All-Woman Shipping Company Sets Sail

Guerrilla Tactics

Note to Businesses: Polish or Perish

MCCC Goes Hollywood

Free Small Business Evaluations at TCNJ

Project Vote Smart

Health Matters

Corporate Angels

Corrections or additions?

This article by Karen Miller, Deb Cooperman, and Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the September 15, 2004 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Become an Ebay Pro

‘The days when you could sell anything on Ebay are long gone,” says Scott Marshall. These days Ebay is “a harder, more efficient selling machine that takes an enormous amount of work. If you want to sell on Ebay you need time, energy and knowledge.” To help others gain that knowledge Marshall teaches two workshops this fall.

The classes, “Ebay Auctioneering — Beginning and Advanced,” take place at Mercer County Community College. The first of the two six-session courses takes place on Thursdays, from September 16 through October 21, at 7 p.m. The second series takes place on Thursdays from November 4 through December 16, at 7 p.m. Cost: $165. To register, call the college at 609-586-9446.

Marshall is a certified Ebay Power Seller and a registered trading assistant. He has been selling items on Ebay for about three years and began by selling antique clocks and old records. Now he sells “anything someone asks me to sell.”

“The get-rich stories about Ebay have always been overstated,” Marshall says. “Maybe if you routinely sell items priced at $10,000 you can get rich, but most of us are selling items that range from $10 to $100, and if you figure out the hourly salary rate, it is often one you can’t really be proud of.”

Despite all these warnings, Marshall continues to sell on Ebay. He also has a full-time “day job” at a copy center. “It gives me a regular paycheck and benefits,” he says. He does get a second income from Ebay, and he says that you too can learn to make a living using the auction website. One example, says Marshall, is a friend of his who liquidates items for local stores. “She gets liquidation merchandise from stores in her area and sells it for them on Ebay. If you have a large volume of something it is much easier to make a profit. You can sell, say, 50 identical items with one listing,” he explains.

Marshall has had as many as 50 different items at a time for sale on the auction site and averages about 1,000 items sold per year. He not only sells items for himself, he is also one of a growing number of people who specialize in selling others’ goods on Ebay. Trading assistants are listed on the Ebay website by region, although Marshall says he gets most of his referrals by word of mouth and from friends and family. As a trading assistant Marshall receives a commission for handling the sale and shipping of the item.

Here are some of Marshall’s tips for selling on Ebay:

Start by shopping. Be a buyer first, says Marshall, so that you can learn the buyer’s point of view. He suggests checking out the site several times and bidding on items. That way you will learn what you like and don’t like about other people’s listings. “Some bidders are so picky they won’t bid on an item if the description has even one typo. Of course that is great for a less picky bidder who might be able to pick something up at a bargain price.”

Be ready to work hard. From selling it to putting it in the mail, you have to do the preparatory work and do it professionally. Before you ever get that first item onscreen, you must spend time choosing what to sell, learning about the item, photographing it, and writing the description.

In fact, photography is so important that Marshall plans to spend an entire class just on that subject alone. “It is very important to have sharp, detailed pictures with good lighting,” he says. If a buyer cannot clearly see the item, they will be much less interested in purchasing it.

Be aware that there are no guarantees. Selling is unpredictable, Marshall says. And, as any retailer will tell you, it is often difficult to predict exactly what will sell. Ebay marketers need to be prepared to have items that don’t sell. “Ebay, like any other auction, is chaotic. Two identical items can sell within two weeks of each other and one will sell for 10 times the price of the other,” he says. “All that it takes to up the price is for two people to want the same item.”

Guard your reputation. Reputation is always important, says Marshall, just as it is with any other business. “It takes time to build a reputation on Ebay,” he says. “Feedback” scores are available on every Ebay seller and are the easiest measure of an Ebay seller’s reputation. “Many buyers won’t trust a beginner,” he says. “They want to see what your feedback is before they purchase from you.”

