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By SUZANNE MARINO Staff Writer

SOMERS POINT — While vacant storefronts have littered the area for several years, the tide seems to be turning and the city’s Economic Development Advisory Committee reports seeing Somers Point on an upswing - with some businesses looking to expand and new ones setting up shop.

The long vacant Oriental Buffet at 575 New Road spent years as a grim reminder that the economy was weak. Several weeks ago a “sold” sign was erected on the spot and bulldozers moved in. The demolition of the short-lived eatery was a welcome sight in the south end of the city. In its place will be an AutoZone store that will likely open its doors in early 2016, according to representatives of Somers Point EDAC.

But the new auto parts store is not the only bright light along the heavily traveled New Road corridor. The former Wawa at 600 New Road that closed in 2012 will soon be a Sherwin-Williams Paints, and the construction in the Ocean Heights Plaza will soon open as STS Tire and Auto Center.

Vacant for years, the former Burger King at 720 New Road will soon have new life as an Ace Plumbing, Heating and Electrical Supply.

Across from the Custard Hut on New Road and New York Avenue the Red Gravy Grille opened its doors in January. Shore Road added Amici’s Restaurant at 304 Shore Road where Joe’s Pizza closed last year.

Other businesses now calling Somers Point their home are Tubb’s Dog Wash on Somers Point-Mays Landing Road, the law office Richard M. King that opened in May at 5 McArthur Blvd., and Bob McAllister-launched Comfort Now at 505 New Road. Golf & Sports Performance Club - 450 Bay Ave. - expanded its business and will celebrate with a grand opening July 24 at 450 Bay Avenue.

“Family-owned businesses and nationally known chains alike continue to make Somers Point their home and/or expanded here, signifying that our city is a draw for shoppers and a prime location to do business,” said Michael Bray, president of the Somers Point Economic Development Advisory Commission.

Vacant storefronts filling up in Somers Point bodes well for the city where not only – as its slogan states - does the Shore start here, but the recovery starts here as well.

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