October 30, 2013
“COMFORT” CUISINE: “We have a varied menu that focuses on ‘comfort’ food that people love — meat loaf, mac ’n cheese, La Frieda burgers, chicken pot pie, fish ’n chips, spaghetti and meat balls, and much, much more. Our prices are reasonable, our food is the highest quality, and the environment and ambiance are as nice as you will find.” John Procaccini (left), Zissis Pappas, and Tino Procaccini, owners of North End Bistro, look forward to welcoming customers to their new restaurant.

“COMFORT” CUISINE: “We have a varied menu that focuses on ‘comfort’ food that people love — meat loaf, mac ’n cheese, La Frieda burgers, chicken pot pie, fish ’n chips, spaghetti and meat balls, and much, much more. Our prices are reasonable, our food is the highest quality, and the environment and ambiance are as nice as you will find.” John Procaccini (left), Zissis Pappas, and Tino Procaccini, owners of North End Bistro, look forward to welcoming customers to their new restaurant.

Appealing, authentic, and accommodating. These adjectives come to mind when North End Bistro is mentioned.

Just opened at 354 Nassau Street (a near neighbor to the Whole Earth Center), it is the latest venture of the Procaccini brothers, John and Tino, and their partner Zissis (“Zi”) Pappas, who are rapidly establishing a reputation as up-and-coming restaurateurs and entrepreneurs in the Princeton area.

Owners also of P.J.’s Pancake & Pasta House, Osteria Procaccini in Princeton and Pennington, and the new P.J.’s in West Windsor, the Procaccini brothers and Mr. Pappas have worked hard to create unique and convivial dining experiences for their customers.

“A friendly, knowledgeable staff, customer service, and quality food are a priority for us,” says John Procaccini. “People know they can count on us. It’s our experience and reputation. With the Bistro, people have said to us: ‘When we heard it was you guys, we knew it would work.’ They know they can count on the quality and value we offer. There is no cookie-cutter feeling in any of our restaurants.  Everything is fresh and made to order.”

Quite A Journey

It has been quite a journey for John and Tino Procaccini since — at the ages of 24 and 21 — they first opened La Borgata Ristorante & Pizzeria (later known as La Principessa) in the Kingston Mall on Route 27 in 1999.

This was followed by Sotto Ristorante (later the Princeton Sports Bar & Grill). They discovered their passion for the restaurant business, with Tino as chef and John handling the business end and “front of the house.”

“We never really envisioned where we are today,” says John. “It just evolved. The turning point was when we opened Sotto with our cousins in Princeton, and we have continued to learn with all our different experiences. Once you find the right concept and model, it falls into place.”

“Our business motivation is diversification,” he continues. “This is important in today’s world and economy. We offer something for everyone. You can go to P.J’s. for breakfast, and to the Osteria or Bistro for lunch and dinner. We have people who come to each of our restaurants every day.

“We have such a nice mix,” adds Mr. Pappas, who joined the team two years ago. “The mix is fun, and it keeps us busy. We can go to five different restaurants throughout the day — starting with P.J.’s, then to the Bistro and Osteria, and then over to Pennington, and soon to West Windsor. I really enjoy the variety.”

They certainly seem to have found the right “M.O.” Each of their restaurants is a hit with customers, and chances are you will see someone you know enjoying lunch or dinner.

Charming Setting

This is certainly true of the Bistro, which offers seating for 70 inside and 26 outside in a charming setting. Tables and booths are available, as well as a small bar area, with four chairs.

“We wanted to establish a feeling of tranquility and comfort,” points out Mr. Pappas, whose mother, interior designer Urania Pappas, is responsible for the decor. “Our design elements emphasize earth tones, restfulness, and serenity.”

Design features include depictions of sepia-toned tree branches (so softly rendered that they almost resemble a waterfall), and color scheme of moss green, and egg plant purple. A comfortable waiting area offers a small sofa and chairs.

Indeed, comfort is the key — both in the appealingly down-to-earth atmosphere and in the choice of food.

As one recent diner noted, “To me, the first thing that comes to mind is the lobster mac and cheese. Super! Then, being able to sit outside on a nice warm evening or afternoon is such a pleasure. I think the Bistro has a European feel to it, with lunch or dinner served outside next to the sidewalk, with people walking by and a sense of activity. It’s a very appealing atmosphere.”

The menu, which is the same for lunch and dinner, has proved to be a big success. There is truly something for everyone’s taste. Sandwiches, salads, tacos, pastas, entrees, such as chicken rustica, glazed salmon, steak, and more offer choices at reasonable prices.

“Thanksgiving Dinner”

For customers who like to plan ahead, the menu features regular specials for each day of the week. Monday: chicken pot pie; Tuesday: corned beef and cabbage; Wednesday: slow-cooked spare ribs; Thursday: “Thanksgiving Dinner” turkey breast, cranberry orange relish, mashed potatoes; Friday: seafood steam pot; Saturday: braised pork ossa bucco; Sunday: chicken parm.

The “Thanksgiving Dinner” has been a conversation piece, and as Mr. Pappas points out, it was a result of “the genius of the minds melding together!”

Appetizers include such specialties as truffle spinach and artichoke dip; poutine (fresh cut fries, gravy, and melted provolone cheese); and cannelini bean hummus, among others.

The French onion soup is a favorite of many diners, as is the mac and cheese (in many variations), and spaghetti and “mama’s” meatballs (John and Tino’s mom’s specialty!).

“Popular sandwiches include the lobster roll, our special half-pound La Frieda burgers — a blend of filet, short ribs, and sirloin,” reports John. “Customers also love the blackened chicken with bibb lettuce, avocado, and cherry wood bacon; the traditional Reuben, and our fish, chicken, or beef tacos are always in demand.”

A specialty on the menu is the Kids Corner, featuring a variety of choices, such as spaghetti and meatballs, mac ’n cheese, grilled cheese sandwich, chicken tenders, and peanut butter and jelly, served with beverage and brownie for $8.

Jersey Shore Favorite

No one forgets desserts at the Bistro. Seasonal cobblers, brioche bread pudding, brownie a la mode, fresh berry and cream parfait are all in demand. And the restaurant is now known for offering that special Jersey shore favorite, fried Oreos!

The Bistro does not have a liquor license, but it has an arrangement with Hopewell Valley Vineyards, and can sell bottles of wine. Customers are also welcome to bring their own libation of choice.

Take-out is available, and many people stop in to take something home after work, or back to their office for lunch. The proximity of the restaurant to nearby offices, stores, and residences is a real plus, notes the Bistro team.

“Lots of people walk in. We’re conveniently located with sidewalks right in front, and we want to be the local place for people to stop in. And, if people are driving, we have convenient parking space as well.”

Prices start at $8 for appetizers, $10 for sandwiches and salads, $12 for tacos, and $15 for entrees.

The Procaccini brothers and Mr. Pappas are very happy about the enthusiastic response to the restaurant, and they look forward to giving customers a warm welcome. “We want to make our guests feel good. We offer hospitality, quality, and a unique atmosphere. And you don’t have to break the bank to eat here. We have reasonable prices that can work for everyone’s pocket book. We are very popular with families. We’re easy-going, and very kid-friendly. We really appeal to all ages. We love what we do. We will have opened 3 restaurants in one year, 2013!”

North End Bistro is open seven days, from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (609) 683-9700. Website: www.gretaliahospitality.com.

 

October 9, 2013
CHEERS!: “Freshness is important. Not only in our food but in our libations as well. We make anything we can from scratch, and otherwise source quality ingredients from elsewhere. Always experimenting, always having fun.” Jamie Dodge (left), bar keep at elements restaurant, is shown in the newly remodeled and expanded bar.

CHEERS!: “Freshness is important. Not only in our food but in our libations as well. We make anything we can from scratch, and otherwise source quality ingredients from elsewhere. Always experimenting, always having fun.” Jamie Dodge (left), bar keep at elements restaurant, is shown in the newly remodeled and expanded bar.

elements has now been in town five years. To say it has made an impression is an understatement. The award-winning restaurant at 163 Bayard Lane has garnered kudos from food critics and the public alike, and it continues to gain approval both from long-time regulars and first-time diners.

“The kitchen is unique here,” points out administrative manager Beth Rota. “The dishes are well-conceived and thought out. It’s wonderful to see how appreciative customers are when they leave. They often ask to meet the chef!”

The restaurant is intriguing in many ways. The menu, of course, but also the decor and atmosphere. With its sleek, sophisticated lines (both exterior and interior) and delicious dining, it offers a treat for the senses visually and gastronomically.

