Chamber CEO meets with 'survivor' businesses in Washington


Recognizing just a few of the businesses that have endured throughout the years, Warren County Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO/President James Graham made several stops at Washington Borough establishments on June 14 to meet owners and find out what their thoughts were on keeping up with the competition - and the pitfalls of the rocky economy.

With Washington Business Improvement District Executive Director Sandi Cerami accompanying him, Graham met the owners of long-lasting businesses Fliegauf Jewelers, Good Impressions Printing & Mailing, the Mediterranean Bistro restaurant, and Mr. Music.


"You have to give a lot of credit to those businesses that despite heavy competition and a still shaky economy, they continue to be successful," said Graham, who also spoke briefly with James Messina Sr. and James Messina Jr., owners of Messina Wildlife Management, a nationally recognized company based in the Borough.

"A lot of businesses come and go; the ones that outlast everybody else are those businesses that find ways to stay ahead of the curve," added Cerami.

Fliegauf Jewelers has been in business for over 80 years, Good Impressions over 25, and the Mediterranean Bistro for nearly eight years, the last six under current owner Nick Derti. Mr. Music has long been a staple in Washington on Route 31, but not until community-minded owners Lewis Wetherall and Bob Russell bought it last year has it gained an amazingly strong regional following of students.

"We've never been here for a quick buck," said Greg Fliegauf, whose family jewelry business has experienced three recessions. "We have always been here with the long run in mind. We've always emphasized service. To us, everybody is a $45,000 customer."

"The printing business is constantly changing and it's a lot different than when we started," pointed out Marian Bredin of Good Impressions, who also publishes the hugely popular monthy community publication, The Messenger. "You have to be constantly thinking ahead and knowing what's coming next."

Derti's restaurant is considered among the region's finest. Since taking over, Derti has improved the interior, constructed an outside dining area, has live entertainment on weekend, and schedules special events.

"You have to try new things," Derti said. "You can't keep doing the same old same old. You have to give then a reason to keep coming back."

For more about the chamber, go to or call 908-835-9200. For information about the Washington Business Improvement District visit or phone 908-689-4800.


Warren County Regional Chamber of Commerce President & CEO James Graham admires Mediterranean Bistro sign. He met with owner Nick Derti (on right) and Sandi Cerami, Executive Director of the Washington Business Improvement District, as part of his recent Washington Borough "Survivor Business Tour."

Fliegauf Jewelers owner Greg Fliegauf meets with Sandi Cerami, Executive Director of the Washington Business Improvement District, and James Graham, President & CEO of the Warren County Regional Chamber of Commerce.

James Graham discusses business strategies with Marian Bredin, owner of Good Impressions.

Bob Russell, co-owner of Mr. Music, shows off the store to James Graham.