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A closed highway and a ‘mad dash’ to e-commerce: Here’s how one New Jersey Main St. is preparing to reopen

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Somerville’s Division St., a usually bustling pedestrian street, pictured from Main Street. In the front of the image is a sign for Somerville’s weekly cruise nights, which are “on hiatus due to Covid-19.” June 9, 2020.

Will Feuer

Somerville, New Jersey has enjoyed a rising tide in recent years.

Main Street is usually bustling, drawing crowds of thousands through the spring and summer with events like the annual Central Jersey Jazz Festival and weekly cruise nights, when classic cars line the street.

Within the borders of the town’s 2-square miles, about 12,000 people live, enjoying a boom in both commercial and residential development that has attracted younger residents and new businesses to the active commuter town. There’s a communal atmosphere to the Somerset County town, Mayor Dennis Sullivan said, that stands in stark contrast to just a few years ago, when empty storefronts dotted the town’s main thoroughfare.

“Five years ago, it was a ghost town,” Sullivan said, attributing the turnaround to public and private investment. “A lot of those upper-story apartments are full now, where they were cobwebs just a few years ago.”

Iris Frank, co-owner of Village Brewing, cited the “comeback” of the town as “the reason why we picked Somerville” a little over a year ago when she and her brother opened the brewery. Now, the coronavirus pandemic and New Jersey’s stringent response to it threatens to disrupt the town’s upswing and the businesses tethered to it.

New Jersey has endured one of the most restrictive responses to the virus in the country. Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday he would lift the stay-at-home order that was put in place on March 21. But many businesses will remain closed at least until the state enters its next phase of reopening on Monday.

Businesses deemed nonessential have already faced more than 12 weeks of closure and expect more weeks ahead of low revenue as stores just partially reopen to comply with social distancing requirements. As New Jersey finally paves a path forward, business owners and local officials are gleaning lessons from other states that have already reopened on how to do so safely while balancing the economic needs of the community. 

Friday night crowds are ‘all gone’

Village Brewing in Somerville, New Jersey, closed on March 16. Since then it’s been surviving on takeout and delivery orders, which are about 10% of usual business.

Will Feuer

“I’m here on a Friday night and I look out the window at six, seven o’clock, where the streets would be teeming with people who are enjoying the evening, from the folks on a date night to families just coming to get ice cream and strolling and looking at the classic cars,” Frank said. “That’s all gone.”

On May 29, Frank stood outside her business as a sparser crowd than usual, most wearing masks, strolled down the street. The crowd, which Frank said has been steadily growing in recent weeks, pales in comparison to the numbers Somerville usually draws during its busy spring season, but it’s a sign of hope for Frank that her customers might return for the summer.

Frank said she celebrated the one-year anniversary of her brewery’s opening in April with her business closed, like thousands of others on Main Streets across the country.

Somerville has reported 137 confirmed cases of Covid-19 as of Friday, and six people have died of the disease, according to data compiled by Somerset County. But New Jersey, particularly the northern part of the state near New York City, has endured the second worst coronavirus outbreak in the country, with more than 166,166 confirmed cases and at least 12,490 deaths caused by Covid-19 as of Friday.

While some other states began to allow outdoor dining and retailers to reopen with limited capacity a month ago, New Jersey’s restrictions still only allow for curbside pick-up statewide. In early June, Murphy announced that the state will allow outdoor dining and for retailers to reopen with 50% capacity on Monday, about three months after Frank closed Village Brewing. 

Trouble on Main Street

Somerville’s Main Street on June 2. A sign posted to the lamp post from the Downtown Somerville Alliance advertises curbside pickup and takeout.

Downtown Somerville Alliance

The long-term economic effects of the coronavirus restrictions remain unclear. So much is unknown about the virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads, all of which could impact how states ease restrictions. While researchers study the nature of the virus, bills are piling up for small businesses like Frank’s and the extended suspension of business threatens to throttle the local economy.

Village Brewing has been surviving by selling takeout food and growlers of beer since it closed on March 16, Frank said, adding that sales are down more than 90% compared with last year. She said she’s partnered with food delivery company DoorDash, which has helped.

We would be naive to think that any of us, or any district, no matter where you are in the country, is going to come out of this situation completely unscathed.

Natalie Pinero

Executive director, Downtown Somerville Alliance

She also received a loan from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, which will help her weather the storm and pay her 40 employees. But she still has no idea when her business might be able to return to any semblance of normal operations.