Stone, glass, and steel are the main “elements” in the restaurant’s interior. Its clean lines and modern style create a sense of refined elegance throughout the setting. It can accommodate 70 diners, and spaces include the main dining room, the adjacent “cube” (a more intimate setting, with opaque glass walls for private dining), and the upstairs “loft” dining room with its inviting open air space — often used for private events

Union of Elements

The name “elements” is derived from the restaurant’s structure and philosophy, explains elements’ welcoming statement. “Our name speaks to our philosophy, and a memorable dining experience depends on a harmonious union of elements, the food, service, and environment. We unite these key ingredients with the utmost passion, dedication, and respect.”

“It’s about texture,” adds Ms. Rota. “The texture of the food, of the setting, of the wine.”

“Interpretive American” cuisine is featured at elements. As one critic described it in his review of the restaurant, this “essentially means classic flavors cast in new, even edgy, roles that defy expectation.”

Chef/owner Scott Anderson, formerly chef at The Ryland Inn, emphasizes local, seasonal ingredients and is known for his creativity in preparing imaginative, delicious choices. “I like the craft of cooking,” he explains. “Taking ingredients and transforming them through heat into something edible. It’s a very dynamic art.

“The menu is seasonal, and using local products is first and foremost,” he continues. “It’s proper eating to eat seasonally, locally, and whatever is available. We serve items in season, when it’s the correct time. We even go foraging in the woods for some ingredients, and we also have our own garden in the back.”

“Everything revolves around the kitchen,” adds general manager Matthew Rotella. “The menu is constantly evolving. We’re always adding new things, trying different flavors and profiles. The menu changes daily, and there is always something new.”

Several Options

Lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch are served, and there are vegetarian dishes as well as gluten-free, so people with special dietary needs can be accommodated.

One of the most popular dishes at elements is the “48-hour short-rib”, served with green peppers, potato, and mushroom. “It is cooked Sous Vide (with submersion) for 48 hours so it is incredibly tender,” explains Ms. Rota. “Scott is also very proud of our seafood dishes and sourcing. We’ve added a new wild salmon choice, and there are always several options of fish.”

“Sometimes, guests call ahead to ask for our sashimi plates,” adds Mr. Anderson.

Other fish specialties include summer flounder with cucumber, radish, sesame, and coconut milk; and monkfish, big eye tuna, and Oregon king salmon are all available. Chef Anderson points out that many of the fish choices come from the New Jersey shore.

Other popular entrees include Griggstown chicken with buttermilk, cornbread, tomatillo, and cashew; filet mignon and Lava Lake lamb are also favorites.

Chef Anderson is especially noted for his multi-course customized Chef’s Tasting Menus. These provide guests with an extensive dining experience, as the chef guides them through the special menu, made from the days finest ingredients, plus a special look into the kitchen. “These are for adventurous diners,” says the chef.

Lunch and brunch tasting menus are also available.

Sunday Brunch

Lunch at elements is especially popular for business and corporate meetings, and of course, for “ladies who lunch”. Favorite dishes include Peterson’s burger, with elements’ bacon, lamb chopper, miso?, and homemade potato bun; Griggstown chicken sausage; and roasted sunchokes. Also, many items on the dinner menu are available for lunch.

Sunday brunch is another specialty, which has been popular since the restaurant opened. In addition to the regular menu, with buttermilk pancakes, fromage de tete hash, chicken sausage, and scrambled eggs, a children’s menu is offered, with pancakes, macaroni and cheese, and organic eggs.

The same care that goes into planning the “beginning” (appetizers) and “middle” (entrees) is also emphasized with the “end” (dessert), as the categories are described on the menu. So many choices, so little time!

Specialties include fascinating combinations: peach and nectarine, cherry, smoked tea sponge cake?, blueberries and blackberries with apple, anise, and lime; chocolate ? including hazelnut, mint, feutilletine?; and peach, bourbon, and fennel beignets, along with housemade ice cream and sorbet, and artisanal cheeses.

Wines and spirits are an important part of the elements’ dynamic, and the bar has recently been expanded, doubling in size. “Our bar attracted its following from our craft cocktail offerings,” points out Beth Rota.

“Our bartenders always have a mix of classic cocktails to let guests experience famous drinks from other eras as well as new and modern flavor combinations listed under the heading, elements Classics. We have the most extensive collection of bottles/types of alcohol I have ever seen in an establishment, and our bartenders know how to use all of it. It is truly amazing.”

New Spin

“We put a new spin on an old cocktaill or create new cocktails,” adds Mr. Rotella. “We build flavors and have unique flavors.”

Everything from the latest martini combination to single malt Scotch to the best beers and wines, after dinner port and liberating liqueurs is available — with seemingly never-ending choices. And those who prefer non-alcoholic cocktails will not be disappointed either. How about a purple cooler, with blackberry, fennel, citrus, vanilla, and bubbles?

A new selection of “Bar Bites” has been added to the menu, as well, and these include a variety of tastes. For example: garden green coquettes with malt vinegar and squid ink; pork rinds “popcorn” with paprika and arugula; salt roasted chicken “oyster” and lime pickle; mushroom tempura and tonkatsu? sauce, to note just some on the list.

elements is also introducing a new “element”, adds Ms. Rota. “We are going to have ‘Sparkling Wednesday’, with complimentary sparkling wines and champagne. We think this will have great appeal, and especially to the ladies — for a night out.”

The elements’ staff is very proud of the response to the restaurant. elements has received numerous awards, including being selected as one of the top 25 restaurants in the state, and the best brunch and lunch 2011, 2012 from New Jersey Monthly magazine. OAD’s (Opinionated About Dining) Nationwide List of the Top 100 named it 23rd, and it came out ahead of several well-known New York City establishments.

Best Award of Excellence for the wine list came from Wine Spectator; and in the National Seafood Challenge 2011, Chef Anderson cooked at Drumthwacket against other New Jersey top chefs, and was voted to represent the state in the National Seafood Challenge in Louisiana, where he placed third.

“As a restaurant, we have done well; we’ve been well-received, and I’m proud of elements’ being recognized,” says Mr. Anderson. “I am also proud of the town of Princeton. There are good restaurants here now. Four of the top 25 restaurants in the state named by New Jersey Monthly are in Princeton.”

In addition to regular dining, elements offers special dining events and selected catering. It will also now offer a selection of cigars, which can be enjoyed outside on the patio.

Reservations are appreciated, and elements is open for lunch Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; dinner Sunday through Thursday 5:30 to 9, Friday and Saturday until 11; Sunday brunch 11 to 2. (609) 924-0078. Website: www.elementsprinceton.com.

FAMILY FARM: “Our products are truly New Jersey-grown. Our New Jersey growing plants acclimate to this climate better than merchandise shipped in from all over the country,” explains Melinda Madden, owner, with her husband Peter, of Madden Family Farms, with two locations. Shown is the farm at 50 Route 518 in tk, The other location is the long-time garden center at 4312 Route 27 in Little Rocky Hill.

FAMILY FARM: “Our products are truly New Jersey-grown. Our New Jersey growing plants acclimate to this climate better than merchandise shipped in from all over the country,” explains Melinda Madden, owner, with her husband Peter, of Madden Family Farms, with two locations. Shown is the farm at 50 Route 518 in tk, The other location is the long-time garden center at 4312 Route 27 in Little Rocky Hill.

When Melinda and Peter Madden opened Madden’s Nursery & Landscaping on Route 27 in Little Rocky Hill, Ms. Madden was fresh from a career as a multi-media coordinator for corporate meetings in New York City. A young mother, with no horticultural experience, she began an intensive learning program.

“Peter had been in the landscaping design business, and it was always his dream to have his own garden center,” she explains. “Although I had always loved flowers, I had no real horticultural background, so I signed up for courses at Rutgers.”

That was in 1995. In the past 18 years, the nursery — like its plants, flowers, trees, and shrubs — has thrived. The Madden’s now have a second location open full time to customers. They acquired their 24-acre farm nine years ago, and it is where they grow the products for their Route 27 location. Now, customers can go directly to the farm at 50 Route 518 (not far off Route 27) in Franklin Township.??

“We grow all our own plants, both annuals and perennials, and shrubs and trees (?),” notes Ms. Madden. “This was always our plan to compensate for changes in the economy; it enables us to keep our prices low over the years.

Winter Pansies

“We have bigger spruce trees at the farm, including 2½ and 3 inch caliper trees,” she continues. “Lots of nice evergreens, including 6-foot Norway spruce, blue spruce, and 8-10-foot white pine. Also, weeping cherry, flowering cherry, flowering pear, and dogwood.”

