Corrections or additions?
These articles by Barbara Fox were prepared for the November 24,
2004 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Life in the Fast Lane: Rollerblade
Rollerblade USA, which gets the credit for rolling out the inline
skate industry, moved its headquarters office from Bordentown to 4,500
square feet at University Plaza II last month. Ten years ago it
patented a new braking system, but no brakes have been applied to its
The company makes more than 30 models of skates and claims 250
innovations. The brake, patented in 1994, does not require the skater
to raise the foot. Instead, the skater puts one foot forward so that
the cuff leans backward. A small arm attaches to the brake pad and
pushes down on the pavement. The newest patent is for an expandable
children’s skate, which has a toe box that slides forward and latches
into one of four different sizes.
Rollerblade skates are sold at sporting goods chains and pro shops.
"We prefer to support the smaller companies, and they give the
attention that the product needs," says Jeremy Stonier, the general
manager of the company, formerly owned by Benetton and now owned by
Tecnica. Skates for children and youth start at $19 and go to $500 for
racers. Designed in the United States and Trevignano (near Venice,
Italy), they are manufactured in Italy and Asia.
The son of an entrepreneur, Stonier grew up in several locations,
including Manhattan and Mercer County; after studying at Middlebury
College, he graduated in 1992 with a double major in economics and
sociology from Principia College in Illinois. He worked on Wall
Street, taught skiing, and was a sporting goods buyer, joining
Rollerblade in 1999. He lives in Princeton with his wife, a former
teacher at Wycoff School in West Windsor, and their toddler son.
Rollerblade had moved to New Jersey from Minnesota in 1999 when it
joined its sister company, Prince Manufacturing, which focuses on
tennis. At that point the parent company, Benetton, was energetically
purchasing sporting goods companies. Among the other sports
represented in the Benetton family were ski boots from Nordica and
snowboards and sunglasses from Killer Loop. "They were an apparel
company that did not have what it took to run a sporting goods
company," says Stonier.
With the help of investors, Prince bought itself out, and Tecnica,
headed by Giancarlo Zanatta, bought Rollerblade last July. "It was
time to move out on our own," says Nicholas Skally, marketing
Tecnica’s owner, Zanatta, started out manufacturing shoes, then ski
boots, and now inline skates. "He is obsessed by perfecting equipment
for the feet," says Skally, who started with Rollerblade when he was
an avid skater and a journalism major at the University of Minnesota,
Class of 1999; he moved with the firm to New Jersey that year.
Skally claims more than 40 percent of the market for Rollerblade and
suggests that the major competitor is Seattle-based K2, which "also
makes everything from fishing poles to skis."
"We get a lot of crosstrainers and ice skaters, because they find it
difficult to get access to ice," says Skally. "And we get letters
about clubs for 70-year-olds."
Steve Cohen of Moran Avenue in Princeton designed the Rollerblade
space, which has an open floor plan but also includes custom skate
displays, "cutouts" with special lights. "We had high end office
megacubes made of light blond wood, black metal, and glass," says
Stonier. "They have a very striking look. We wanted to maintain that
look in a more open environment, and Steve helped us create a space
that fit our needs."
The best part about the new quarters, say Stonier, is its proximity to
Mercer County Park, site of the county’s best asphalt skating trails.
"At the ribbon cutting, Hamilton’s mayor urged us to try Veteran’s
Park." It’s a fun place to work, he says. "We’re not out there saving
the world, but we are promoting an enjoyable and healthy thing to do.
In the spring and summer we close down and have picnic/skate days."
He’s not hiring now, but prospective employees do not have to be
skaters. Says Stonier: "We have a business to run, and once we have
the right people, it’s pretty easy to learn."
Rollerblade USA Corporation, 3705 Quakerbridge Road, University Plaza
II, Suite 207, Hamilton. Jeremy Stonier, general manager.
609-249-1700; fax, 609-249-1790. Home page: www.rollerblade.com
Hamilton 08619. Steven Hercman, owners’ representative. 609-689-4670;
A family-owned business, ABC Real Estate, announced new University
Plaza tenants with a ribbon cutting celebration on Monday, November
22. The most prominent of the tenants is Rollerblade USA Corporation
(see article above). Bruce Carnegie of Maguire Burke is in charge of
leasing the building, and Jerry Fennelly of NAI Fennelly represented
the tenant, Rollerblade.