She’s been looking at restaurants and eateries in places like Texas and Georgia that have been allowed to reopen, she said, and looking for smart ways to reduce the risk of infection. Village Brewing has a massive 17,000-square-foot, two-floor space, which will help with social distancing, she said, but one thing she’s seen from other states is that outdoor space is key to reopening. 

Natalie Pinero, executive director of the Downtown Somerville Alliance, said she’s not sure all businesses can take much more of a sustained shutdown. 

“We would be naive to think that any of us, or any district, no matter where you are in the country, is going to come out of this situation completely unscathed,” she said. “I think that there is a genuine concern for our businesses, for our small businesses.”

The DSA has been trying to help local shops survive the hiatus and prepare for reopening, however it could look, Pineiro said. For starters, the organization has been working with shops to revamp their online presence.

‘Mad dash’ online

A sign posted on Somerville’s Main St. on June 9, lays out precautions meant to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19. Signs on businesses and traffic lights along the street tell pedestrians that masks are required in downtown Somerville.

Will Feuer

The organization launched an initiative called Somerville at Home, a website that provides guidance to the public about which businesses are open for take-out services. It doesn’t just include restaurants. For example, Nailed It, a do-it-yourself workshop on Main Street, has started to offer “make-and-take craft projects,” Pineiro said, where customers pick up supplies from the store and can tune into live-streamed instructions on how to construct the project. 

Somerville has a variety of new and old businesses, some that have been online from the start and others that are just now leaning into e-commerce, Pineiro said.

“A lot of these small businesses are not set up for e-commerce or were not set up for e-commerce, so it was a mad dash once this happened to get people up to speed,” she said. “Still there are some people that aren’t completely set up for e-commerce.

But online sales only go so far, especially considering so many Somerville businesses, like Carol’s Creative Chocolatez, which normally hosts regular artisanal chocolate tastings, are designed for an in-person and often communal experience, Pineiro said. To stir some excitement about shopping safely again, Somerville officials and the Downtown Alliance are petitioning the state to close Main Street, a state-owned highway, to traffic on at least some days every week. 

A musician performs at the 2019 Central Jersey Jazz Festival in Somerville, New Jersey. This year’s festival, which always takes place in Somerville, is slated for Sept. 11 to 13 and it has yet to be officially canceled.

Downtown Somerville Alliance

The town is hoping to hear back from the state this week, Pineiro said.

Closing Main Street and giving shops some space would be the safest way to bring customers back, and could help protect businesses in the future if the county sees a surge in cases again, as some states that were among the first to reopen have.

Closing streets to traffic

“Our retail businesses can bring out tables of products so that people can feel safe and shop outdoors instead of crowding indoors,” she said. “And the same thing with our dining.”

Some research, which has been endorsed by the White House, has shown that the virus doesn’t spread as easily outdoors and in direct sunlight. Cities beyond Somerville and across the country are now trying to find more space for restaurants and businesses that can move outdoors during the summer.

It’s far from the ideal summer season for businesses, Pineiro said.

“It’s certainly damaging to the momentum to have something like Covid happen and really set us back,” Pineiro said. “You’re talking about people that put their blood, sweat and tears and made sacrifices to be a part of Main Street.”

Somerville’s not shy of shutting streets to traffic to benefit its pedestrians. In 2012, the town invested more than $400,000 in converting Division Street, perpendicular to Main Street, into a pedestrian street. Sullivan said the project, which began as a one-year pilot, has been a rousing success, drawing customers from throughout the region to the town’s businesses. 

Somerville’s Division St., pictured before the coronavirus pandemic, on one of the town’s themed weekly festivals. These celebrations can draw thousands in the spring and summer. The business community hopes to replicate the pedestrian street on Main St. to revive businesses while preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

Downtown Somerville Alliance

A threat to Somerville’s businesses is a threat to the municipal budget, local schools and basic public services, Sullivan said. He added that there’s no corporate presence along any of the surrounding highways, so an unusually large portion of Somerville’s tax revenue comes straight from Main Street.

It’s too early to determine whether spending cuts will be necessary, he said, adding that the current and most affected tax period ends in August. He said the borough has a surplus, but he’s hesitant to tap it unless absolutely necessary and the same goes for borrowing funds. 

“If I had a crystal job, well, I could do this job forever,” he said. “But it doesn’t come with a script and it doesn’t come with a Ouija board. It comes with a lot of planning and a lot of self confidence that you’re making the right decision, but we won’t know until we’ve gone through at least another tax cycle.”