Feedback scores increase when a buyer reports satisfaction with a sale. They decrease if a buyer reports dissatisfaction. In fact, says Marshall, people get very competitive about their feedback ratings. “I’ve seen husbands and wives fight over which one has the better rating on Ebay,” he says.

The bidders are the experts, says Marshall. This is a lesson he learned when selling a collection of tobacco pipes for a friend. Marshall was asked to sell the collection of about 50 pipes — “too many to research each one,” he says. He took photos of each pipe and wrote detailed descriptions of each one. Most, he says, sold for between $10 and $20. One of the pipes, however, received more interest. “Within an hour of putting it on Ebay I got an E-mail from a buyer naming a price if I would take the pipe off of auction immediately. About another hour later I got a second E-mail from someone saying, “‘if you are asked to take this off auction, don’t do it.’”

The first clue you may have something valuable, Marshall says, is “someone asking you to take the item out of bidding. The second is someone warning you that you shouldn’t.” The pipe finally sold for about $500.

Marshall’s selling ability has helped him attain the rank of “power seller,” a title Ebay gives to its top sellers each month. Power sellers “have sustained a consistent high volume of monthly sales and a high level of total feedback with 98 percent positive or better,” according to the Ebay website.

Perks like becoming a power seller and receiving a special icon on your site, as well as the “positive feedback and competition” keeps sellers like Marshall returning to the auction sight. For Marshall, selling on Ebay is not just a business, but a way of life.

— Karen Miller

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All-Woman Shipping Company Sets Sail

Beverlyn Grissom blames her latest business venture on the toy companies. “Maybe if Barbie had had her own ship I wouldn’t have needed to do this. I’ve always wanted to own my own ship,” she says. And by ship Grissom does not mean a 20-foot cruiser to take out for a weekend of fishing. She has set her sights on something larger. Grissom and her partners, Michelle Bunting and New Jersey State Senator Diane Allen, have recently opened the first all-woman ocean shipping corporation in the history of the United States.

“I got told no a lot,” Grissom says of her lifelong fascination with ships and shipping. But getting told no has only made her work harder to obtain her dream. Her company, Camden Shipping Corporation, opened earlier this year. To honor the event, the South Jersey chapter of NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners), is hosting a celebration, “Changing the Face of Maritime,” on Friday, September 17, at 4:30 p.m. The event takes place at the Battleship New Jersey on the Camden Waterfront, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia’s Penns Landing. Expected to attend are Congressman Rob Andrews, Congressman Jim Saxton, and Joseph Balzano, CEO of South Jersey Port Corporation. Cost: $45 for NAWBO members, $100 for non-members. Call 856-893-9595.

It has taken Grissom a number of years and what would seem to be a roundabout path to reach her goal. “I get asked a lot how an African-American woman became interested in shipping and maritime law,” she says. “Growing up in East Orange I was surrounded by water and by ships. I was always fascinated.” Her interest took her first to Rutgers University, where she received her bachelors degree, and then to Tulane University in New Orleans, where she obtained a degree in law as well as a maritime law certificate. She was attracted to Tulane because of its maritime program, which, she says, is one of the best in the country.

After graduating she quickly realized that earning a living in maritime law would be difficult, if not impossible. “An African-American woman and maritime law are kind like an oxymoron, and I had my education to pay for,” she says. “I got opportunities like doing vessel documentation in Liberia.”

Returning to New Jersey she went to work for the state and met former acting governor Don DiFrancesco. “He’s the first person who told me that I should own my own business,” she says. “It has taken me about nine years to come full circle.”

In her work as an aide to the state Senate Education Committee she also met Allen, who is now the chief financial officer for Camden Shipping Corporation. Her work with the education committee also inspired Grissom to launch her first business venture, Mercer County Children’s Medical Daycare in Hamilton.

“My work with the committee led me to realize we had a need for a program that combined preschool with healthcare for children with special healthcare needs,” she explains. The center, which works with low-income families and employs 50 people, was co-founded with Bunting, one of her partners in Camden Shipping Corporation. “Michelle has a vast amount of experience in running multi-million dollar corporations,” she says.