Steven Hercman is the owners’ representative for ABC Real Estate,
which is headquartered in Ridgewood, New York. Hercman grew up in
Queens and majored in premed at New York University, Class of 2000,
before deciding to go into the family business and change it from an
investment firm to an active real estate company. His father is a
sweater manufacturer and his mother a school teacher; his wife is a
Hercman’s company, ABC Real Estate, partnered with developer Stanley
Newman to build University Plaza in 1988, and it is now the sole
owner. "When we bought it, it was 80 percent occupied," says Hercman.
"Our company prides itself on – if a company wants space, we try to
give it to them," says Hercman. "We fit out the entire space for
Services), 3705 Quakerbridge Road, Suite 116, Hamilton 08619. Angelo
McClain, executive director. 609-689-6208; fax, 609-689-6270. Home
As part of a reform of the state’s children mental health delivery
system, New Jersey signed a contract with Value Options, which
recently expanded from a 3,000 sublease to 12,000 square feet at
University Plaza. Based in Virginia, Value Options is known for its
ability to reform large delivery systems, says Angelo McClain,
executive director for nearly three years. A 1979 alumnus of West
Texas State, he has a master’s degree from the University of Texas at
Arlington and a PhD in social work from Boston College.
At this address his agency administers contracts for New Jersey Child
Behavioral Health Services, formerly called Partnership for Children.
"This project sought to pool dollars and services," says McClain,
"which were fragmented between juvenile justice, child welfare, and
child mental health, and Medicaid. We provide the infrastructure."
Road, Suite 112, Mercerville 08619. Neil Bhaskar, CEO. 609-588-5500;
fax, 609-588-5577. Home page: www.novasoftinfo.com
Founded in 1993, this firm does E-commerce, migration and outsourcing
applications, and training. Formerly subleasing here, it signed a
lease for 4,500 feet. Five years ago it owned its own 18,000
square-foot building, had 50 people, and was on the Inc. 500 list.
Mercerville 08619. Sharon L. Rose CPA, vice-president. 609-586-7772;
fax, 609-586-7182. Home page: www.rosecpa.net
The general accounting firm moved from 13 Roszel Road to 1,110 square
feet at University Office Plaza II, and it has a new phone and fax.
The firm was founded in 1991.
Office Plaza II, Suite 214, Hamilton 08619. 609-587-5100; fax,
In June Lance Brown Esq. moved from 375 Route 130 in Hightstown and
joined Sal DePinto in 1,600 square feet at University Office Plaza II,
where he has a new phone and fax. The firm does estate planning, real
estate, collections, bankruptcy, tax controversies, probate, and
The anchor tenant at University Plaza is Unisys, which processes
Medicaid claims. Other tenants include Optima Global Solutions Inc.
Mercer County Special Services School District, Farm Family Insurance
Companies, Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, and dentist Gary
Farther down on Quakerbridge Road another development, Ibis Plaza, is
announcing expanded leases. As for the owners, two family entities
have merged. An organization called Ibis Plaza LLC now owns the two
single-story buildings totaling 120,000 square feet at 3535
Quakerbridge Road. Office suites range in size from 1,500 to 5,000
square feet and larger.
Since 1982 the ownership has been in the Jerjian family, a partnership
of four Jerjian brothers. "In December, 2003, my brother Simon
unexpectedly passed away, and since we had to go through a purchase
and sale agreement with his estate, we decided to form a new entity
going forward, Ibis Plaza LLC," says Christopher Jerjian, who now owns
the property equally with his brothers, George and Jack.
Christopher Jerjian has managed the business since 1988 and under his
management the project was transformed from a plain vanilla 1970s
office building to a more contemporary office park, says Gerard
Fennelly of NAI Fennelly, Ibis Plaza’s exclusive leasing agent. "He
has done extensive renovation, putting $4 to $5 million into it, and
he continues to spend money to make it better."
