Toms River Open For Business
Certainly the fenced-in fire-hollowed shell of an office building isn't good for Downtown Toms River, but an official with the Toms River Business Improvement District (TRBID) sees a silver lining in the tragedy.
TRBID Executive Director Jody Alessandrine said the fire at the corner of Washington and Robbins Streets presents a new opportunity.
"I'm sure that the property owners, you know, are looking at this as a new opportunity to possibly, you know, put a new building up and to improve their situation," Alessandrine said. "With a newer building, you know, might bare opportunities for new businesses, might bare the opportunities for something new to be added to downtown."
He said the fire did not prevent people from coming downtown that Saturday. In fact, he believes the Annual Chili Cookoff drew 25% more people this year compared to last. He attributes some of that to gawkers however.
He said presently, they're helping to field calls with offers of office space to fire victims. He also adds that on the Friday after the fire, they worked with local health officials to help get surrounding businesses on Washington Street, that had their power shut off for ten hours, back up and running.
Alessandrine says while he doesn't want to belittle the tragedy of the fire and its devastating impact on and estimated 5 to 7 small businesses and charities, he wants the public to know that Downtown Toms River is open for business.
"The overall disruption, when you look at the total of 265 properties that are part of the special Business Improvement District, there's little if any disruption there."