Business operators, employees and people who keep them in business with their patronage can tell New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney what commerce needs to grow, starting Wednesday in Wall Township.

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney

The Democrat's launching a “Small Business Listening Tour” at KMB Design Group on Route 34 at 11:30 AM, then swings south to Kelsey & Kim's Southern Cafe on Melrose Avenue in Atlantic City for an afternoon session. His plan is to add more whistle-stops in the approaching weeks and months.

Sweeney says he wants to hear directly from business owners about New Jersey's economy, which he characterizes as one of the worst-performing in the nation.

“New Jersey’s economy has been stuck, with unemployment remaining nearly unchanged over the last few years," he said in a prepared release. "We have worked on various bills in the Legislature, but we can always do more.  This tour is about hearing the concerns of small business owners and finding out what they need to succeed and grow in New Jersey.  It’s not about pushing an agenda, or touting what we have done.  It’s about hearing what they need.”

Its secondary purpose is to draw attention to the "Jersey Shore Is Open for Business" campaign, an initiative to pinpoint which shops and businesses are back on track in the areas hardest-hit by the superstorm. It's a joint effort by the New Jersey Restaurant and New Jersey Retail Merchants Associations, and the Jersey Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The full list of shore companies and stores that are up and running can be seen at  http://www.visitthejerseyshore.com. Business owners who want to add their locations can reach the Jersey Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau at 732-244-9283.