No-Cost Event on Growing or Launching a Food Business in New Jersey

Panel Discussion Kicking off National Small Business Week with Restaurateurs Joe Leone, Mark Cohen, Whole Foods Market Regional Buyer John Lawson, Food Truck Entrepreneur John Yarusi, Ocean County Health Department, OCVTS Adult Culinary Arts Program/Cuisine on the Green at Atlantis and Rutgers Food Innovation Center

NJSBDC at Brookdale Community College invites entrepreneurs to attend a no-cost, high-impact Foodiepreneur event. The workshop is geared towards people looking to grow or launch a food business in New Jersey such as a restaurant, food truck, commercial food product development and/or artisan goods. This no-cost event will take place on Monday, May 1, 2017, 9:00 am until 12:30 pm at Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ. This event kicks off National Small Business Week. Register at

Foodiepreneur: The Business of Food will give current and potential food entrepreneurs candid insight from the experts into one of the largest industries in our area. The goal of Foodiepreneur is to facilitate a real dialog about topics that are important to entrepreneurs in the food industry. This highly regarded panel is comprised of accomplished entrepreneurs such as Joe Leone, Mark Cohen and John Yarusi as well as the Regional Buyer for Whole Foods Market, John Lawson and essential resource partners such as the Ocean County Health Department, the OCVTS/Cuisine on the Green at Atlantis and Rutgers Food Innovation Center. These panelists have successfully navigated the process of launching and growing food businesses and will discuss their backgrounds, successes, and challenges throughout the process and offer insight to fellow business owners. Whole Foods Market Regional Buyer John Lawson and Rutgers Food Innovation Center will speak on food product development, commercialization, and selection.  The Ocean County Health Department will discuss local guidelines pertaining to food preparation commercial consumption and the OCVTS/Cuisine on the Green at Atlantis will discuss culinary training programs available. A Q&A exchange will conclude this event.

Seating is limited for this for this no-cost event and spots will go fast. To register call 732-842-8685 or click below 


John Lawson: John Lawson has lived in NYC the last 20 years or so, and he’s worked in food retail for nearly all of them.  He has been with Whole Foods Market since 2005, and a Regional Buyer since 2009.  John is most passionate about ethical & sustainable food sources, and in his current role he most enjoys partnering with brands for product development and growth.


Joe Leone: Growing up as an American Italian in Weehawken, NJ Joe Leone Introna found his love for the culinary arts in his Uncle’s Bakery in Union City, at an early age.  Joe comes from humble means and has worked very hard to help his family from a very early age. The bakery is where it all began for Joe, where his passion for breads and pastries were first developed. Then, after many years of learning and perfecting his love of baking artisan bread, he decided to pursue his culinary education and attend Ocean County Vocational Technical School and a prestigious culinary school, he jokingly calls it the school of “hard knocks.” Joe continued his culinary education at a few well known established Jersey Shore specialty markets and bakeries.  While honing his craft, Joe met the love of his life at the age of 19, he decided then, to pursue his American dream with his family’s support and opened Joe Leone’s Italian Specialties on June 2, 1997 at the age of 21.  From that moment Joe has dedicated his passion for culinary excellence, superior customer service and love of food to the Jersey Shore at Joe Leone’s Italian Specialties and Catering.  Joe’s unique handmade breads, fresh mozzarella and both traditional and adapted prepared foods have proven to be the hallmarks of the business & the staples of customer interest. The marriage of traditional and modern American Italian cuisines, developed in his retail markets and introduced by Joe has given the Jersey Shore educational exposure to the Italian culture.

Joe has also played an intimate part as a community leader, mentor and a generous example of a local humanitarian. Joe is a board member of The Food Bank of Monmouth & Ocean Counties, Ocean Medical Center and the Common Ground Grief Center, along with playing an integral role in many local church food pantries. Joe is also an advocate for the One Strong Family mission to create a movement th