Minding the Store

Dec 1st, 2009 | Category: News

by Jennifer Kelley of South Jersey Magazine

Front Porch Antiques in Mullica Hill, New JerseyIn Gloucester County, the Mullica Hill Merchants Association plans and sponsors year-round events featuring everything from an arts festival to a Civil War re-enactment to holiday caroling, all providing the town’s rows of retailers with a steady customer base. Based in one of many landmark buildings along Mullica Hill’s Main Street, the nonprofit association also puts out an annual brochure that details the shopping district’s many attractions, events and store offerings, says its secretary, Judy Salvino, who owns The Front Porch Antiques there.

The historically registered town, known for its quaint, nostalgic appeal, is also working to develop an online presence, complete with an e-mail newsletter blast to keep plugged-in patrons informed and garner newcomers. “Even with the economy the way that it is right now, we feel blessed here,” Salvino says, noting that any store owners who have left in the last year were already planning to retire, and new businesses are beginning to invest in available properties.

While Mullica Hill is playing off its old-world reputation, some historic South Jersey towns—most prominently, Collingswood—have adopted a business tool that has made modern malls successful: management. Collingswood Partners, Inc. is a nonprofit management corporation that oversees the borough’s three Business Improvement Districts through an 11-member board of directors, including a full-time professional manager who handles daily operations, helps new businesses set up shop and runs collective advertising campaigns.

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 6 Issue 9 (December, 2009).
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