Esperanza Neighborhood Businesses Receive $230,000 in COVID Relief Funding As the Holiday Season Kicks Off

December 22, 2020

Esperanza Neighborhood Businesses Receive $230,000 in COVID Relief Funding As the Holiday Season Kicks Off


New Brunswick, NJ – The City of NewBrunswick and the social impact organization New Brunswick Tomorrow have partnered to facilitate the distribution of $230,000 in direct grants to small businesses in New Brunswick’s Esperanza Neighborhood to help these businesses recover from COVID-19 related disruptions and loss of revenue. These grants were made possible with funding from the State of New Jersey’s Neighborhood Preservation COVID-19Relief Fund (CRF) from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.


With this funding, 29 neighborhood businesses received grant awards equivalent to slightly more than two months’ worth of rent or mortgage. All of the recipients are small, locally-owned businesses whose continued success is crucial to New Brunswick’s ongoing recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.


“The NPP grant has been helpful in providing our business relief during these tough times,” said Filip Vukelic, manager of World Class AutoBody, which has been in operation at 321 Handy Street for 28 years. “At the peak of the shutdown, we experienced losses that have been difficult to recuperate. We are very grateful and appreciative of the City of New Brunswick and New Brunswick Tomorrow for making this possible.”


“New Brunswick is synonymous with small business success, and this much-needed assistance will do more than just keep doors open and lights on,” said New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill. “These grants will help our family businesses, some of which have spanned generations, to emerge from the pandemic ready to grow and succeed.”


New Brunswick’s EsperanzaNeighborhood is one of twenty neighborhoods throughout the state with an existing revitalization initiative supported by the state’s NeighborhoodPreservation Program (NPP). NPP directly serves targeted neighborhoods and provides funding for community-driven revitalization projects to address their neighborhoods’ unique needs. Since last year, the City of NewBrunswick and New Brunswick Tomorrow have worked alongside community stakeholders through the NPP to develop and implement improvements in theEsperanza Neighborhood, particularly the French Street commercial corridor.


“We are thrilled to help connect neighborhood businesses with this urgently needed assistance,” said Charles Bergman, Director of the Esperanza Neighborhood Project for New Brunswick Tomorrow. “This represents a huge step forward in our collective efforts to ensure that theEsperanza Neighborhood’s commercial corridor will thrive in the short and longterm.”


“This has been a huge blessing for us through these hard times. Thank you so much for all the support and life changing help,” said Fernando Luna, owner of Cinco de Mayo Mexican Restaurant on French Street. “Please remember to keep your hands clean and wear your masks!”


The following New Brunswick businesses received NPP CRF grants:

Angela Salon Supply

Azteca Estetica Latina

Botanica Santa Barbara

Cielito Lindo Restaurant

Cinco de Mayo Restaurant

Costa Chica Mexican Restaurant

Crosstown Auto Body Inc.

Delicious Food Bakery & Deli

El Rinconcito Oaxqueno


Gallo Felix Restaurant

Gallos II Corp

George's Jewelry

Jalapeno Mexican Restaurant

Joyeria Minor

La Guelaguetza Mexican Grocery

Matamoros Travel Agency & Tax Service

Michelle's Clothing Store

Mozzarella Cucina Italiana

Nail City

Nereyda's Beauty Salon

New  Brunswick Pharmacy & Surgicals

Patty's Beauty Salon

Punto y Coma Restaurant

Reyes Multiservices

Sander Barber Shop

Viva Mexico

World Class Auto Body 

Yuri Beauty Boutique


About the City of New Brunswick:

The City of New Brunswick is the county seat for Middlesex County and home of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the world headquarters for Johnson & Johnson and two globally-renowned hospitals. New Brunswick is an educationally-focused City as well as “The Healthcare City.”


All of New Brunswick’s developments provide seamless access to major transportation lines and an extensive dining scene and arts district, located in its bustling downtown. The City is focused not only on bringing in new residents and businesses, but also on improving the lives of every one of its residents. For more information, please visit


About New BrunswickTomorrow:

New Brunswick Tomorrow is a social impact organization dedicated to enriching the lives of New Brunswick’s people by fostering public and private networks of institutions and community organizations. New Brunswick Tomorrow identifies critical community needs and responds to those needs, serving as a catalyst in developing and supporting solutions that improve the quality of life in New Brunswick. We work with our partners in the city’s public/private revitalization, assuring that health, human service and social issues are addressed that complement the physical and cultural revival of New Brunswick. For more information, visit



Bert Baron, Public Information Officer

City of New Brunswick | 732-745-5004


Charles Bergman, Director of Esperanza Neighborhood Project
New Brunswick Tomorrow, | 732-484-8511

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