Tag Archives: Small Businesses

Escapology

Escapology Opens in Garwood – The Live Escape Room Right in Your Neighborhood!

 

Escapology

Many of you may have heard about the escape room frenzy – they seem to be popping up and no one knows exactly what they involve unless you have actually participated in one. I’m here to tell you that the very BEST escape room around is opening up just minutes from the Cranford/Westfield area and is going to be around for quite some time because it’s just that exciting!

Adults, like kids, get bored easily with the same old thing. The new Escapology Escape Rooms in Garwood (Escapology Home Page) at 300 South Avenue next to Crunch Fitness has the most intriguing and gorgeous rooms around! They will keep changing as long as you keep visiting with your friends and family! Read all about the latest in group entertainment and what you can expect when they open their doors.Their soft opening is scheduled for NEXT FRIDAY, November 24 at 11:00 am! Walk-ins are welcome while they work on training their fabulous staff!

I sat down over the summer to speak with one of the owners, a Westfield resident – Michael DiChiaro. Believe it or not – he’s an airline pilot with a passion for mystery and riddles! He filled me in on why the partners decided to start this business in Garwood, why escape rooms were on the mind, and what keeps them excited every day when they go into work!

 

The franchise owners are Michael DiChiaro and his wife, Michelle DiChiaro. They joined with their friends, James Minniti and Ana Minniti. Michael explained, “This is a family entertainment business”. They discovered the fascination with escape rooms while his eight-year-old daughter was playing similar games on her IPad one day. She loved them so much that he scoured the internet to see if they existed in real life. They found the impressive company, Escapology, and Michael and his wife went for a visit. “We really loved the entire concept – it’s fun being a detective – like playing Clue!”

They wanted to open up a local entertainment center that was geared towards family entertainment, corporate team building, and hanging out with friends. The owners fell in love with the franchise Escapology because each room is intricately designed with televisions, amazing scenery, and hidden clues that could possibly open secret doors! This is the largest franchise in the business of escape rooms and is an overseas company that started in the United States in Orlando and Las Vegas. Michael stated, “There is no match to the quality of this particular company – amazing quality with computer based training!” Escapology is really like live “Clue” – you have some facts and you go and solve a problem.

With 42 escape rooms already in New Jersey, the partners felt the need to set up business in Garwood because the area was rich with families and so close to neighboring towns and NYC area residents! The Garwood location will be the first Escapology in the Northeast.

 

Unique to Escapology -there will be a large lobby and private lounge perfect for hosting gatherings of friends, business events, or epic parties. Six people will be able to play a mystery in any of the six themed rooms! Each experience is approximately 60 minutes – or depending on how quickly you are able to solve the mystery! With the addition of a private party room – this makes for a great afternoon or evening night out!

EscapologyOne can host huge events perfect for 80-90 people. A business could do a presentation in the lobby with breakfast or a birthday party with a chance to mingle afterwards. The presence of a large television can be used for any purpose – photo slideshow, business presentation, and videos! Escapology is also offering catering from local restaurants to add to the party experience!

Michael recommended that the age for playing the escape games is 8 years and up due to the complexity of the puzzles (however any child under the age of 8 is welcome and FREE). Individuals ages 8 and older will be asked to pay the special Grand Opening Price of $29 (Saving Santa room slightly more)! Children 18 and younger must have a signed waiver. The business welcomes everyone to come out and enjoy the excitement of escape rooms – perfect for large families, scouting events (earn a patch for a scavenger hunt/detective work), birthday parties for kids and adults, corporate events, mingling with friends, and holiday fun!

Here is a peek at the six rooms that you can experience at Escapology…

Cuban Crisis: You are Don Frederico, a CIA Field Operative, your code name is Gerrard “Gerry” Droller and you work directly for the President of the United States, J.F. Kennedy. Your mission is to infiltrate Fidel Castro’s palace, locate the secret KGB office, and find out who was responsible for shooting down the American plane.

Arizona Shootout: The whole shoot out takes only 30 seconds – the most terrifying 30 seconds of your life! After the dust settles, 3 bodies lay in front of you. Quickly, you notice two of your people are injured but the rest are unharmed. The marshals have won the fight! However, there is some bad news: the other 2 outlaws are nowhere to be found. The marshals must quickly identify who has been shot and who is on the run. You will have 60 minutes to complete this task or the 2 outlaws will surely escape to Mexico!

Antidote: You are a team of scientists investigating Dr. Brandt’s abandoned laboratory. You’ve been tasked with finding the only known antidote to virus TS-51 before it gets passed into enemy hands.

Budapest Express: Moving through the cabins and gathering evidence, the killer knows you are hot on their trail and has decided you are their next target. With you out of the picture they would be free to escape when the train stops. Solve the riddles and puzzles, gather the evidence and solve the murder before it’s too late!

TH3 C0D3: You are an FBI agent and know that Nitr0 always provides a kill code for every crime in case things go awry. You must find that code, kill the program, and escape within the hour so you don’t take the fall for the biggest crime in American history

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Saving Santa: (Just in time for the holidays!) PLEASE NOTE! This game is designed for children and is perfect perfect for 5 to 14-year-olds. Adults will find this game too easy so bring the children and let them solve the puzzles! Four-year-olds may be a little young but the room has a fun design and there are special treasures to find along the way! Their Secret Elves will guide you through the game and let you know whether the adults may need to help the youngsters along! Escapees MIGHT actually get to meet Santa who MIGHT have a small gift to thank them for saving him!! But don’t let on….

It’s just too much fun and I can’t wait to bring my friends and family to experience a PRIVATE game room – because you NEVER play with strangers! Make sure you book online NOW for any date on or after December 7: Escapology Online Booking. Again, there is a soft opening on Black Friday, November 24 – just walk in anytime starting at 11:00 am!

