Who needs a committee, we have HL
Lol look at me starting my very first Thread!
So last's night's town meeting Councilman John Stout recommended forming the committee, which he said would focus on bringing an attraction to town.
Well we can form our own committee right here. Here's my idea:
Open up an M&M's store in town. Look at Hershey, PA. Now I’m not saying we need an amusement park but why not take advantage of having a great candy company in town buy opening up a store. Ever been to the M&M store in NYC..It’s huge and gets a ton of business. It baffles me that we don't have a store here
Any other thoughts?
This has been talked to death in other threads. There are some people who agree with you, but even more people who agree that it isn't a feasible idea for Mars.
Does anyone anywhere in the world actually ever say, "hey, I'd like to go to NYC to visit the M&M store"?
I think the traffic in that store is a byproduct of the tourist traffic from other attractions. If I were Mars, I'd open the plant up to public tours and put a store on their property. The rest of the town could then figure out on its own how to take advantage of the increased tourism.
emaxxman, that is what the Herrs Potato chip company does. We lived near there and they had a free factory tour and store attached to the factory. It brought field trips and light tourism without getting to crazy.
If you don't like Darwin's M&M idea, why not propose one of your own? OP did specifically ask for other thoughts. :-)
(I'm at a loss right now myself... not feeling very creative. But someone must be.)
You're correct Rebecka.
I'd like to see Main Street become a restaurant row type destination. No one likes to cook these days so people would come for food.
In particular, I'd like to see a true, family friendly sports/entertainment type place. Something like a scaled down ESPN Zone. A good place to watch games with quality bar food (wings, burgers, etc.) but also games the family could play (sort of like ESPN Zone or Dave & Busters).
An establishment like this would provide the college kids with a place to go to on the weekends but also appeal to the local residents.
I don't see how having a store in town wouldn't be feasible for M&Ms... the inventory is 4 blocks away?
and i agree with emaxxman... if someone could turn the old Charlie Brown's into a family sports bar/restaurant that would be great.
the Director stated he wanted to bring an "attraction" to Hackettstown
my point was we already have one in Mars...we need to figure out how to capitalize on it. A store seem logical to me. Even if the town donated the old building on main st next to the train tracks to Mars to renovate it into a store i think it would bring alot of business to town and give hackettstown its landmark
Darwin - The building that used to house Charlie Brown's has been sold and a new Irish restaurant is opening. See this prior thread - http://www.hackettstownlife.com/forum/373346#t375317.
Mars has no interest in opening or running a store on Main Street. If someone wants to open or run such a store as a private business they would support it like they do their other vendors. Mars definately has no plans to open the plant to the public.
"Even if the town donated the old building on main st next to the train tracks"
The town would have to buy Bergen Tool first.
M&M doesn't have the parking or the space to open a store on the property
Also, who would shop at the store. Yeah, Maybe all the locals would go there one or twice but then who?
We don't have the steady flow of tourist for a store like that to flourish.
I think the best bet for an attraction is to figure how to attract people to Main Street. I wouldn't want to have a big attraction right here in town. I wouldn't want the traffic and the problems that come with tons of people coming in from other towns.
Avid M&M hoarder here! LOL! I know people that travel 8 hours for this weekend to look for M&M collectibles at garage sales. There are sooo many M&M clubs that come to town thinking there has to be a store here.
We are NOT a destination we have to make a reason for people to come to town. With thinking like above we will never be a thriving town.
Easton has Crayola; not huge but packed most of the time; Hershey is huge; M and M has enough followers that given the store and a small bit of an added walk through demo or something (even if it's not in the plant) seems to be a start on attracting visitors and an added revenue for M and M; though maybe they have enough revenue to not need to attract more; incentives for them? thining out loud
how about putting m&m inserts in the sidewalks like Hollywood's walk of fame with the stars?
also the street lights could have illuminated m&m's on top of them.
little things like that would give this place a very unique flavor as it were.
then with a little bit of creative effort the Centenary Theatre group could develop "M&M's The Musical" using the characters from the commercials including the new brown but not quite almost 'naked' m&m (the Vanessa William's voiced one)
you know the Martin Guitar factory gives tours and has a museum and gift shop right there, M&M's could do the same thing. It would bring some traffic to town.
I would LOVE M&M to open a factory tour. Like jdem said, Herr's has the factory tour and gives a history on the making of the company - educational and interesting. Great for families, schools (field trips), church outings, etc. They are great to the community - they decorate beautifully for Christmas and throw a heck of a 4th of July fireworks show. Besides that, they have a little store where they sell factory "seconds" - chips that were over seasoned, under seasoned, labels that are misaligned, etc. They sell these items in the store for a fraction of the cost. I used to buy them all the time, it was great. It would be great if M&Ms did something similar, I know I would go there.
BrotherDog i'm with you on your ideas! I think this town needs to embrace Mars and making it the trademark of the town. Even start with little ideas like yours, or maybe just have signs at the town borders saying "welcome to Hackettstown the home of M&Ms"... maybe change some street names to "Milky Way" etc. Something to improve on the partnership b/w H'town and Mars.
In Florham Park the Jets donated a waterpark to the town. Its has their logo and is a really nice park. Imagine if the space that Bergen Tools is in turned into a nice Mars themed park with a store as its anchor.
We don't need to find an attraction, we have something most towns don't... a huge, well known, well respected family oriented company why not build on that? This town can get a great "querky" town that's all about Mars
I've only lived in this town 7yrs now but i think i can break the residents into 1 of 4 groups:
1) grew up here and remember this a quiet, clean, mostly white small town where everyone knew each other. They remeber this as a "hidden gem" in the valley and were happy no one knew about it.They want the town to go back to the way it was and complain about all the "changes". They had town pride but not anymore
2) been here a long time but would love to see it grow into an even better town. Have great town pride but have had so much resistant from the 1st group they find it hard to make changes
3) moved here within the last 10yrs and see the potential it has to be a great bigger town. They have great town pride and want to max out its potential
4) moved here because it was affordable but have not town pride ( i think its pretty easy to identify this group)
I started in the 4th group but have switched to the 3rd group. I see so much potential in this town but see so much resistant from the 1st group and not enough support from the 2nd group to think anything will happen
I actually sent an email to Mars and mentioned to them a desire for such a store. I had ordered some of their personalized M&M's and thought how great it would be to have a small shop on Main St. that had the feel of an old candy shop. Where you could get bulk M&M's of different colors and the personalized ones without having to have them shipped, etc. Also, as Christine mentioned there are people that are into M&M items. I myself like some of the collectible items that are out there. The response I received from them was not generic but the only details that were given were to watch for exciting things to happen with them in our town. The only thing different I have seen since my email was the addition of the characters outside of the building, which I do think is neat. I sent the email out within the last three years.
I would be #2 Darwin and I think this town has potential for sure. I also think that a store like that would do well because M&M's are awesome and they have different flavors and kinds now more than they used to. To me it is no different than an ice cream shop, you would not go every day but you would find a reason to need a treat. They could also sell their other items like snickers, and skittles, Dove chocolates. I would be in heaven!!!
I think what this town needs is another pizza shop!
I think if Hackettstown is ever going to be a thriving "destination" there needs to be something that people cannot find in their own towns. I've been all over NJ and many of the towns put so much money and effort into making their main street a "destination", but after the facade it's the same restaurants and stores that are anywhere. (ex. Somerville, Fanwood)
I think the MM thing would be great, but I think the amount of red tape is going to be difficult to navigate, so rather go in a different direction. Make a different attraction which starts to do well and then maybe MM will want to build a store here.
I am at a loss of what that attraction would be though. Maybe family friendly ghost tours?
With that attitude, I'd be concerned they'd go North to Canada and leave the town high and dry...
“I wouldn't want the traffic and the problems that come with tons of people coming in from other towns."
This sentence is still bothering me!! How can someone think like this and I use the term think loosely. We want people from other towns to come here.. and spend their money!! Right? The more money they spend in our town the less we have to.
And seriously everyone that lives in town knows how to get around the traffic when Main St. is backed up.
Anonymous is clearly in the first group
I personally wouldn't want any attraction to bring other people here. I like living in a small town it's the reason I live here.
I guess I fall into your number one group.....Why do all these people move here and then want everything to change?
If you read the Chester forum, sounds like the businesses on Main Street are having a hard time with the local town officials. Some are moving out and going to other places, perhaps we could entice them to come to our lovely town. I would love to have a Main Street like Chester used to be.
If someone doesn't want to deal with tons of traffic, it does not imply a lack of town pride. While I wouldn't mind seeing Main Street get rejuvenated, I sure wouldn't want to see it become a traffic nightmare like rt. 10 in Ledgewood. Ever try driving through traffic on rt. 3 in the Clifton/Rutherford area? It's a nightmare on a Saturday morning.
I'd be willing to bet that the people living around Hershey Park have a much different opinion about how great it is. I don't even want to go to Donaldson's anymore during the crazy pick your own stuff seasons.
If YOU had real pride in your town, YOU would find a way that YOU could make a change instead of looking for some corporation to fulfill a fantasy.
Hackettstown is changing Nosila whether you want to admit it or not... it's just a question of which direction it’s going. It will either be a victim of the recession and digress or it can find a way to pull its way thru the recession and come out the other side in better shape than it was before. We can either have this town be a low income town that attracts low income people or we can look for ways to improve it. But you can't have a small town with 10-15 empty store fronts survive anymore. When Main Streets aren't making money the residents of the town have to compensate for that lost revenue by tax increases
We draw people into town for various events throughout the year. Perhaps the emphasis should start with how to get those folks to spend a bit of money while they are here. I am thinking of the soccer tournament that takes place in town each year around Independence Day.
I am sure that participating teams are provided with directions to the soccer fields. Perhaps a welcome packet could be provided to participating teams that gives a map of town highlighting participating businesses. There could be coupons, advertisements, or some other incentive to either spend money in the down time or to come back another weekend.
Perhaps there could be small events loosely tied in to keep siblings/parents occupied during the games. Kind of a mini fair with games/prizes for younger children. Again, maximizing the access to out-of-towners who are here anyway.
The tourney website has a currently empty page for restaurants and sponsors. Maybe step 1 is to fill this up?
And I DO have town pride and I AM trying to do something. I have emailed Councilman John Stout and have asked to be a part of his committee. But most individuals don't have the means to make significant changes without the help of others. Mars single handedly can help this town. Why not try?
But to just shoot down somenone's suggestion and not provide one of your own is useless. Oh wait you big idea was to have a family style sports bar in town.... isn't that what AppleBee's is?
From the department of "You Knew It Was Just a Matter of Time:"
oh wait, wait... I have a fabulous idea that will focus on Small Business and bring people back to Main Street in droves.....
CR37 - That's on the BID's radar to do. The director discussed doing exactly that and I think a really good thing.
As for traffic, you have to decide whether you want to have healthy businesses or not. If you send all the traffic away, the town dies. There is reasonable middle ground.
The Chester forum may complain Main St in Chester was caused by the town, but that's not who refused to change. Chester has been dying exactly because the old Main St in Chester just doesn't work today. Main St in Chester killed Main St in Chester. It's the last thing Hackettstown needs is to try to be some picture from 25 years ago. All things considered, Hackettstown is now far better off than Chester today because of a much higher occupancy rate and businesses moving in.
What I think is lacking though is better promotion, and a more cohesive overall feel. Some kind of bigger anchor.
And emaxxman take a look at Mountain Ave and Rte 57... 80% of the business there are "corporations" that have helped bring in jobs and revenue to the town.
great suggestion CR37. Again the main idea is to get people from out of town to come and spend $. I would hope no one would be against that.
Really, Applebees is a family sports bar? Have you ever been to an ESPN Zone or Dave & Busters? Applebees is just a restaurant with a few TV's.
I'm not the one insulting people and telling them that they don't have any pride simply because they don't want to deal with traffic. If you want M&M's to build a store, then figure out how it would be in their best interest to do so rather than making it a charitable contribution to the town. That's how you suceed.
We now have two major car dealerships in the Hyundai and Honda dealer. What's your idea to capitalize on that added traffic?
How about the Spring Festival? Lots of people come in for that.
How about all of the farm tourists that come here every Summer and Autumn? What will you do to promote the existing businesses?
Here's a thought: the restaurants in town could band together with Donaldson's and offer 5% discounts to each customer that comes in and shows them their Dondaldson's receipt (dated same day) or vice versa. Both businesses benefit and gets the tourists to drive into town.
Lots of things can be done without beating a dead horse (or accusing people of not having pride.)
You don't need to tell me about the corporations bringing in jobs. I've been crucified on here for extolling that benefit. What you're not getting is they they've come here because there was something appealing in it for them. They didn't do it because of some sense of responsibility to the town. If you want M&M's to open a store, you need to tell them why it's worth close to about a $1 million a year in costs to them (because that's what the employee and retail space costs will be.)
ESPN Zone or Dave & Busters? Funny those sound like corporations to me.
And i do like your other ideas thank you for sharing... which is thereason i started this thread to begin with.
Nosila, I understand your point but don't you really live in Mansfield in a remote wooded area, which I gather from your posts. I live right in the middle of Hackettstown. To me traffic and busy activity would be expected from living in a busy town. I would be more sad if all the businesses were gone and there was nothing in our small town. I think that the one thing that is true is the town is changing and in some ways not for the better. If it is going to change regardless, the change should be for the better not the worse. This topic has been brought up before about things to come to town like a variety of different shops and linking the college and Mars into it all. Traffic is already a nightmare, but it is true if you live in town you know how to avoid Main St. While it may be true that people in Hershey don't like the tourists, if it was not for the factory and parks there it would be nothing. Emaxxman had stated in another thread similar to this one in the past about the traffic and how we don't have the land for something like Hershey has. He is right about that. They are able to divert traffic away from downtown Hershey due to the vast space/ farmlands, etc. they have out there. That would be impossible in Htown to have a park, but the idea of a little shop is not out of the realm. Look at places like NYC that fit all kinds of cool shops into small spaces. How many jobs are in the Hershey area that provide those people with a living? The people of Hershey should be grateful. You could say the same about going down to the Jersey shore and the people that have seen change and hate the tourists. Tourists bring money and jobs and that is the bottom line.
$1 million a year in costs to them (because that's what the employee and retail space costs will be.)
Where on earth did you come up with that figure? That seems way off. There is no way it would cost them anywhere near that much to open a store in town. Unless they pay their employees a boat load of $ which in that case i'll be sending them my resume.
What about the Blockbuster store that is closing up... it would cost pennies on the dollar to turn that into an M&M store.. All they would have to do is put up a sign and they could open the doors as is.
Chester also used to get tons of people visiting their shops due to the flea market being there for so many years. The new shops that now sit where the flea market used to be are fine but they bring in more sporadic shoppers rather than an event like the flea market used to be and Main St. in Chester was so different back then. Long Valley kicked out the idea of bringing the flea market to their town. Talk about traffic nightmares. I am sure many on this site have been in the PA traffic in Marshall's Creek area.
Honestly, an hour ago I was going to respond on this thread that your idea a while ago was a great start to revitalizing Hackettstown...grass roots all the way, (but I got side tracked on another thread!). I still support that concept.
Sometimes ya just have to take a break from the shenanigans on ( sp?) this site.
I've done it myself. I join Cbel in welcoming you back.
Hee, Hee, I'm off topic...
and emaxxman I think you and I are agreeing on the need to bring an attraction to town and get more revenue but are not seeing on to eye on my Mars idea. And yes I agree with you that there has to be something in it for Mars to open a store, that goes without saying, but I believe having a store in town would be very profitable to Mars, using real numbers and not the $1million/ yr.
But I also feel this town and Mars need to find a way to deepen their relationship. Other than a few sponsored events a year I don't see much. If you don't drive down High St you would never know Mars is here. And I’m not saying Mars has to do everything... I wish the town would do more to embrace Mars which might in turn get Mars to embrace the town.
Like I and others said earlier small things can go a big way. Signs at the town border with Mars logo, Street lights, Even something like making H'town's slogan. "the sweetest town in NJ"... something to show this town supports and wants a larger partnership with Mars.
Only flaw in the Blockbuster site is that is Washington Township, although the new car dealers have huge Hackettstown signs on their fronts. Technically, Morris County though. Have to get over that river to be Hackettstown. Darn mailing addresses!!
"Where on earth did you come up with that figure? "
In-store - rent, salaries, inventory, benefits to employees
Out of store - resources needed to manage the accounting for a new division whose sole purpose is to manage "an attraction".
An employee (including benefits, insurance, etc.) costs a major business close to 200K a year. Go ask any of the shops locally and ask them what it costs to employ someone at minimum wage.
How about marketing? You do plan on advertising, correct? Or do you think it's just going to be word of mouth?
This is not some mom & pop shop operation you're proposing here.
"open as is"? Hardly and laughable.
"open as is"? Hardly and laughable.
easy tough guy.. man i extend an olive branch in one post and you make me want to take it back. I was implying Blockbuster is already an retail store so you wouldn't have to do much if any renovations to the interior.
And to open a store you don't need to spend $200k a year on an employee. It doesn't not cost close to half that to employ a part time min wage employee. i know i have family and friends that own stores or their own business. You don't Have to offer benefits/retirement to part time employees.
As far as marketing... i'm pretty sure M&M's has its own website with store locations on it so adding another 4 lines to that website would cost too much. And yes, word of mouth would spread like wildfire. 1 article in a newspaper would be all you need
You're right this is not some mom and pop operation.. its much easier then a mom and pop
"In-store - rent, salaries, inventory, benefits to employees"
-yes to rent and salaries... what inventory? the warehouse is 4 blocks away. No to benefits
"Out of store - resources needed to manage the accounting for a new division whose sole purpose is to manage "an attraction".
- they already have stores so i'm pretty sure they already have ALL these resources in place. If they have a dept that handles a London and NYC store, i think that same dept can handle a H'town store without too much more effort
Again this is not something new for Mars they already have all this in place... wouldn't cost too much to add a new store in town.
An employee (including benefits, insurance, etc.) costs a major business close to 200K
the avg cost is $28.57/hr which comes out to under $60,000/yr according to the US Dept of Labor
How difficult would it be to entice a Whole Foods to come to the area? We travel MILES to get wholesome organic grains, meats, etc. We buy locally when possible, but it is not always easy to go to 3 different local farms to get organic milk, eggs, chicken, etc. Not to mention that you ant get organic things like couscous or other non staple items locally, and Shop Rite's variety on organic stuff is lacking. I know that Whole Foods also buys local produce and gets meats locally to sell, so I think that would be a bonus for some of the local forms who have trouble selling retail too. I'll bet if a Whole Foods came to town, people would follow and bring good patronage to the town...just a thought.
Hey there, didn't read much of the above, but the BID will be putting up a poll in the next couple of days to see what types of shop YOU would like to see come into town. We'd like to know if you'll actually come into town to patronize them. So as soon as I have the link, I'll post it for you.
Also, I'll probably put up a poll on community events that might be of interest...
The trick is not only to entice a business into town, but to drive customers to that business.
oh and Natalie - the Health Food store near the corner of Main and Moore is very nice and he'll order anything you need. I got a nice Tahini there not too long ago.
"How difficult would it be to entice a Whole Foods to come to the area?"
Next to impossible. The fact that you already travel those miles shows that they don't need to move here. There isn't enough of a population base in this area to support anything even close to that. But also look at when you go there, what other stores do you go to? Any? Not a good business when it comes to creating local synergies, which is more of why things like the BLAST tournament or the car shows are better. Come here. Stay here. Spend here.
GC, I travel 2 states away for organic beef. Yes, I do buy from other stores when we go. A Whole Foods market would create local synergy by buying local and putting the local farms' items in one place. Good for local farmer, good for the business, good for the consumer. You said that there isn't enough of a population base in this area to support that...is that opinion or do you have statistics on that?
Trekster3, are you talking about Ed's?
darwin - I admire your positive thinking and optimism but I'm starting to think you want one thing but are planning for something different.
You say you want an attraction. What kind of attraction? A retail store that offers M&M products - the same that could be bought at any Walmart, Shoprite, etc? Or do you want an attraction that offers an "experience" that you can't get anywhere else and would give tourists a reason to come here?
If you want a truly unique attraction, it's going to be more than pennies on the dollar as you say and more than just slap some product on a shelf.
I think what you need to do is break down the ideas into two buckets:
1) easy to implement, low risk, high return - eg my 5% discount idea
2) hard to implement, high risk, high return - M&M attraction
3) easy to implement, low risk, low return - not really worth exploring right now
4) hard to implement, high risk, low return - not worth exploring at all
Regarding the olive branch...I was typing while you were responding. Didn't mean to slap an olive branch away.
Natalie, NO, not Ed's --- Hackettstown Health Foods --- Here's the link to their BID Page...
Also, the Poll is now up on FB, please play nice and make constructive comments/suggestions. As we solicit for potential shop owners, your info can give insight into what the community would like.
Next week, I'll try to get a poll together for local community events you'd like to see, again with the intent that the events would drive foot traffic (aka shoppers) to our local area businesses.
Need I say it: Buy Local --- today would be a Great day to stop at Main Street Ice Cream or Rita's for a cool treat!
Wow -- you guys are QUICK!!! Please share the poll on your FB so we can get as wide an audience as possible! Thanks for your help HL'ers...
The word "attraction" was the cousilman's word so that's why I used it. I don't have delusions of people vacation to H'town like they do in Hersey. But I do think having a store that doesn’t just sell M&Ms like you can find at shop rite or walmart, but also sells merchandise, dispenser, and apparel would attract people from Morris, Sussex, Hunterdon and Bucks Co, PA. We don't need "tourists" we just need people around the area coming to our town. I think a store would do that.
So that's my "small scale" idea or your 1st bucket.
My 2nd bucket idea would be to turn the land of Bergen tools into a Mars themed playground and park. No rides just maybe water park for the kids with water shooting out of min M&M statues. a fun place to take the kids on a weekend, and while they are here maybe they get lunch in town and stop by and window shop on main st... maybe get matching tattoos. lol
the bottom line is we need something that other towns don't have. We need a reason for ppl to drive 20+ miles to come here.
wait, wait... I have a dream. And I say:
Let us not wallow in the long valley of doom and despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the distinctive destination difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a destination dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream of destination. The final destination. Or the final destination 2, 3, 4, or 5. Oh, the horror of it all.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal but that main street should be truly special. truly."
I have a dream that one day on the pink sidewalks of Hackettstown, the sons of former main street shoppers and the sons of former main street store owners will be able to sit down together at Leo's Lunch table of brotherhood over a pork roll egg n cheese. And those who like mustard will not be prejudiced against those who like ketchup for all colors of condiments are truly blessed.
I have a dream that one day even the state of New Jersey, a state sweltering with the heat of big box stores, sweltering with the heat of enclosed malls, will be transformed into an blissful main street oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of the sidewalk where they shop but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Hackettstown, with its vicious blog posters, with its business improvement district director's lips dripping with the words of "bid bucks" and "big box store nullification" -- one day right there in Hackettstown little hispanic boys and hispanic girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers chowing down on bakery empanadas and fried chicken sold by questionable characters.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every small business shall be exalted, and every big box store shall be made small, that the rough sidewalks will be made pink and smooth and the tall trees will be made short and leaf-less, that the day lurkers and the barber leerers will become humble, polite and non-threatening with heads bowed to the pink sidewalks they adore; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together." But please don't be hanging any flesh out of the second story windows.
This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the Hackettstown with.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the star-crossed mountain of despair a main street of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our store fronts into a beautiful symphony of mauve signs, mauve storefronts, pink sidewalks, a multitude of overhead wires blackening the sky, and fake classic street lights bathing the unbathed in that ever-special flourescent LED glow like the 24x7 vision down aisle 7 at Walmart. With this faith, we will be able to pretend to work together, to act like we pray together, to struggle together alone, to go to jail together for not paying parking tickets, to have coffee thrown at us when we dawdle, to stand up for freedom together while denying others theirs knowing that we will be free one day even if they are not.
And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:
My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
Oh yeah, he's back...... Pass the tuna and hold the cupcakes!
Nice, thanks Trekster3! I will pay them a visit! =)
Natalie - Here is the criteria, taken directly from the Whole Foods web site:
"If you have a retail location you think would make a good site for Whole Foods Market, Inc., please review the following guidelines carefully for consideration:
200,000 people or more in a 20-minute drive time
25,000-50,000 Square Feet
Large number of college-educated residents
Abundant parking available for our exclusive use
Stand alone preferred, would consider complementary
Easy access from roadways, lighted intersection
Excellent visibility, directly off of the street
Must be located in a high traffic area (foot and/or vehicle)"
The entirety of the whole county is only *half* of what they require. Just to be off the ground, the area's population would have to double. Why would they ever build one here compared to the higher density/higher wealth of Parsippany or Bridgewater?
It's also what's wrong with most of the individual discussions on the topic. Everyone starts off with "I like X, let's build an X here". You have to work in the opposite direction. Tally up all your assets and figure out what's under utilized and can be grown. The highest cost of all is opening new products in new markets.
Darwin - I'll work on that for next weeks Poll..... and actually for the sake of local business an attraction/destination would only need to attract the folks from the neighboring area, in the 3-5 mile range to come into town.
Unfortunately with Land of Make Believe in Hope with the water rides and the Spring Festival every year, that's more than enough for the local population.
In my opinion a shop that sell 'Spirit Wear' and merchandise for all of the local teams and organizations might just work - M&M, Hackettstown Tigers, Centenary Cyclones, etc.
Thats too bad, I would give Whole Foods half my salary. GC, you are quick to shoot ideas down...do you have anything to offer?
Mr. G - I can see that your time away has not resulted in a shortening of your posts. ;-)
well as a fellow googler i do appreciate GC providing facts and not just throwing out numbers and opinions as to why something wouldn't work.
Thanks Trekster3, i think the majority of the town would support the idea, but from this thread and ones in the past it looks like all the resistance is coming from Mars. (that sound like a movie line)
And i agree i'm also confused on why there is not a town store like you suggested.
BTW the person who would make a decision on having a M&M store is Susan Saideman, Pres of the Mars Retail Group.
I am working on finding an email for her, if i do i think i would be a good idea to email her our desire to have a town store....and yes i know someone will make a comment that she is never going to listen so why bother blah blah blah
Hey you asked for thoughts, not researched business plan ;)
I love all suggestions Natalie including yours... i was just giving him props for giving actual reasons why a suggestion wouldn't work using facts instead of just saying that idea is dumb or won't work like most people did.
Who's just throwing out numbers? I'm with GC. Yes, creating ideas are good but a truly good idea will stand up to scrutiny.
I don't believe there are enough people to support a whole foods store. No offense, but not very interesting attraction..JMO.
My thoughts are we need better dining options WITH liquor licenses. All we have is Marleys and they tend to be overpriced and the quality not so great at times. My family goes there for the ambience and location but would love to see more quaint street-side cafes in the area that don't just serve Mexican food. I enjoy a glass of wine or beer with my dinner and although I have been to many BYOs, it is just not the same. People will come for the food and stay for the shopping.
AND yes, M&Ms should do something to show their love and support for this town. Their presence is very mild and I think factory tours would be a great attraction.
emaxxman my olive branch is still extended.. i wasn't talking about you. You gave good reason why you think my idea won't work.
But i disagree that a truly good idea will stand up to scrutiny....Every idea good or bad will get scrutiny from someone.
Jazzykatt - You're right the raw demographics would not support a whole foods store, BUT, who ever thought that the Hackettstown Trading Post would ever get as big as it it? Maybe if we support the current Health Food store on main street, they can grow into something like a Whole Foods --- my bet is that's how Whole Foods started out as a mom and pop that is now a giant.
Unfortunately when the Jiggers liquor license got sold to Applebee's we lost a main street watering hole -- the State dictates how many liquor licenses per population a town is allowed to have and the town size has not fluctuated enough with the new houses by the hospital to merit another license, so unfortunately I don't see that happening : ( I guess we'll have to wait until the Irish Pub opens up for another watering hole in town.
And with the current layout of the M&M plant it would cost CRAZY money to modify for a public tour. In my view M&M does ALOT to support this town, yes I'd love to see a Main Street presence and the town or BID could put 'Home of M&M's' but we'd need Mars, Inc. approval --- they don't let go of their trademarks except for their own advertising so I don't think that would happen : (
Did you vote on the BID poll? We'll be keeping it up for at least a week so it'll be interesting to see how it goes.
jazzykatt i agree with you on the street side cafes idea, that would be great. i just think they made Main Street too narrow to have anyplace with enough room to fit that.
And yes it is strange that only 1 place on main st has its liqour license.
Is that repair shop at the corner of Main, High and Grand st still open? if not that would be a nice place to open a restaurant like the one jazzykatt suggested.
so Nj says it gives out 1 liquor license per 3000 people.
Who has them? Marley, AppleBees and the old Charlie Browns. that's it right?
Last report i saw H'town is at 11,343 residents... come on people we're only 657 people away from getting another liquor license!
@cbel beat me to it!
@Darwin has some good ideas. I really think you would make for a great committee person on the BID. I suggest you contact the BID. Also if you really have ideas its a good idea to visit the town a little more. ;) Know what it has to offer and what is there.
Nope - Actually Leo's Lunch has one also - so we wouldn't 'qualify' for one for a while.....
Ok John C is good for one more... he is doing his part. Let's go people, make some babies so we can drink in town. lol
Natalie - Two things. First, even if I'm a bit quick on the draw part of that is what has been tossed around a couple dozen times before. A lot of what people have said has been suggested many times before so a lot of research has already been done. But second, yes actually I do have some suggestions even if I've said them on the forum before.
The previous business study about our resources said a lot of good things. It points out how we have a multi-million dollar spending machine that's not being utilized. Centenary students could be spending a whole heck of a lot more in our town. But the problem is if a small minority shows up with pitch forks and torches they withdraw their students even further away. It was actually Mr Stout talking about things like American Eagle and Forever 21. There were ties to stores like that from the people that did the study, but our towns failed business people showed up and blamed others and used phrases like "there's no way" and "you can't tell me". No developer interest in that.
I've also said in the past that zoning has been an issue and should be updated. It's really, really lucky that Mitsubishi has come in, but would be so much better on Mountain Ave at the failed mall. Lion's Gate would be much better where the train station is and/or the train station where Mitsubishi is, both with apartments above, stores below. College apartments, except out come the pitch forks.
Still, that's not exactly "destination" type ideas. One of the best that's come along is to use resource #3 this town has beside the college and M&M - the teaching center for the hospital. Ties with Centenary nursing programs and larger hospitals with a teaching complex between the hospital & Bilby actually has legs. Medical training programs can be done anywhere, have a low population threshold yet a high ability to draw from far distances. It takes a long time so they come, and they stay, and they spend.
Side note - about side walk restaurants. Marley's already does that, so does Stella G's. And Sandwhich Shoppe. And Pump House even though technically across the border as well as Mattar's has their patio. So will the Irish pub when it opens. How many times do you patronize those places already? Too many times people say they want something, get it, and don't shop there. "I want it, but I don't want *that*". You have to make up your mind.
Been to the pump house patio its pretty nice. I had sunday lunch at Stella's but I don't think 2 tables really is considered side walk dining.
And I agree this town does not capitalize on the college students. I never see then around town. Which I think is how a lot of people with pitch forks want.
I went to visit a customer in Westwood today, what a beautiful town. Their local town center would be a fantastic business model for our community. The main shopping center has everything from art galleries, a butcher/italian specialty shop, a cheese shop, chain stores like Chico's and Ann Taylor, a movie theater, unique shops of all types. All kinds of restaurants from a quick bite to very high end white table cloth establishments. All of this has brought a thriving business district to their town while maintaining the historical integrity of the area. I know my comment earlier about Chester was met with negativity, perhaps they didn't move with the times, I don't claim to know much about their situation, but if we strive to bring quality businesses into town, holding them to certain standards regarding their spaces/stores we could really turn this into a great destination town. If I could make a suggestion that the Hackettstown BID / local politicians take an afternoon drive and walk around the town of Westwood for some ideas you won't be disappointed.
Westwood & Hackettstown totally different demographics. Income higher, property taxes higher etc.
I'm in Westwood one day a week. Yes, it's nice, including a Trader Joe's and Melting Pot. Different demographics doesn't even begin to describe it. Oh, yes, believe me, a place to hope your town looks like. But $750k houses, $30k a year taxes, a million people in the area, and $100k incomes isn't what we compare to.
Westwood is a great town and yes the demographics are completely different and no one is suggesting we turn Main St into Rodeo Dr but it doesn't hurt to find inspiration. I'm guessing there are art students at HHS and Centenary what if there was a local art gallery that showcased local artist? You can find inspiration anywhere and then figure out how to tailor it to our town's style
Don't be so quick to dismiss an idea just figure out how to expand that idea to more suitable
Wow, Westwood sounds great! Now, a good question is how much does a day laborer cost in a nice town like that?
JrzyGirl and Darwin, you keep asking questions and coming up with ideas, you never know, you may think of something that hasn't been tossed around yet. I think that we are all still talking about what to do means there is still lots of interest in revitalizing our town..... We've been discussing this for some time here on HL on several threads, but a fresh set of eyes certainly does not hurt.
Unbelievable... While I UNDERSTAND the demographics are completely different I was trying to offer suggestions as to what a nice town we could have. I didn't say you had to put the SAME stores in, just ideas! Here's a good suggestion leave it the way it is and use Dover as your inspiration. We are on our way with the illegal taxis, the gold shops, the lurkers on the corner. You will find your day laborer with no problem.
Has the bid ever gone direct to the students of the college to poll what they would like to see?
i voted on the facebook poll but didn'trealize you can see the people who voted... now ppl might know who i am... What good is Batman without his secret identity... lol
My family and I eat out at at LEAST once a week, sometimes twice and although Stella G's has great food, they don't do dinner or serve alcohol. I love getting out with my husband and relaxing over a nice dinner and drink. If you don't serve it, I wont come.
FYI, for those that like to crunch numbers, here's what the study found as far as demographics go:
+/- 53,000 Households within 10 miles - 75% of which are families
+/- 140,000 Total population within 10 miles
+/- $100,000 Avg Household income within 10 miles
So, if you look at other comprable areas these are good basic starting points to do comparisons....
Thanks all for all of your contribution and participation!
And special props to our Mayor who took part!
trekster3 - please explain where the demographics you posted above are coming from.
A huge study was done in 2007 --- that's the most recent info we have. It was a very costly study to do, so I doubt we would have another one done any time soon.
Here's the link to it if you would like to sift through it:
FYI, the study showed the following types of stores represented a need, but with the recent (relatively) addition of Kohls, Walmart and Target they may fill the clothing gap...
Family Clothing Store
Women's Clothing and Accessory Story
Hobby Shop & Sporting Goods Store
The FB Poll had these as the initial list, the rest were added by users.
Trekster3 - your demographics listed above are out of date. You are basing them on a 5 year old study that used 12 year old census data as a basis. It also projected growth that is completely unrealistic given the economic circumstances that we went through in the last five years. I can understand the difficulty in finding funding to update the report but you're going to lose credibility if you stand by these numbers.
I think Trekster clearly stated these numbers should be used as a starting point. Not hard numbers but to just give us an idea as to what we should look for when we are comparing H'town to other towns. I doubt the numbers are so drastically different now that we can't use the ones he presented
Darwin - You really need to read some previous threads - http://www.hackettstownlife.com/forum/265194
Trekster ~ thanks for all of the information you have been sharing with us. I am especially drawn to Section C - subsection (d) on Page 53. Someone really put time, effort and a considerable amount of cost into this project. Seems they hit the nail right on the head with that one!
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this sleepy little town a new main street, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all shoppers are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil debate, testing whether that main street, or any main street, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great survey of demographics of that war. We have come to determine whether a portion of that main street, can be a final resting place for those destinations that will give their lives that that main street might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not determine, we can not fathom, we can not imagine what this destination should be. We just know that some one else must pay for it and it needs to be really peachy. After all, the brave men, living and dead, who struggle to do business here, will consecrate it, far above our poor power to add, detract, debate, harangue, harass or humiliate. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what we did here. BID bucks, pink sidewalks, pygmy trees, lots and lots of overhanging wires, PIB PIF, tuna, second story sneak peaks, invisible rich college students, leering barbers, lurking day workers, and free cupcakes. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. We need to extend our mauve signs throughout the town. We need to extend our pink sidewalks to every corner of the burb. We need fake old fashioned LED lamps that don't illuminate in front of every house, church and store. We the people need to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored main streeters take increased devotion to that cause for which they give the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these shall not have done business in vain—that this main street, under God, shall have a new birth of capitalistic freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Darwin and JrzyGirl88 thanks for your input --- BLD2 you are welcome to come to the BID or Town meetings to discuss if you like....
emax, I'll work on it, but I think you might have better luck with someone from Mansfield or Washington Twp : ).... Thanks for the advice on buying my PC, it's fantastic and knowing that I have a 2 year warranty is awesome!
Oh and BLD, we're just looking for ideas, any you have to offer would be welcome : )
I'm giving you one and you're dismissing it. So why would I bother?
trekster i plan i going to the next BID meeting on thursday. This will be my first time
I would like 1) an independent bookstore that also has a cafe area, and 2) an independent restaurant/ bar where one could hear great bands on a regular basis. Yes, I know, I'm dreaming.
I love your idea. I know books have sort of gone by the wayside but I love sitting in a cozy place and reading. I also love live entertainment.
Jazzykatt - Is it the cozy sit down place, or the ability to get the book? Panera tries to bill itself as that sit down place, but you have to bring your own reading material.
What kind of live entertainment do you go to today? There is a lot already available in the area like Bar 46, Mattar's, Mama's, Pub 517, J P Kelly's, etc.
By the way one of the reasons I specifically mentioned Stella G's is they may not serve dinner now, but they did. They had to stop because people weren't coming out. It's an on going problem of businesses we've had or things they've done that aren't patronized. Then six months later people ask for what's already failed.
Have you read councilman John Stouts idea for making Hackettstown a destination? A big box store. They should be reviving Main St. Isn't that what the BID is about?
Isn't Walmart, Sams Club, and Target enough of a drain on Main Street already and do these places REALLY make a town a destination for anyone in this region?
The starter of this thread is right -- with ideas like this coming from the council we would be better off with suggestions from HL.
Here's the article http://mobile.nj.com/advnj/pm_31098/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=egn8zzBx&rwthr=0
BLD - I just re-read some of the past comments and was looking for your suggestion --- the only suggestion I saw was a retail store for M&M's merchandise owned and operated by a private concern, is that correct or did I miss something? Not intentionally dismissing your idea....
Darwin - I look forward to meeting you --- I'm just the Admin here, but my name is Wendy : )
Oh and for those who don't have FB or ar not following the Poll - here are the current results:
Whole Foods or Trader Joes 60
Fresh fish market 18
Sporting Good Store 16
Brew Pub 13
Craft/Fabric Store 11
Bowling Alley 8
Just my opinion, I think the Sporting Goods store would be the best fit - maybe in the RiteAid building? Anyone have ideas on a regional Sporting Goods store that might want to expand to Hackettstown?
Keep spreading the word, the more votes we have the better success we may have in our business recruitment efforts.
On FB, make sure you 'invite friends' - I invited all of the people I know the Live, Work or Shop in Hackettstown already OR live within 10 miles.
On another note, my new favorite quote and think it applies to Hackettstown:
"The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for." - Maureen Dowd
I don't know if they want to expand, but i always loved going to Efinger's in Bound Brook. And they advertise that they are family owned and operated since 1909. Although the old RiteAid building is smaller then their Bound Brook bldg IMO i think it would make for a nice satelite store for them. I would contact them before going after a Corp store
Trekster3 - I think you're right for looking to something regional because the really big Bass or Cabela want too much space and need more highway flow. (although Gander has been expanding in PA and may be due for something in the Lehigh Valley at some point)
Try contacting Aardvark, they're in Stroudsburg and Lehigh Valley now, not quite regional but if they're aiming to become larger they would know the area.
It's a franchise, which has both + and -, but here's another really interesting idea:
They buy/sell used equipment as well. In today's market that might be really interesting.
MBC - The drain on Main St is living in 1970, you're already too late since the Jamesway and KMart era is past. Target & Walmart are just replacements but actually people travel for Costco/Sam's/BJ's. But what big box store would be a whole destination? Cabela for one. Look at the forum and how many people here talk about making an hour and a half ride to the one in PA. Not that it's going to happen here, but they really are destinations. In terms of what the FB poll is showing, you're voted down again by over a 2 to 1 margin. I like other ideas better too, but it's not what people are asking for.
No trekster3 - my idea was that you have to update your demographics. I know money is tight but to present the demographics you have will not help your cause. Retailers are bombarded with "pleas" from communities like Hackettstown looking for them to "rejevienate" their downtown areas. First impressions mean everything -just like when you interviewed for your job. Did you show up in a dirty pair of jeans and an wrinkled shirt with flip flops? Trying to sell Hackettstown with out of date demographics makes no sense and definately sends the wrong signal.
Have the demographics really changed that much? I work in a business where we provide business demographic data to other businesses. I can tell you that things don't change that drastically. Heck, census data is almost 2 years old before it's readily available.
The sporting goods store is a great idea but I don't think it needs to be a jack of all trades like Dick's. If it's a small guy opening the store, it will never survive trying to compete with Dick's. The store should sell equipment that isn't readily available at Dick's, eg higher end equipment (obviously also still sell some more affordable stuff but better than the junk at Walmart.)
emaxxman - again, for the second time - the demographics the BID are using were from a report prepared in 2007, (5 years old) using the census data from 2000, (12 years old). AND that report didn't take into consideration the economic downturn we have experienced in the last five years. If you read the report, (which trekster provided) it shows Hackettstown's population going up along with household income and that's what the BID is presenting. In fact, the 2010 census shows Hackettstown's population decreased.
BLD2 --- OHHH, I thought you had a retailer idea.... Yes, in an ideal world, new detailed demographics would be wonderful. In the mean time those numbers are what we have to use for a starting point and they still have value --- we've all seen where development has happened in the area, so we take those population increases into account. Our makeup has not changed too drastically in the 5 - 10 mile radius.
Darwin - YES, Efingers is on the list (I ran a 5K in Bound Brook about a million years ago and they were the main sponsor) -- but in over 100 years they haven't added another location : ( We have a bunch of other western PA retailers as well as Ramsey, REI and others.
GC - I'll add playitagain and Aardvark to the list : ) --- the concept of selling used equipment might be a good niche.
There was a Playitagain Sports in the Roxbury Mall several years ago and then again in Flanders on 206, neither lasted very long.
Trekster, Thanks for posting the results of the Facebook Poll so far, I refuse to do the FB thing.
I have been to the Cabellas in PA and I have driven an hour to go to a good market and then I come straight home. Where these places might be decent ratables for the town what do they do to improve existing business and the quality of life here?
This is a small town in a rural area and my guess is the people who moved here were attracted to that. I recall having a walkable occupied downtown was a weighing factor in judging the Best Places to Live. There are outlets, malls, and big box stores all over but they are all the same. I think focusing on being unique would make Hackettstown a better destination and add to our quality of life more than a big chain store.
trekster - I rest my case. Such progressive thinking has made Hackettstown what it is. But you know best.
oh by the way, if anyone wants to email me directly at the office, my email is:
MBC - First let me say that I agree I would prefer a non box store type destination, even if "unique" is not the right way to say it. (Cabela's is that, and even if there are 10 different Crossings that look the same, they still make big $ in taxes that don't mean building a whole new $10mill school) I don't realistically think there is going to be something of that magnitude anyway, but something on a medium scale is not out of the question.
However, is that what people who have moved here within 10 years think, or is that what the people who have lived in the woods 40 years are trying to convince them they want? Why guess? Look at the overwhelming call for big box stores in the poll. Just count the votes.
BLD - I get your point but again, how much has really changed?
Did the change in population actually show a statistically significant change that would invalidate the report? I don't know the answer as, admittedly, I'm too lazy to compare.
Do you know? Or do you think we should just redo the very expensive study for the sake of having more current data? Cost was given as a reason for not doing the report. Based on your progressive thought power (since you decided to imply the town is not progressive in its thinking), how would pay for the study without further burdening the taxpayers?
I think what a lot of folks here are ignoring is the real-world practical limitations of things. In an ideal world, the town would have the funds to redo the study. It doesn't. In the absence of funds, what are the alternatives? In an ideal world, we could get every business that we choose to come here based on our desires. That's not the reality.
BLD - How about we all work together and think outside of the box instead of nit-picking over the value of the numbers, which as posted and repeated are a starting point? Oh and we're not just looking at the numbers, we are looking at the characteristics of main street communities in general, regardless of size and income bracket. What commonalities do successful main street communities share?
Several good ideas have been posted here and I look for more...
GC - the irony in the poll is not lost on me.... We have people asking for an old-fashioned bakery and ice cream store both of which we already have. Clearly we have more work to do in helping the downtown district get the word out or maybe tweak their business models.
And then they want what I would consider a Big Box Health Food Store - Whole Foods / Trader Joes / Wegmans --- individuals can certainly go into our new one on Main street to provide what they want. Build it into a unique store that fits our community.
I think this discussion is great and as long as we keep moving in a productive way, things may happen.
FYI, from the meeting the Irish Pub is still moving along nicely, they are getting bids from a contractor to do the remaining work. The steak house on Main St. (where Dimaio's Pizza was) and Philly Pretzel (by Hot Bagels) are both moving along nicely, I'll keep you posted on their grand openings : )
trekster3 - It happens every time. Look at any of the times HL has done a basic poll. Or the BID. However, it might be a point to make of the marketing for businesses that are here. Use the desire for "Whole Foods" by designing a mailer that starts out "Do you want Whole Foods in Hackettstown? Are you driving too far for Trader Joes?"
Then list all of the organic products, the natural ingredients, etc. available with a big banner that says "Place your order now at H-town Healthfood - (908) 269-8703". I personally don't associate organic vegetables with "Health Food Store" or even "Whole Foods" as "big box health food store". But people do associate "Whole Foods" with products they want. Use that fact. Use their name and their marketing. Just switch where they are available from. That's how small stores make it against the big ones.
People want Whole Foods or Trader Joe's because it is trendy. Whole Foods is natural, organic and they utilize local produce, etc. So do the other 3 grocery stores in our area. Not sure about Target or Walmart foods on that one. Each of the other stores do sell organic, natural foods, sugar free, gluten free products, free range chickens, organic beefs, international products as well. I watched a news program about Whole Foods and thought it was neat how they got a certain type of Salmon for their shops, the care in shipping to maintain freshness,etc. The price the customers have to pay for it are astronomical though. I guess all the people that voted for Whole Foods make the kind of money that can support having an upscale supermarket.
Now on the other hand I just read that Trader Joe's is lower priced due to them buying direct from suppliers. I have had hummus from Trader Joe's similar to what is sold at SR, A&P, Weis,. It was good, not great, but more expensive because it had the Trader Joe's name on it. Don't get me wrong I get the whole trendy feel these stores offer such as making people feel special like spending big bucks on a coffee so they can say they got it at Starbucks! LOL!! My point is, most of what these stores offer all of the other grocery stores in the area also offer, the other stores in the area also offer not so healthy cheaper foods. That is for the rest of us that drink dunkin donuts coffee and eat stuff loaded with MSG, etc. I do think if you eat organic you can find great options in the health food store mentioned above.
So as was mentioned, people want a old fashioned bakery, and we already have one? We have bakeries, Rico Pan, Harper's, but not what some would consider able to fill the needs of the town. If you want a bunch of cup cakes or birthday cake where would you go? Fresh loaf of bread? Open during prime time traffic flow through town between 4-6 pm?
We have 3 grocery stores in the area and also Target and Walmart for food shopping. I would go to a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods for sure just to say I did, but there has to be something else that is needed that would be useful and bring people in. The people I know that travel to Bridgewater for Wegman's don't shop around in other stores there or hang out in Bridgewater they go get what they want and then get out.
Whole Foods is too high a price point, move it to Chester and it is a-ok. Trader Joes maybe, but still might be a better fit in Chester...
I could see Chester or even Long Valley. But as far as the valley goes, while they have the space, I am one who would like the farmlands intact.
All the big grocery stores we have in the area are not even Hackettstown, they are either Washington Township, Morris County or Mansfield Township. Hackettstown itself has not had a food store since the old SR on Stiger or Basics, etc. in the old Hackettstown mall. Where would the town house such a store? There are very few sites I can think of in the town proper that could do it. We will not beat that dead horse Bergen tool site. The supposed restaurant, store which was to built by the old Hackettstown mall 24 years ago is supposed to be apartments, as slow going that process has been. I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer but when I see the poll, I am thinking of Hackettstown itself not the surrounding towns which border us. I can not in reality think of a spot where a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's could fit in or be built, in our town. The info GC gave in his post says it all too about requirements needing to be met for them to come to an area.
Wait? Steak house where Dimaio's was? The sign says Portgugese! Isn't that a lil small for a steakhouse?
Christine - Steakhouse. BBQ. Rodizio. By now you must know all those are the exact same thing. Not to mention the Olive Garden is coming. Repeat, the Macaroni Grill is absolutely confirmed. My brother's first grade teacher's hair stylist heard if from their son's martial arts class instructor. And they KNOW!! ;-)
LOL GC! I would think Trekster would know as she works for the BID but the BID is in the dark about openings also.
"Whole Foods is too high a price point, move it to Chester and it is a-ok. " - ijay
That's a good point. One thing that folks have to be very wary about is the rising cost of homeownership in town. My sister lives in Westfield. They have an amazing downtown/Main Street with busy stores galore and great restaurants. They also have ridiculous home prices and property taxes.
A former co-worker also lives in Westfield. She stated that decades ago, the Main Street was filled with tiny mom & pops. They were slowly forced out by the landlords who kept raising rent (sound familiar folks?) The stores were replaced by chain stores. As Main Street increased in popularity, so did the desire for outsiders to move to Westfield, and accordingly, home prices and property taxes.
One additional point - the council wants ideas for "new" attractions but what about capitalizing on the existing attractions. Look at all of the tourists and neighboring "locals" that come to Donaldsons in the Spring/Summer/Fall? How can we capitalize on that? Memorial Day car show, Spring Festival, trout season, etc. are more examples of existing attractions that bring in tourism.
I just looked at hackettstown.net. The homepage has a "matter of fact" listing of events that would only matter to residents. I would update the homepage to present Hackettstown in the way the town would like outsiders to see it - a historic town of old Victorians, quaint antique shops, bed and breakfast inns, warm/inviting restaurants, camp grounds, "pick your own farms", fishing, etc.
Last I checked stores being full, business booming, and home values increasing was a good thing. Heck maybe i am wrong , stay low budget, get a dollar store and a pawn shop before our home values go and increase on us. The age of the family owned store passing from generation to generation is come and gone or at least few and far between. I have never heard a defense of people will spend money in new stores if we get them then your home will be worth a lot of money sold as a negative. God bless the bid members you have yor hands full trying to win with this crowd. Good luck to you!
trekster3, I am sorry the health food store you recommended is great, but it does not hold a candle to a Whole Foods store. I (and evidently many and most other people who took the BID poll) want a grocery store that sells local organic produce, grain, and meats. The existing health food stores simply cannot provide the variety and selection that a Whole Foods type of store can.
youngnfresh, no, we do not want Whole Foods because it is "trendy". We want it because it can provide a great variety of local organic foods that go outside of the very limited selection of staples that Shoprite, Weis, Target, and Wal Mart offer. I have visited all 4 trying to find organic whole bean decaf coffee and organic chicken breast (without the drumsticks). This is just a specific example, but my point is, Whole Foods offers a wide variety of all sorts of products that simply are not available in the other stores.
iJay, no, it is not too high of a price point. I think you may be assuming first that very well to do people are the only ones who opt to feed their families organic foods and second, that Hackettstown does not have people who can afford organic foods. This is simply not the case. You are also assuming that Whole Foods has more expensive food...that is also not the case. In fact, they can offer food at cheaper rates (than the bigger chain stores like Shop Rite or Weis) since they are getting their products locally. And in our home, I would rather pay a couple extra bucks for a nonlocal organic and natural item and budget accordingly (i.e. forgo something else). And again, judging from the number of people who voted for the Whole Foods in the poll, other families feel the same. (People who choose to eat organic and natural are a passionate bunch).
Like I said before, I would be willing to spend half my paycheck there.
I have no idea where the store would go, or the logistics of how to go about getting one here, and I do not claim to have all the facts on it either...I am just saying that "if" one were to come to the area, I would bet...well, half my paycheck...that it would be a thriving business and I would be in there more than once a week spending my money.
jdem - It's a bad thing if the town becomes too expensive for its current residents. As it is, we have some of the highest property taxes in the area. I'm all for a bigger sports store, a Costco, Wegmans, etc. What I'm concerned is whether I could continue to afford to live in Hackettstown if it goes the way of Westfield (which I know I can't afford to live in.)
Just because someone thinks through the pros/cons of an idea/plan doesn't mean they're a naysayer. Dreamers dream while doers plan, analyze, and implement.
Median real estate property taxes paid for housing units with mortgages in 2009: $6,576 (1.9%)
Median real estate property taxes paid for housing units with no mortgage in 2009: $5,993 (2.5%)
Median real estate property taxes paid for housing units with mortgages in 2009: $10,001 (1.5%)
Median real estate property taxes paid for housing units with no mortgage in 2009: $10,001 (1.7%)
You want a booming Main Street - it will come at a cost.
Main St. looks like sh!t. Why would any new business want to come here.
Once the trees came down it showed how old and neglected the buildings are.
Whoever made those decisions should be fired & sued for incompetence.
An auction house would be an asset to the area. Currently one has to travel quite a bit for auctions. Sufficient parking is a must! Auctions bring hundreds to the area several times per auction..consignment, previews, and the auction itself. Initial investment is minimal. Go to Dover, Stewartsville, and Branchburg auctions. You will be amazed! Great draw for restaurants.
Natalie, maybe ask the stores where you currently shop in the area if they can order in the items you are seeking. You never know. It can't hurt. I do understand your desire to eat healthy and use organic foods. My comments were broad, I know there are many people that are interested in eating wholesome foods. Then there are those that use the status part of how much money they spend, etc. and where they do their shopping to show how special they are.
We all know those types. My main thing there is no space for a place like that in town. As you said you would be willing to pay the high prices, but not everyone would and for them to put a shop in town, they need big spenders.
Emaxxman is so right. Look at how much people around here already complain about taxes.
I'm amazed your comparing H'town with Westfield.
If you really want to make a difference then real change is needed.
Just reading this forum shows how racist & hateful the town is.
Reap/sow bla bla ........
Emaxxman: neat site. Does the % indicate the tax rate as in Westfield pays less % tax but higher $$$ cuz property values higher? So all we need to do is get better looking buildings and we can pay less taxes? Cool.
MikeL -- yes, a lot of hatred buried in this town for people that don't fit other's molds whether race, religion, political bent --- don' t matter. Different is not liked by a portion of the populace.
Fact is every urban/suburban location has different assets. Westfield is much closer to major metro's, high tech corporations, etc. And they have done an amazing zoning job to keep it tawney. It is very white collar, pretty darn white, and a high cost of living all round. Hackettstown is not.
So we can wish upon a star but when it comes time to make choices on how to spend our money, we need to be good, very good at optimizing our return on expenditures. New sidewalks -- nice. Pink ones --- not so nice. Trees --- nice, pygmy trees --- not so nice for awhile --- at least. Thematic look n feel (building colors, etc.) --- nice, mauve street signs --- waste of assets, Not being able to see overhead wires --- nice, seeing them -- not so nice (oops, side benefit of big trees), giant "going out of business" signs at our main intersection --- not so nice, dayworkers hanging one block down --- not so nice, and so on and so on
Much of this can be handled via zoning, laws, and appropriate spending decisions. H-town is mediocre at best. If we want to improve, improve Main Street, we need to make sound decisions to profit from our tax spending. And then good things will happen.
There is no reason that a lot of the money working in Jersey City or anywhere along the light rail should not take advanatage of our train, our country lifestyle, and our grand ole houses behind Grand Avenue, just a short safe walk from the station. For our low cost of living, our low cost (to them) Victorian neighborhoods, we should be increasing our home values, not decreasing. But we need to make the right choices to increase our attraction for our town. And surrounding that, plenty of great affordable neighborhoods of newer homes in well-kept, tidy neighborhoods.
But each spending decision has to improve our status, not just change our look to something else. Right now, Main Street is trying, but it is really not too attractive this Spring.
Spring festival and Memorial Day Parade are great. Best American Parade around.
emaxxman, most times i read your post i agree with you but way different page on this topic. Under that theory we should all just stop making our houses look nice , the more we can make them look like crap maybe the property value will go down. In your stats you can see there tax rate is lower, there property value is just higher. The less business in town to help increase the tax pool the more times budgets will just turn to homeowners to increase taxes and make up the difference. I can care less what shops the other specific town has, I get we do not need a coach or prada shop but whether another more middle class chain store or a personally owned shop is willing to open I am for it. Even if taxes still went up I would rather pay 10k a year to live in a thriving town then 8k to live in an aged ding market where my house is worth less then i paid 10 years from now.There are small windows for towns to respond to struggles, once you get a reputation as run down it sticks and is 10 times harder to reverse. Better to respond during a transition period. People wanting to glorify the good ole days is pipe dreaming, once business close you can not open another and pretend they were here for 60 years and get that old town feel back, they closed its over, all you can ask for is new .
MG - good point on the tax % but I live in the absolute world. I always say, I don't get a check for the discount on things, I get a bill for the cost of things. The value of a home only means something if you're trying to sell it. In the meantime, the property tax is a real, tangible item that I have to deal with every month. So, if the percentage goes down but the actual dollar cost of taxes goes up, then that's a problem.
Am I willing to have some tax increase for a nicer Main Street with stores that I would frequent more? Yes. Am I willing to support a $4K increase? No.
So yes, the council should strive to make the town better but it also needs to look at the impact (good and bad) on the current residents. We are trying to improve the town for the current residents afterall, aren't we?
MikeL - What is wrong with comparing Hackettstown to Westfield? Both towns started out the same - small quaint town with just mom & pop stores on the their Main Street. Aren't they now what the residents want Hackettstown to be? What are you trying to compare yourself with if not a town with a bustling Main Street?
Racist and hateful? How are any of my comments racist and hateful?
Sorry, my mistake then. Your comment was made after a response to me so I confused the two.
Gosh, I stay off line and you guys get BUSY!!
Bottom line youngnfresh hit the nail on the head --- if you want a store to carry something, go in and ask! With Harpers and Hackettstown Health Foods are both great shops and I would bet would gladly build into what you are looking for at Whole Foods, etc.
Especially with perishable product, like bakery and organic foods, the shop is not going to incur the cost, and loss without the potential benefit of a sale. Yes, the need to do some promotions, etc. to motivate interest in going into the shop, but if you're motivated enough to drive 40 min. to a Whole Foods, why wouldn't you go into our humble town? And just think, with enough regular clientele, they would need to move into a bigger space which we can cross that bridge when we come to it. How do you think Whole Foods got started?
The biggest problem I see is perception --- everyone has the attitude of Field of Dreams 'Build it and they will come' --- Unfortunately the retail world does not work like that, we have to establish the need and viability for a business to entice a shop to open up.
For me the comparisons with other towns is wonderful. Exploring what attributes successful communities share, regardless of income, population, etc. is what we need to look at.
FYI, the FB poll will be shutting down soon and I'm hoping we have more, but stay tuned.
Oh and Christine is right, we don't get advance word on when restaurants, etc. are opening in other towns, we do our best to keep up with what is happening in our humble hamlet.
okay, FB Poll is shutting down on Friday - so spread the word, for those who may not have already voted...
Also, number crunchers - here's a very interesting site -- I don't know where they got their numbers, but it's one we're looking at.... You can look by zip code or town name....
Okay, the numbers are in --- Poll getting shut down today : ) --- thanks to all for your enthusiasm and contribution --- I have contacted Hackettstown Health Foods and have encouraged them to reach out to the community and fill the need!
I will start a new thread when our new poll comes out, meanwhile keep the ideas and positive attitude going : )
Also in addition to the Summer Kids thread, I'll probably be starting a thread on local deals and discounts with Hackettstown BID Businesses (gotta check with the Boss first)
Whole Foods / Trader Joes 82
Fresh fish market 23
Sporting Good Store 20
Brew Pub 19
Craft/Fabric Store 18
Bowling Alley 13
Shoe Store / Specialty Shoe Store 12
Hobby Shop 12
Old Fashioned Bakery 4
Family / Womens Clothing / Accessory 6
Comic Book Store 2
Pawn Shop 1 --- Cute John K : )
Ice Cream 1
1) What is an old fashioned bakery?
2) Ice cream store? Really? The one on Main Street now plus Carvel/Ritas/Dairy Queen/Cold Stone don't cut it?
Yeah, people say they want an old fashioned bakery like Hoffman's, but they never go to Harper's and say 'Hey, can you get me xyz' - same with the Health Food Store....
and I let the Ice Cream person know about Main St. Ice Cream ---
Fortunately, I'll be sending this info to the BID Businesses and hopefully they'll be able to recognize ways they can draw customers to them...
The problem with asking the existing health food store to carry certain products is that it isn't really shopping then. Like we all go to Shoprite with items on our list then when we get there, we buy things that were not on the list (whether it is because of a sale, promotion, product placement, a sudden hankering for something sweet, inspiration for a recipe, etc.) I don't want to have to get the product manufacturer information then ask the health food store to carry every item I like whether I may or may not purchase it that week. I want to see a variety of items then have an option to purchase. A variety of grains (rices, couscous, etc.), a variety of chips, a variety of meats, a variety of breads, a variety of nuts, etc. It isn't fair to ask the small health food store to carry rye, wheat, white and 7 grain bread when I may only want rye this week. Nor is it convenient for me to ask them to carry a product that they have to order and will not come in for a few days. That is just not the same; not by a landslide.
I don't need a Whole Foods per se either, although I do love that store. I just was suggesting a local organic market that I can actually food shop at and not just pick up a couple items. I lived in another state and there was a co-op that sold a variety of many items listed above and it was awesome. I am not sure if a local health store would consider forming a co-op and expanding, but I will not be able to grocery shop at the existing stores in town.
As far as the property tax thing...when a store like this comes to town, they pay a whole lot of taxes to the town. It brings in the commerce from elsewhere, it helps local farmers, it raises property value (which yes, may raise taxes bit, but if I am going to see a property value increase from a store like this coming to town, BRING IT ON) and it brings in revenue of taxes from the store itself. I see it as a great fit for Hackettstown. Again, that is just my humble opinion as I do not know all the logistics of getting any of this to happen...
I think it is great that the BID reached out to current business to try and help them reach out but over and over in the thread people are saying to tell stores to carry what they need and go here or there but the problem is people grow tired of asking for everything. Most business in the world not just here have a few opportunites to earn customers . During grand openings and the first few visits if the customer does not see enough product they need or want they just do not come back. If you are a current customer and notice a few new items customers may request them but no one is going to stand at a counter week after week and teach a store how to stock there shelves . It is a companies problem to learn what there customers want, ask questions when you see people just walking back out the door with no sales , do promotions to draw attention and stock what people will buy. Having communication with your customers is up to the business to do you just can not blame customers for not buying things they do not need or want.
jdem and natalie - exactly, right - it is much like a catch 22 - the customers are looking for certain items, but want to be able to grab and go and the shopkeepers only have so much shelf space....
Once the Farmers Market starts up in June, maybe with enough demand, the Health Food Store can have a day all year long and have fresh organic produce available.
I certainly don't blame the customers, but with my hubby as a prime example, he'll walk in, look around and walk out and does not like interaction with the sales staff of any store - then he gets all surprised when I ask a question or make a phone call and gets what he needs without it taking all day or driving around everywhere.
I think the biggest problem is communication and perception....
Hopefully we'll be able to alleviate some of the problem with our FB and Web presence as well as bringing other attractions to town to get people walking and moving about town.
And with other polls and feedback we can let our town businesses get a pulse of their customer base, hopefully they will take the information and feedback and use it to their advantage (and ours)....
Okay, the FB poll is staying up for a while longer, please spread the word ---
Also, we're looking at other stores that fill smaller markets -- has anyone been to this one? I don't think our 'in town' demographics are a match or their pricing... if it's a high-priced market, I don't think it would last.... http://www.thefreshmarket.com/
Wendy @ HKT BID - Is that the one that's in Montvale way up on a hill off by it's own? Feels like a huge air plane hanger inside?? If so, there isn't enough retail space around here to do it.
I have a "Fresh Market" next to my office. It's fantastic. You don't need a big store to have one. The one I go to is probably 2/3 (maybe even less) of the size of Home Goods.
The fresh butcher and seafood is where they excel if you ask me. They are on par with ShopRite's fresh butcher (glass case) prices; seafood is considerably more expensive but it's fresh (ShopRite seafood smells.) Their prices on other things are a bit pricey so it may be a tough sell...than again, no one seems to have a problem with Donaldson's high produce prices.
I could see them doing well in Chester. They could easily compete with the fresh food market on rt. 206 in Flanders ( or is that Chester?)
We get all of our ground beef there; they fresh grind every day.
emaxxman - I believe you are referring to "The Market Place" which is in Flanders.
What I know of up in Montvale may well not be "Fresh Market" because I really don't know the name. I just remember going there to buy deli sandwiches and feeling practically like an ant in the place. If you've got one the size you describe near you, then getting the space would not be an issue.
See I do not mind oaying extra money for fresh food. You can definitely know the difference. I always go to Donaldsons when they are open. There is a huge difference with their fresh and Shoprite fresh. I don't want to go broke with it but I don't mind paying a little extra knowing it is fresh and not going to go bad in a day or two.
I agree, Christine. Lately all the produce I buy in the supermarket does not last long at all after I bring it home before it is spoiled. I will be frequenting Donaldsons as well.
Almost all of the grocery store produce is treated to make it not spoil. That means things are really much older than they appear, and spoil more easily because of their age. All of the local farms you're getting organic which may not last as long, but are so much fresher that it works out to their advantage.
I regularly buy Donaldson's lettuce, and am careful to only buy "their own" and not the other out of state produce. But I'm considering signing up for Ort's if I can make sure I can use all of it. The ability to substitute is a real deal clincher.
Unfortunately GC, all of the local farms are not organic. I confirmed with Donaldson's and Best's that they are not. I'm not sure about Ort's or other local farms and from what I've seen on Alstede's website only some of their produce is organic.
jrsemom - You're right that it's not a guarantee even though some do have it. Some of the products being organic is also what I was told about Donaldson's just like Alstede. In any case, it's the same everywhere that you need to be an educated consumer. (just like what is grown on site, and what is bought and resold)
I don't want to turn this into a Donaldson's vs Shoprite thread. My point was that "The Fresh Market", although pricey (and yes, you will get sticker shock with some things), may do well in Hackettstown because people are already willing to pay more, eg Donaldson's, if they know they are getting quality.
GC - yes, that's the place. If I recall (and we're talking over 10 years here), their prices are in the TFM range.
joyful - I go to the one in Center Valley, PA. 1 hour from H-town, out 78 west. Take the 309 (south?) exit. My office is right next to it.
GC, Glad to know Donaldson's has some organics now. 2 years ago when I asked they didn't. I haven't been in at all yet this year.
emaxxman, I've never seen one and can't really tell by the pictures, would the old Rite Aid be a good fit?
I am not sure if some one from the mansfield shop rite read this thread but for the first time today they had organic boneless chicken breast , seperate packs of organic chicken legs and seperate packs organic chicken thighs. To this point all they ever had was whole chicken or pick of the chicken.
From the outside, Rite-Aid could be a good fit. You would need a cold storage work area for the butchers and some storage room space. I've never been in the Rite-Aid (or don't remember being in it) so I can't say for sure.
The parking lot would be more of an issue there. The building itself is probably good but if they were busy, they would run out of spaces fairly quickly.
Oh and if you folks haven't noticed - town is now dressed and ready for Memorial Day and Summer!
Maybe Hacckettstown can do something like this?
DOWNTOWN looks great with the hanging flowers and the planters and now the Flag decor!
Darwin, funny you should point that out --- in the mid-60's before route 80 was finished there were plans to re-route 46 to Maple avenue so that there would be a downtown walking plaza kind of space.... To do that now would be a monumental undertaking or we would need to find another street that we could do that on, re-positioning our Main Street environment... I'll share the link with the folks here. Good to keep an open mind and keep the ideas coming!
I agree Christine, it was nice to see the flowers and flags over the weekend, when I shopped/supported local businesses. Breakfast Stella G's, Flowers at Hometown Hardware, Chinese for Dinner, Ice Cream at Cliffs. Now if we only had that bookstore, it would have been perfect..
I so agree about the bookstore Jrzygirl unfortunately it was investigated and the big box store ones declined.
No way we could do that with Main st, but maybe a side street such as E. Moore. Aren't they closing that down for the Farmer's Market? What if they looked into doing that permenantly and putting some more store fronts along the street.
Or what about E Plane? Redo the whole street.
Hi, All, I'm new to the forum due to the fact that we are seriously considering moving to Hackettstown. I've just been reading so many of the posts from the various forums and hit on this one. Is there enough parking in the town to support a Trader Joe's so people don't have to hunt for parking?? I've tried to read all the posts on this section (So many!), but that was a question I had. I think the nearest Trader Joe's to H'town is Florham Park, so it may not be such a bad idea. I also liked the "Sweetest Town in NJ/USA" comment, that is a fantastic idea. I live in Bergen County right now and would love to get out of here (you have no idea!). I'm not far from Westwood, and it is a quaint town, has restaurants off of the main street as well, train station across the street, kind of neat town square where they have an occasional antique show/carshow which attracts locals. I'll try to keep tabs here, and hopefully become a part of the H'town community. I really liked the town when we visited, I've always wanted a nice hometown feel, I can't stand the snobs in the town I live in and in the area itself, so it's kind of refreshing to hear so many of you so concerned about the town staying alive and I really like that so much!! Thank you!
Welcome to the Forum. I think the parking would all depend on where the Trader Joe's would be built. Not sure yet how I personally feel about Trader Joe's, there is one not too far from my office in Bergen County and I have only been there a handful of times. But others on HL seem very much in support of that type of store. One thing you will definitely find here, difference of opinions as well as lots of support, friendships, community pride, friendly sparing. Well you get the idea. If you need any advice please don't hesitate to ask, I haven't been here very long but lots of others have been here for a long long time and are very helpful.
Thanks JrzyGirl88 and cbel - I will definitely keep you both posted. We are very interested in a relocation and I'd love to meet up!! Jrzygirl88, how is the commute to Bergen County from H'town?? We are just in a quandry now because my daughter is going into 7th grade and we were anticipating driving her back and forth to school in Bergen County until she graduates (Catholic school), she's been w/ these kids for years and wanted to stay w/ them until graduation and I don't have a problem w/ that. We'd prob. wind up leaving about 6:30 in the morning, though.
I'm pretty fortunate, I was able to switch my hours at work when I moved. I work 7 to 3 so I am able to pretty much avoid most of the heavier traffic. I leave at 5:55 and arrive at my office at exactly 7. Doesn't leave alot of wiggle room if there is an accident or construction delays. If I leave the office any later then 3:10 it takes me about an 1 1/2 hours to get home, and a big part of that traffic isn't even Route 80, it's Route 4 from Hackensack to Route 17 being from Bergen County, I know you understand exactly what I am talking about, the worst designed road ever LOL!!
Okay Small Businesses in Hackettstown and surrounding areas - this looks like a great opportunity --- if you're a BID Business and you participate, let us know so that we can spread the word!! Go For It
Harper's is really stepping up and bringing some unique products that folks have been looking for!! Check out the Special Event cookies!
Oh by the way, for those that want a Whole Foods type of store - Conturso's coming in for the Farmer's Market may be a good fit --- Check them out ask them to bring pickles next time and see if they might be interested in the Bergen Tool property --- just thinkin'
Farmer Conturso even has a garden on the web ---- http://www.contursosmarket.com/
We should get an air-conditioned mall for these "farmers!"
Quick note - if you want to get BID News Emails on things going on in town, go to the Website:
And join our mailing list!
Was on Yahoo today and saw a link entitled "16 Brands that have a fanatical cult following". I clicked on it and there it was...Trader Joe's! The fanatics will come flocking if one were to come here!
I could really go for a glass to Two Buck Chuck too...
BrotherDog - http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/3076201/ns/today-food/
I think it's actually $3.00 now, daughter bought some last time we were there..it's wine from Trader Joe's. For your reading pleasure.
Thanks Bessie...yes, it is actually very tasty. If I had to do a taste test (I am certainly not a wine connoisseur) I would not be able to tell the difference between it and a 30.00 bottle of wine. It is not too shabby!
Towns with Main Street Communities and Farmers Markets are overall healthier than those dominated by Big Box stores - Who Knew?
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