While children’s healthcare and commercial shipping may seem unrelated, Grissom doesn’t think so. The business was, in fact, one of her first steps in realizing her dream of owning her own shipping company. “People aren’t just going to hand me a ship and a contract unless I have proved I can manage a business,” she explains. “A ship is essentially a floating office building filled with employees. There are many things women are doing shore-side that are applicable to what goes on on a ship.”

Her visits to the Camden waterfront helped her decide where to locate her newest business venture. “I would visit the docks in Camden and see all this waterfront traffic passing by between Baltimore and Philadelphia and I thought, ‘Why can’t some of that traffic stop here?” In opening her shipping corporation in Camden she hopes to stimulate more economic development along Camden’s waterfront.”

Camden Shipping Corporation opened earlier this year and is currently looking for partnerships with other maritime companies. “There are a lot of opportunities for minority companies,” says Grissom. “You can charter a ship and operate it just as if you had built it yourself.”

Many areas of shipping are rife with commercial potential. Her company is interested in barge routes and in commercial shipping. “Almost every company in the world uses ships to move things to its customers’ doors every day,” she says. But what interests Grissom the most is a contract with the Navy. The Navy has a lot of contracts available with civilian mariners. Subsidies from the government have been available for years, ever since 1936 when the government realized it needed to help maintain a viable merchant marine, says Grissom. “Title 11 subsidies are available,” she says, “and I’ll be the first person to step up for them.”

The maritime industry is still a rough, tough business for women in general, says Grissom, but her years of preparation have paid off and she is now ready to play with the big boys.

— Karen Miller

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Guerrilla Tactics

For Free Marketing

So you’ve started your business and you’re going to networking meetings and you’re putting ads in the paper and handing out business cards like mad. Your promotions budget is stretched to the breaking point, but where are the clients? What are you doing wrong?

According to Ellen Silverman, founder of ESA Marketing of Pluckemin and a certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach, you probably don’t know your business well enough. “It’s amazing how many people have no idea what they’re selling,” she says.

This month, at two events being sponsored by New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners (NJAWBO), Silverman helps small business owners get clear on what they’re selling and how to sell. The first of her two talks on “Seven Sentence Guerrilla Marketing Plans” takes place on Monday, September 20, at 6 p.m. at Merry Makers in Edison and is free. The second, a three-hour workshop, takes place on September 22, at 9 a.m. at the Veteran’s Center in Kenilworth. Cost: $25. Call 732-873-3240.

Guerrilla Marketing is the brainchild of best-selling author and Entrepreneur Magazine columnist Jay Conrad Levinson. Levinson’s 16 “Guerrilla” books have been translated into 37 languages and the principals are taught in MBA programs at Berkeley and Harvard. Certified Guerrila Marketing Coaches go through a training program with Levinson’s protege Mitch Meyerson and are licensed to teach and train people the Guerrilla Marketing process.

“This program was designed for small businesses,” says Silverman. When over 85 percent of small businesses fail within the first five years, one of the main reasons is that business owners don’t know how to promote their businesses without bleeding them to death, in her opinion. “Guerrilla Marketing was designed as a low cost/high impact way to build and grow your business on a small budget,” she says.

Silverman’s father ran his family’s bus company, which provided service from Staten Island, Bayonne, and Jersey City into the Port Authority. Her mother was a homemaker. A graduate of Simmons College in Boston, Silverman came back to New Jersey to finish her education at Jersey City State when her mother died mid-way through her college career. After college she became an English teacher, and then, in short order, a corporate executive’s wife, following her husband’s career to Ohio, Virginia, and Maryland.

When in Maryland, Silverman decided to try her hand at real estate. “I was looking for something I could do,” she recounts, “and I heard you could make your own hours with real estate. “Little did I know that your hours are made when the rest of the world is off!” But in spite of the crazy hours with two young children at home, the enterprise worked out well. “It was a great training experience for learning about people,” is how she sums up the experience.

