Mom-and-Pop to Big Box

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Women lined up outside Barney Stock to get nylon stockings after World War Two. Photo courtesy of Mel Stock
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Photo courtesy of Michael Bologh, owner of Jerry's Drug and Surgical
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Grocery store and butcher at 125 Prospect Ave., c. 1910. Courtesy of Mary Rose Onacilla
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Otaiko Habachi and Sushi Lounge. Photo by Terri Saulino Bish
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Women lined up outside Barney Stock to get nylon stockings after World War Two. Photo courtesy of Mel Stock
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Photo courtesy of Michael Bologh, owner of Jerry's Drug and Surgical
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Grocery store and butcher at 125 Prospect Ave., c. 1910. Courtesy of Mary Rose Onacilla
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Otaiko Habachi and Sushi Lounge. Photo by Terri Saulino Bish

Many longtime locals recall the days of shopping Broadway for all of life’s necessities, including a break for lunch. While online sources and big box stores play a big role in modern commerce, family businesses, and new shops off the beaten track draw enthusiastic shoppers.

The Broadway Diner at 53rd Street and the Broadway Diner & 8th Street Bistro have been in owner Rocky Coviello’s family since his great grandmother started the business. The 53rd street location features holiday buffets and private events in the adjoining venue, The Chandelier. The Bistro location is known for specialty Italian fare.

Hudacko’s Pharmacy started as a soda fountain more than 70 years ago in a location that would later become Joe’s Pizza. Peter Halecky, along with his brother-in-law, Brian Host, are the current owners. Hudacko’s, currently at 861 Broadway, now offers brands like American Greeting Cards, Yankee Candles, and Melissa and Doug. The pharmacy provides vaccines and also does special dosing and formulations of medications made on site to meet the unique needs of patients, such as children who don’t weigh much or can’t swallow a pill. The pharmacy has a state-of-the art robot and a work flow system that frees up humans so they can answer customer questions. “People are making us a destination for holiday shopping,” Halecki says. One popular item has been the Bayonne Historical Society Christmas ornament. Last year the ornament featured historic Hudacko’s Pharmacy.

Resnick’s Hardware has been at 800 Broadway since 2016, but its history in Bayonne dates back to 1912. The business was at 957 Broadway for almost 100 years. That location is currently the construction site of a 10-story condo building. “Now we’re more centrally located in town,” says owner, Larry Resnick. “We outgrew the other place.” The store also includes a party-rental business. Resnick, who works with his wife and son, is the fourth generation of his family to run the business. “They used to sell things like dungarees and potbellied stoves,” he says. “In order to stay in business you have to adapt. All of these new buildings attract younger people, so we stock items to adapt to apartment owners.” Resnick says that he’s noticed more foot traffic and bike riders along Broadway recently.

Jerry’s Drugs and Surgical Supply has been in Bayonne for more than 100 years. For around 70 years it has been at its current location at 455 Broadway. Ira Bologh has been the owner since 1982. His son, owner Michael Bologh, came into the business in 1990. The store, which has thrived because of its customer service, is open seven days a week. “These days you have to embrace technology,” Bologh says. “That makes it more convenient for our customers.” You can refill prescriptions via Smartphone app or 24-hour phone line. Jerry’s delivers, too. “Even on Christmas Day,” Bologh adds. “People need their medications.” The business also includes medical equipment sales, rentals, and repairs including hospital beds and wheelchairs. You don’t need an appointment for vaccinations, and there’s no wait time. Jerry’s also provides free vitamins to children ages 2-12, even if their parents aren’t customers. “We want to help people, help the community, and help families,” Bologh says.

Al Richard’s has made sweets for Bayonne since 1981 when brothers, Alfred and Richard Stancampiano, opened their store at 1052 Avenue C in the building that’d now Robert’s Cafe. Business was slow at first, but they soon built the loyal fan base they have today. “Small mom-and-pop shops that make their own specialty will always survive if their product is exceptional, their pricing is fair, and their service is good,” Alfred says. “If you’re selling the same brands as Walmart or Amazon, you’re never going to be able to compete.” The chocolate-dipped fruit and weekly specials can’t be found anywhere else in Bayonne. The shop is at 851 Broadway, but you can indulge your sweet tooth from anywhere in the U.S. with their shipping services.

Down the street at 763 Broadway, Judicke’s Bakery, famous for its sprinkle donuts, has been bringing sweets to Bayonne since 1924.

At 468 Broadway, Herbert’s Army & Navy has been in Bayonne since 1928. It sells rugged brands like Carhartt and Timberland and is also an authorized dealer of school uniforms.

Abramson’s Jeweler’s at 449 Broadway got its start in 1925 in the building that currently houses Pompei Pizza. The business was sold by the original owners to Frank Anderson in the 1950s. In 1988 Anderson’s son-in-law, Jerry Rooth, became the owner. In 2005 the business moved to its current location at 449 Broadway. The shop does repairs and sells fine modern jewelry alongside beautiful estate pieces.

