A ceremonial ribbon cutting was held Friday to officially celebrate the craft beer and wine department that opened at Holmdel's Best Market in the Holmdel Commons in August.
Joseph Ponisi Sr., a member of the Holmdel Township Committee who is running in the Nov. 6 election, said he was proud to have played a role in alerting Best Market's NY-based management to the availability of a township distribution liquor license. Best Market was the only bidder in the publicly advertised sale.
"It's a big asset to the community because we just got $300,000 in revenue we didn't have before, which we needed this year," said Ponisi, who represented Holmdel with Mayor Patrick Impreveduto, Committeeman Greg Buontempo and Township Administrator Andy Katz. "The liquor license was dormant, just sitting there for 10 years."
Ponisi, a Republican, is running against Mark Levinson, a Democrat, for an unexpired 1-year term on the Township Committee. One of the Holmdel Republican Party's priorities is to be proactive about bringing new business, and much-needed tax revenues, to Holmdel.
"Word got out that commercial real estate brokers think Holmdel is not a business-friendly town," said Ponisi. In the past, he said, Route 35 chain stores like A&P Fresh were prevented from using their corporate colors, or restaurants like Chili's could not advertise their icons on their signage because they did not conform to Holmdel's design standards. But this year, the Planning Board gave Chili's big red chili pepper the green light.
Elected officials have expressed a desire to attract businesses to the township.
"Holmdel Township is 'new business' friendly," said Ponisi.
Best Market features a custom-cut meat department with hanging cured sausages, a bread and sweets bakery, a huge cheese and dairy section, and large grocery sections. The new beer and wine section takes up 20 percent of the 5,000 square foot store.
Best Market CEO Rebecca Philbert said the store hopes to hold tastings of the beer and wine with food pairings on the last Saturdays of the month. On Oct. 27, there will be a bottle signing of Grandpa ChaCha Italian red on Saturday, from 1 to 4 p.m. with Sopranos star John "ChaCha" Ciarcia. (He played Albie Cianflone, Phil Leotardo’s New York crew consigliere, on the final two seasons.)
On Friday at noon, customers on errands pushed through carts between the craft beer and cider aisles, where customers can build their own six-pack selection for $10.99.
Karen Farrell of Union Beach was trying to navigate through all the chatting officials towards the $4.88 Merlot. "Last week they had a great price on Coors Light: 24 bottles for $15," she said. She said she shops around for the best deal at Best Market. "I like to buy whatever's on sale."