s brother Ted is a self-taught horticulturist and plays an instrumental role in the award-winning garden center. Bob’s Dad, Robert, at 84 years, continues to raise vegetables, blackberries and raspberries. Sickles Market employs 130 staff members. The business is an enthusiastic supporter of local charities, including raising funds through a Wine and Cheese Fundraiser for Holiday Express, which has raised over $280,000. This year’s event will be held Nov. 4.
Winners were selected by a panel of judges from private companies throughout the state as well as the U.S. Small Business Administration, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and past NJFB winners. The rigorous selection process included an in-depth application, an on-site inspection, interviews, and consensus among the judges.