With the holidays right around the corner– it’s a great time to visit with friends and family. Visit their website at Escapology Garwood to find out more information on your visit and to order gift certificates! Make sure to “Like” and follow their Facebook page EscapologyNJ for current deals and promotions! Call 908-232-2222 for any questions or email Michael or one of his partners at [email protected]

Garwood’s original real-life escape game experience! Located in a prime spot next to Crunch Fitness in the Kings Shopping Center, up to 6 players will be challenged in this new attraction by working together to find clues, solve puzzles, and pick locks that will free them from the game room. Do YOU have what it takes to escape?

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Playa Bowls

GRAND OPENING!! Cranford is Crazy for Playa Bowls!!

 

Cranford is crazy for Playa Bowls and our newest Playa Bowl spot just opened at 102B North Union Avenue! The smell of the salty air, the waves crashing, the sound of seagulls, the wind in your hair…anyone who has been to this blissful place knows that you are immediately transported back to the shore! Not only is Playa Bowls known for their fabulous acai bowls and smoothies, but it’s how they have recreated the feel at the beach that keeps everyone coming back for more!

 

Playa Bowls was founded in 2014 after owners Robert Guiliani and Abby Taylor discovered that the people of the Jersey Shore had yet to savor the nutritious and delicious acai bowls like they had discovered on their many surf trips to the West Coast. They went to work to create their own version of a healthy acai bowl at small stand at the corner of 8th Ave and Ocean Ave in Belmar, New Jersey. Of course, they were an immediate sensation and soon after they opened their first store right behind the original stand!

 

Playa Bowls is now known throughout New Jersey and they have expanded into Rutgers Campus and up into North Jersey! Abby is so excited that they have been so welcomed throughout the state as more cities are going “bowls deep”! Abby described for me how much conscious selection goes into each and every ingredient in their bowls, smoothies, and other menu items. She said, “We have the best quality around – we don’t blend our acai with anything else to add sugar!” Abby also contributes the success to the “vibe” inside each and every Playa Bowls. She said that it’s truly a “culture” – people want to order and then actually hang out because of the “chill atmosphere”.

 

Playa Bowls is now a franchise and the Cranford restaurant is owned by Alan Valenti and nephew Stephen Valenti of Morristown’s Olive Lucy’s Kitchen Table. They are excited to bring Playa Bowls to Cranford! Alan initially fell in love with this acai shop as a customer. He wanted to pursue the franchise and his wife, Allison (originally from Cranford), drew him into this close-knit community. Alan and Stephen see Cranford as an “up and coming town” and love the momentum of the small businesses in downtown. (Hat tip to our fabulous Downtown Management Corp!!)  From families to young professionals – it’s truly the best town to introduce a hot new spot!

 

From our conversation, it was evident that Alan is excited about this venture. He mentioned that their acai bowls only have 10 grams of sugar and the highest quality of acai that no one else is providing. It’s such a thick acai bowl and “once you have your first bite you can taste the difference!” Playa Bowls appeals to those who are health conscious. You can add the best ingredients such as fruit, coconut, Nutella, pitaya, and chia! They will abe providing Fall Bowls all season long! Customers can add autumn flavors to their smoothies and bowls such as pumpkin granola, pumpkin butter, cinnamon, and caramel apple!

 

Alan feels that Playa Bowls is a big family and loves that Abby and Robert are 100% “hands on” with every store that they open. Abby does all the artwork for each and every Playa Bowls. Alan commented that her pieces are “beautiful and personalized for each store” – you will never see the same thing twice! Each creation of Abby’s is unique for a particular town and their energy! Even the flooring and lighting at the Cranford shop will be different and customized for Cranford!

 

Alan, Stephen, Rob, and Abby look forward to being a “part of the fabric of the community” of Cranford. I know that the area will be flocking to their gorgeous, beachy shop! Make sure you keep updated with their stunning Instagram feed and posts at playabowlscranford ! We are all ready to “go bowls deep”!

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Fish Stand

Cranford Fish Stand: Fresh, Sustainable, and Local!

Fish StandEveryone is excited for the opening of Cranford Fish Stand, located at 200 South Avenue East, this Thursday, October 19! We spoke with owners Jill Sabochick, John Sabochick, and Kevin Pipchick earlier this summer to find out how they differ from other markets, why they chose Cranford, and how they plan on making fish fun! While talking over coffee about this new fish adventure – I quickly realized that this group of friends are seriously having a great time working together! Jill, John, and Kevin all worked at a small business software company prior to 2014. They moved around from city to city together and finally ended up in Jersey City! While living in JC, the friends realized that they craved fresh seafood. Fish markets in NYC were in an abundance, but they found a lack of fresh fish in this downtown area. John commented, “We just said, we should do this!”

 

They all wanted to provide a product that was sustainably sourced. They found local people in the industry who were able to inform them where the fish came from and where it was caught. Since everyone was in a small business together, their entrepreneurial spirit was a huge asset! The friends began their fish business at the local farmer’s market in Jersey City. Their fresh product became in high demand and the business expanded in 2015. They opened up their first store, Jersey City Fish Stand, approximately one and a half years ago. Because of the popularity of fish markets and consumers craving to know more about where their meals come from – Jersey City Fish Stand was recognized locally in a Summer 2017 issue of USA Today!

Cranford Fish Stand

 

The owners are now ready to take their exploding business to other areas of New Jersey and Cranford is lucky enough to be the site of their second store! Jill attributes the popularity of the fish market business to the fact that “people are obsessed with sustainably-sourced fish –where it came from and how it was caught.” “The industry is so interesting right now with customers wanting to be informed with purchases!” she remarked. The goal for their Cranford Fish Stand is to truly provide the customer with a unique shopping experience.

