Debbie Schaeffer, the president and CEO of Mrs. G TV, Appliances and Sleep Center in Lawrence, was recently inducted into the NJBIZ Hall of Fame. Schaeffer serves on the board of directors for the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Schaeffer was one of four business leaders to receive the honor at the annual NJBIZ Business of the Year Awards. The award recognizes business leaders who have shown a long-standing commitment to business success in New Jersey. Schaeffer is the third-generation female owner of Mrs. G, which is located on Business Route 1. The store will be celebrating 80 years in business this year.
“I am so honored that NJBiz recognizes that the key to a successful business in New Jersey is to encourage local spending, and that they recognized my efforts to support all independents in the state,” Schaeffer said.
Schaeffer is in the midst of construction on a new retail space next to fellow family-owned business Worldwide Wholesale Flooring. Schaeffer hopes the move, combined with the changes planned for the old Mrs. G site, will revitalize the Business Route 1 corridor and encourage local shopping and support among Lawrence businesses.
“Each dollar you spend at independent businesses returns three times more money to our local economy than one spent at a chain — a benefit we all can bank on. Small businesses donate more than twice as much per sales dollar to local non-profits, events, and teams compared to big businesses,” Schaeffer said. “And when you support an independent, you’re creating more jobs and keeping community programs alive. If the business isn’t doing well, the community suffers. It’s simple math.”
Schaeffer has received local, statewide and national attention for her crusade for tax fairness for independent business owners. Since 2012 she has been lobbying for the passage of the Main Street Fairness Act, which calls for an even playing field among brick and mortar and e-commerce entities across the country. Locally her efforts led to the formation of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce Independent Business Alliance. As co-chair of the Independent Business Alliance, Schaeffer worked with the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce to develop criteria for business membership as well as a model for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer support.
“My goal is to influence the community to shift their spending,” Schaeffer said. “I also want to encourage businesses to support each other. This was the example my grandmother set as a business owner, and it’s the model I practice and hope others emulate.”