Shrubs include hydrangeas, weigela, spirea, azalea, rhododendron, and boxwood, among others. Fall is an excellent time for planting all of the above, adds Ms. Madden. “Winter pansies are available, as are flowering kale and cabbage. Of course, mums are very popular now, and we have a big selection, all home-grown, with a starting price of four for $10.”

Pumpkins are on hand and also cornstalks and bales of straw for fall decorating.

“We get a lot of customers in the fall,” says Ms. Madden. “And as a special treat for kids on the weekends from September 21 through the end of October, we will have a complimentary petting zoo, with our mini cow, Lindyann, goats, bunnies, and chickens. A visit to the farm can be a fun family outing.”

Landscaping Ideas

The creativity and natural beauty that is an intrinsic part of Madden Family Farms especially appeals to Ms. Madden, and she enjoys helping customers with landscaping ideas. “I like to help select the plants for a customer’s landscape and garden. And if people e-mail pictures, we can help design a landscape for them. I love this; it is so creative.”

In fact, Ms Madden enjoys just about everything about her work. “I love this business. It truly is my passion. Watching seedlings grow into lush beautiful plants is exciting. I love the beauty of the farm and the garden center. I love plants and flowers. Actually, I feel as if I have an addiction to certain types of plants, such as succulents and hybrid coleus as well as hard-to-find Rex begonias.

“Our family has had a passion for this business from the time we opened. A lot of hard work and long hours have gone into it. My children were babies when we opened, and they have worked in the business right along with us. Now our son Mason is 23, and is running the farm, and in charge of its expansion. His younger brother Mike helps on weekends and after school. Our daughter Megan, who is studying commercial photography, helps with our website.”

Ms. Madden also likes the seasonal aspect of the business, even when the weather poses a challenge. As she says, there is also something different to look forward to. “Every season is different in our business. We start the new year strategizing and planning for the spring. When the end of February rolls around, our little seedlings arrive at our farm, where the production of growing annuals and perennials begins. Our doors open mid-March with a vast selection of cool crop annuals. As the temperatures warm up, the array of hundreds of proven winter annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees arrive at our nursery on Route 27, and we start setting up our display at the farm. We have pottery shipped in from all over the world.

Array of Colors

“As spring turns to summer, Madden’s continues to sell beautiful summer flowers, both perennials and annuals through August. With the arrival of September and cool nights, both our locations are filled with mums in a huge array of colors. We have pumpkin gourds and Indian corn for fall decorating needs.

“As fall comes to an end, and winter approaches, Madden’s gets ready for our cut Christmas trees, fresh Fraser fir wreaths, poinsettias, and grave blankets. All of our Christmas inventory is handmade by our family, including the dozens and dozens of complimentary homemade cookies, a way of thanking each and every customer who comes to our door to support our family business.”

Ms. Madden thinks of her business as offering people a soothing activity in the midst of an increasingly high tech society. “In a business like this, it is back to the basics. People like to come here. It’s low stress, and there is beauty here. I am so pleased when people are happy buying our flowers, and I love to watch young people becoming enthusiastic about gardening. I love working outside, and I love working with the public. I also love it that I am working with my family. This is truly an owned and operated family business. We have come a long way, and I absolutely love what I do!”

Madden’s farm location is open Tuesday through Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the Route 27 garden center is open seven days 9 to 6. (908) 208-5164. Website: www.maddensfamilyfarms.com.

 

September 25, 2013
GREAT TASTES: “We have Mediterranean food with a focus on kebabs. It’s good, healthy food with very fresh ingredients.” Ekrem (“Frankie”) Bodur, chef/owner/manager of EFES Mediterranean Grill, is pleased to introduce diners to his unique cuisine.

GREAT TASTES: “We have Mediterranean food with a focus on kebabs. It’s good, healthy food with very fresh ingredients.” Ekrem (“Frankie”) Bodur, chef/owner/manager of EFES Mediterranean Grill, is pleased to introduce diners to his unique cuisine.

Lunch, dinner, take-out, and catering are all available at EFES Mediterranean Grill. Opened in February 2012 at 235 B Nassau Street, it has attracted a growing number of customers who enjoy its tasty middle eastern-style cuisine and family-oriented atmosphere.

“Princeton is a good location for us,” says chef/owner/manager Ekrem (“Frankie”) Bodur. “It’s an international community, and many people here have traveled to Turkey, where I am from. We have a great customer base, including lots of families, and lot of kids. Kids love the kebabs, our specialty.”

A native of Turkey, Mr. Bodur came to the U.S. when he was a boy in 1989. After initially settling in Brooklyn, N.Y., the family moved to New Jersey, and eventually Mr. Bodur, his brothers, and cousins, opened a successful restaurant EFES Mediterranean Grill in New Brunswick.

“I love to cook,” he explains. “I have always enjoyed it. It’s creative, and I’m always experimenting.”

Classical City

The New Brunswick restaurant was very successful, with many customers from all over the area, including Princeton. “We had a lot of people from Princeton, who asked us to open here,” says Mr. Bodur. “We have had great word-of-mouth, with people coming from Princeton, Kingston, Lawrenceville, and all over the area. We have also had a lot of Princeton University students come in.”

Customers are enjoying both the food and the atmosphere at EFES Mediterranean Grill. Named for Efes, the ancient classical city in Turkey (once ruled by the Greeks and the Romans), the restaurant can accommodate 15 people for sit-down dining as well as 15 more outside. The decor features attractive mosaic tile from Turkey, and Turkish artwork and artifacts will be added soon.

The menu offers wide-ranging choices, including hot and cold appetizers, soup, salads, side dishes, sandwiches and wraps, entrees, and special dishes.

“The kebabs are the most popular item,” reports Mr. Bodur. “It’s the taste. It’s different. They are charcoal-grilled, with a unique flavor. We bring our own herbs and spices from Turkey, and we have our own special recipes. Oregano and paprika are very important in our dishes.”

Turkish Bread

Popular appetizers include stuffed grape leaves, grilled hummus, baba ghanoush, mixed eggplant, and falafel, among others. Many vegetarian appetizers are available.

Sandwiches and wraps are served on pita bread, with lettuce, tomato, onion, and white and red sauce. “We use our special Turkish bread,” says Mr. Bodur.

Favorite sandwiches are the grilled H-gyro-doner (ground lamb and beef combination), H-Adana kebab (ground lamb flavored with red bell peppers slightly seasoned with paprika and grilled on a skewer), and H-chicken kebab (tender chunks of chicken marinated with the chef’s own blend of herbs and spices).

The entrees are served with bread, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and rice or French fries. Kebabs are in small or larger sizes, and include the traditional shish kebab (special marinated cubes of baby lamb, grilled on skewers), mixed grill (a combination of shish kebab, gyro, and grilled chicken), and a variety of other kebabs.

In addition, specialties, such as lamb chops and moussaka (chunks of baby eggplant with ground leg of lamb seasoned with herbs, and served with rice), are favorite dishes.

Seafood is also available, as are hamburgers. The popular baklava (freshly homemade and perfectly flavored) is a traditional dessert, and Turkish coffee is a specialty along with Turkish tea. Regular coffee, iced tea, and assorted sodas are also available.

Family Business

Catering has become a big part of EFES’s business, notes Mr. Bodur. “We do every kind and size event. We recently catered a gathering for 500 people!”

He is proud of the restaurant’s success and that it is a thriving family business, offering the freshest ingredients and tastiest dishes for his diners. “Everything we have is so fresh, and with our own unique flavors. Come and see us. You can bring wine or beer, and have a relaxed, leisurely meal in our friendly, down-to-earth restaurant.”

Mr. Bodur has made an effort to keep prices reasonable. Appetizers are $2.95 to $7.95; salads $6.50 and up; sandwiches and wraps $5.95 and $6.95; hamburgers $4.50; small kebabs $8.50, large $11.95; moussaka $12.95, and baklava $3.95.

EFES Mediterranean Grill is open seven days, from 11 a.m. to 9:30/10 p.m. (609) 683-1220. Website: www.efesgrill.com.

 

POPULAR PLANTERS: “There is really no other store like ours in the area. We have special items for special occasions, and all ages will enjoy them. The Lechuza planters from Germany are a specialty for us, and we also have fresh roses and lilys available now at very reasonable prices.” Amy Chereath, owner of Amy’s Home & Garden, and manager Wen Chu are shown by a display of Lechuza planters.