 

They want you to embrace the concept that “fish is fun!” There are so many types of fish to encounter, that over the course of the year -over 200 could make their debut at Cranford Fish Stand! The menu will rotate based on the season and “what’s catching”. John explained that there are a lot of fisheries that they work with and they hand select from those distribution sites. “Everything is provided fresh, never frozen. We only bring in enough to sell within 24 hours. This is what makes us very unique – the fact that our menu is changing daily!”

Their staples will be salmon, bass, and scallops. Clams and oysters will often come from Barnegat Bay, NJ as well as other fisheries in Point Pleasant and South Jersey. The owners will supplement local fish with selections from Southern Atlantic, Gulf, West Coast, and Alaskan fisheries. Each day there will be approximately a dozen varieties in their front case.

 

So, what can you, the customer, expect when you walk through the doors of Cranford Fish Stand? Jill remarked that they want you to have a “personal walk-through experience”. The employees will guide you through your selection, the origination of the catch, and provide cooking techniques for each choice! She commented, “It’s a true personal shopping experience when you walk in the door – with fish!”

 

Fish StandCranford Fish Stand will also have specialty grocery items and oven-ready, prepared sides. Customers will be able to select side dishes, produce, marinades, soups, dips, and spreads. The owners want you to enjoy one-stop shopping for your meal. Once your fish has been chosen, you will be able to leave the store with everything that will complement the highlight of the meal! Jill commented that “people may not know that seafood is extremely easy to cook. We make it so you can choose a simple recipe or a more intricate version!”

 

Why did they choose their second location to be in Downtown Cranford? “We chose Cranford because it was a destination spot”, mentioned Kevin. It just so happens that Kevin grew up in Cranford and his family and friends still reside here! However, it wasn’t just the hometown draw that landed them their fish market in quintessential Cranford. Kevin commented that the “cultural and food scene is thriving!” “Everyone, young and old, is invested in the town. Small businesses are welcome and everything is local and unique. Hopefully the trend will continue on an upward swing! We feel the town will support us in this movement and this is our total motivation!”

 

Please join Jill, John, and Kevin as they open their doors to Cranford this Thursday, October 19. All information can be found at their Facebook Page, Cranford Fish Stand FB. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony that begins at 4:00 pm followed by a reception from 5:00 until 7:00 pm. New customers can enjoy light hors d’oeuvres, prizes, and of course…FISH!! The fun of fish is picking it out – let them make it an experience for you! In Cranford – everything is fresh, sustainable, and local!

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Embellish

Cranford’s Embellish is Your Pinterest Project Dream Shop

EmbellishAt the height of the handmade craft frenzy where people can see something on Pinterest and bring it to life – Donna Del Guercio of the former “Belladonna’s Yarn Room and Interiors” brings you her new store, “Embellish”. You’ll be spending quite a bit of time in this store, located at 106 North Union Avenue in Downtown Cranford. Donna is set to open on Thursday, September 28! This is a one-stop crafting experience and unique to Cranford. From crocheting, to paper crafts, to large appliqued letters to decoupage – you will take delight in spending some quality crafting time at Embellish!

 

Donna had her highly popular and Cranford renowned fabric and furnishings store “Belladonna’s” but decided to take her creative side and her business in a new direction. Donna wanted to “reimagine the store as something else”. It was time for a change and to bring something to Cranford that was unique and in high demand! I sat down with Donna in the shop, which had already transformed itself into a crafters paradise, to find out what you have the opportunity to create in a few weeks!

You may see something on Pinterest and realize that you don’t have the correct materials or tools. This store exists to provide you a space to create anything and everything you want – from unique gifts, wall decals, birthday banners, signs, and embellished totes. Anything that you can think of – Embellish probably has all the equipment you need to make it a reality!

The highlight of the store is “AccuCut” – a machine that is known for its brilliant die-cutting ability. Donna began showing me the massive collection of templates that cuts plastic, cardboard, and other materials. The possibilities are endless with this equipment – perfect for die-cut personalized picture books, photo albums, journals, scrapbooks, party favor boxes, wall decals, and huge letters fit for decoupage.

Get ready for the holiday season now! The same old gifts at department stores are boring! Find the perfect gift for teachers, co-workers, employees, family members – all unique and individually designed by you! Wreaths, cards, and ornaments can be personalized and carefully handcrafted.

Speaking of events…Embellish will offer group classes focusing on a particular holiday. Donna hopes to have a preset group of classes that will be offered 3-4 times a week! Halloween/Fall crafts will include favor boxes, wreath making, floral arrangement demos, and crocheting scarfs. Winter/Holiday crafts will include ornaments, cowl scarf kits, favor boxes, table setting crafts, and homemade holiday cards! She has everything to make your holiday come to life with paper crafts and adornments! Embellish will also offer custom gift wrapping and custom favor boxes for those who are in a time crunch and need some crafty help!

Everything that is made during the seasonal classes will be available for purchase in the shop! Donna will have pre-made kits that you can take home and create on your own time! Since Donna used to be a storefront decorator – her store will be a gifters delight with all of the creations for you to “see and shop”!

 

EmbellishDonna will continue to provide her fans with knitting and crocheting classes! Sign up for “Beginning Knitting” on Tuesday nights: 10/3, 10/10, 10/17 and 10/24 from 6:30-8:00 pm. “Beginning Crochet” will be taught on Wednesday nights: 10/4, 10/11, 10/18 and 10/25 from 6:30-8:00 pm. The cost is $100 for four sessions. Call the store at 908-272-8100 or send Donna an email at [email protected]. Space is limited!

 

She will bring in guest “teachers” from time to time to instruct participants on a special craft item or method. Also, a brilliant corner of the shop is adorned with buttons, beads, and necklace/bracelet fastener for those individuals who want to learn to create their own jewelry! It’s truly a maker’s delight! For the future, Donna would like to be host to Ladies Night Out and BYOB gathering at Embellish where you can reunite with friends over crafting for a particular holiday or event!

