GARDEN STATE LUMINARIES SHARE FAVORITE MOVIE STARS, NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS, AND THE TOP SPOT ON THEIR TRAVEL BUCKET LIST

BY JESSICA JONES-GORMAN, ARCHANA AITHAL ROSE, AND AMANDA MCCOY PHOTOS BY ERIC COLEMAN AND AMANDA DOMENECH

LOCALS TO MOGULS

Scott Coleman and Allan Sockol
Principals, Contemporary Motor Cars cmcbenz.com

More than four decades have passed since this uncle and nephew team realized their shared dream of leading a car dealership, though the groundwork was laid even earlier. As VP of Grossman Motor Cars in Manhattan in the ‘60s and ‘70s and co-venturer of a North American Racing Team with Luigi Chinetti, Sockol introduced Coleman to different elements of the automotive world at a young age, from retailers to racing, and together the two purchased the Mercedes-Benz dealership in Little Silver in 1978, renaming it Contemporary Motor Cars.

Today that dealership is still a family-run boutique, and the two principals are on site six days a week. “Our philosophy is one dealership is a passion, two or more is a business,” explained Coleman. “To run things at a very high level, we have to be here to support our staff and the customer.”

This philosophy has clearly served the duo well, as the dealership has built a reputation for honesty with clients from Monmouth and Ocean Counties and beyond, from Manhattan to Florida, and the average employee has been with the store for over 15 years. “We have employees that are now in their 50s and this is the only job they’ve ever had. We love working with our personnel and watching them succeed.”

FAVORITE MOVIE STAR?
Humphrey Bogart.
WHAT IS YOUR 2021 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION?
For this year, my resolution is to stay healthy so I can continue to support my family, friends, employees, and customers.
NAME THE TOP DESTINATION ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET LIST?
Aspen, Colorado.

INVESTORS SPREAD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frank Cretella
Principal, Landmark Hospitality landmarkhospitality.com

Seasoned real estate developer and hospitality vet Frank Cretella’s passion for good food and celebrating life’s joys inspired him to open Liberty House in 2001 with his wife Jeanne, marking the launch of Landmark Hospitality. Placing a focus on people, relationships, experiences, and family, the Cretellas slowly added more venues to their portfolio, introducing a range of boutique hotels and restaurants throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Joined by their daughter, Maddy, the generational family business now also owns and operates Hudson House, Stone House at Stirling Ridge, Ryland Inn, and Felina.

Cretella also leads Landmark Developers, a real estate development company which features an in-house construction firm, Black Dog Construction, enabling him to control all facets of each project he takes on. He is best known throughout New Jersey for transforming historical or underutilized properties into uniquely vibrant retail spaces, offices, and prestigious hospitality venues.

Together with Jeanne, he has created several foundations for the betterment of the community. Art of Hospitality Workers Alliance benefits the industry and the people who dedicate their lives to hospitality, and Businesses for Better Neighborhoods is a non-pro t dedicated to supporting both small businesses and the communities they serve. Founded in 2001, HUG (Help Us Give) is Landmark’s Corporate Giving Program committed to giving back to the community through events and local charities.

FAVORITE MOVIE STAR?
Denzel Washington: great actor, great style, and author to one of my favorite quotes – “Do what you have to do, to do what you want to do.”

WHAT IS YOUR 2021 NEW
YEAR’S RESOLUTION?
As always, to be a better version of myself and to help others realize their inner entrepreneurship.

NAME THE TOP DESTINATION ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET LIST.
Dubai to see and experience the over-the-top hotels and public structures, but I can be easily persuaded to go back to Amalfi . Both breathtaking in their own way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chef Daniel D’Alessio
Chef / Owner, Dan Catering and Private Dining chef-dan.com

A decorated, luxury private chef and caterer with a wide breadth of experience working in top-tier restaurants like the Raven & the Peach and the Rumson Country Club, Chef Dan is a masterclass in culinary savoir faire. Even though his creations are beyond visually inviting and boast a complexity of flavors (an oft-repeated sentiment by raving customers), the chef ’s personal philosophy is, “Keep it simple, but be creative. Sometimes less is more.”