POPULAR PLANTERS: “There is really no other store like ours in the area. We have special items for special occasions, and all ages will enjoy them. The Lechuza planters from Germany are a specialty for us, and we also have fresh roses and lilys available now at very reasonable prices.” Amy Chereath, owner of Amy’s Home & Garden, and manager Wen Chu are shown by a display of Lechuza planters.

Whether they are traditional Hummel figures, Gund bears, Snowbabies, Disney and Sesame Street characters, Dept 56 villages, or garden features and unique plant irrigation systems, the selection at Amy’s Home & Garden is intriguing.

Opened at 195 Nassau Street last November, the shop offers a fascinating combination of items guaranteed to appeal to adults and children.

“Everything has been popular with the customers,” notes Amy Chereath, owner with her husband, Roy Chereath, of the new store. “We had been in the retail business in North Brunswick, and we also had an on-line business. We always liked to come to Princeton, and we thought it would be a good place for our products. We felt we would have a variety of customers here.”

The small shop is certainly a treasure trove of items. Many customers will enjoy seeing the display of Hummel figures from Germany. “We have the traditional figures as well as another line that is a division of Hummel, offering a lower price range,” notes Amy. “For example, we have little Hummel angels at $2. The Hummel Company also makes a line of Beatle figures.”

Charming Collection

The Snowbabies collection, always a Christmas favorite, is available, featuring little snow globes as well as the charming snow babies and cherubs.

“These have a Christmas focus,” says Amy, “but they are offered all year now. There are Snowbabies angels and tiny baby angels in pink or blue, which are a very nice little baby gift.”

Another Christmas favorite is the Dept 56 collection of houses and villages, which are also available year-round now. “They have Halloween decorated villages too, which are more and more popular,” adds Amy. “We also carry a selection of their pretty colored glass Christmas ornaments.

“Dept 56 is a big item for us, including the Jim Shore line of collectible Disney characters, such as Snow White, Mickey Mouse, Tinkerbell, Beauty and the Beast, and others.”

Children also love the Gund plush toys. All the stuffed bears, cats, and dogs and other cuddly animals are on display — even a baby lamb that “speaks”! In addition, Gund now has a line of Sesame Street characters.

Fun “Bead It” ping pong or marshmallow-sized beads can keep children happily occupied putting together the components to create colorful snowmen Christmas ornaments.

A specialty at Amy’s Home & Garden is the line of Lechuza planters, featuring a unique irrigation system. From Germany, Lechuza offers a variety of planters in assorted colors, styles, and sizes, each with its own irrigation system.

“These self-watering planters are very popular for us,” says Amy. “They can be used indoors or outdoors, and are very pretty on terraces. They are weather-proof, and can withstand wind and rain. The color of the planters will not fade when they are outside.”

Optimal Amount

In today’s high tech, increasingly rushed society, plants can be neglected, under-watered — or in contrast, over-watered. The Lechuza sub-irrigation system offers a labor- and time-saving means of plant maintenance. It provides plants with the optimal amount of water and all necessary nutrients. Pre-assembled planters are available with Lechuza-Pon, an alternative to traditional potting soil.

Whether plants require a lot of water or a modest amount, the home owner needs only to fill the water reservoir, and there is no need to water the plant again for up to 12 weeks. The integrated water level indicator registers “minimum” when it is time for a refill.

Lechuza planter kits are available at the shop, as are planters of varied sizes already containing flowers, including orchids.

“Local residents and tourists have all been coming in,” reports Amy. “We see lots of different people, and they all like what we have. We enjoy being here and meeting all the customers. Now we look forward to seeing even more people and introducing them to our great products.”

Amy’s Home & Garden is open Monday through Saturday 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (609) 333-1218.

 

September 18, 2013
CUSTOMER FAVORITE: “This is a busy time for the nursery and the garden needs. Grass seed, fertilizers, and plants are all a specialty, along with all the animal feed and supplies.” Kevin Lyon, manager of the Belle Mead Co-Op on Township Line Road in Hillsborough, is shown with fellow workers.

CUSTOMER FAVORITE: “This is a busy time for the nursery and the garden needs. Grass seed, fertilizers, and plants are all a specialty, along with all the animal feed and supplies.” Kevin Lyon, manager of the Belle Mead Co-Op on Township Line Road in Hillsborough, is shown with fellow workers.

One of the most popular places in the area for outdoor supplies, as well as a vast array of other items, is the Belle Mead Co-Op, located on Township Line Road in Hillsborough.

In addition, the Co-Op provides feed for a variety of animals, notes manager Kevin Lyon. “We have animal food for everything from gerbils to cows! That includes birds, chickens, sheep, goats, horses, and dogs, and cats. We make the feed here, including special mixes for all the animals. We buy the feed ingredients from the local farmers, and then they buy the feed from us.”

The Belle Mead Co-Op is by no means a newcomer to the area. Its history dates back more than 90 years to 1920, when area farmers brought their hay there to be shipped.

As Mr. Lyon explains, “The large barn in front of the store was constructed at the turn of the century, and was operated as a hay press. The press was powered by horses in the cellar, and the farmers would bring loose hay here to be pressed into bales and loaded on railroad cars. That same barn now displays 84 solar panels that supply the business with a good portion of its electricity. The railroad sidings gave the store its unique shape, as they ran behind the store and to the front and rear of the old barn. Rail cars would load up on coal and water here, then pick up hay to take up north to the horse farms.”

Constant Adventure

The retail store opened in 1953, and it is filled with an array of items, bringing to mind the general store of times past combined with an up-to-date hardware store of today. There is so much to see that walking up and down the aisles is a constant adventure.

If you have a pet, it is definitely the place to go. Dog and cat food, leashes, collars, and various supplies and toys are all available.

Many people feed the birds year round, and Belle Mead Co-Op has everything for our feathered friends. Seed of all kinds, every type of feeder, including specialties for hummingbirds and others, are on display.

In addition, customers will find jeans and Carhartt sweat shirts, caps, gardening gloves, as well as flags and fly swatters, and New Jersey honey. A complete supply of tools and outdoor needs, including shovels, brooms, pruners, hoses, and wheelbarrows.

Beneficial Item

An intriguing and very beneficial item is the lady bug! “They eat a lot of insects, including aphids,” notes Mr. Lyon. “We sell 1500 for $11.99. We also have preying mantises, which eat aphids too.”

Plants, including all the annuals and perennials, are in stock, with the exception of New Guinea impatiens. Mulch, fertilizers, grass seed, and top soil are all available, and planters of every kind are also on display.

“We have a complete nursery,” points out Mr. Lyon. “Originally, it was 1.3 acres; now it is 10. We purchased eight acres of property in 1998 in order to expand our landscape and nursery supply offerings.”

A variety of mulch samples is available, as well as landscaping decorative gravel and stones, including River Rock.

Homeowners struggling with the deer who not only eat plants but often devour bird feed as well will appreciate the Hot Pepper Wax product, which can be sprayed on the bird feeders to repel the deer. “It doesn’t harm the birds, but it keeps the deer away,” reports Mr. Lyon.

“Many of our customers are interested in having vegetable gardens,” he continues. “We have vegetables and plants, including tomatoes, potatoes, and onions, among others.”

Families and Farmers

Dog houses and rabbit hutches, benches and bird baths, wind chimes, water garden supplies (including fish), propane gas — all are available at Belle Mead Co-Op.

Customers are of long-standing, says Mr. Lyon, who has been  with Belle Mead Co-Op for 17 years. “Our customers are from all over the area; they’re all ages and backgrounds, and include families and farmers. I enjoy talking with them, and many I’ve known a long time. We have so many regulars, and we get new people all the time too because the area is growing. We are always happy to give advice on the plants or any products if people want help.”

Prices are competitive, he adds, and sales are always ongoing. Special coupons are offered on the company’s website.

“We continue to do well,” says Mr. Lyon. “People like to come here. They appreciate the history, our core products, and our knowledge.”

They also like to visit the warehouse, which features the feed mill, where grain is mixed, and other vintage equipment is housed.

Belle Mead Co-Op is open Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday until 5, Sunday 9 to 4. (908) 359-5173. Website: www.bellemeadcoop.com.

 

BEST BARBECUE: “I call my barbecue ‘New Jersey Infusion.’ It’s Texas-style with ‘heat’ from Texas and seasoning and sauce from Kansas City, with mustard and vinegar, and my own way of putting it together.” Jeff McKay, chef and owner of The Hambone Opera at the Trenton Farmers Market, is shown with a batch of his special baby back ribs.

BEST BARBECUE: “I call my barbecue ‘New Jersey Infusion.’ It’s Texas-style with ‘heat’ from Texas and seasoning and sauce from Kansas City, with mustard and vinegar, and my own way of putting it together.” Jeff McKay, chef and owner of The Hambone Opera at the Trenton Farmers Market, is shown with a batch of his special baby back ribs.

The customers are lining up at Hambone Opera in the Trenton Farmers Market. They can’t get enough of “Smoke Chef Jeff” McKay’s barbecue specialties. The tempting smoky aroma (“It’s the cherry wood and the seasoning,” reports Chef Jeff) invites them in, and then they receive a sample. After that, they’re hooked!

Opened in April at the popular Farmers Market at 960 Spruce Street in Trenton, the new Hambone Opera BBQ offers a variety of favorites. Pulled pork, beef brisket, baby back ribs, and Smoke Chef Jeff’s special Smoke House beans and cole slaw are all on the menu. Available in sandwiches or platters, they tempt the taste buds both of seasoned barbecue aficionados and those new to this culinary experience.

Popular Place

Reviews from food critics and the public alike have been showering Chef Jeff with compliments, and he is delighted with the response and with his location. “I liked the idea of being in the Trenton Farmers Market. It’s a very popular place, with lots of people here all the time.”

Smoke Chef Jeff has a history and love of barbecue. Originally from Michigan, he spent 17 years in Texas, perfecting the art. “It was there I learned how to smoke a barbecue,” he explains. “Later, I worked with Billy Bones, the BBQ Legend in Michigan. He was my guru.”

Smoke Chef Jeff came to New Jersey in 2009, and decided he wanted to bring his special brand of barbecue to the Garden State. The decision was clearly the right one. It has been successful beyond his expectations, and he is making new friends and fans all the time.

If they wonder about the unusual name of his establishment, he explains that he and friends used to get together in years past and enjoy making music and cooking up barbecue. “My specialty was playing the spoons!”

“Most customers who come in are familiar with barbecue, while some others are new to it,” he says. “The first-timers are so impressed they always come back for more. They are all ages, including families with children. The other day there were two four-year-old twin girls dipping ribs right into the hot sauce!

“Everything is a specialty,” he continues. “The pulled pork is perhaps the most popular with customers, but they really like everything. They come in and tell me ‘There is no BBQ like mine.’ It’s my ingredients. I use nothing but cherry wood logs in an off-set fire box. Slow cooking is the key. And it’s all the love and care I put into it. The brisket takes 12 to 13 hours to prepare and the pork 12 hours. I really love to do it. Ever since I was a kid, I had my head over the grill. I have even designed grills.”

Tangy Taste

Chef Jeff looks forward to even more customers discovering the tangy taste of his BBQ specialties, and he is available for fund-raisers, block parties, graduations, and as he says, “Any Event, Any Time!”

“I am happy the catering has started to do well. We have already had seven jobs in the very short time I’ve been open, and I look forward to many more. I think barbecue is so popular because it tastes good, and it’s true American cooking. Also, we are very focused here; it’s just barbecue. People say why not have tacos or French fries? But barbecue is what I do, and I want to offer the best barbecue there is. Things are going so well. I am very encouraged.”

Seating is available for 20 at Hambone Opera, as well as additional room for four to stand at the counter. Prices include $7 for a pulled pork sandwich ($9 for a platter), $8 for beef brisket sandwich ($10 for a platter), $10 for baby back ribs. Platters are served with Smoke House beans and cole slaw. All the specialties are also available by the pound.

“I want people to know they will have the best BBQ here. I use real wood logs; seasonings are mild, medium, and hot. I already have so many repeat customers, we must be doing it right!”

Hambone Opera is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (609) 325-7357.

“FABULOUSLY BRITISH”: “Jack Wills was targeted to university people, including undergraduate and graduate students. We offer a casual preppy theme, and Princeton is a good match. We are also in other university towns, including Charlottesville, Virginia, New Haven, Conn., and all around Boston.” Claudia Radley, manager of the new Jack Wills Princeton location, stands in front of the Nassau Street store.

“FABULOUSLY BRITISH”: “Jack Wills was targeted to university people, including undergraduate and graduate students. We offer a casual preppy theme, and Princeton is a good match. We are also in other university towns, including Charlottesville, Virginia, New Haven, Conn., and all around Boston.” Claudia Radley, manager of the new Jack Wills Princeton location, stands in front of the Nassau Street store.

“We want people to incorporate Jack Wills into their life-style,” says Claudia Radley, manager of the new British clothing store at 46 Nassau Street. “It’s clothing for the collegiate life-style, but a variety of people and different ages all enjoy wearing it.”

Opened in April, the Jack Wills University Outfitters Princeton store is one of 14 in the U.S. The company was established in England in 1999, and has locations in Hong Kong and the Middle East as well as the U.K. and U.S.

The owner is Pete Williams, and he named the company for his grandfather Jack Wills. He wanted to offer apparel that focuses on traditional university clothing and the British heritage, as its mission statement notes. “We continue to be influenced by the best of British, from our history and culture to sporting and country pursuits. We take pride in using the finest quality materials, techniques and design to deliver our distinctive connection between the old and new.

“From the iconic British university towns of Oxford and Cambridge, the Ivy League campuses of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, to the bright lights of Hong Kong, Jack Wills is traveling the globe proudly planting the Union Jack at over 60 stores and counting. Come and find us!”

Big Hit

Not only has the concept been a British success, it has become a big hit with Americans, starting with the first store in Boston in 2009. “We have done well with the Ivy League campuses of Harvard, Yale, and now Princeton,” points out Ms. Radley. “We have already had a great influx of Princeton University students and many high school students too. In addition to the students, their parents love our products. We appeal to different ages.”

Customers will find an inviting shop, featuring a British motif, and offering a variety of clothing for men and women, with sizes from extra small to extra large for men, and zero to 10 for women. Sweaters, shirts, swim suits, shorts, pants, dresses, jackets, as well as colorful underwear, socks, shoes and sneakers are on display. Accessories, such as handbags, tote and duffle bags, cell phone, pad, and Kindle cases, and nail polish and cologne for men and women are all available. Many of the items are in the Jack Wills signature color theme of pink and navy stripes.

In addition, a variety of items for the home include bedding, blankets, cushions and pillows, with many featuring the Jack Wills logo: tiny pheasant with top hat and cane, traditional British images.

From the classic British striped blue and white boat blazer to seersucker shirts in fabulous colors to traditional university sweaters to denim jeans and classic chinos, guys will love the Jack Wills collection.

“Our seersucker shirts are very popular with men,” reports Ms. Radley, “and they like bright colors, including sky blue and our beautiful apple green sweaters.”

Bright Colors

Short sun-dresses and long summer dresses are favorites with women, along with the shirts, shorts, and sweaters, she adds. “We have denim jeans in very bright colors, which are big favorites. Classic shirts and the longer ‘Boy Friend’ shirts are in demand, as are our light-weight rain coats with hoods. Women also like our cotton blend jackets which are cut a bit smaller and more fitted.

“Really, everything is popular. And often, the women like the men’s sweaters so much, they will buy a small size for themselves.”

The socks and sneakers are great fun — really irresistible — with all kinds of bright printed designs in colorful combinations. Everyone likes these!

Ms. Radley is delighted with the number of customers who have found their way to the shop in such a short time. Some have known of Jack Wills before, and others are new to this shopping experience, she explains. “We have some people who knew about us in England or elsewhere, and others who are finding us for the first time. There has been great word-of-mouth.”

Events and Promotions

“We liked the idea of being on the corner of Nassau Street and Palmer Square,” she adds. “It seemed the right place for us. We’re going to have events and promotions and run competitions. We want to be a real part of the community. We reach out to as many people as we can. We are building a great relationship with the community and with Princeton University. We also have a data base, and people can register. They will receive our catalogue five times during the year.”

Ms. Radley is very happy to have the opportunity to be in Princeton, and looks forward to sharing the line of Jack Wills products with her new “hometown.” “I love the Jack Wills brand,” she says. “I love it that it’s a life-style, and that people are having fun with it. Of course, it’s always exciting to open a new store.”

The shop offers a wide price range, with totebags from $14.95, socks at $16.50, and T- and polo shirts at $49.50. Some blazers and jackets can be in the $200-$300 range.

Customers will enjoy the pink and navy color motif throughout the shop, which also extends to the complimentary gift wrapping.

Sales are held from time to time, and Jack Wills is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday 10 to 7, Sunday 11 to 5. (609) 751-5120. Website: www.jackwills.com. Facebook.com\jwprinceton.

