Your Maplewood Week in Review: Big and Small Business News
From Dinnersmith to A&P, Coda to Kari's Cafe. We've had a lot of business news in recent weeks.
Since we didn't get around to the week in review last week, there's more to catch up on for this go-around and a greater opportunity to aggregate the data and look for trends.
One possible trend: Late summer is a tough time for businesses—big and small. (Or it may be that the global economy has been a little tricky the last two or three years. You decide.) Earlier this month, we heard that Kari Capone had listed Kari's Cafe for sale for $85,000 on Craiglist. Kari has since worked hard to get the word out that she plans to stay open for at least another year, but is aggressively looking for a business partner or investor to help her stay in the location more permanently.
Last week, we found out that A&P plans to close its Maplewood location (it also owns the Pathmark next door in South Orange). It's nothing personal, so the company said. A&P is closing 25 low-performing or redundant stores throughout the northeast.
This week, we confirmed that DinnerSmith, the meal prep studio on Springfield Avenue, had closed its retail doors and moved the business to another Springfield—the town, not the street. Mary Meade explained that since the business is now 95% deliveries, she does not need to pay a retail rent and will move to a commercial kitchen space in Springfield. Likewise, 3R Living is going to save on storefront rent and become a full-time internet website seller by closing its Maplewood Avenue location after September 30.
In other news, the Woman's Club of Maplewood—whose non-profit status was the subject of a lawsuit in tax court—has put its 60 Woodland Road property on the market for $2.4 million. Caroline Farnsworth of Keller Williams Mid-Town Direct Realty said that there have been no serious offers on the site as yet.
In happier business news, Renaissance Consignments is going strong on Ridgewood Road. Rutger's Painting and Wilber's Painting are reaping the benefits of a new trend in brighter house colors and bolder contrasts. And Indigo Kitchen & Bar ain't goin' nowhere—it's just changed its name to Coda and added some spicy new dishes to the menu.
In school news, the Board of Education met on August 16 where they quizzed Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Rosetta Wilson on preparation for the new 7th grade "Level Up" program combining Levels 3 and 4. They also discussed the prospect of a looming $4-5 million shortfall in revenue for the 2011-2012 budget year.
In government, the Township Committee did not hold an August 17 meeting (the Committee will meet again on September 7). The Planning Board, ZBA and Historic Commission all cancelled their August meetings. Nonetheless, the work of government was evident as the roof replacement for the main branch of the library (approved in June) got underway.
Our water utility became a news story in recent weeks, as residents complained of brown water. NJ American Water Company explained that the cause was a treatment protocol for an algae bloom that was loosening minerals from the pipes. The company stated that the water is safe to drink. By the end of the week, a spokesperson from NJAWC said that the treatment protocol had changed and that the number of complaints had also reduced significantly. Coincidentally, on Wednesday night, NJAWC held its fourth and final public hearing on proposed rate hikes.
Our police have been busy fighting crime at the pool parking lot and a robbery in broad daylight on Irvington Avenue. The Maplewood Fire Department fought two major fires in the last week: an early morning house fire on Laurel Avenue and an attic fire caused by a lightning strike on Meadowbrook Rd. Leaders of both departments reacted to a Federal appropriation to help North Jersey create a public safety broadband network.
And Maplewoodians continue to do good—from the Red Cross of Northern New Jersey, to the mothers making a difference for Irvington children at MOMentum, to the volunteers of the Essex County Section of the National Council of Jewish Women bringing school supplies and clothing to children in need.
And last but not least, we've had stories on Mad Men, Snooki, Gay Night at the Gate, Willy Wonka Jr., The Kids Are All Right, Haunted New Jersey and Dixieland music at the pool. Hey, everyone needs a little brain candy now and again! After all, it's August.