Jerjian earned a degree in economics at Leicester University in the
United Kingdom and has a marketing diploma from NYU. He has been
working in real estate and investment since the early 1980s.
Just as ABC Real Estate suffered when Congoleum left, Ibis Plaza took
a blow when its major tenant departed. "In 1993 we lost the State of
New Jersey as a tenant," explains Jerjian. "This was quite
devastating, since the state leased the entire 120,000 square feet at
Ibis Plaza. Down, but not out, we struggled and converted the
buildings into office suites so that we would never be in a position
where one tenant could have so much leverage. Despite all the
predictions made by many in the real estate market we survived and
came back stronger. By the mid to late 1990s, with the help of the
local brokerage community and the likes of NAI Fennelly and Richardson
Commercial Realtors, Ibis Plaza became viable and stable."
"We have had such good support from the entire real estate community
and the Hamilton Partnership and going forward, we have a vision of
being an integral part of the a more dynamic and prosperous Hamilton
business community," says Jerjian. "We see Hamilton as having a major
impact in Mercer and New Jersey in the years to come. We made a
multi-million dollar investment because we believe in Hamilton’s
CHN Solutions is the anchor tenant for Ibis Plaza at 3525 Quakerbridge
Road. Other tenants at 3535 Quakerbridge Road are Capital Imaging
Associates PA, Capitol County Children’s Collaborative, Hamilton
Horizons Federal Credit Union, Impact Business Information Solutions,
Laser Energetics Inc., NAI Fennelly Inc. Neurological Trauma
Associates P.C., NovaCare (formerly Impact Physical Therapy & Work
Injury Center). Two tenants with expanded leases are Textile Creations
and Philadelphia Insurance Companies.
Suite 400, Hamilton 08619. Jim Hankins, owner. 609-631-4433; fax,
609-631-4434. Home page: www.textilecreations.com
Jim and Margie Hankins went from $2 million to $8 million in revenues
in four years and expanded from 3,000 square feet to 5,000 square feet
at Ibis Plaza – all from designing, importing, and reselling quilting
fabrics. The company moved 14 employees from Suite 201 to Doug
Forrester’s former political office, and it also outsources work to a
warehouse in Passaic.
All this space is for offices except for a small sample room where
cuts are kept of all the stock. "If we need to send samples we do it
from here," he says.
"We feel we have been blessed with the growth of the business," says
Hankins, who along with his wife and four children is an active member
at Windsor Chapel in Princeton Junction. Margie Hankins continues as
VP of merchandising and marketing, and the couple has hired a CFO,
Mukesh Bhat, and a national sales manager, Jeremy Jeffries, from
The son of a Methodist minister, Hankins knew he always wanted to be a
fashion designer. Daunted by the prospect of living in New York to
attend his first choice, Fashion Institute of Technology, he majored
in home economics at Middle Tennessee State, and married the store
manager at a fabric chain. In 1999 they opened their first office at
Office Concierge and moved to their own space at Ibis Plaza in 2000
(U.S. 1, January 10, 2001).
"About 35 percent of our business is in sales to more than 2,000 quilt
stores across the country, plus we have a national distributor, and we
sell to some national chains," says Hankins. "We also export a lot to
distributors internationally – all of Europe, Korea, Japan, Canada,
Australia, and New Zealand." Though quilting fabrics comprise 70
percent of the business, these fabrics are also used for apparel and
home decorating. Most of the fabric is imported from India as bolts or
in full rolls.
Hankins, who designs most of the fabric, just finished drawing
patterns for Christmas, 2005. "Batiks, hand prints, are still very
important to the quilter. Pink has been strong and continues strong.
But the big color for next season," he says, "is purple."
Road, IBIS Plaza, Suite 910, Hamilton 08619. Brian O’Reilly, regional
vice president. 609-586-6122; fax, 866-879-4284. Www.phly.com
Philadelphia Insurance Companies, a commercial property and casualty
insurance firm, moved its regional office from Route 206 at the
Whitehorse Circle to Ibis Plaza two years ago, and it recently doubled
its space to 5,000 square feet.