September 11, 2013
TEAM WORK: Upper and Lower School girls at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart collaborate on a social studies research project, using state-of-the-art technology and equipment in the school’s Futures Classroom. This classroom is one of many new 21st century learning spaces, funded by donors and the school’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) for Girls initiative. Stuart will be celebrating its 50th anniversary with special events on September 13 and 14.

TEAM WORK: Upper and Lower School girls at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart collaborate on a social studies research project, using state-of-the-art technology and equipment in the school’s Futures Classroom. This classroom is one of many new 21st century learning spaces, funded by donors and the school’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) for Girls initiative. Stuart will be celebrating its 50th anniversary with special events on September 13 and 14.

“We want a girl to know that there is nothing more powerful than her voice. Her voice matters,” says Patty L. Fagin, PhD, Head of School at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart. “The Sacred Heart has a 200-year history of growing leaders. Mother Madeleine Sophie Barat started the school to educate girls to change the world, with women in the forefront, leading positive change.

“You don’t have to shy away from speaking what you believe to be the truth or what you believe to be important. Girls get their freedom in an all-women’s setting — that sense of ‘I have a voice, and it’s an important voice.’ We want the girls to reach the highest level of their potential and achievement.”

Educating girls to believe in their own voice and their ability to make a difference in the world has been the mission of the school since its founding in 1963. As one of 22 Sacred Heart schools in the United States, Stuart is part of a sisterhood of the Society of the Sacred Heart founded by Mother Madeleine Sophie Barat in France in the aftermath of the French Revolution.

As Stuart’s anniversary book Making History points out, Mother Barat believed “that the education of women would be a key means for rebuilding, renewing, and transforming society — a radical vision for the 1700s. Between 1802 and 1865, she formed and nurtured a community of religious women that would, by the time of her death, number over 3,000, and would be educating students across four continents.”

Native Americans

The Society of the Sacred Heart arrived in the United States in 1818, when Mother Rose Philippine Duchesne established the first school in St. Charles, Missouri — the first outside of France.

Mother Duchesne also worked with native Americans, and years later opened a school in Kansas for the Potawatomi Tribe children. Over time, many more schools were established in the U.S.

Fast forward to 1960, when a group of parents hoped to open a Sacred Heart School in Princeton. They traveled to Washington, D.C. to gain permission from the Mother Superior of the Washington, D.C. Vicariate of the Society of the Sacred Heart, which approved the establishment of a school in Princeton.

A “Founders Fund” was set up to purchase the land and finance the building of the school, which was named for Reverend Mother Janet Erskine Stuart, the sixth Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart. Her influence extends not only throughout the school, but throughout the world, notes Risa Engel, Stuart’s Director of Communications and project manager of Making History. “Her books, essays, and poetry continue to inspire spiritual growth and educational excellence.”

In 1961, the site of the school was selected, and the late Professor Jean Labatut, Director of Graduate Studies in Architecture at Princeton University, was chosen to design the building.

The land, 55 acres of a wooded area off The Great Road with large trees and boulders, was purchased, and Professor Labatut emphasized the outdoors in his design. “When there is freedom of space and nature, the design must meld into the space and nature of the surroundings,” he said.

Focus on Nature

“Professor Labatut wanted the school to be camouflaged within the landscape,” points out Ms. Engel. “The idea was to bring the outside indoors. There are floor-to-ceiling windows and a great sense of light. He also used hand-cut green bricks inside the building because they were individual like the girls in the school.”

In keeping with the focus on nature, large boulders have also been brought inside and incorporated into the design. Outdoors, Professor Labatut designed a Zen garden to be enjoyed by the nuns. Today, students also spend time there, and in addition, appreciate the natural beauty of Stuart’s setting by exploring its “Friendship Forest” trails in the woods and stopping by the nearby stream.

Stuart opened its doors in September of 1963 with 94 students from Preschool through 10th grade. Joan Kirby, RSCJ (Religious of the Sacred Heart), was the first Headmistress. The first graduating class in 1965 consisted of two students, Gertrude Baker and Sigrid Sittig. Today, student enrollment numbers 460, school extends through 12th grade, and boys are included in Preschool.

“Prominent in our expectations was a high level of academic excellence,” says Sister Kirby in Making History. In addition, she continues, “Our goal in sharing Sacred Heart tradition was to emphasize spirituality with our students. We were very interreligious, and actually, that was my first interfaith experience.”

Adds Dr. Fagin, “The Sacred Heart principles, which evolved into the Goals and Criteria, have remained constant. They are the foundation for everything we do.”

These Sacred Heart Goals include:

(1) A personal and active faith in God

(2) A deep respect for intellectual values

(3) A social awareness which impels to action

(4) The building of community as a Christian value

(5) Personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom

Open Dialogue

From its beginning, Stuart has welcomed students of all faiths, and the student body reflects that diversity. Half of the girls are Catholic, while the rest are of many other faiths, including other Christian denominations, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims, among others.

“Stuart has an open dialogue and welcomes families from diverse faiths,” points out Dr. Fagin. “The girls become very sensitized to different religions. In addition to monthly Mass, we hold ecumenical prayer services at different times during the school year.”

An atmosphere of spirituality is very important in the school, and the entire building is a sacred space, adds Risa Engel.

“The intellectual rigor and excellence were pivotal from the school’s inception,” notes Sister Kirby. “Our Sacred Heart religious community, however, was and remains key, generating a loving, warm, compatible atmosphere.”

The importance of this sense of community and the all-girls environment in instilling confidence, love of learning, and appreciation of the role of the intellect cannot be over-estimated.

As Sister Kirby says: “I think anyone who has experienced an all-women’s education realizes the importance of the freedom to develop as a woman, the leadership opportunities, the opportunity to excel, to stretch, and to be yourself.”

iPad Program

At Stuart, the older girls often interact with the Lower School, and leadership and core values are embedded into the curriculum in every classroom.

Stuart has fully embraced the world of technology, and the very youngest students are introduced to it in preschool. The school’s iPad program puts an iPad into the hands of every student in grades six through 12, and brings the technology to the lower grade classrooms.

Stuart’s focus on its STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) program is designed to engage girls even in the earliest years. Programs range from “Engineering Is Elementary” in the lower grades to programming video games in middle school to robotics and hands-on AP chemistry in the Upper School.

Opportunities for project-based learning extends outside the classroom to numerous clubs, competitions, speakers, and mentor programs.

Stuart believes that key skills, such as problem-solving, analytical thinking, collaboration, and tenacity are all developed in the study of science, technology, engineering, and math.

Teamwork plays a big part in Stuart’s curriculum and in its after school programs. Sparks, the school’s Robotics Team, went from zero experience to fourth place in the NTC NJ State championship — in just five months!

“Most Futuristic City”

The middle school Future City Team was awarded “Most Futuristic City” in state competition, and the middle school math team won an award for the best new team in a Math Counts competition.

Eighth grade math students created math video games for children ages three to eight, and two of the teams were selected as winners of the PBS Ready to Learn Category of the STEM Challenge. Stuart’s five students on the two teams were the only girls out of 28 middle and high school winners.

All of the other disciplines — English, history, social sciences, and languages — are emphasized as well. Spanish and French are included in the preschool level, and Latin is an elective for older girls. With 15 or fewer girls in a class, there is great opportunity for individual attention and focused learning.

Stuart’s strong visual and performing arts program begins in Preschool and extends through 12th grade. The arts are woven into the curriculum at every opportunity, and classes in music, drama, dance, and art encourage self-expression, self-confidence, and creative collaboration.

Students’ artwork is displayed in the school and at community locations; the school’s various choirs are award-winners in many venues, and the girls perform in five major drama and musical productions throughout the year.

Learning about other cultures is encouraged by exchange study programs with other Sacred Heart schools around the world, as well as with other options for international travel, study, and exchange. Currently, six students from China are enrolled at Stuart, and there are also students from many other international backgrounds.

Rock Climbing Wall

Stuart is also noted for its athletic opportunities. Nine sports, including soccer, field hockey, tennis, volleyball, basketball, lacrosse, golf, and cross country, are all available. The teams consistently play in the finals and achieve winning records. In addition, the school’s gym includes a rock climbing wall.

Community service is a major part of life at Stuart. “We know there is a real value in grounding girls in a life of faith, developing a sense of giving back and being an integral part of the community — all critical components of how we prepare young women,” points out Dr. Fagin.

Adds Sister Kirby: “The Goals and Criteria aim at a well-rounded graduate, someone whose whole person has developed in the Sacred Heart School, spiritually and in terms of social service, the awareness that in the world we are responsible for more than just ourselves.”