His earliest food memories, ones that eventually led to an illustrious career in the culinary arts, were, “Cooking and eating with my grandmother.” That humble experience connecting food with emotions inspired the cuisiner to create custom menus for events, obsessively driven by fresh and high-quality ingredients sourced from local farmers for a unique farm-to-table experience in the comfort of his customers’ own homes.

FAVORITE MOVIE STAR?
Bradley Cooper – funny how he also starred in one of my favorite food movies, Burnt.

WHAT’S YOUR 2021 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION?
To keep adapting. You have to be creative these days and roll with whatever is happening around you.

NAME THE TOP DESTINATION ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET LIST.
I would love to go fishing in Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Findel
Top Leadership Development Coach, Strategic Performance Group / davidfindel.com

David Findel has been a pioneer in his leadership development role for more than 28 years, coaching corporate bigwigs, investment bankers, industrial firm executives, and other professionals using groundbreaking strategies to achieve their goals. His efficacious approach teaches clients how to “remove the noise” from what one thinks and apply what is actual.

“At SPG, we emphasize a lot on the power of accountability for operational optimization, leadership development, sales structure, and execution,” noted Findel.

With almost 93% of his clients achieving, and often exceeding, their goals, the leadership coach attributes the success of his strategy to learning from his own setbacks in life. “Through my own life experiences, I’ve learned that there are no shortcuts to success. But not losing focus, staying persistent with your endeavors is the key; it’s a consistent message I send out to all of our client base.”

FAVORITE MOVIE STAR?
Al Pacino.

WHAT IS YOUR 2021 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION?
My goal is to see that 100% of my client base is able to achieve all their career objectives.

NAME THE TOP DESTINATION ON YOUR 2021 TRAVEL BUCKET LIST.
Spain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gabriella Varshavsky
Owner, Gabriella’s Italian Steakhouse / gabriellasnj.com

When Gabriella Varshavsky was attending Pace University Business School in Manhattan, earning her degree in hospitality/hotel and restaurant management, she dined at the best restaurants in the city, jotting down every single one of her likes and dislikes. During her summers off, she landed a job as hostess to learn the ins and outs of the business.

“I fell in love with the restaurant business at a young age, working for Patricia’s of Holmdel and Tao Downtown in NYC and had a tremendous experience,” she said. “The NYC dining experiences really inspired me to open something up in Monmouth County that we were missing. I wanted it to be the best of the best.”

Despite the doubt of a few cynics, Varshavsky persisted, opening Gabriella’s Italian Steakhouse in Red Bank in 2019.

“Everyone always told me that the restaurant business is one of the most difficult businesses out there, but I love a challenge and I’m beyond happy that I took it on.”

Serving an elegant mix of high-end steak cuts and traditional Italian favorites, Varshavsky’s eatery has become a go-to hotspot for a beautifully dry-aged NY strip with a side of cacio de pepe. Looking ahead, she already has ambitions to expand her concept. “We are already expanding and planning on building a private party room at Gabriella’s in the near future. I can’t wait to open up several more restaurants and maybe even some hotels and resorts one day.”

One of the best compliments she’s ever received? “After dining at Gabriella’s, we don’t have to drive into NYC anymore.”

FAVORITE MOVIE STAR?
Leonardo DiCaprio.

NAME THE TOP DESTINATION ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET LIST.
I love to travel and wish I could do more of it but it’s a little difficult with the business that I’m in. I would have to say Positano, Maldives, Dubai, and Mykonos are on my list as soon as I’m able to travel!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jordan Wright
Owner, Quality Ford, Quality Chevrolet, and Quality Chevrolet Buick GMC / qualityautomall.com, qualitychevroletnj.com qualitychevybuickgmc.com

Born and raised in Bergen County, a product of Don Bosco Prep and Muhlenberg College, Jordan Wright basically grew up on a car lot, washing vehicles and running errands at his father’s Quality Ford dealership since the age of 13. He officially joined the family business after completing his college degree.

“When I came on board my vision was to grow the business and the brand,” noted Wright, who became partner and co-owner in the Ford dealership before purchasing several more dealerships of his own. “I met with different manufacturers before founding Quality Chevrolet in 2017.”

For Wright, the Old Bridge store was a good addition for both himself and his customer base.

