Main Street N.J. launches pop-up stores to celebrate state’s 350th anniversary

Jessica Perry//September 25, 2014

Main Street N.J. launches pop-up stores to celebrate state’s 350th anniversary

Jessica Perry//September 25, 2014

The state-run Main Street New Jersey program has created a first-of-its-kind local pop-up store — “New Jersey 350” — to celebrate and engage the public in the statewide 350th anniversary celebration.Each store features New Jersey memorabilia supplied by the state museum in Trenton, items from the Island of Jersey located in the British Channel (the location from which New Jersey received its name), books provided by Rutgers University, “New Jersey 350th” branded apparel and, most importantly, a variety of merchandise provided by local businesses.

“We encouraged each local Main Street program to select as many interesting businesses as possible to give their store true local flavor,” said Jef Buehler, a consultant for the Main Street New Jersey and Improvement District programs.

For all merchandise provided, Main Street New Jersey passes along the full profit — minus credit card processing fees — right back to the local businesses, historical societies and community-oriented entities that supply each store.

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So far, “New Jersey 350” pop-up stores have appeared in Red Bank; Highland Park; Newton; Boonton; Lawrenceville; Hammonton; Westfield; Somerville; and two at the Department of State in Trenton.

“Having only been open for a total of 318 hours so far, the stores have seen more than 2,400 visitors and have sold more than $26,000 worth of merchandise,” Buehler said in August.

Each store has also hosted micro-events throughout its duration in order to attract customers.

“So far this year we have had nine ribbon-cuttings, eight musical performances, four arts demonstrations, 10 authors’ events, two local employee discount days, a children’s story time, a wine tasting and a birthday party for Newton’s 150th with a giant cake,” Buehler said.

Buehler also implemented the use of sidewalk stickers to help bring community members into the store. 

“You see those stickers in malls or car dealerships that point the way for shoppers — they are a pretty useful technique for short-term activity like this, and have never been done in New Jersey before in a downtown community setting,” he said.

The stickers have been so successful, in fact, that the towns have adopted the technique to point the way to sales and events at local stores.

Another by-product of the pop-up store, Buehler said, is that two of the rented spaces have now been leased by tenants that did not have an interest before.

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“We were able to show the value of being a store in those locations,” he said. 

If you’ve missed out on the opportunity to visit one of the “New Jersey 350” pop-up stores so far, there are more to come: Mount Holly in October; Atlantic City and Montclair in November; and Bridgeton and South Orange in December.

“New Jersey 350’s” final location in downtown Trenton will officially end the state’s year-long 350th celebration on Dec. 31 of this year.

Since 1989, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Main Street New Jersey program has helped revitalize several business districts and downtown areas around the state by providing training, tools and financial resources for historic and economic development.


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