Upper School students are required to volunteer 50 hours helping others each year, and many average nearly 70 hours. Students at every grade level work with local agencies, such as Loaves and Fishes and Martin House, Habitat for Humanity, and other national and international programs.

Preschool students partner with second graders to make place mats for Meals on Wheels; third graders raise funds for Heifer International; middle school students have started a micro-finance club and a free trade organization; the senior social justice class project focuses on identifying and solving an “invisible” issue of suffering in the world (a problem in the world related to social justice that people are generally not aware of); and each summer, a group of Stuart faculty and students help repair homes in Appalachia.

Since February of 2001, Stuart girls, faculty, and staff and their families have been growing their hair in order to donate pony tails to Locks of Love, an organization that provides hair pieces to children with permanent hair loss.

Cor Unum Cross

In the aftermath of the events at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the girls sent more than 2000 letters, drawings, and candy bars to the emergency workers at the site. Art teacher Cynthia Dayton, trained in reflexology, spent time at the site massaging the feet of many of the workers, who were exhausted from their efforts.

When the final steel beams were extricated, a welder cut out a number of crosses and Stars of David from them, and one cross was sent to Stuart and Ms. Dayton in thanks. That cross was incorporated into the processional Cor Unum (One Heart) cross with the help of Princeton architect T. Jeffrey Clarke AIA.

Stuart has made an effort to diversify the student body, and has reached out to students in Trenton. The school offers enrichment and outreach programs to students within the area.

With the “Summer Stars” initiative, Trenton students attend Stuart for academic, cultural, and social enrichment. With a goal to teach the “Stars” that learning is an enjoyable and life-long endeavor, the program provides an entertaining classroom learning experience, supplemented with music lessons, field trips, guest performers, and more. Many “Stars” have become students at Stuart, and each year several of the Star alumnae return as volunteers or staff for the program.

In its desire to offer the benefits of a Sacred Heart education to those who might not be able to afford it, Stuart provides tuition aid for students demonstrating a financial need.

In keeping with its Social Awareness focus, Stuart honors an alumna with the Barbara Boggs Sigmund Alumna Award. The late Ms. Sigmund, former mayor of Princeton Borough, was a Sacred Heart alumna, and one of the earliest lay teachers at Stuart. The Barbara Boggs Sigmund Alumna Award was established in 1991 to honor her memory by highlighting the relevance of a Sacred Heart education in the contemporary world.

Stuart students, with a 100 percent college matriculation, regularly attend the nation’s finest colleges and universities. Close to home, six members of the 2013 graduating class were accepted at Princeton University.

The enduring value of a Stuart education has been exemplified and eloquently described by a former “Summer Stars” student and 2012 graduate. As Brenaea Flucas, one of five members of that class to attend Princeton University, has written, “My education taught me that women are strong and that women of faith are even stronger. As I continue my education at Princeton University, Stuart is the reason that I hope to major in Public Policy and Religion. I plan to be the senator who redefines America’s public education system while maintaining my Christian values. Contrary to popular belief, I do not think this goal is naive, too ambitious, or impossible to achieve; I think it’s just what a Stuart girl is equipped to do.”

 

August 21, 2013
FAMILY FURNITURE: “We specialize in early American reproduction furniture, including tables, corner cupboards, hutches, benches, book cases, high boards, and pencil point (four-poster) beds, as well as a big range of accessories.” Phil (left), Owen, and Carol Cane, owners of Cane Farm Furniture in Rosemont, are seated at a dining room table in their showroom.

FAMILY FURNITURE: “We specialize in early American reproduction furniture, including tables, corner cupboards, hutches, benches, book cases, high boards, and pencil point (four-poster) beds, as well as a big range of accessories.” Phil (left), Owen, and Carol Cane, owners of Cane Farm Furniture in Rosemont, are seated at a dining room table in their showroom.

“It’s just like going to a farm in the country. You feel you’re in another world,” says a Cane Farm Furniture customer.

In fact, a visit to Cane Farm Furniture in Rosemont is a trip to the country and to what was once a poultry farm. Owner Phil Cane’s father, Charles Cane, started the chicken farm in 1927. Phil grew up on the farm, and the family lived in a stone farmhouse dating to 1822. The house still stands, and is currently rented to tenants.

In 1965, the family business changed direction, and woodworking became the focus, with an emphasis on early American reproduction and Shaker-style furniture.

“My dad enjoyed building furniture as a hobby, and it grew into a business,” says Phil and Carol Cane’s son Owen, also now an owner, and who works with his father building the furniture.

Handcrafted Furniture

Situated on 88 acres (50 are farmed) just off Route 519 in Rosemont, the company manufactures and sells furniture, and also rents a number of buildings to other businesses, including the U.S. Post Office.

The workshop is located near the showroom, which features a large selection of the Cane handcrafted furniture as well as lines from other manufacturers. Tables, benches, cabinets, hutches, desks, book cases, and beds are specialties, and much of the work is custom.

“Typical wood for early American furniture is pine,” explains Owen Cane, “and we also use cherry and walnut as well, especially if customers request it.”

Much of the furniture is painted, as it was in the 18th and early 19th centuries, he adds. Black, brick red, and dark green were popular then, and a number of the Cane’s pieces feature those colors.

A selection of Windsor chairs is also on display as well as Windsor benches, including those with double loops. “Plain and simple” settle benches are other special items, as are blanket chests and firewood boxes. An interesting wall-hanging cabinet features a door made of a shutter from one of the farm’s buildings. As Mr. Cane says, “It was a great way to re-cycle the shutter!

“Our pencil post (4-poster) beds are also very popular,” he adds, “and we have a low post version, too.”

Authentic Models

In addition to the pieces they make themselves, the Canes offer lines from other manufacturers, such as D.R. Dimes, Warren Chair Works, and Jonathan Charles. “We also sell upholstered furniture from Johnston Benchworks,” adds Mr. Cane.

An excellent and extensive selection of accessories is on display in addition to the fine quality furniture. The handsome and conveniently-designed 4,300 square foot showroom features six attractive room settings, offers lamps, wall art (including framed paintings of all kinds) and interesting decorative pieces. Vintage military prints and photos from the Civil War and World War I, also of old-time baseball and rowing teams, authentic models of World War I biplanes, and model boats, including a one-of-a-kind wooden sailing ship, featuring incredible workmanship and attention to detail, are all available.

A genuine propeller from a pre-jet age airplane is a conversation piece, and handsome copper post lanterns would be an addition to any exterior landscape. Fun metal reproduction “Balance Toys” appeal to children and adults alike, and collectors will also be intrigued by an authentic hatbox from the famous Dobbs Hat Company.

“The nice thing about our business is all the people we have met over the years,” notes Phil Cane. “There are many repeat customers from all over the area, including lots from Princeton.”

Test of Time

“I especially like making the furniture. It’s a collaboration with my dad,” adds Owen Cane, who has a degree in fine woodworking. “It’s creating something from a drawing and then seeing it come to life. I’m really hands-on. I like to work with my hands. Many of our pieces are really one-of-a-kind. The grain of the wood can be different in each piece.”

The Canes are proud that their pieces stand the test of time, and can be passed down from generation to generation. Every piece they make demonstrates their knowledge of 18th and 19th century construction details, materials, and finishes, and their respect for the properties of the wood.

Cane Furniture Farm’s location in rural Hunterdon County is a plus for visitors. Just outside of Stockton, the setting ensures a relaxed and unrushed visit. The nearby Colligan Inn (famous for the well in the Rodgers and Hart song “There’s A Small Hotel”) is a long-time Cane customer.

After more than 45 years in business, the Canes continue to enjoy their work and take pride in providing customers with quality furniture and accessories. As they say, “We look forward to doing this for a long time and seeing the business grow.”

Hours are Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 1 to 5, and by appointment. (609) 397-0606. Website: www.canefarmfurniture.com.

 

MIND, BODY, & SPIRIT: “Important benefits of yoga are self-awareness and self-care. Yoga affects you physically, mentally, and spiritually. People are attracted to yoga as a way to quiet their mind and make the body flexible and strong.” Certified yoga instructor Romy Toussaint, founder and owner of Romy Yoga, is shown demonstrating the yoga Tree Pose.

MIND, BODY, & SPIRIT: “Important benefits of yoga are self-awareness and self-care. Yoga affects you physically, mentally, and spiritually. People are attracted to yoga as a way to quiet their mind and make the body flexible and strong.” Certified yoga instructor Romy Toussaint, founder and owner of Romy Yoga, is shown demonstrating the yoga Tree Pose.

