Wednesday, May 26, 2010

25 Recommended local businesses

It's the time of year when I advertise Bartlett's as a good source of seedlings. They are just north of Montclair on Grove Street on your left. You can see the greenhouses from the road. I've always been pleased with their seedlings. I have nothing against the other nearby garden centers.

My (environmentally aware) bike is serviced by Brookdale Cycle just on the other side of the park at 1292 Broad Street. Mark is the third generation to do this work, and I delight in his service. There are two bike stores in Montclair, but he is closest to me.

The Bread Company at 113 Walnut Street is another family-owned business. It provides fresh-baked baked goods with the best of ingredients - and taste. I make most of my own bread with my bread machine, but when we want a treat, we run to them. They take orders for special occasions, but when you just go in, the choice is wonderful.

Terra Tea Shop at 10 Church Street provides simple meals and a good conversation setting. It also sells a variety of fair trade products.

Go Lightly around the corner at 4 South Fullerton sells environmentally sensitive items.

Milk Money at 76 Church Street is a consignment shop for children's clothing and toys. This helps prevent waste ("There is no 'away.'") and surely saves money. My grandson's presents come from there.

Jose German started Green Harmony Now last year and now has 5 employees! He provides sustainable gardening and landscaping services and advice. greenharmonynow@ 973-233-1106

Lullaby Lawn Service is a group of enterprising high school students that provide responsible inexpensive landscaping service with no power machinery. Lullabylawns 973-716-1216

This is fun. Aren't we fortunate to have so many fine services nearby? I was unhappy to hear the president of Bolivia say last week both in public at the people's conference on climate change and then to an interviewer that democracy and capitalism are incompatible. I agree with him that trans-national corporations have done a lot of harm and need to be curbed. Indeed, corporations that are too big lose touch with the people they serve need to be made smaller, I think.

However, real capitalism, people helping others and getting paid for it, is certainly compatible with democracy and maybe essential to it. Small business run by people who want to help the people who pay them are healthy and a joy to do business with. Thus, in this season when there is a movement to ban banks with assets of more than $100 billion (hardly small, but dwarfed by some current banks), I hereby want to add to the list of small locally-owned businesses that Fred and I recommend.

Brantley's at 91 Maple Avenue sells used tires. This is really important for the environment (there is absolutely no "away" for old tires!), and we buy all our tires there. It's at least a second generation business in that location.

Mac Automotive at 7 South Willow Street is Fred's auto repair shop.

Tony's Autobody at 126 Washington Street in Nutley is his choice for reliable body work on his cars.

Saunder's Hardware at 627 Valley Road is under new management, but I find them as reliable as the earlier owners.

Aspen East is an exercise center at the end of the parking lot in Watchung Center (122). I prefer less formal forms of exercise, but I am very grateful to their friendly staff for providing a place for my tai chi group to meet when it's too cold in Edgemont Park.

"I've got a notion" is a sewing store with wonderful fabrics along with notions, just to the right of Aspen East (also listed at 122 Watchung).

Watchung Booksellers on Fairfield Street is where I buy books.

Keil's Contractors, led by Gordon Keil (973-746-0603) did a fine job replacing our garage floor last summer.

Joe the Plumber (973-226-6607) is local enough to come to our home -- not the famous one from the campaign!

Stephane Mortier is a fine handyman. (973) 873-4330

Years ago I started going to "Mario's" at 213 Bellevue Avenue for my shoe repair. One time I was startled that Mario had turned Korean and had Korean talk radio on. The service continued to be excellent. Recently it changed its name to Montclair Shoe Repair. It's between Valley Road and Norwood on the north side in the middle of a group of stores.

A massage therapist is not exactly a business, but they do support themselves without being attached to big business. I am extremely happy with mine, who keeps me in good health. Marie-Christine Lochot practices at 88 Park Street. Her telephone number is 973-746-7476 and her email is massageappt @

Since I raise my own vegetables, I'm not as plugged into sources as I might be. The only CSA that I know still has a few memberships available is Genesis Farm. To contact the Community Supported Garden (CSG) at Genesis Farm, call 908 362-7486. The membership form for the CSG is at www/

The Montclair Farmers' market officially opens on Saturday, June 5. It is held every Saturday through November in the Walnut Street Train Station parking lot, from 8:00 am - 2:00 pm, running all summer and fall into November. A few vendors are there already on Saturday mornings from 8:00am - noon.

Janit London sent me the following: Purple Dragon Co-op provides local organic fruits and vegetables year round supplemented by produce from outside the region, Florida and farther away when necessary. Five types of NJ honey, Blue Earth Local Natural Foods NJ organic blueberry butter, heirloom tomato sauce, heirloom tomato garlic ketchup, NY eco apple butter, organic sunset salsa and salsa verde concentrate, local eggs, meats and cheese, regionally roasted coffee, grains, nuts, beans, vitamins, natural cosmetics, veggie brushes. Janit London at (973) 429-0391 9 am-7 pm or

Jane Califf writes, "I just had a few things dry cleaned the other day in an "organic dry cleaning" business: Brookdale Cleaners, 1294 Broad St., which is near Brookdale Shoprite in the north end of Bloomfield and next to a post office. It was amazing to go into such a store and smell no chemicals. My clothes were cleaned well, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that there are no dangerous chemical residues on my clothes. Their phone number is: 973-338-7900.

Aren't we lucky to have 25 local, family-owned businesses to enjoy!


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