He soon built the brand even further, adding an Englewood-based Chevrolet, Buick, GMC dealership to the Quality family.

“I think our customers appreciate how the brand has grown. They know that our reputable sales and service now extend across a number of car brands in a number of different locations across the state.” And now Wright is currently working on simplifying the car buying experience for a new generation of buyers.

“It’s no longer necessary to step foot in the dealership if you don’t want to,” he said, noting his staff will deliver cars to a customer’s doorstep and pick up a trade-in vehicle. According to Wright, many transactions take place via text or email. “You tell us what options and features you want, we’ll locate a car for you within your price range. We cater to each and every one of our customer’s needs to make the Quality buying experience different than that of other car dealerships.”

FAVORITE MOVIE STAR?
I would have to say Eddie Murphy. I enjoy watching his classic comedy. The man is unbelievably talented. One of my favorite movies is Coming to America.

WHAT IS YOUR 2021 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION?
To continue to focus on keeping my businesses running efficiently and smoothly during these uncertain times. And more importantly keeping the jobs for all my employees.

NAME THE TOP DESTINATION ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET LIST.
I can’t say I really have a bucket list destination. I’m fortunate to have a wife that likes to travel and drags me to all the amazing travel experiences.
 

 

 

 

 

Vincent Malerba
President, Angelina’s Ristorante and Angelina’s Kitchen angelinasristorante.com, angelinaskitchennyc.com

When Angelina Malerba took a leap of faith to realize her long-standing dream of opening a restaurant, her son, Vincent, immediately joined the operation. Starting as a dishwasher, the younger Malerba eventually graduated to cook and found his calling behind the saucepan. After obtaining a cooking and management degree and helping establish Angelina’s Ristorante in Tottenville as a cornerstone of fine Italian dining on the Island, he proudly took over the reins of ownership. “I’m still the dishwasher,” he laughed. “When something breaks, then I’m also the repairman.”

Today the Angelina’s nameplate has expanded to include Angelina’s Kitchen, a more casual Italian concept in New Springville, with plans to open two new locations later this year. After decades in the biz, the Staten Island native explained his greatest joy resides in making memories for his diners, whether they are celebrating a special occasion or life milestone, or simply taking their first bite of fettuccine Bolognese.

“I’ll recognize people after five or ten years from the wedding or baby shower we hosted at the restaurant, and it’s truly something special.”

FAVORITE MALE/FEMALE MOVIE STAR?
Tom Cruise, I like his work ethic.

WHAT IS YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION?
Smile more after this!

NAME THE TOP DESTINATION ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET LIST.
Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Errigo
Principal at DaVinci Water Technologies, GREENCROWN Energy, GREENCROWN Water Conservation, and New York WaterMaker greencrownenergy.com, greencrownwater.com, newyorkwatermaker.com

Paul Errigo graduated from St. John’s University with a degree in marketing and worked as a sales manager for an environmental services company before changing lanes and launching his own collection agency. After growing that company to 180 employees, he sold it for a significant sum in 2010.

“I’ve always been an entrepreneur,” he admitted.

“I’ve had several businesses over the past few decades– most were successful, a couple were what I like to call ‘learning experiences.’ But all roads eventually led me to the energy business.”

Introduced to energy conservation by his current business partner, Al Dorso, Errigo did a lot of research before launching GREENCROWN Energy in 2007, a company that reduces energy costs for its clients while keeping them informed of government incentives for taking such measures. Water conservation became the next natural step for GREENCROWN in 2017.

“Water is the next big way for companies to cut their bills so it was very natural for us to merge into GREENCROWN Energy & Water. This division of the company specializes in conservation, filtration, and disinfection of water in restaurants, hotels, and other businesses.”

And out of that water conservation concept, New York WaterMaker, a high-tech patented filtration system which turns hardened, flat tap water into honest-to-goodness New York liquid gold, was born.

“This is the world’s first water source replication system that allows us to copy the water composition of any water source in the world,” noted the founder. “For franchises it equals product consistency, for small mom-and-pop businesses it’s an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.”

His newest venture, DaVinci Water Technologies, is currently developing a water purification system for emergency preparedness.

“The idea behind these portable units is to deliver clean, safe drinking water during a natural disaster.”