The New Jersey Devils and Citizens Bank, in an initiative aimed at helping small businesses in the state, have launched Jersey Shops, a program in which four grand prize winners will be showcased and promoted through a variety of the team’s marketing channels and receive access to special business networking events.
The grand prize winners will have the opportunity to tell the story of how they built their business and the impact they’ve had on their community through a vignette created in collaboration with the Devils. The Devils and Citizens Bank will support the business through marketing support, visibility with other businesses, networking opportunities and more.
The program will last for the remainder of the current 2022-23 season. A grand prize winner will be announced for each of the next four months, starting in February.
The Jersey Shops program also aims to select up to 50 additional winners, which will be assisted in other ways — including promotion on a unique website.
The four winners and up to 50 additional businesses that submit applications will receive a dedicated listing on the Jersey Shops official webpage and a Jersey Shops Kit including “Made in Jersey” window decals, promotional merchandise and invitations to Devils networking events.
Want to apply? Click here.
The goal, Devils officials said, is to identify small businesses that could use extra assistance and that align with the organization’s values.
Here are some more details:
- When does it start? The application portal is open now. Winners will be selected on a rolling basis.
- Who is eligible? Small businesses. The answer is intentionally vague. Devils and Citizens Bank officials said they don’t want to limit those eligible by putting a metric on employees or revenue.
- Where does the business need to be based? New Jersey. The Devils certainly have a connection to Newark and Essex County, but they view themselves as a statewide franchise and Citizens is a statewide bank.
- Will special consideration be given to companies owned by women, veterans or members of other underserved communities? Yes. Officials said the goal for this program is to provide exposure to a very diverse array of businesses — and they certainly will look for “neighbors” in Newark and Essex County. But the program is not limited. The goal is to ensure all New Jersey small businesses have exposure to this program and are able to be considered. The Devils have been strong in their commitment to underserved communities and assist Black-owned businesses in their Buy Black Program presented by Prudential, which is now in its third year.
- How specifically will the four grand prize winners be assisted? Each of the four businesses selected for the grand prize will be showcased through a variety of Devils channels, including in-arena features, website inclusions and organic and paid marketing efforts to gain exposure throughout the state.
- How will the networking opportunities work? In partnership with Citizens, the Devils host one networking event per month at Prudential Center prior to a Devils game throughout the duration of the regular season. These events are open to corporate partners, premium partners and season ticket members using their membership for business. Each month has a unique topic and includes a panel of experts to lead a discussion and answer questions from the crowd. Topics this season have included:
- Maintaining client satisfaction;
- Using technology and analytics for a smarter sale;
- Building an impactful community presence;
- Using social media to enhance your brand;
- Women in leadership.
- Anything else? These businesses also may be selected to participate in other programming by the New Jersey Devils and/or Citizens — and potentially become a vendor or a partner.
Sarah Lindstrom, head of business banking at Citizens, said the bank is thrilled be a part of the program.
“Citizens is pleased to support and celebrate these local businesses, as they are the backbone of the community,” she said. “We are especially excited to show our continuing commitment to this area through our partnership with the New Jersey Devils and their Jersey Shops program, an initiative that helps build both the businesses and communities we serve.”
Chad Biggs, senior vice president, corporate partnerships activation, for the Devils and Prudential Center, agreed.
“The valuable goods and services that small businesses provide serves as the backbone of our New Jersey communities,” he said. “We are proud to join Citizens in our support and promotion of them by telling their stories, highlighting their work and helping them grow. We take great pride in helping these success stories that truly are Made in Jersey.”