Flemington, NJ – November 4, 2022 – In the midst of a town-wide revitalization, Historic Flemington, NJ, located in the heart of Hunterdon County, has reached a tipping point in attracting new businesses.
“The future of Main Street is full of pioneering spirit and optimism,” said Flemington Community Partnership (FCP) Executive Director Robin Lapidus. “During the past two months we’ve seen business owners, who have looked around Main Street for several years finally signing leases, and available properties are now changing hands.”
Mayor Betsy Driver believes the hard work that has been invested during the past several years is finally paying off. “As mayor, I have focused on making Flemington business-friendly. For example, reducing parking minimums for retail and restaurants, thus removing a huge barrier for small businesses wanting to open Flemington. We now have a hot market, as our quirky and affordable spaces are just right for business owners who want to make their mark on the future vision for Flemington Borough.”
With quaint tree-lined streets and charming buildings – 65% of which are on the National Historic Register – Flemington, Hunterdon’s County Seat, features farm-to-table dining, boutique shopping, creative learning and art experiences, and a large health, wellness, and fitness culture. The borough continues to grow as a regional destination for festivals and year-round cultural celebrations that are on-message for a cool New Jersey country town surrounded by 1,600 farms.
In anticipation of the long-awaited Courthouse Square project, business owners are not hesitating to lease and buy space on Flemington’s Main Street. The 200-year-old, 15-room hotel that once housed journalists reporting on the famed Lindbergh Trial of 1932, is undergoing a multi-million-dollar project to preserve the hotel’s historic façade and create a 100-room boutique hotel. Two restaurants with liquor licenses, an outdoor courtyard with retail on the first floor, and 206 residential units adjacent to Main Street are part of the project, adding to the walkability and excitement of Flemington’s future Main Street.
While the recent closing of two beloved restaurants on Main Street was sad news for their many loyal customers, both business owners quickly sold their businesses to new owners who were waiting in the wings for the right opportunity on Main Street. Plans for two new soon-to-be Flemington dining favorites are quickly underway, each with a new concept for their respective dining destination.
The former 55 Main restaurant will soon be home to a new Mediterranean eatery from the owners of Little Egypt Oasis, 79 Main Street in Flemington. “We jumped on 55 Main because we really believe in Main Street. What we need are more businesses who are open seven days a week. We are planning to have breakfast, lunch and dinner featuring International and Mediterranean Food with Kosher options,” said Mohamed Shehawy.
The former Garden State Salad location at 32 Main has been leased by Andrew and Shannon Mercado, who plan to open “D’Serve,” a fresh take on fine dining and desserts. They plan to open mid-February and will host pop-ups in the interim to showcase their concept. “It took two years to make it to Main Street, but we believe we’ve found the perfect location for a unique dining experience set in an intimate space,” said Andrew Mercado. “We want to thank The Flemington Community Partnership for promptly recruiting us and our food and entertainment to be part of the Borough by calling as soon as the space became available.” Lapidus noted that she also received a call of thanks from Sandi Scott, the former owner of Garden State Salad, who was thrilled to sell her business and equipment to the Mercados, giving the space she loved a new lease on life.
Additional new foodie hot spots on Main Street include the Bread and Culture Bakery located at Main Street and Mine, an important connection between Main Street and Stangl Road. Bread and Culture has been a Stangl Farmer’s Market mainstay and will soon be serving their popular baked goods to residents and visitors from their new brick and mortar location, adding a welcoming presence to a historic building that has been vacant for many years.
Bread and Culture owner Paulo Velasco said, “Main Street has a very well-integrated character, culture, and history. We wanted to bring our business to a community that could either walk or drive for bread and pastry.” He added that a long search for retail spaces ended when the opportunity for a location on Main became available. “We have an immense amount of support here, in a community that genuinely cares about our success.”
The new owners of Millie’s Bruncheonette at Main Street and William also received final Planning Board approval last week to renovate the landmark former service station and “FCP Weekend Beer Garden” location, known to many over the years as “The Filling Station.” They plan to bring a modern spin to comfort food to all visiting the borough.
A quick snapshot on these four eateries can be viewed here: https://fb.watch/gywWFtXsIS/.
This past Summer, Viva Mexico, a restaurant that quickly became a staple at its rented storefront at Turntable Junction, became one of many businesses who moved from tenant to property owner in Flemington. They bought a former restaurant on Main Street that features an outdoor patio for al fresco dining on Flemington’s Main Street and a back patio as well. Crucial to a lively downtown, Viva Mexico’s colorful patio has already contributed greatly to Flemington’s new Main Street experience.