Barney Stock Hosiery Shop is another classic Bayonne store. It has been in business for more than 95 years. The store is now owned by Barney’s son, Mel Stock. High-end cosmetics and handbags as well as undergarments are available. “Customers love our selection of famous brands at discount prices,” Stock says. The sign of a woman’s leg towering over Broadway at 23rd Street is legendary.

Long-shuttered stores have left their mark with vintage signs that lend character to the streets. One is the Hyman Shoe Store mural on the corner of Avenue C and 21st Street. The business stood at that location from 1946 until it closed.

Around the corner is the 22nd Street Meat Market. The store was opened in 1955 by Anthony Margagliano in a shop across the street. After a 1963 fire, it moved to the current location. The market is currently owned and managed by Mark Margagliano, the founder’s son, along with his partner and brother-in-law, Louis Pellicia. “My father-in-law opened the store with the idea of providing premium quality meats at an affordable price,” Pellicia told The Hudson Reporter’s Al Sullivan in a 2012 interview. “He used to start every morning at 4 to go to Ninth Avenue in New York to get fresh meat for the store and be back here by 8 a.m. to open.” The store still gets the freshest products from meat wholesalers.

In the mood for a great steak? Try Hendrickson’s Corner, 671 Broadway, established in 1884. The building has stained glass windows and an old-world style. Legend has it that the basement was once used as the town jail. The business was owned by the Hendrickson family for 80 years. They then sold it to the Czaplicki family who owned it from 1967 to 1981. The Capriola family then owned the business for 33 years before selling it to the O’Neill family in 2014.

Another business that has stood the test of time is Migliaccio Funeral Home & Cremation Services. “This November we will be celebrating 100 years,” says Manager Kevin Stapleton who works with his brother, director, Peter J. Stapleton. The business was founded by their great grandfather Ferdinand Migliaccio. Stapleton says that lately he has business coming in from other towns. As funeral homes in Hudson County close to make way for development, people come to Bayonne. “We’re getting a lot of clientele from Jersey City,” he says. “Jersey City lost three funeral homes last year.” Migliaccio is a nondenominational funeral home.

Dillin Tire Co was founded in 1957 by Neil Dillin. The business has been at 492 Kennedy Blvd. since 1962. “I have people who came to my father that still come here and wouldn’t go to anybody else,” says Bruce Dillin, who took over the family business in 1986. The shop, which features a waiting room loaded with Chuck Wepner memorabilia, offers complete tire car care, wheel alignment, motor vehicle inspections, and licensed repair for cars that have failed inspection. Bruce Dillin’s son, Christian Dillin, who is slated to be the third generation to run the shop, is currently training in tractor-trailer repair which will be added to the list of services.

“I’m concerned with all of the franchises and big businesses moving in and taking the mom & pop experience out of the equation,” Bruce Dillin says, adding that trusted advice and community involvement are part of what sets Dillin Tire apart. Dillin is a member of the MARES charity committee that runs a yearly charity fishing tournament.

If you’re shopping for appliances in Bayonne, check out Triangle TV & Appliance. This business has been in Bayonne since 1940 when it was founded by Robert Demonaco along with two partners. After having locations at 193 and later 607 Broadway, the store moved to its current location, 702 Broadway. Dave Demonaco, son of the original owner, took over in 1984. Triangle sells all major appliances including washers, dryers, stoves, kitchen needs, electronics, and air conditioning units. It also handles repairs, installation, and removal. “Customer service is priority one,” says Demonaco, adding that Triangle is the oldest and longest-running appliance store left in Bayonne.

Cafes like Perk Up and Cafe Talya have developed a loyal following. These new spots aim to attract residents young and old who are looking for a boutique experience. Among these specialty shops are Reese’s Hair Pieces, which sells bows and children’s accessories, Classic Skate Shop, Manifest Comics, and the Little BOHO Bookshop. All of their owners cite community involvement as a part of the business plan.

BOHO owner Sandra Dear runs a book club. Manifest owner Michael Chen hosts Free Comic Book Day and donates to local Parent Teacher Committee groups. Gary Iannitelli, of Classic Skate Shop, helped revamp the local skate park where he runs a summer camp for kids.

“A big brand name is not helping your local community,” says Carrissa Golomb of Reese’s Hair Pieces, who revived the Bayonne Hometown Fair. “When we give back and you shop with us you are building up your town’s economic resources.”

Across Route 440, South Cove Commons is home to stores like Stop & Shop, TJ Maxx, Home Goods and Houlihan’s. In the early 2000s, brothers, Francesco and Vincent Alessi, developed the area with the Alessi Organization. “I think they offer convenience and a safe and welcoming place to shop without the hassle of parking,” Francesco Alessi. He says that when Staples closed the space remained empty for some time while they waited for the right tenant. “We try to find a balance.” He says that this means small business franchises like Massage Envy Spa, independent restaurants like Otaiko Hibachi and Sushi Lounge and big businesses like Dunkin’ Donuts work alongside each other.

“Development is sometimes looked at as a negative,” Alessi says, “One huge public benefit is we’ve created an opportunity for a waterfront river walk. The goal is to connect South Cove with the Military Ocean Terminal.” The park-like setting is ideal for outdoor recreation near the shopping area. — BLP