 

EmbellishWhat makes Embellish so unique? Donna is opening this new shop to be a boutique crafting experience for you – the customer. It’s not just pre-made designs – but catering to a seasonal design that you would like to sit down and create! Better yet – the inspiration for her store is her little sister, Nicole, who recently passed away and who was “one of the most creative people”. In honor of Nicole, Donna is starting a foundation called the “pixiemagic”. Her sister was “the most generous person” and therefore 10% of each sale at Embellish will go toward this foundation which will reach out and benefit local charities to make a “real difference in individual’s lives”. This crafty store is going to be around for a long time – imagine all the possibilities that you can dream up and “embellish”! Craft away my friends! Be sure and stop by Thursday, September 28 from 9:00 am– 5:00 pm and tell Donna “hello”!

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Perrotti's Cranford

Perrotti’s: 50 Years as Cranford’s Small Town Treasure!

Perrotti's CranfordThere are certain places that just epitomize “small town.” The barber shop that’s been cutting hair for generations…the ice creamery that still churns its ice cream from scratch…and of course, the local butcher. Cranford happens to be home to one of the best old-fashioned butcher shops you’ll find anywhere: Perrotti’s.

For almost 50 years, Perrotti’s Quality Meats has been the neighborhood butcher shop where locals go for quality meats and prepared foods. Brothers Mario and David Perrotti learned the art of butchering after emigrating from Italy to Elizabeth, NJ, where they worked in a pork store for years. In 1967, they opened their own shop in Cranford, 23 South Union Avenue at the corner of South Union Ave. and Cherry Street, and have been operating as a family business in that very spot ever since.

 

It just so happens that my mailer coming out next week of Stephen D’Amato’s painting of Perrotti’s and their upcoming 50th Anniversary coincide! That’s right – the store opened on October 18, 1967 and it’s a huge year for celebrating! I caught up with Nick Perrotti, David’s son and current owner with his brother, Dave, to find out what makes Perrotti’s such a town favorite and how they are going to do to celebrate their “golden anniversary”.

 

Besides having the finest quality meats around – it’s one-stop shopping for a family meal once you enter the store. Coming in for the perfect side dish is what keeps the door revolving at Perrotti’s. The family grew up in a household where guests were always served homemade food and family gatherings were a feast. They learned the art of cooking for a large family from their mothers and grandmothers and knew that you didn’t just serve a plate of meat – the sides were equally as important. “You are walking into my home when you walk into here,” said Nick.

What started out as a “butchering business” evolved into customers coming in for the entire meal. The staples are their homemade marinara sauce, cheesy mashed potatoes, meatballs in homemade tomato sauce, Eggplant Parmesan, stuffed shells, their famous lasagna, legendary rice pudding, and always fresh rolls. Perrotti’s takes the prep work out of the dinner dilemma and in thirty minutes or less you have a delicious four-course meal!

 

Perrotti’s draws you in because they represent customer service at its finest. Whether you visit the store every week or only around the holidays – they will all remember you, your name, and the last thing your ordered! Nick commented, “We have customers coming here since we first opened! Fourth generations of customers are even walking through these doors and that’s why we love Cranford – it’s such a great town and a close-knit community. My dad and uncle – they owe it to the people – they put out a good product – but word of mouth made this place a success. Neighbors telling neighbors – and that still happens today.”

 

Nick asks that you don’t be shy! He encourages you to ask for whatever you need: what side dish goes best with your meal, what you should cook for dinner, or what cut of meat is best for your recipe! They will gather all the ingredients and even tell you how to prepare your entire meal! If it’s your first time to the store, Nick says they’ll “give you a tour of the store and show you what we have to offer!” From giving cookies to your children, to carrying your bags out to the car, or calling when you meat has finally arrived – it’s home town service at every step! I visit on a weekly basis, and for that, my family is eternally grateful! As a matter of fact, my sister Aileen stops in EVERY time she visits from Maryland so she can stock up on the amazing homemade pierogies!

 

“We are involved in people’s lives here not because we HAVE to, but because we really like to be! Our customers like to stay and hang out with us!”

 

 

 

Perrotti's Cranford

 

Perrotti’s wants you to know that they will definitely be celebrating their 50th Anniversary. The original Mario and David will make an appearance in their white aprons on October 18. The rest of the week will be filled with free coffee, giveaways, and cookies. You can also commemorate the event and purchase custom-made shirts and sweatshirts or their traditional anniversary coffee mugs!

 

 

 

 

Of the Perrotti’s painting, Stephen said, “I went through a period of feeling intrigued about Cranford and what it meant for me to be a resident and to discover the history of Cranford, exploring these old buildings with so much charm and character that are still standing. Perrotti’s struck me as one of those hidden treasures of Cranford.”

 

Indeed, Perrotti’s is a treasure in every sense of the word, the kind you can only find in a very special town. Please don’t be shy next time you visit Perrotti’s – talk to Dave, Nick, Tony, or Jim and ask them a few questions or even how their day is going! You just might walk out with a four-course meal and some new best friends – I know I did!

 

You can find Perrotti’s on Facebook at PerrottisQualityMeats FB and at their website with a detailed listing of butcher items, prepared food, and deli selections: http://www.perrottiscranford.com/

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Back 2 School

Patricia Perry Salon: A Westfield Experience Dedicated to Curls, Color, and Community!

Patricia PerryI know there are a million NJ hair salons to choose from– so why did I decide to pick the Patricia Perry Salon in Westfield (www.patriciaperrysalon.com)to write about this week? My friend told me about her positive experience at the salon – from the gleaming chandeliers, to the sweet woman who shampooed her hair, the first-class service, and finally how amazing her hair felt and looked! The more I learned about Patricia, her ideals, and what the salon means to her – I had to write this article!