The growth on Main Street is not limited to restaurants. Fat Farm Antiques purchased a historic building at 134 Main Street and opened their antique shop full of treasures. Owner Joseph Buccellato remarked, “Main Street feels alive and vibrant. That charm was a huge factor in my decision to purchase property and open a small business here.”
Lapidus added, “Over many years, when the retail market became soft in Flemington, many beautiful historic homes and retail buildings on Main Street were turned into multi-floor offices for lawyers, medical practitioners, therapists, and other relatively passive non-retail uses. To see these buildings being purchased and returned to active retail use is a great sign for the future. Everyone wants to see historic preservation and active use of our Main Street; but in order to attract the funding one needs for preservation, you have to have a viable, walkable Main Street populated with people. As the Stantec Study pointed out, more people living in Flemington Borough and walking on Main Street will result in more use and preservation of historic buildings.”
Main Street businesses who opened their doors in the past year and a half include:
136 Main Street
Authentic Indian Food
The Gift Horse Candle Shop (Moved from Stangl to Main Street)
138 Main Street
Gift shop and home accent store that sells candles, home decor, wreaths and florals in country chic farmhouse and primitive styles.
The Happy Peacock – Opening Soon!
69 Main Street
Gift Shop, Collectibles, and Games
79 Main Street
Offers a wide variety of delicious ice cream rolls, boba tea, and juice flavors.
127 Main Street
Sacred Artist Collab
16 Main Street
Spiritual salon and spa by professional artist Zhane Sweeney that offers an array of services ranging from Bellami hand-tied/Weft hair extensions, gorgeous hair color techniques, eyelash extensions, full body waxing, and elevated spiritual facials.
Rear building at 91 Main Street
148 Main Street
Family-run, casual restaurant serving traditional eats such as quesadillas, tamales & burritos.
New business growth in the Stangl Road area and at the highway circles:
Central Ave Tattoo
9-15 Central Avenue
Professional, friendly, and fun local tattoo shop
287 US Route 202
DIY – Moved from Main Street to Stangl
26 Stangl Road
Nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide an inclusive art space that engages the community with the burgeoning local arts scene, inspires social change, and invigorates the economic development of Flemington.
100 Reaville Ave.
F45 is specifically designed to provide a functional full-body workout while improving energy levels,
metabolic rate, strength, and endurance. The team mentality at F45 Training helps members transform their lifestyle physically and mentally while encouraging community growth and a no-ego attitude. F45 is one of the most time-efficient ways of training. We aim to burn up to 750 calories per 45-minute session.
Flemington Craft Barn
19 Turntable Junction
The Flemington Craft Barn offers a variety of arts & crafts classes, open art time, and music lessons & group classes for all ages!
Humdoo Ice Cream
20 Stangl Road
An Ice cream shop that offers various new unique flavors every week.
Island Vybz Cuisine
14 Turntable Junction
Jamaican and Vegan Options
Matthew Douglas Photo (Moved from Main Street to Broad Street)
117 Broad Street, Unit 8
Wedding photography that tells your true love story.
Pure Barre Method
100 Reaville Ave Unit 6C
Skunktown Distillery (Opened early November on Stangl Road)
39 Stangl Road
A local craft liquor distillery, providing unique vodka, rum and whiskey made with organic and non-genetically modified fruits and vegetables. We have created new-to-market recipes for our customers with a focus on locally grown, non-GMO ingredients to ensure clean, eco-conscious products which bring the taste of the American heartland to everyone’s glass.
37 Stangl Rd.
Acrystal and spiritual boutique offering crystals, spiritual gifts, apothecary section and various readings &
services to inspire your soul. We offer products ranging in size from tumbles (over 100 different types) to large home/business statement pieces.
Opening before the end of 2022:
Aunt Mary’s Dispensary NJ
The Shoppes of Flemington
100 Reaville Avenue
Borough’s First Medical Marijuana Dispensary
The Shoppes at Flemington
100 Reaville Ave. Suite 219
Ax throwing with style.
Flemington Borough was recently awarded 2022’s Partner of the Year by Hunterdon County Economic Development and Tourism (HCED); was recently recognized by Travel + Leisure as one of the Best Small Towns in New Jersey; and the destination is being considered for 2023 Destination of the Year by Jersey’s Best, a lifestyle and entertainment brand committed to showcasing everything that makes the Garden State great.