Small Towns are Big Business
Swedesboro, NJ (population: 2,486) is 115 miles from the U.S. Capitol and NY. It is, metaphorically, the mother of all midpoints. This moniker (from a Security Traders Association article) underscores the simple fact that Swedesboro is an incredibly important position on the map for a variety of industries and people.
If there was an adjective to describe a small, rural yet metropolitan respite from the typical, been-there, done-that suburbia—that word would be Swedesboro, and the place, Swedesboro. It simply is a shining example of what can be done when private partnerships, public funds, business determination and community enthusiasm come together and polish a quiet gem. Between the quaint architectural dwellings and rich history are the unique downtown shops, a variety of dining experiences and the beaming character of the residents who call it home.
In the past decade, we’ve seen the resurgence of small downtown shopping districts that should have never gone quiet in the first place. Though big box shopping and pre-packaged communities have their own lure, nothing can replace the authenticity and character of an original American small town. This national focus has consumers from all over the country looking for these unique places to visit, shop and call home and Swedesboro’s rebirth could not have been timed better. Demand for these special places is fueling their redevelopment while inspiring both town leaders and business owners to meet and exceed the expectations of the 21st Century downtown adventurer.
This is the town. Now is the time.
Over the years, the resources and charm of this community have become more and more apparent. While the town prides itself on its historical makeup, this suburban community has fostered a refreshed, economically-viable business district with a unique mix of businesses. The Swedesboro Economic Development Committee (EDC) and various volunteer groups have been working for almost a decade to foster the existing business community while setting the stage for redevelopment and growth. Throughout the town, you sense a feeling of pride in how far they’ve come and a flurry of excitement for what the future holds.
Swedesboro has pressed the biggest start button in the town’s history. For more than eight years, the EDC, community and the town’s small businesses have been at work enhancing the experiences of both residents and visitors alike. In 2005, Swedesboro embarked on a state-governed, multi-phase, town engineering studying that identified key areas for improvement. The findings are steering the redevelopment process and have already resulted in many, highly-visible projects. In fact, these efforts have injected more than $1,967,000 of grant-funded projects that are drawing attention from government, investors and businesses.
Recent Projects Include:
- New Swedesboro Public Library expansion [$819,500]
- New street lamps, banners, landscaping, sidewalks and brickwork [$150,000 + $513,000]
- Purchase of vacant properties for redevelopment [$484,500]
- Improvements to events like the Outdoor Living and Garden Show
Public and private investment has also fueled growth throughout Swedesboro’s business districts where businesses and organizations have invested $6,014,500 in property and infrastructure improvements.
A Downtown Centerpiece: Kings Highway Downtown Project
A proud project of the EDC and a key result of the planning study is known as “The Kings Highway Downtown Project.” This will develop a cornerstone property on Swedesboro’s “Main Street,” centrally situated on Kings Highway. A Request for Proposal has been issued to multiple developers to propose a mixed-use development with a concept that combines commercial, retail and/or office space and second level residential living that is compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. This new and exciting development will completely re-energize the downtown and ring in the next wave of growth in this desirable corridor.
Location and Population
Swedesboro’s landscape spans 498 acres (0.78 square miles) in area, and is located in the western portion of Gloucester County in rural South Jersey. It is immediately accessible via New Jersey’s essential roadways (the NJ Turnpike, Route 295, Route 95 and Routes 55, 322 and 47.) Three of the country’s largest employment, shopping and cultural centers are within driving distance: Philadelphia (20 minutes), New York City (two hours) and Washington D.C. (three hours).
With a population of more than 2,500, Swedesboro is charged for growth as it sits surrounded on all sides by Woolwich Township—the fastest growing community in New Jersey. Residents of both Swedesboro and Woolwich Township embrace Swedesboro’s downtown district on King’s Highways as their “Main Street.” Generally speaking, downtown Swedesboro is the immediate area’s only walkable downtown, offering original architecture, rich history, unique shopping and a variety of dining experiences. Swedesboro’s incredibly desirable location is one of the undeniable factors in its growth.
And They’re Off!
In the past year alone, Swedesboro has seen additional new businesses, including the new yoga studio, Pink Lotus as well as Headliners Salon and the Cigar Vault under new ownership. More recently, the soon to open Tavro13 restaurant (taking place of the Olde Swedes Inn) announced that it will be spearheaded by partner and acclaimed chef Terence Feury, of Fork in Old City Philadelphia. Feury has also shaped the cuisine at The Waldorf Astoria and La Bernardin in New York City, as well as Striped Bass and The Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia.
Be a Part of History
It has never been a matter of “if” but more a matter of “when” the news of Swedesboro’s renaissance would begin. Count your business among the trailblazers and visionaries that are taking advantage of the current business climate and incentives offered in this unique town.
Our Economic Development committee members are available for personal tours, meet-and-greets and can help you get answers to any questions you may have. Check back soon to download our “Open for Business” PDF to get started.
For more information, contact the EDC below: