Storino Says Midnight Bar Closing Will Force 50 Layoffs at Jenkinson's
Pat Storino, Jenkinson's owner, speaks at Point Beach GOP Club
Midnight bar closings would force Jenkinson's Boardwalk to lay off 50 of its 200 full-time, year-round workers, Pat Storino told the Point Beach GOP organization at the Woman's Club on St. Louis Avenue on Thursday night.
"People have told me I should lay off the Point Pleasant Beach residents first, so they can picket," Storino said, adding, laughing, "So I may have to lay off my own kids."
Layoffs would be one of the effects of a local ordinance adopted on May 15 that would compel all bars in Point Beach to stop serving alcohol at midnight, said Storino, who has owned Jenkinson's since 1977.
That ordinance will be put to its first test today when the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is expected to decide whether to "stay" or postpone enforcement of the ordinance, which is scheduled to go into effect on Sunday.
Jenkinson's and Martell's asked for the stay and for ABC to invalidate the ordinance. The stay would be for bars to stay open until 2 a.m., their current closing time, until ABC makes it decision on earlier closings.
The ordinance was adopted after a year of discussing possible ways to avert another summer like last summer, when the amount of offenses and crimes on the weekends was the worst in 17 years, according to police.
Storinos Express Cautious Optimism
After he addressed the group, Storino was asked if he's optimistic ABC will grant the stay today.
"I'm not sure, but the lawyers think maybe we'll be OK," he said. "They know, I don't know."
Frank Storino, one of Pat Storino's sons, said he felt somewhat optimistic, simply because he felt that he and his family had not given the state any reason to deny their request.
"I'm a very religious, spiritual person, I read the Bible a lot, I pray a lot, and I have faith, so, yes, I have a good feeling about tomorrow because there's not one blemish on my license, I haven't done anything wrong and that alone should be enough for them to say, 'What have they done to deserve this?' " he said.
Frank Storino said Jenkinson's bars stay open until 2 a.m. primarily on Friday and Saturday nights, with some 2 a.m. closings on weekdays, most notably Thursday nights, depending on the demand.
Earlier Bar Closings Passed After Many Other Efforts Failed
Despite the town meetings with boardwalk businesses on and off since last summer, no amicable compromise was reached for how the boardwalk might pay for additional police services, make last call earlier, or take other possible measures to cut down on crime and lesser offenses on the weekends.
Jenkinson's and Martell's have repeatedly said they made a good faith effort by offering $800,000 to help pay for police during the next five years.
Mayor Vincent Barrella and three councilmembers, Bret Gordon, Kristine Tooker and Michael Corbally, have said the business owners were unwilling to commit to a mechanism, such as restrictions on their liquor licenses, to make sure the payments were made.
Storino Criticizes Barrella
As Storino spoke to the group, he had numerous criticisms of Barrella, including that he has "a vendetta" against Jenkinson's and he has been unwilling to work with the company regarding issues like parking and working out an alternative to earlier bar closings.
"I've avoided him," Storino said. "They say we don't do our fair share. We pick up the garbage on the boardwalk and we man the municipal toilets that Barrella closed his first week in office."
"And that saved the town over $20,000," said former Democratic Councilman John Dixon who was in the audience, along with former Democratic Councilman Frank Rizzo and Democratic Councilman Tim Lurie.
Patch could not call Barrella due to the lateness of the hour. However, in the past, when faced with these types of accusations from both Jenkinson's and Martell's, Barrella has insisted he has no ax to grind with the boardwalk businesses, he knows they are valuable tax ratables for the town that also help generate parking revenue and he is all for tourists who are "well-behaved," but not for those who stumble drunk into residential neighborhoods at all hours and cause disturbances.
One Resident Asked a Tough Question
Only one resident who attended the meeting asked a tough question during the question and answer portion of the evening. Tom Angelucci, who lives with his wife and three children on Atlantic Avenue, asked Pat Storino, "Do you acknowledge there's a problem and what's the solution?"
"Most of the problem is at 2 when bars let out, but we've taken care of a lot of that," Storino said. He acknowledged he is usually home sleeping at 2 a.m., but said there was one morning he observed the bar crowd leaving and noticed a line of cabs waiting to take bar patrons home.
He said Jenkinson's also hired private detectives to patrol the boardwalk during late and early morning hours during the past four weeks to observe what's been taking place.
"This year, it's been very quiet," he said.
Tax Appeals and Advertising
This was a highly rare public speaking appearance for Storino and he opened by saying, "I'm not a public speaker." But it seemed like he has wanted to talk about a lot of things for a long time.
"A lot of people ask, 'Why did you file a tax appeal?' " Storino said, adding that Ed McGlynn, a longtime Jenkinson's attorney, warned him not to discuss that at the GOP meeting.
"Ed McGlynn said, 'Don't bring it up,' but I'm bringing it up," he said, prompting laughter. He said Jenkinson's appealed its taxes simply because they are so high.
"Our latest tax bill is $1,350,000," he said. "And that's after all the reductions," he said, referring to the court-ordered reduction in the company's tax assessments for boardwalk and downtown properties.
He said Jenkinson's has 1,200 seasonal employees, most recently filling more of those positions by hiring more "local kids," and fewer workers from overseas.
Marilou Halvorsen, Jenkinson's Director of Marketing, also spoke, touching on the criticism she's faced regarding where and how she advertises Jenkinson's. Halvorsen, who has worked for the company for 13 years, said when she advertises with a radio station, "Those radio ads may go all over the state. I can't control where those ads go."
She said she has targeted marketing and advertising to attract the kind of clientele who is good for the town as well as for the businesses.
"We want to make sure that everyone who comes is safe and enjoying themselves," Halvorsen said.
She said she has tried to get the word out that she is happy to meet with any concerned residents to explain her marketing and advertising strategies.
Anyone interested in meeting with Halvorsen can contact her at Jenkinson's office at (732) 892-0600.