‘Worse than Sandy’

Rick St. Pierre, who has owned the Verve restaurant and bar for 24 years, said closing off Main Street for just pedestrians would go a long way in helping to revive business and restore consumer confidence in town. At the very least, he said, it would test the waters of how to do business while the virus is still circulating.

The bar at Verve in downtown Somerville, New Jersey in pre-Covid times. Rick St. Pierre, who has owned the restaurant for 24 years, is now busy installing a plastic divider between the bartender and patrons’ seats.

Downtown Somerville Alliance

In the meantime, however, he’s preparing to reopen with limited capacity and safety modifications.

He’s ordering Verve-branded face masks and stocking up on plastic face shields for further protection. A plastic divider will separate the bartender from customers and he’s figuring out how to install dividers between tables, which will be set six feet apart, he said. But the necessary modifications could be so burdensome that it’s not even worth it to reopen, he added.

“White table dining is all about floor space,” he said. “With 25% or even 50% limited capacity, restaurants will not be able to make money. What we’d be doing is paying our labor, paying our food, paying our utilities, and trying to pay back that debt service that was created in January, February, March and April, just because we’ve deferred payments.”

He said he’s confident that Somerville will bounce back. His restaurant has survived the 2008 financial crisis and Hurricane Sandy, which shut down utilities in town for weeks. He added that he’s learned to lean on the community and his network to survive crises like those, but Covid-19 is like nothing he’s seen before and he’s not sure younger less experienced business owners will make it.

“This is worse than Sandy, definitely, at least in my mind,” he said. “This is a different level. We have no control over this threat.”

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/13/how-one-nj-main-street-reopens-as-coronavirus-rules-ease.html

Coinpedia

Ethereum Price Smashed $2000, $3000 Incoming At Lightning Speed!

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Ethereum Price (ETH) May Hit $10,000 This Cycle!

The Ethereum price that is known to maintain a stable price movement, finally broke the previous ATH to form a new one. It took more than a months time to regain its lost position above $2000, yet sustained successfully. 

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The price took more time than expected to break the $2000 barrier, yet $3000 may be approaching at rocket speed. As predicted by founder of Gokhstein Media, David Gokhstein, the next stop for the ETH price is around $3,900. 

With the continued bullish trend and intensified rally, the price is expected to surge to the highest levels. According to an analyst and Crypto Youtuber, Young and Investing, the Ethereum price may hit $10,000 within the current bull run.

With the accelerated bull run, many analysts believe Ethereum could lead the market instead of Bitcoin too. Therefore providing a huge opportunity for the altcoins to boom within the ETH bull rally. 

Is Altcoin-Season On the Cards?

Many altcoins normally pop-up with the surge in the price of the second dominant crypto Ethereum. Currently, ETH price is trading around its new all time high around $2152 and expected to fly high. Therefore, many small cap altcoins are expected to rise from ashes and pump more than 50x or even 100x also.

Many analysts believe the Altcoin Season of 2021 is on the way and is expected to be the greatest season ever. According to a popular analyst, XRPcryptowolf, the season will reach its peak during the summer.

Moreover, the coins which are believed to be dead or not performing are also expected to rise. One of the analysts, MC also has given a brief idea on which all coins might pump in the current AltSeason.

Collectively, the breakout of Ethereum price has led to initialization of the most awaited AltSeason of 2021. The ETH price rally is expected to intensify in the coming days, that might smash $10,000 soon.

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Source: https://coinpedia.org/ethereum/ethereum-price-to-surge-to-3000-soon/

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Coinpedia

Lark Davis Addresses 3 Most Common Criticisms Tagged With Cardano

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Popular New Zealand-based crypto analyst Lark Davis pointed out the three criticisms faced by the Cardano project

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Cardano Is Overvalued

He says that Cardano’s biggest use case right now is staking. The current price of Cardano is based on speculation rather than real demand for the token based on usefulness and need among developers and users.

Right now, the basic economics that will drive future demand are simply not there. Also there’s nothing wrong or unusual about this. This is a fairly normal occurrence. We see that a lot with various assets, where the price of an asset can rise far higher than its value should be based on where it is now simply because of strong support from the market and it’s future predictions.

Even if cardano’s price is overvalued right now does not really mean that it will plunge or go down in the near future. Davis says that in such situations the opposite is likely to happen. The higher the market cap, the more serious an investment it is in the eyes of many investors, which makes the market cap go even higher and become even more serious.