When her husband’s work brought them back to New Jersey (Silverman and her husband of almost 44 years currently live in Bedminster), she went to work doing marketing for a small academic publishing department at Rutgers. But when she saw an ad in the newspaper for a real estate company that was looking for a marketing coordinator, she jumped at the chance. “I said ‘there’s nobody who can do this job as well as I can!’.” And she was right. Her experience in real estate sales and her experience in marketing were a great combination.

But success aside, she came to see drawbacks. “I was commuting and I wasn’t making a lot of money and I thought: suppose I do this for more than one company?” she recalls. That’s when ESA Marketing was born.

“Things were booming,” she says, “but at the end of the 1980s the bottom dropped, and my clients were out of business — they were dying on the vine and I thought if I was going to stay in business I need to branch out.” That’s when she turned her attention to small service businesses.

“I provide entrepreneurs with insights, methods, and creativity to monopolize their markets with low cost/high impact guerrilla marketing,” says Silverman, demonstrating the first sentence of the Guerrilla Marketing program’s Seven Sentence plan — Know Who You Are. “I know the niche I occupy,” she says. All businesses need to know this too — who they are and what niche they occupy — if they are to succeed. “A marketing plan for a small business can be 40 pages long,” says Silverman, “and it can also be effective at just seven sentences. The Seven Sentence plan makes you get very specific. You have to know what you want your marketing to do. What’s your purpose for doing it?”

Some highlights of the Seven Sentence Marketing Plan are:

Begin with the end in mind. “What’s the message you’re trying to deliver? What do you want people to do? Do you want them to call you? File you away? If you don’t ask for the business, you’ll never get it.”

Know who you are. “What business are you in?” Silverman asks. “What are you selling?” Describe your purpose. Avoid fancy talk, just be direct. Are you an errand running company? If so, go for “X company does your errands so you have time for your own life,” she suggests. Simple is best.

Know what is great about you. “What are the benefits of your business? Everyone who can do your taxes offers a benefit — if they do it, you don’t have to. But a tax professional who makes house calls? Now that’s a benefit! What’s yours?”

Know your audience. Who are you trying to reach? Busy professionals? Stay-at-home parents? Tailor your product — and your message — to fit your niche.

Choose your weapons. “How will you get your message out there? “There are over 100 different strategies to market your business,” says Silverman, “and over half are free.” For example, in her opinion, “the end of an E-mail is the best place to put a commercial.” That’s where she puts her contact information and the details of her upcoming workshops. Press releases, article writing, newsletters — all of these free marketing tools build business. And here’s another: Say hello with a smile! “How many times do you call a company and you want to strangle the person who answers the phone?” asks Silverman

The Seven Sentence Plan not only applies to your overall marketing plan, but it can also be used for individual projects. If you’re going to put an ad in the newspaper, “ask yourself why?” says Silverman. “What do you want it to do? What’s your purpose? If you don’t know why, you shouldn’t do it!”

Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. It can all be done in seven sentences — and with a smile.

— Deb Cooperman

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Note to Businesses: Polish or Perish

‘There is an increasing importance being placed on the look and feel of people, places, and things,” says Virginia Postrel, author of “The Substance of Style: How the Growth of Aesthetic Value Is Remaking Commerce, Culture, and Consciousness.” The book explores the “growing importance of esthetics in business and society.” The trend, says Postrel, is not just a cultural phenomenon, or even a fashion statement. It is, in fact, a business trend that affects every business and industry, large and small.

“Many, many industries are already very competitive in terms of quality and price and function, so to differentiate themselves they need to look at other dimensions,” she says. In today’s society, that dimension is most often esthetics and style, says Postrel, who will be the guest speaker at the Venture Association of New Jersey on Tuesday, September 21, at noon, at the Headquarters Plaza Hotel, 3 Headquarters Plaza, Morristown. Cost: $45. Call: 973-631-5680.