 

Patricia was born in Portugal and came to the United States when she was four years old. She has been in the salon industry since she was 14 years old!! She started shampooing at a friend’s home and has been working in salons in Union County from 19 years old until the present! In fact, Patricia loves the “hair business” so much that she even quit law school for it! She decided to give the salon industry 100% of her devotion and dedicate her career to curls, color, and health conscience hair products! Oh – and don’t forget the community – she and her husband love to give back to the community that’s supported them through this crazy ride!

That’s right – this is a family business which is what I love about our community! Matthew and Patricia Perry met, married, and started this salon business together! They have two beautiful children, Jacob and Emma, and live in Clark, NJ. They opened Patricia Perry Salon in April 2015. She grew her extensive clientele in Union County salons and then came to a point in her career where they wanted to open their own salon and “do things the way we want to do it!” Matthew and Patricia went into this business as a total partnership. Patricia devotes her days to styling, the salon, and education – while Matthew handles the paperwork and marketing. You’ll always find him at the front desk so make sure to say “hi” next time you visit!

 

She decided to make it her mission to conquer CURLS! As she worked in the salons she noticed the curly-haired clients left with wet hair and tons of product while the other women left with a gorgeous blowout. She wanted every client to feel like they left the salon with a “finished product” and equally as beautiful. She made curls her “niche” and her main focus for Patricia Perry Salon. Did you know that 80% of the population has some sort of curl/texture to their hair? Patricia wants women to “fall in love with your hair all over again!” She says, “Love who you are – embrace your curls!”

 

Patricia PerryPatricia has been deemed a “Deva Curl Ambassador” – meaning she has done extensive education on her own and at the Deva Curl Deva Academy in the field of DevaCut, No Poo Transformation Service, and Pintura Highlighting. DevaCurl is a company devoted to curly hair products and stylist education of curl management. Everything you need to know is on their website here www.devacurl.com. Patricia is a “DevaStylist” and other stylists come to her salon to learn how to cut and style curly hair. All the stylists at Patricia Perry Salon are educated on curls and can formulate and prescribe styling regime for each person – it’s very individualized.

 

No harsh chemicals will ever be found at Patricia Perry Salon – even their keratin treatments are formaldehyde-free! “We are extremely environmentally and health conscience about the hair care products we use and sell and we stand behind them 100%. The salon specializes in boutique hair color. They use the “top of the line” Goldwell products (www.goldwell.us)– the standard for luxury hair color. Goldwell, founded in 1948 is “the most intelligent and caring system for creating and maintaining vibrant healthy hair color.”

 

Patricia PerryWhen you walk into the salon you will see a display case of the most beautifully labeled and packaged hair care products. They sell Davines ( www.davines.com) , a family company started in 1966 in Parma, Italy, and the leader in eco-friendly products. Davines is “farm-to-table “hair care. Earlier this year, Davines partnered with the Slow Food Foundation– “a global nonprofit that preserves food and agricultural biodiversity by connecting local farmers with alternative markets- to launch the next generation Essential Haircare. The concept is truly unprecedented. The line is comprised of nine product families. Each contains one specific active ingredient from a Slow Food farm in Italy and the name, face and story of the farmer who grows it with care and passion.”

 

Patricia Perry Salon wants to give you the whole package when you walk in their door. From going back to get your shampoo, to the styling experience, to walking out the door with your fresh, new look. You will be offered your choice of mimosas, wine, champagne, coffee, tea, or infused water! “It’s all about customer service. We stand behind everything we do. We know there are so many salons to choose from – we feel we are bringing something different to the table!”

 

Back 2 School

The salon also has an awesome “Back to School Drive” scheduled for Wednesday, August 30 –  between 10 am and 7 pm bring in a new lunchbox and your child will receive a free haircut! All proceeds benefit the YWCA of Union County. Please call the salon in advance to make an appointment for that day! “The community has completely embraced us and we want to continually give back to them!”

 

 

Trust me, I’m not trying to change anyone’s loyalty to their NJ local hair salon – but if you are looking for a new salon to experience or you haven’t had the best “curl” treatment – why not stop in? Every stylist at this salon is amazing and a true artist! You won’t be disappointed!

302 South Avenue East, Westfield, NJ 07090

 908-301-1001
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Cranford’s Yale Terrace Brewery: 25 Years in the Making!

Yale Terrace BreweryCranford residents and all surrounding towns began rejoicing at the very mention of Yale Terrace Brewery coming to town. The opening of a craft brewery right in the heart of town is pure joy to all! Craft beer lovers – your prayers have been answered. Welcome Yale Terrace Brewery to 26 Eastman Street.

 The Yale Terrace Brewery website is packed full of information at ytbrewery.com but I needed to know the information that wasn’t posted on social media. I met with Vinny Savinelli – longtime Cranford resident and beloved owner of Vinny’s Pizza and Pasta to get the real scoop. As he told me the story of how the brewery was created, it was immediately evident that brewing with his best buddies has been a life-long passion.

 

Vinny related that it all started on Yale Terrace in West Orange with four friends: Pete Merrigan (the brewmeister who has the ingredients down to a science), Tom Brisco (the first mate), Rob Jones (official beer lover and taste-tester), and himself (the most business-minded of the crew). They grew up together as children and have been best friends since 1992. “I was there every day since junior high school!” commented Vinny.

 “We all get together and brew – we experiment with many different things – all different grains and grain quality from Europe, Canada, Oregon, Washington, and New York.” He mentioned that they are “always brewing, mastering, and experimenting with new concepts”.

 “We are even putting berries in our beer! We love our wine-infused IPA – it’s absolutely fantastic!” exclaimed Vinny.