Also Read : Top reasons why Cardano(ADA) Price is Poised For Massive Surge!

Nothing Is Built on Cardano

According to Lark Davis this statement is not technically true as he feels that few things are built on cardano but it lacks an ecosystem. He also states that it’s an incredibly dishonest critique of Cardano in his opinion because it is hard to have an ecosystem when there’s no smart contract functionality.

“Smart contracts are coming. The testnet is due in late April. Smart contracts are then scheduled to come on the mainnet around August… I think we’ll have at least a few dozen applications by Q1 of next year.“

Cardano Is Too Slow in Its Development

Davis says it’s fair to hope Cardano’s speed of development to pick up pace, especially considering the moderately fast rise of other projects with robust and successful ecosystems such as Elrond (EGLD) and Avalanche (AVAX).

Luckily cardano has a growing community and enthusiastic users who are willing to support the smart contracts from the day one of it’s launch. With such an optimistic community if cardano promises to deliver an ecosystem that mints people money, then it’s obvious for users and developers to eventually join this massive ADA community.

“I personally think that Cardano will prove the haters wrong this year, and that they will deliver a powerful and interesting blockchain that will become a big part of the cryptocurrency ecosystem…“

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Source: https://coinpedia.org/altcoin/criticisms-tagged-with-cardano/

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Coinpedia

CHZ Price | Chiliz Price Surged 650% in March, What’s Next for the Coin?

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The pseudonymous head of Coin Bureau who goes by the name guy, predicts that this coin has the potential to attract many users into the crypto space.

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Chiliz price has skyrocketed last month by 650% in value, making it a very important month for the cryptocurrency. In the last week, however, a pattern reversal occurred, with CHZ being overwhelmingly denominated by sellers. Things are shifting, though, as CHZ price rises once more. 

Read more : Chiliz Price Rose Like a Monster, Is It the Start of a ‘Low Cap Season’?

Chiliz is a cryptocurrency that can be used on sports and entertainment sites. Chiliz can be used like any other digital currency, but it is most commonly used on Socios.com, a website where investors and fans can use CHZ to receive exclusive rewards from their favourite teams. Special behind-the-scenes access and voting rights are among the perks.

It is worth noting that CHZ has established partnerships with top football clubs spread across the world, including FC Barcelona, AC Milan, and Juventus.

Guy says that,

“Have you been searching for that killer app that has the potential to open the floodgates and bring hundreds and millions of people into crypto? That elusive unicorn would likely be valued at a pretty penny, which means if you got into it at the right time, you could post some truly insane gains. What if that project combined NFTs, sports, and crypto? That’s the type of rocket fuel that could send it to the stratosphere… That would be Chiliz.”

I really like Chiliz as a project, the concept, and how they’re seemingly paving the way for unique digital sports memorabilia with NFTs in real-time. I also really love the idea of attaching tangible team-related perks to NFTs. That way, they have tangible real-world value and this should drive future demand.”

As of the time of publication, Chiliz price was $0.511948, with a 24-hour trading volume of $930,154,829. CHZ price also went up 1.5% over the last 24 hours. Besides, it has a circulating supply of 5.3 billion CHZ coins and a max supply of 8.89 billion.

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Source: https://coinpedia.org/altcoin/chz-price-chiliz-price-sentiments/

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Business Insider

Genesis Celebrates Official Launch In China, Unveiling Its All-new Vision Of Automotive Luxury To Chinese Consumers

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  • Genesis announced its arrival in China with an extraordinary event, introducing the brand to a new generation of Chinese consumers seeking true distinction in luxury
  • Athletic Elegance, the distinctive Genesis design philosophy was showcased with an unveiling of the Genesis G80 and Genesis GV80
  • To deliver the unique Genesis Experience, a new business model will be introduced in China aiming to design authentic relationships with Chinese consumers

SHANGHAI, April 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Global luxury automotive brand Genesis marked its official entry into China with a spectacular Brand Night held on April 2 at Shanghai’s International Cruise Terminal, where Genesis showcased its unique Genesis brand identity, design and experience philosophy. With a stunning drone show titled the “Genesis of Genesis” sweeping over the Bund, Genesis signified its exceptional beginning in the Chinese market.

Genesis performing dazzling drone show, titled with “Genesis of You”

Jaehoon (Jay) Chang, Global Head of Genesis, said, “Today marks the beginning of another audacious chapter for Genesis. The Chinese market serves a critical role in the development of our global business, and we are very excited to present the next generation luxury for China.”

