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A GLOUCESTER COUNTY STORE IN THE DEPTFORD MALL WILL BECOME REALITY IN 2005. High Profile Destination Will Offer Residents Convenient One-Stop Government Services

(Deptford, NJ) - Gloucester County Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney, Freeholder Dr. Warren Wallace and County Clerk Jim Hogan announced today that Gloucester County will open a governmental "County Store" located in the Deptford Mall by August of this year.

"This is going to be great for our residents," said Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney. "The Gloucester County Store, which will be located next to Strawbridge's, will offer many of our most popular services to citizens throughout the day, evenings and weekend," Sweeney said. "Considering our growth and the number of services our residents seek from the county, the time has definitely come for us to make this move," said the Director.

Sweeney said that the store will be anchored by County Clerk Jim Hogan's office. The Clerk's office in Woodbury is visited by more than 25,000 members of the public each year for people seeking passports, identification cards, marriage licenses, land recordings, business trade names, public notaries, veteran's documents and vending licenses, and election services.

"In addition to the services the Clerk provides, the county's departments, Sheriff and Surrogate will also participate in the store so that residents will be able to receive services and information on all of the programs available to them," said Freeholder Dr. Wallace. Wallace, who serves as liaison to the County's Human Services Department, coordinated this project to help increase the awareness of county services.

Wallace said, "For the past three years Gloucester County has held a day long event where we bring all of our departments out to the mall and showcase our services. This event has been a huge success, but it isn't enough. We learned that we need to be were our residents are in order for them to get what they need, not the other way around."

"Gloucester County is the fastest growing county in the region and as a government we do a lot of interfacing with our citizens and we want to make their experience as convenient as possible," said Freeholder Director Sweeney. "Our buildings are spread out - with the Courthouse in Woodbury, Health, Senior Services, Veterans in different buildings in Washington Township, and Public Works and Planning in Clayton. Now with the new store coming on line, residents will be able to go to one central location and get what they need when they need it," Sweeney stated.

"We are really excited to start up," said County Clerk James Hogan. "We have several satellite locations and evening hours now and they are well received by the public." Hogan said that his office will still offer the satellite locations in Mullica Hill, Monroe and Glassboro. "We will accept credit cards at the Deptford Mall location and Woodbury once we get the new store underway, we will have public access computers so folks will be to access the county departments and we will be able to do everything we do at our offices in Woodbury in Deptford, it's going to be fantastic," said Hogan.

Hogan's office will fund all of the technology and equipment that will be placed in the location through the Clerk's Improvement Fund. The county anticipates taking possession of the space on June 15th and then retrofitting it. Staff will be trained in the store beginning August 1st with an early September grand opening planned. The rent for the store will be $30,000 annually and will be offset by the revenue collected by the Clerk's Office for passports. Staff is anticipated at $150,000 annually for three full-time and three part-time positions. The county will operate the new store within the existing county budget by looking for ways to utilize existing vacancies within the budget to offset the cost of staff the location. The tentative hours for the new store are: 10 am to 9 pm Monday through Friday and 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday.