Bayonne lost some businesses early in 2009, such as Chez Marie Café, and saw the demise of several longtime establishments whose future had seemed secure. But Mary Divock, executive director of the Town Center Management Corporation, said 2009 also brought in several new businesses.
Even though the year 2009 is seen as the toughest economic year since the Great Depression, Bayonne still managed to see several new establishments open, she said.
The new additions are part of a strategic plan that was developed by Town Center several years ago to help counter changing shopping trends, the impact of existing malls out of town, and the development of new malls such as Bayonne Crossing.
“Our district is walkable, safe, attractive, and friendly.” – Mary Divock
Adapting to changing times
Over the last decade, Town Center officials said they began to see Broadway going through the natural progression in the business lifecycle, with new stores opening as older stores close. Many of the stores that existed on Broadway have seen their customers growing older or moving out of town. But the idea is to replace those businesses with new niche stores that will both serve new residents moving into the area as well as to draw people into the center of town.
Banking, restaurants, even facilities such as the UPS Store offer services to residents and a reason to continue to shop on Broadway.
But more importantly, the plan calls for developing the old shopping district into what is called a social district, similar to successful districts in places like Hoboken and the Exchange Place section of Jersey City.
The Hudson Bergen Light Rail line, which currently has three stations in Bayonne and will soon open its fourth on Eighth Street, will add to the ability of commuters to come and go, and will encourage a walking customer base that the malls in the area cannot achieve.
“Bayonne Town Center is a special improvement district from 17th to 30th streets on Broadway,” she said. “Our district is walkable, safe, attractive and friendly with more than 30 national and regional chains, strong family restaurants, popular gyms and spas, 10 banks, and a lot of unique shops and boutiques.”
Broadway, she said, is bolstered by the fact that it is part of an Urban Enterprise Zone, has ample public transportation, and offers what she called “outstanding development properties.”
She said that new, interesting shops and restaurants are opening nearly every month, and her office is perpetually looking to bring new businesses into the area.
Meet your new neighbors
In January, Papa Mia Pizzeria opened at 531 Broadway between 24th and 25th streets, adding to the array of eateries Bayonne. In March, Broadway saw the addition of All American Gold Buyers at 377 Broadway, and Carlos Barber Shop at 425A Broadway. In May, Cherry Market opened at 461 Broadway, Furniture & Things at 379 Broadway, PTH Slot Cars at 615 Broadway, and AT&T Wireless at 592 Broadway. In June, Broadway also welcomed Lovely Beauty Supplies at 549 and Chinese Traditional Physical Therapy at 442.
In August, Star Diamonds & Jewelry opened at 584 Broadway and Tambores Cuban Restaurant at 458 Broadway. Petland, a national pet discount food store, opened its doors at 533 Broadway. In October, Be Our Guest Studios opened at 5 West 22nd St., and in December, Mia Casa II opened its doors at 416 Broadway.
Some of the tools the Town Center has at its disposal come as a result of cooperative efforts with the city’s Office of Community Development and the Bayonne Zoning Department, which include the façade program, and financial assistance in the way of grants and low-interest loans.