“We are excited to showcase our globally recognized products, Genesis G80 and Genesis GV80, known for the highest quality and distinctive design. We are driven by a purpose to design authentic relationships with Chinese consumers. This is our promise and our differentiator in China to deliver meaningful and stress-free experiences,” said Markus Henne, Chief Executive Officer of Genesis Motor China. “To do that, we will be implementing an all-new business model that will bring our commitments to life.”

New Luxury Defined by A Unique Brand Identity and Design Philosophy

Genesis is a brand that aspires to make true positive impact in our customers’ lives. With a fresh perspective, Genesis audaciously challenges expectations and brings a progressive attitude in order to build emotional bonds with customers based on new ideas in design and innovation. Genesis also desires to provide customers with a sense of thoughtful hospitality throughout the entire journey. More than an automotive brand, Genesis represents a lifestyle and an experience.

Every Genesis presents an intimate opportunity to explore the extraordinary Genesis vision. The distinctive design of Genesis was showcased through a special Brand Night unveiling of the Genesis G80, its mid-sized luxury sedan, and Genesis GV80, the first SUV in the lineup. Defined by their symbolic Two Lines architecture, both models are the expression of Athletic Elegance, Genesis’ design philosophy that achieves the perfect balance between two opposing characteristics: Athleticism and Elegance. Inside the cabin, the Beauty of White Space philosophy is expressed through a harmony of personal space and state-of-the-art technology.

China-tailored Strategy to Provide An All-New Experience

Genesis intends to inspire its customers of what new luxury can be. It addresses what the brand calls Generation Genesis, a generation with bold new perspectives in style and everyday life, whose refined taste in aesthetics and appreciation for distinctive design cultivates resonance with the brand spirit of Genesis. To underline this, Genesis unveiled its brand manifesto at the heart of which sits the  “Genesis of You” message-Every touchpoint with Genesis is designed to fuel the confidence of these consumers, as they embark on new beginnings, break boundaries and progress in their every endeavor. 

Genesis is establishing an all-new business model for the Chinese market, aiming to design authentic relationships with Generation Genesis and deliver meaningful, stress-free experiences centered on human-touch, convenience, trust and transparency. Genesis will gradually develop its presence in China through an omnichannel approach based on direct sales, supported by trusted agents and online sales. 

Furthermore, Genesis will ensure that every person interested in the brand receives the best one-to-one experience from a dedicated companion with the introduction of the Genesis Partner Concept. 

A transparent pricing model under the Genesis One Price Promise will be implemented to ensure a unified price across all sales channels. This unique and uncompromising brand experience will be enabled by the Genesis Digital Ecosystem.

Focus on Brand Building and Designing Genesis Experience

An essential part of the Genesis is lifestyle. Aesthetic ambition with the love for beautiful things are at the core of the brand. That’s the reason Genesis is never compromising anything on design and open to collaborate on a variety of canvases, where the Generation Genesis can be naturally met.

One of these forthcoming brand experiences, for instance, will be held in collaboration with the Shanghai Fashion Week, to create an elevated and in-depth exploration of progressive luxury style through world-class fashion concepts. Comprehensive and touchable Genesis Experience will come to life at Genesis Studios, a luxury lifestyle oasis where people can experience our cars, the arts and culture combined with Genesis hospitality. The first of Genesis Studio will soon launch in downtown Shanghai.

Markus Henne, Chief Executive Officer of Genesis Motor China, added, “Launching the brand in China represents a significant, perhaps the most important, new chapter in our brand’s history. Genesis will focus on brand building in the early stage. We will continue to reveal more highlights of how we plan to appeal to our Chinese audience. I am confident to deliver this promise and invite everyone to be a part of this journey.”

About Genesis

Genesis is a global luxury automotive brand that delivers the highest standards of performance, design, safety, and innovation. The Genesis brand is one of the highest-ranked brands in the automotive industry by respected, third-party experts including North American Car of the Year, Consumer Reports and J.D. Power and more. For more information on Genesis and its new definition of luxury, please visit https://www.genesis.com.cn

Speech of Markus Henne, CEO of Genesis Motor China, at Genesis Brand Night

Cision View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/genesis-celebrates-official-launch-in-china-unveiling-its-all-new-vision-of-automotive-luxury-to-chinese-consumers-301261651.html

SOURCE Genesis

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