Brian O’Reilly, regional vice president, is a 1990 graduate of
Lafayette College, and a native of Hamilton Township. With 36 branches
in and around Philadelphia, the Bala Cynwyd-based firm is traded on
Nasdaq and has 25 specialty products. It focuses on health clubs,
nonprofit groups, schools, hotels, shopping centers, and professional
liability for lawyers and accountants.
"We are the premiere writer of nonprofit organizations and health
clubs nationally," says O’Reilly. "We insure a board for the decisions
they make. For a nonprofit, most of the exposure is for is
employment-related practices, sexual harassment, and discrimination."
Junction 08550. Jian-Zhong Qian, president and CEO. 609-936-8282; fax,
609-799-1545. Home page: www.eddatech.com
The FDA has given marketing clearance for software for digital X-ray
technology devised by a diagnostic imaging and analysis firm, Edda
Technology, located at Washington Park. The company also has an office
in Shanghai, China.
IQQA-Chest Software, an image analysis system aimed at the softcopy
review of digital chest radiographic images, is the first real-time
interactive diagnostic analysis system. Running on a PC platform, it
can quantify nodules detected with projection chest radiography, the
most commonly performed imaging procedure.
Though lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, only 16
percent of cases are diagnosed at an early stage. If found and treated
in the early stages, the average five-year survival rate is nearly 50
Radiologists will use this software to identify, confirm, and quantify
pulmonary lesions. Lesion-specific image enhancement viewing will
dynamically detail image structures and highlight suspicious areas
that suggest nodular abnormalities. It provides analysis tools to
identify characteristics, including size, density and shape, then it
assembles a clinical report for follow-up review.
"This combination will have a broad impact on improving nodule case
diagnosis and patient prognosis, especially as digital X-Ray continues
to gain market acceptance and acceleration," Jian-Zhong Qian,
president and CEO.
Lawrenceville 08640. Susan Treiser MD. 609-799-5666; fax,
609-219-0742. Home page: www.ivfnj.com
Because of its exclusive partnership with Extend Fertility, a Boston
firm that aims to prolong the fertile life of women, IVF New Jersey
can provide egg freezing services for women who want to freeze and
store their young, healthier eggs.
"In the past, women were bound by the limitations of time when it came
to their reproductive choices. Women who wanted to get pregnant later
in life were faced with egg quality issues," Susan Treiser,
co-director of IVF NJ. "This will allow women who have not yet decided
to have children to preserve their eggs until a time in their life
when they are ready to have a family."
IVF NJ is one of the first centers where Extend Fertility clients can
have the service provided. One of the largest fertility practices in
the world, IVF New Jersey also offers insemination with donor sperm,
egg donation, gestational surrogacy, in-vitro fertilization,
intracytoplasmic sperm injection, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis,
and blastocyst transfer.
Jeffrey McMullen, president and COO. 609-951-6800; fax, 609-514-0390.
Home page: www.pharmanet.net
SFBC International Inc. is buying PharmaNet, a private clinical
research organization (CRO) which has 300 workers at the Carnegie
Center and about 750 people overall. Jeffrey McMullen will remain
president and CEO of PharmaNet and join the SFBC board, and all of the
company’s employees are expected to continue.
SFBC will buy all the PharmaNet stock for about $245 million in cash.
Jefferies & Company represented SFBC and UBS Investment Bank
represented PharmaNet in the transaction, which is expected to close
by the end of this year.
Trading on NASDAQ as SFCC, SFBC provides specialized drug development
services to global and specialty pharmaceutical, biotechnology and
generic drug companies. PharmaNet recently topped ratings taken by a
trade publication in Europe and the United States for its reputation
as a clinical research organization. With a global Phase II-IV
platform comprised of 19 offices on five continents, it has a varied
customer base of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device
08534. Deborah Peters, head of school. 609-730-9553; fax,
609-730-9584. Home page: www.thecambridgeschool.org
The Cambridge School moved from 62 South Main Street to a new 22,000
square-foot building at the Straube Center in November. Using a
curriculum based on the Orton-Gillingham method and Lindamood-Bell
Learning Processes, Cambridge serves children, ages five through
eighth grade, with language-based learning differences.