Postrel, who writes the “Economic Scene” column for the New York Times, says she started to notice the new trend in the mid-1990s and “began to write a column here and there” about it. “There has been a fair amount written about the trend in terms of products,” she says. Even functional items such as computers and telephones come in a range of colors and styles — and some even make it into museum collections. “We’re all aware of Michael Graves and his work with Target,” she points out. Graves, the Princeton architect, has designed a line of highly successful household products for the discount department store.

However, Postrel has also seen the trend in everything from our increasing emphasis on looking young to the design of public spaces such as airports and libraries — and even neighborhood restaurants. “Starbucks is the touchstone,” she says. “They became successful by making their environment esthetically pleasing. The customers liked the atmosphere and then made it into a social space.” While the Starbucks phenomenon is so well-known and so common it has become a cliche, 10 years ago it was not. Instead, it was something new and different. It was the beginning of a trend. “Now airports and even libraries are being designed to look like a Starbucks,” she says.

Postrel emphasizes that she does not come from “a design or an esthetic background.” An English major while at Princeton University (class of ‘82), she also took a number of courses in economics. Her work “blends reporting with social science,” she says. “People call me a futurist, but I don’t think that is really right. As a journalist I get to go around asking questions. Journalism is a field where you get your education in public.”

Along with her column in the New York Times, Postrel also writes for D Magazine, the Dallas city magazine. Her work has appeared in a number of other publications including Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. She was the editor of Reason magazine from 1989 to 1995 and founded Reason Online, the magazine’s website. “The Substance of Style” is her second book; the first, “The Future and Its Enemies,” was published in 1998.

The new trend toward esthetics “creates both opportunities and demands for businesses,” says Postrel. New businesses have sprung up because of the trend, most obviously in the area of personal care. Spas and health clubs, massage therapists, beauticians, and manicurists have all benefited from the new emphasis on looks. “Ten years ago you never saw a stand-alone manicure shop,” she says. “Now, not only are they everywhere, they are upgrading. They want to have more of a spa feel to be competitive. Pedicures are now the big thing, including fancy pedicure chairs.” The trend isn’t just for women. Men are now coloring their hair, having plastic surgery, and getting massages. There are more facial and hair care products for men than ever before.

The new esthetics emphasis does not mean that everything has the same style, says Postrel, or that everyone must like the same thing. Instead, what is important is that “style is used, even in areas where function used to stand alone.” And, she adds, an emphasis on style does not mean that we have forgotten function or quality. We want the object we purchase to look good, but it must also work well.

Postrel proposed “The Substance of Style” to her publisher, Harper Collins, in 2000, “at the height of the economic boom.” But the trend, she says, has endured the tightened economy of the post-9/11 world. “There was actually a boom in plastic surgery in the New York area right after 9/11,” she says. “I guess people thought ‘If I’m going to die I might as well die looking good.’ Another new trend seen after 9/11 was the ‘memorial tattoo.’”

On the whole, as consumers have become more conservative with their money, they have also become more particular about what they spend it on. “Consumers want more for their money, and one of the ways that has manifested itself is in esthetics,” says Postrel. And that, she adds, poses a challenge for every business. From the selection of granite kitchen countertops at the hardware store to the choice of stationery at a local gift shop, “If you don’t raise the bar,” she warns, “your competitors will.”

Even the neighborhood diner needs to be aware of the new sense of esthetics. “A candle on the table is not enough anymore,” she says. “People’s expectations for the look of their environment are higher. Every business needs to be aware of it and of all the opportunities and hazards it brings.”

The new style competitiveness, she believes “adds value for customers.” But for producers, she says, “it can be a real pain.”

Postrel sees no reason for the trend to change or slow down. “It may take different forms, depending on what technology makes available,” she says, “but I see no reason for it to change for at least the next 10 years.”

