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“Our community is truly one of a kind.”
That’s how Jennifer Nixon feels about Maple Shade.
“I was born and raised in Maple Shade,” she said. “As a teen I couldn’t wait to spread my wings and get out of here but I quickly realized after graduating that there really is no place like home.
“There is no bad place in Maple Shade to live or start a business,” Nixon continued. “If someone chooses Main Street, Route 73, or Route 38, there is so much traffic through our small town.
“Of course I would recommend Maple Shade if someone was seeking to open a business,” she added. “Our community is extremely loyal and embraces new businesses that get involved with the community.”
Now with Columbia Bank for 15 years, Nixon started as a part-time night teller and worked her way up to assistant branch manager, a position she currently holds.
She said Columbia Bank has been in Maple Shade for more than 40 years and in New Jersey since 1927.
“What is unique about Columbia Bank is that our customers are our family; you’re a person not a number,” Nixon said. “Our bank proudly gives back to the communities we serve in, whether it be by employee volunteerism or through our Columbia Bank Foundation which provides grants and donations to eligible 501(c)3 organizations.”
She said she joined the MSBA when her boss, Mary Anne Constantine, and Manager Linda Wiest urged her to be a part of the organization.
Nixon said her primary role is to run and update the MSBA social media pages and engage with the community online.
“To me, the MSBA’s biggest challenge when I joined was social media and online presence,” she said. “The world is run by technology and it’s now the way of communicating and getting information out there.
“The MSBA has been a wonderful organization for Maple Shade,” Nixon added. “My goal has become to not only serve our members but to also introduce the community to the MSBA and its members.
“Our community will benefit from knowing the faces behind the businesses they frequent and without them, businesses in town would not survive,” she said.
One of the most important things Nixon has learned is “being present in the community will go a long way.
“As a businesswoman in town, I am more excited to participate or volunteer in community events as a representative of the bank than go to a networking event with other business owners and peers,” she said. “Don’t get me wrong, B2B is important in the banking industry but serving Maple Shade and getting to know my customers and their family, friends and neighbors have been very rewarding to me in my career.”
Nixon said her father was from Cherry Hill and her mother was from Marlton. They moved to Maple Shade and raised Nixon and her three sisters there.
A 2004 graduate of Maple Shade High School, Nixon still lives in town with her husband, Matt, who transplanted from Delanco. They have been in their home for about 8 years.
Owner and creative director at Amped to Dance Dana Marie Randolph said the most important thing she’s learned when it comes to business is persistence.
“Never give up,” she said. “Even when enrollment is low and quotas are missed as long as I keep believing and working towards the vision everything will work out.
“I can’t give up because there is no plan B,” Randolph added. “I must continue to put everything I have in making the dream I have a reality.”
Amped to Dance opened in Maple Shade in July of this year.
“I’ve been professionally training in various styles of dance since the age four,” Randolph said. “After years of teaching at community centers in Philadelphia my passion for music, movement, and teaching collided together as the vision of helping people express themselves through dance came to life.”
So, what’s unique about her business?
“Amped to Dance is the dance studio where passion meets movement,” Randolph said. “We pride ourselves on fostering self-confidence and creativity through dance in each and every person we encounter.
“Amped to Dance is more than a business, even more than a dance school,” she added. “We are a place that encourages self-expression, healing, and love through creative arts.”
Randolph said she would recommend Maple Shade to someone looking to open a business here “because the town is very welcoming.” Also, she said It was a fairly simple process to get started.
She said it has been pleasant being a member of the Maple Shade Business Association.
“I am a member of MSBA because I’d like to learn and grow as a business owner in this town,” Randolph said. “I want to ensure the success of my business and what better way to be a part of a community of like-minded people.
“There are also so many qualities that I possess that may meet the needs of my fellow business owners,” she added.
Randolph grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from Temple University with a BA in communications and Lincoln University with a MEd degree.
She said she and her family have lived in Maple Shade since May 2019.
In her spare time, Randolph enjoys spending quality, “silly” time with her family, exploring new restaurants, reading, and writing.