Yale Terrace Brewery 

All of their beers are named only by a number. Each number represents a house number on a street of someone close to them. It could be a friend, relative, or someone they met during the journey of growing up together. The number could also refer to a memory or experience that they had at one of those locations! The owners joke that these beers will make for great conversations with customers – trying to guess what each one means! Here’s a freebie: # 19 Morse Street has a special Cranford connection to one of the owners!

 

The brewery will always have their 4 core beers (just like their friendship). They are #17 Yale Terrace: Cream Ale, #26 Yale: Oatmeal Stout, #34 Yale Terrace: Vienna Lager, and #161 Main Street: IPA. You can meet all of these beers at their home website. Throughout the year they will frequently rotate seasonal beers and special brews– for up to 8 beers on tap at a time. “We have 24 beers that we are all proud of – and will rotate weekly!” Vinny’s personal favorite? A Scottish IPA with five different hops imported from Scotland – the hop extract is placed in the whirlpool at the end and he claims that it’s phenomenal!

 

Why did they choose Cranford for their brewery location? Aside from the fact that Vinny’s pizza parlor is next door, he mentioned that “it’s all about the community – most breweries are on back roads or warehouses. This is in the center of town and next to a commuter train station – it’s the ideal location! The response from Cranford and the whole area has been tremendous! The support has been great – from the community and local businesses.”

 

The majority of the extensive licensing process is complete so it’s full steam ahead for getting the brewery to open as soon as possible (they are hoping mid-September). The owners want everyone to know that this is not just a place to sit and drink! The plan is to be open at least 6 days a week. Customers can expect to have live music, trivia night, and sports games on the flat screen TVs throughout the room. They want to have classes on brewing beer starting with the fermentation process on the premises. They want people to come in empty-handed and they will walk you through the process of brewing. At the end of the experience you have created your own beer in their brewery. The owners will also conduct tours of the brewing process and hope for customers to come in to drink pints and go home with growlers!

 

The grand opening is going to be “major” according to Vinny. Craft beer lovers should anticipate giveaways of YTB merchandise, live music, and incredible food from Vinny’s. The first day will be “open for everyone to come – expect mayhem and craziness!”

 

Yale Terrace BreweryWhat can YOU do before the doors open soon? Their YTB green shirts are everything! If you don’t own one get it NOW! Head here: YTB Store. That shirt is your ticket to the hottest event in town and the key to getting VIP information before anyone else! Owner Rob Jones also has a VIP Member fundraising campaign found here: YTB GoFundMe. For a limited time, you can gain VIP status and earn reward levels ranging from YTB accessories to a personalized brewing session with you and your friends!

 

Want the most current events and brewery info at the touch of a button? Join the mailing list at YTB Website and like them on Facebook at YTB Facebook

 

Yale Terrace BreweryAt the end of the interview I realized that I wasn’t just excited for a craft brewery to be opening in Cranford, I was happy for these four owners. Vinny commented that “it’s crazy that the four of us get along so well!” It isn’t often that friends get to work together and create something that they’ve been doing for 25 years! I’m rooting for this town and the lifelong friendship of these four men. I have no doubt that the surrounding towns will embrace the brewery and the owners as well. So, when you visit YTB in the near future – raise a pint to these guys who have been “creating unique quality beers…from grain to glass”!

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NosVino

NosVino: The Euro Café Brought to Westfield

NosVinoHave you ever exited a restaurant at night with half a bottle of wine still waiting to be finished? (Ok, it doesn’t happen to me very often, either!) You get my drift, though, right? The party has broken up and you still want to keep the evening going! Chris LoBrace, manager of the new NosVino in Westfield, has the answer to your evening woes!

 

The new outdoor seating at NosVino, an upscale wine and beer store on Central Avenue, is a welcomed sight to the Westfield restaurant goer searching to find a seating area to complete the evening.  Re-opened in August 2016 under a new look and new name (formerly Cool Vines), the process of obtaining a sidewalk café license was a bit of a process. But now that the bistro and chairs are in place – everyone is wondering what to expect! This store is ground-breaking, being the first wine store of its kind to obtain an outdoor café.

 

“To be honest, this is a good town for couples and families, but there isn’t much public space to enjoy alcohol and just sit outside!” commented Chris.  

 

So, what exactly is this café connected to the store? Chris stated, “We wanted people to behave the same way as restaurants, but with our store.” A big dream, some bistro chairs and flowers, and the space was created. Here’s how it works. You purchase an adult beverage of your choice from inside the store and hopefully some of their delicious charcuterie (more about that later).  After that, the experience is all yours. They recommend bringing your own method of keeping your wine chill, your own corkscrew/bottle opener, and glasses – whatever accoutrements you would bring to an outdoor picnic! Then pick a spot outside and enjoy the scenery and the company of the people who came with you!

 

Basically, once you exit the store you are in downtown Westfield and have entered Café NosVino! Folks- this is not a restaurant, a bar, nor are they serving booze. What you do have is a “self-service café”, mentioned Chris. The employees at NosVino are “not allowed to handle the alcoholic products in any way.”

 

“We have a lot of cool stuff!” added Chris. Yes, they certainly do! NosVino means “our wine”. Owner Erick Garcia has truly hand-picked an impressive array of domestic and imported wine and beer. You can find the best rosé, microbrews, champagne, and ciders all cooling in their refrigerated section! The shelves are stocked with Asher’s chocolate products from Pennsylvania, Plymouth Artisan Cheese from Vermont, domestic pre-sliced prosciutto, figs, and chorizo.

 

NosVino’s vision for the present: They want to cater to restaurant goers who are frequenting the BYO’s in town. The store wants to provide an outdoor space for those who still “want to enjoy the evening in Westfield and finish their bottle of wine!” commented Chris. “We want people to have the Euro experience – that is how you kill the time- outdoor with friends! Maybe you go for that 2nd bottle of wine!” They also want to be that “rendezvous” point for parties.  “Start the night at NosVino and treat it as a “welcoming café!” said Chris. 