08540. Stephen P. Baclini, president. 609-924-2262; fax, 609-924-0184.
Princeton Food Services expanded from the Village Shopper across the
street to Research Park, and eight people work in 3,000 square feet,
says Peggy Gladstone, the office manager. John Rawson founded the
company in 1984 and is board chairman; he owns 22 Wendy’s restaurants
in New Jersey and Staten Island. The firm is also known as Rawson Food
Center, Suite 301, Ewing 08628. Hal Levenson, president. 609-882-4171;
Levenson & Associates has changed its name to LFL Veritas LLC. The
firm offers management advisory services, tax planning and
preparation, financial and estate planning, accounting and auditing,
computer system implementation, and forensic and litigation support.
Bill Starkey. 609-584-9220; fax, 609-587-1530.
Bill Starkey moved his commercial sign-making business from 2479
Pennington Road in Trenton to an address in Hamilton Square. Phone and
fax are new. He offers painted and vinyl signs.
John Torkelsen was due to go to court in October on charges of
defrauding the U.S. Small Business Administration out of $32 million,
but on Monday, November 8, he signed an agreement that will keep his
civil suit out of court. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for
the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, this agreement means that
Torkelsen – a former Princeton resident who had an office at 5 Vaughn
Drive – does not admit wrongdoing.
Meanwhile the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington is conducting a
criminal investigation into the fund, but there is no information
available about how far that investigation has gone.
The U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia, Paul Shapiro, says there will be no
civil trial for Torkelsen, but that Torkelsen’s signature means that
permanent restraining freezes his personal and business assets and
prevents his venture capital company, Acorn Technology Fund, from
The complaint, filed in January, 2003, under the Mail Fraud Injunction
Act, alleged that Torkelsen, two family members, and a business
associate "engaged in a scheme fraudulently to obtain and misapply
government funds through the use of several corporations which they
controlled, and to funnel at least some of these ill-gotten funds to
themselves and others." Supposedly they made fraudulent
misrepresentations in the application to get $32 million in funding
from the SBA for Acorn Technology Fund.
The SBA had temporarily been appointed as a receiver for Acorn. Now
the court is expected to appoint a permanent receiver to collect and
manage the assets. Torkelsen’s attorney is William Crenshaw of Powell
Goldstein in Washington, D.C.
A former fugitive known for his sale of millions of dollars of
instruments to the New Jersey Symphony pleaded not guilty on Friday,
November 12, to helping a former employee file a fraudulent tax
return. Judge Garrett E. Brown Jr. set a trial date for March 1for
Indicted in April, the former pet products mogul fled to Cuba and
Europe, but was extradited from Germany and is now at Monmouth County
Jail. According to Axelrod’s attorney, Michael B. Himmel, Axelrod, 77,
wanted to come back to the United States because he has a serious
The initial charges were that he conspired to defraud the IRS by
helping to hide $700,000 in a Swiss bank account. Axelrod is also
facing a civil suit involving the sale of TFH Publications, his
Neptune City-based firm that publishes books on pets and sells dog
In 2003 Axelrod claimed his collection of rare stringed instruments
was worth $49 million and sold it to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
for $17 million. He has not been charged with an attempt to take
fraudulent tax deductions, but that reportedly is under investigation
by the FBI and IRS.
Ahanita Lance, a former employee of Robert Wood Johnson in Hamilton
and Princeton Nursing Home , was charged on November 22 with failing
to report those earnings during periods when she was receiving
unemployment insurance benefits.
During two periods in 1999, says Vaughn L. McKoy, director of the
Financial Crimes Bureau of the Division of Criminal Justice, Lance
filed for unemployment insurance at the same time that she was working
at these institutions. In 2001 she worked in Burlington County, also
allegedly failing to report the earnings, receiving a total of more
than $6,280 in benefits.
Lance is charged with two counts of theft by deception and two
counts of unsworn falsification. Mercer County Superior Court Judge
Maria M. Sypek will hear the case.The state penalty for a third degree
crime, theft by decption, is up to five years in prison and a fine of
up to $15,000. The maximum penalty for a fourth degree crime (unsworn
falsification) is 18 months and a $10,000 fine.
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