— Karen Miller

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MCCC Goes Hollywood

Once again Mercer County Community College (MCCC) is holding an Entertainment Technology Conference. This year’s event takes place on Thursday and Friday, September 23 and 24, at the college’s conference center. Cost: $175 for one day and $295 for both days. Call 609-4800, ext. 3530.

A highlight this year are seminars on graphics and video software from Adobe Systems. These instructional events include sessions on integrating Adobe Photoshop CS with digital video, high-definition editing with Adobe Premiere Pro, DVD authoring with Adobe Encore DVD, essential skills in Adobe After Effects, and mixing audio in Adobe Audition. Conference attendees may take all five Adobe courses, or mix them with any of the more than 30 presentations and seminars.

Other EnTech sessions cover topics such as creating corporate videos, animation techniques, film distribution, building an EnTech business, finding jobs in the industry, producing DVDs, music production, and set lighting. In addition to these sessions, there are keynote talks by well-known industry figures, as well as first-night reception and screening of two locally-produced documentaries.

EnTech 2004 is co-sponsored by the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission, Sarnoff Corporation, and the Mercer County Office of Economic Development.

Featured speakers include Elizabeth G. Christopherson, executive director of New Jersey Network (NJN) Public Television and Radio; Robert D. Prunetti, president of Trenton-based Phoenix Ventures, and East Coast spokesperson for Manex Entertainment; Pete Putman, president of ROAM Consulting, a Doylestown, Pennsylvania-based company and editor of PBI Media magazines; and Michael Finan, Emmy award-winning director, Bonafina Films.

On Thursday evening there is be a free reception and exclusive screening of “Sister Rose’s Passion,” an award-winning documentary at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, co-produced by New Jersey residents Peter LeDonne and Steven Kalafer.

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Free Small Business Evaluations at TCNJ

The School of Business at the College of New Jersey, in collaboration with the Mercer/Middlesex Small Business Development Center, is looking to partner local small and startup businesses with business majors at the college for free consulting and evalulations.

The project, developed by TCNJ accountancy professor Hossein Houri, will provide startup or existing businesses with a break-even analysis, estimate of sales to achieve target profit, budget preparation (projected income statement, balance sheet, etc.), and cash flow analysis.

Students and business owners will work together to make decisions regarding additions and deletions of product lines and special orders. If your small business is interested in participating in the program, please contact the Small Business Development Center office at 609-989-5232 or sbdc@tcnj.edu.

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Project Vote Smart

Five thousand students and volunteer researchers, and 46,000 contributors have designed the means by which any frustrated voter, fed up with the manipulative tactics of modern-day political campaigns, can easily get the facts instead of just the rhetoric.

Project Vote Smart announces Phase I: the 2004 Voter’s Self-Defense Manual is now available to all New Jersey voters. The manual provides access to accurate, essential facts on roughly 40,000 officials and candidates. It is a small, balanced sampling of the information that is available through the Project Vote Smart website (www.vote-smart.org) and the toll-free Voter’s Research Hotline (888-VOTE SMART). The manual is free of charge to anyone who requests a copy through the website or Hotline.

The manual also contains the most complete look yet at the Project’s Voter’s Self-Defense System and how citizens can use the facts gathered by idealistic interns and volunteers to defend themselves against the often manipulative campaign tactics of many candidates. Information in the Voter’s Self-Defense System and previewed in the Manual includes key voting records, campaign contributions, biographical and contact information, interest group ratings, and a national political awareness test.

The manual is designed to give citizens a sneak preview of the millions of facts on 40,000 candidates and incumbents now available on the web site and Hotline. Ballot measures in each state, and information on how and where to register to vote are also available. New Jersey citizens need to know their zip code and which issues concern them in order to access the facts on their candidates and representatives.

Project Vote Smart is a national research library and maintains a rigid standard of accuracy and balance in its research on candidates and issues. The Project is funded by foundation grants and the contributions of more than 46,000 members, and does not support or oppose any candidate, party or cause.