 

Plans and wishes for the future? They want to further define the café and individualize it. NosVino is planning formal food pairing suggestions with in-store wine and beer available for purchase. Streamed music outdoors is also in the works! 

 

Other notable features of the store?

·      Their Beer Club/Wine Club started this month. 

·      Free spirit/beer/wine tastings inside every Friday and Saturday.

·      Stop by for free wine tastings during Westfield jazz nights

·      Free delivery to all downtown restaurants Thursday-Sunday 5-9 pm

·      Schedule a private event for you and your friends for wine tasting classes, wine pairing seminars, whiskey sipping, and beer education!

 

For now, NosVino simply asks that you make use of this al fresco sidewalk café and do what the Euros do – sip the hours away enjoying the company of those around you!

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Blende

Custom Beauty Right Around the Corner

BlendeTwo Westfield mothers and professional makeup artists, Kiera Karlin and her business partner Nikki Tardibuono, celebrated their grand opening of Blende on May 2. Keira has made quite a name for herself in the celebrity makeup world. For over 25 years she has been using custom blending with some of the hottest celebs on set for popular TV shows and movies. Nikki is equally known in the industry and is a licensed esthetician certified in cutting edge techniques that bring a unique draw to the business.

What’s funny is that Keira and Nikki met as mothers in the Westfield school system when their children were little. For the longest time, they didn’t even know the other was a makeup artist! Once they established that connection they set out to open a custom blende makeup studio because they craved a home base. 

Kiera said, “It was just sort of a natural progression…I wanted to bring it home. I wanted to make it available for everybody – not just celebrities. We started talking and both wanted to have it in Westfield- we just love this town. This location just fell in our laps! We have the exact same tastes, the exact same aesthetics, we put out the same image – it just works!”

 

Why will you crave their products? The highest quality of ingredients goes into all of their products. Everything is paraban-free and vegetable and mineral based. Whatever you desire is custom-made to your liking from foundation, concealers, primers, highlighters, eyeliners, lipsticks, and glosses. 

“Everything can be tweaked and tuned to take care of any issue that anyone has – specific to them – no more hit-or-miss makeup purchases!” Kiera said. Whether you have under-eye circles, acne, fine lines–your makeup can be made with ingredients that help to correct these common issues. They take into consideration your entire profile when designing your custom makeup – eye color, skin type, hair color, coverage needs, everything! Did I mention the studio is equipped with the SAME makeup lighting found in the Hollywood trailers?  If you look amazing in the store, you look amazing everywhere!

 

Blende beauty care starts with the teenage years. While the rage right now may be heavy makeup, these women stress that “less is more” for teen beauty. The key is to “enhance” their natural beauty and learn how to conceal issues they may have with “as little makeup as possible.” Under eye circles and acne can be treated with tea tree oil or other natural compounds mixed into the makeup. Keira stated, “Teach them early that they are beautiful the way they are!” 

As for us “women in our prime” who may be seeing a few wrinkles and lines creeping in and may wonder where to start, Nikki says, “Everyone should start with skin care. Start with a canvas that is right and that will help your makeup look better!” Blende carries an amazing Swiss skin care line called Luzern Skin Care and they will guide you to the best product for your current skin care situation. These ladies can teach new moms how to “get out of the house in 10 minutes with a face that looks fresh” and provide “over 60+ women with skin care products and makeup that can take years off!” 

 

In addition to the custom blende makeup services, Nikki has a multitude of unique services. She offers “microblading,” which is a new form of tattoo artistry where eyebrows are created with a handheld tool that produces fine hair strokes that appear as actual hairs. This is “great for fill-ins and women who need whole brow reconstruction”, stated Nikki. There’s also a new method to “eyelash line enhancement” that produces thicker lashes. The pigment is deposited directly in between the lashes and not drawn on as an eyeliner. Nikki commented that this gives the “look of fuller and darker eyelashes” and is perfect for women with lighter skin and hair color. 

What excited me is a new procedure called “Dermaplaning.” With a blade held at a 45-degree angle, Nikki removes the outermost layer of dead skin cells and fine hairs, and the end result is a “beautiful canvas for makeup.” She recommends this procedure for anyone experiencing acne, blackheads, fine lines, and wrinkles. This procedure may be desired more than those at the dermatologist because it’s all done by hand–no machines, more precision, and no downtime!

 

Finally, their parties sound so fun – I want to book one for this weekend!

 

SIP AND BLENDE PARTY:  take over their store, BYO cocktails, play your fav songs and choose a custom blende product to be designed for each of your BFFs!

 

MAKEUP LESSONS PARTY: using a mirror and a set of their vegan brushes their makeup artist does half of your face and then you try to match the other half using the techniques you were taught during this amazing group lesson. Perfect for Sweet 16, birthday parties, and Ladies Night!

 

GLAM AND GO PARTY: the store is closed for you and your closest friends while you sip cocktails, listen to music, and snack on apps. Everyone gets a personal makeup artist creating their custom look before you all hit the town! Perfect for girls’ night out and bridal parties!

 

I know what you may be thinking right now…gleaming storefront, custom makeup, cutting-edge services…all of this has to cost a fortune, right? You’d be surprised that the answer is shockingly the opposite. How many times have you shopped at a major beauty supply store and just DUMPED products into your basket knowing that half of it probably wouldn’t work? Usually half wasn’t the correct color and it couldn’t be returned. Tons of dollars just wasted! Ladies, think of Blende as an investment that won’t break the bank. Their foundation is $50, lipstick $32, and mineral eye shadow $24. Very comparable to the other major makeup lines and it’s all made for YOU! Visit their studio at 106 Elm Street or go online to BlendeBeauty.com to schedule online.

 

These women have created the answer to a makeup issue we have all been facing since our teenage years! I’m very excited to walk back through those doors, where it’s like a grown-up candy store – I’m not sure where to start!

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The Nearly NewYorkers

The Nearly NewYorkers… A Cranford Culinary Workshop

Let’s face it–everyone loves to EAT, but not everyone loves to cook or knows how to do it well! Two savvy Cranford mothers came together to launch The Nearly NewYorkers, a culinary workshop that will light up your kitchen, enhance your cooking techniques, and bring your loved ones together for an evening of full bellies and lively conversation. 

 

Erin Reilly and Sydney O’Hagan both were born elsewhere and found themselves living in Manhattan. With all the joys and changes that children bring, they independently took the big leap and decided to move to the suburbs and each fell in love with Cranford…and the very same street. Sydney moved to Cranford in 2014, while Erin and her family moved in the following year, and Erin said, “We got along really well right away.”   

As Erin and Sydney’s friendship grew, they found they had a mutual love for wine, food, adventure dreaming, running, and travel. They started training together for a half marathon, and during the long runs they’d pick topics to discuss. On one such occasion, “dream vacations” was the discussion … for 11 miles. Each took her turn, and Sydney revealed her secret desire was to attend a culinary workshop hosted by renowned food writer and French chef Mimi Thorisson. Later that night Sydney sent Erin the details of the workshop: it would take place the Thorisson family’s 19th century, 27-room, sprawling French chateau nestled in the countryside of Médoc, France. (Discover Mimi’s stunning blog at thttp://mimithorisson.com/). With Sydney being the “dreamer” and Erin the “doer,” the trip was decided! It took a year of planning and funding along with a whole lot of support from friends and family, but soon they found themselves ready to board a plane to France!

The four-day workshop in the gorgeous French countryside was a dream come true for both of these moms as they sampled the very best of French wine and food and learned to create phenomenal dishes. Sydney shared, “We had an incredible time and we came home and were like” –as Erin finished her sentence–“it just followed us, the feeling. We had all this stuff we brought home … we thought we should have a dinner where we bring France home to everyone!” “As a thank you to them,” Erin added. “We tried to emulate what Mimi did.”

The concept of their business was easy. Sydney mentioned, “We constantly share meals with each other–eating each other’s food all the time. We know how the other person cooks.” The two families are always together eating lunches, snacks at the pool, dinner prep collaborations–the total advantage of living so close! They set out to create their workshop, focusing on what they thought was current and poignant to today’s households. Erin said, “This was a combination of the two interests – entertaining in a beautiful way to make people feel loved and special … and a workshop where we can teach people how to do something and maybe make it a little more easy, or fun, or try something they’ve never tried before.”

Why the name The Nearly NewYorkers? Don’t be offended thinking that they live in the suburbs yet are longing for their old NYC life. Just the opposite. They are loving the location of Cranford in such a rich, cultural environment. “You can have the best of all worlds here,” they agreed.

Their concentration is spot-on; how to cook meals using fresh and wholesome ingredients and stretch your dollar as far as it can go. They both grew up being taught that you “don’t throw things away – no one has the budget for it.” Sydney added that they want to teach you “how to use a product and get the most out of it.” And cooking novices need not fret; Erin said, “We’re not technical – we try to be ‘easy’ and ‘useful.’”  

The Nearly NewYorkers

Their first workshop focused on cooking with CSA produce, and the feedback they received from attendees was glowing. Erin said, “After our first night – it was literally roaring in here — everyone having such a good time– it was exactly as we wanted it to be! We want them to come in and be chilled out – have a cocktail and get to know each other.”

Have I piqued your interest now? Go to www.nearlynewyorkers.com and click on “Workshops.” Each workshop costs $40 ($5 off if you bring a friend) and includes cocktails and food pairing, cooking demonstrations, hands-on food prep, learning how to extend the ingredients into other meals, and an adorable take-home recipe package. These intimate workshops are held at Erin’s beautifully renovated Cranford home with an open concept great room that opens into a picturesque backyard deck and outdoor space perfect for entertaining!

Now here’s the scoop for what’s in store for the summer:

Canning and Fermentation Workshop (July 15): You’ll sample cocktails based on the theme – we’re talking Bloody Marys and “Red Beer” (secret recipe from Sydney’s mother!). Learn how to make homemade kombucha, pickled vegetables, kimchi, and sourdough bread. You’ll come away learning the entire canning process for preserving fruits/vegetables and how to store those more difficult liquids (broths, soups). Expect a memorable dessert – a little birdie mentioned sourdough waffles …  yum!

Back to School Lunches and Dinners Workshop (August 26): “Our kids like to cook and are adventurous eaters – they are interested in food. If they make it, they are more prone to eat it. School lunches are a good opportunity to engage kids in their food.” This workshop will focus on how to give kids their “protein” when many schools are nut-free, how to prepare fun bento-style lunches versus boring sandwiches, how to make the most of meal-prep Sundays, and “what tools are essential, and how to really stretch your dollar.”

  

What’s their vision for the future: bridal showers, Couples Night, Kids Baking Parties, Cooking Essentials for New Parents, What Every Newlywed Needs to Know, and more. And while their gorgeous and inviting homes are perfect for the intimate gatherings they currently offer, their big dreams may lead to their own commercial space one day. In the meantime – it’s another brilliant concept put into place by two moms with small kids who dreamt big and made it happen.

“Food is the central thing to everything– how we show our family we love them, how we entertain, how we take care of people. That’s how I want people to feel making food with us – they feel welcome, warm and special.”

Let The Nearly NewYorkers help you be the cook and entertainer you always dreamed to be!

 

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