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Health Matters

Carrier Clinic recently appointed Deborah Martin, LPC of Wrightstown, as manager of inpatient addiction services. Prior to this promotion, Martin served as manager of the clinical transitions program.

Since her employment at Carrier in 2000, Martin has served as a primary therapist and the manager of the clinical transitions program, helping patients transition from the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital into the community.

Martin, who has over 10 years of experience in the mental health field, earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from The College of New Jersey. She then pursued a masters degree in counseling and personnel services with a certificate in alcoholism and chemical dependence from The College of New Jersey.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) has announced a hospital-wide commitment to treat patients showing signs of an active heart attack first with angioplasty, rather than with blood-thinning drugs (like the Plavix former president Bill Clinton was given when he went to Westchester Hospital reporting chest pains). This aggressive, life-saving treatment is only available at a limited number of New Jersey hospitals, in part because a state license is required.

Using angioplasty to open clogged arteries in the first hours of a heart attack saves more lives and results in better, long-term outcomes than any other therapy, according to Robert Wood Johnson.

Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that involves sliding a balloon-tipped catheter into a narrowed or blocked artery of the heart to widen the artery and restore blood flow. In the majority of cases, mesh stents are inserted to prop the vessel open.

In some instances, a heart attack victim may require bypass surgery, a procedure that can be performed only at hospitals with a cardiac surgery program.

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Corporate Angels

Princeton Theological Seminary has received a $750,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. for a research grant titled Faithful Practices Project (FPP). The 28-month research project is under the direction of Richard R. Osmer, professor of Christian education, and Kenda Creasy Dean, associate professor of youth, church, and culture, and director of the Seminary’s Tennent School of Christian Education.

“The purpose of the project is to try to help contemporary American congregations practice their Christian faith, in vital ways,” says Osmer in a prepared statement. FPP has two central foci: congregational practices and leadership formation. The research study seeks to explore and to redefine the interrelationship of evangelism, formation, and witness in the contemporary American mainline Protestant church, and to explore how such findings might transform or help shape academic preparation for Christian ministry.

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, the largest series of 5K runs/fitness walks in the world, was founded in hopes of eradicating breast cancer, a disease that affects 192,200 women each year. More than 1.4 million people will participate in the Race for the Cure this year. RE/MAX is supporting the effort as the newest co-sponsor of the race’s Breast Cancer Survivor Recognition Program.

The Race for the Cure will be coming to the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company in Princeton on Sunday, October 17. All proceeds from the race are dedicated to eliminating breast cancer as a life-threatening disease by advancing research, education, and treatment. To learn more about Komen Race for the Cure or for breast health and breast cancer information, visit www.newjerseyraceforthecure.org.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, has given a $5,000 grant to Appel Farm Arts & Music Center for its 2004 Community Arts Outreach Programs.

Appel Farm’s arts programs serve southern New Jersey with a wide range of activities and events for both children and adults. In addition to its summer arts program, which draws students and artists from around the world and throughout New Jersey, the Center offers a yearly concert series, a nationally recognized arts and music festival and weekend family matinee performances. It also rents its facilities for meetings, retreats, and other activities to community groups and other organizations.

Community Arts Outreach Programs have grown steadily for two decades, helping public schools provide music, dance, theater, and visual arts classes and performances to elementary, middle and high schools in Salem, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Camden counties. For more information about Appel Farm Arts & Music Center and its programs, visit www.appelfarm.org or call 856-358-2472.

PNC Bank has pledged $1.5 million over a three-year-period to the Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit program sponsored by the state Department of Community Affairs.

Each year a total of $10 million in state tax credits is available for this program, which can produce up to $20 million annually to benefit nonprofit organizations. Each business can contribute from $25,000 to $500,000 per year to participating 501c3 organizations for such purposes as affordable housing, workforce development, open space, social services, and business assistance. For information, call 609-292-6420.

For the complete calendar events in central New Jersey, go to www.princetoninfo.com/us1evts.htm

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