An hour of quiet amidst the rush of the smart phone, iPad, texting, twitter, and e-mail. An opportunity to stretch and exercise in a non-competitive environment. A chance to learn techniques of physical, mental, and spiritual mindfulness that can be incorporated into your daily life.

All of these are possibilities and options at Romy Yoga, located in Lawrenceville. Opened in 2007 by certified yoga instructor Romy Toussaint, it offers instruction for all ages, both men and women, and for people of all levels of yoga experience.

“My style is vinyasa yoga, focusing on flow, and I also incorporate different styles into a session,” explains Ms. Toussaint. “My teaching and practice are different. I incorporate yoga teaching and yoga philosophy into the session as well as the physical poses and exercise.

“There is an 8-fold path to yoga awareness,” she continues. “The yoga principles are actually like spokes on a wheel, and include Yamas (moral principles), Niyamas (personal discipline), Asana (physical postures), Pranayama (mindful breathing), Dharana (turning inward), Pratyahara (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (enlightenment).”

Beneficial Components

Yoga can be exceptionally helpful for one’s well-being, adds Ms. Toussaint, who came to the U.S. from Haiti, and discovered yoga in 1992. She points out the various beneficial components. “For example, what is your mental state when you come to the yoga class? What is it when you leave? Are you practicing gratitude? Are you being helpful and loving to others? And it is so important to be in the moment, which yoga helps you to do. It is an awareness of one’s breathing and concentration.

“Then there is the strength, flexibility, and balance component. All are significant in the yoga session.”

Ms. Toussaint had been working with other yoga studios in the area since 1998 before opening Romy Yoga. She is also a certified personal trainer, a specialty she continues to practice. “I had always been involved in physical fitness,” she explains. “I had been a soccer coach and swimming instructor in high school and college. Being physically active was very important.”

Her yoga students are all ages — from children to retirees — and she points out that it is never too late to begin. “One woman who was 65 came for the first time, and continues to come. She said ‘it has changed my life!’”

Many of Ms. Toussaint’s students emphasize the unique aspects of her classes. Lawrenceville resident David Morhaim has practiced yoga for 15 years, five with Ms. Toussaint. As he points out, “Several things set Romy apart, including her variety. She has never duplicated a class; she teaches all eight segments of yoga, and challenges us to incorporate them into our lives, on and off the mat!

“She’s also got a great sense of humor, and doesn’t hesitate to make us laugh in class. She is a true student of yoga and leads by example, and she creates a safe, spiritual space in which to practice. In short, she’s the best I’ve found!”

Sense of Clarity

Another student points out the completeness of Ms. Toussaint’s classes. “Romy is the complete yoga experience. She provides an amazing physical challenge, but even better is the mental clarity that is gained from every practice. I have gone to classes with other instructors, but she is definitely the most complete for both mind and body. I most enjoy how I feel when the class is over: relaxed, calm, with a sense of clarity. I can’t imagine my life either without yoga or without Romy!”

Ms. Toussaint also emphasizes that one’s state of fitness or health condition are taken into consideration. “If people have special physical constraints, such as injuries, arthritis, etc., they can still participate in yoga. I make it my priority to help everyone find what they need in the class. We can make modifications for individuals, and people can come in and do whatever they are able. I cater the practice to everyone in the room to their individual situations — and challenge them to be the best they can be, or to be as challenged as they want to be.

“One of my favorite times with a student was truly memorable. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and she came to yoga classes right after surgery and during all of the chemotherapy treatment. No matter how bad she was feeling, she came, and she always felt better when she left.”

Classes range from one-on-one to groups of four to 15, says Ms. Toussaint, and most students attend twice a week, although some come once a week.

Classes are held in a spacious studio in Ms. Toussaint’s home, and it is very conducive to a fulfilling yoga session. In addition to the yoga classes, she has special workshops. Most recently, there has been been a five-week “Yamas Immersion” in which students focus on the guiding principles of yoga.

“Studying these principles allows for the insight and wisdom to remain focused on truth so that the principles can grow and become manifest in all areas of our lives,” notes Ms. Toussaint. “Each week begins with an extended group practice focusing on each Yama through assana, meditation, reflection, and discussion.”

Yoga Retreats

Ms. Toussaint’s interest in yoga extends beyond her own classes. She attends yoga retreats and other yoga classes. As she points out, “I am a student of yoga as well as a teacher.”

She also teaches at Bristol Myers-Squibb and the Pennington Ewing Athletic Club, as well as giving presentations on yoga to various groups and organizations, including care-givers, corporations, and schools.

“In addition, I teach yoga to girls who are pregnant or who have had a baby, and have returned to school. This is in West Trenton, and is an opportunity for them to see how yoga can relate to their life. I have taught the history and philosophy of yoga, and little snippets that people can take back to their environment, whether it is a corporate environment, caregivers helping patients, or a teenaged girl struggling to continue her education, while she is pregnant or caring for a baby.”

Ms. Toussaint is elated to be able to do work she loves. “I enjoy this so much. I am always happy! I come out happier at the end of a class, and I enjoy how much I learn being with others and hearing their stories and seeing them all so pleased at the end of a class.

“I look forward to educating people about yoga and all its benefits. I am doing what I love!”

For more information and about class hours, call (732) 991-6607. Website: www.romyoga.com.

August 14, 2013
NATURALLY DELICIOUS: “Everything here is very healthy, all-natural without additives or preservatives. We make the juice right in front of the customers, and all the food is made fresh everyday too.” Ammel De Bernard, owner of Tico’s Eatery & Juice Bar, is shown near his juice machine, with wheat grass and fresh pineapple in the foreground.

NATURALLY DELICIOUS: “Everything here is very healthy, all-natural without additives or preservatives. We make the juice right in front of the customers, and all the food is made fresh everyday too.” Ammel De Bernard, owner of Tico’s Eatery & Juice Bar, is shown near his juice machine, with wheat grass and fresh pineapple in the foreground.

Tico’s Eatery & Juice Bar is a unique gathering place in Princeton. Located at 33 Witherspoon Street (corner of Witherspoon and Spring Street), it offers all-natural juices, super smoothies, and a variety of fresh, made-to-order sandwiches, including wraps and paninis, as well as tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and enchiladas.

In addition, breakfast, with omelets, egg, cheese, and bacon sandwiches and more, is available at this popular establishment.

Opened in July 2006, Tico’s is owned by Ammel and Renee De Bernard. Originally from Costa Rica, Mr. De Bernard explains that “Tico” is a nickname for a Costa Rican person. He has emphasized the Costa Rican focus on fresh fruit and vegetables in his restaurant.

“In Costa Rica, fresh fruit is always available. We eat it all the time, and we also have many fruit juices and smoothies.”

Smoothies and Juices

Carrying this tradition forward at Tico’s has been a big success. Even during the darkest days of the Recession, Tico’s kept going, with smoothies and juices always popular. Now, things have taken a turn for the better, Mr. De Bernard reports.

“The juice bar business has grown 400 percent in the last two years. It is 100 percent natural juice. We don’t add water or sugar, and we make it right in front of the customers.”

And there is a lot more than OJ! Strawberry, peach, watermelon, pineapple, mango, cantaloupe — to name just some, and customers can also request their own favorite combinations.

Smoothies, available with fresh fruit and frozen yogurt, or as frosties with ice and fruit only, also have a variety of choices. “Tropical Storm” with mango, strawberry, orange, and banana; “Costa Rican”:  mango, pineapple and banana; “Jamaican Jammer”: pineapple, strawberry, orange, and banana — and many others — are sure to please on a hot summer day. Some customers make it a point to sample each smoothie, says Mr. De Bernard.

One of the most popular is “The Green Monster”, he adds. It includes organic kale, organic spinach, celery, cucumber, green apple, lemon, and ginger. It is available in 16-ounce and 24-ounce servings, as are all the juices.

Mr. De Bernard is very particular about the fruit and vegetables he includes, and as he says, “I go to the produce market and pick out the fruit and vegetables myself. Some fruit, like the pineapples, comes from Costa Rica.”

Informal Food

Informal food, including breakfast and lunch choices, features sandwiches, salads, soup of the day, quesadillas, burritos, paninis, enchiladas, and tacos, among other options.

Tico’s has a Latino flavor, with the tacos, burritos, quesadillas and enchiladas, but it is not exclusively “South of the Border”, says Mr. De Bernard. The paninis add a touch — and taste — of Italy, and hummus is a Middle Eastern favorite.

Many customers come in more than once a week for their favorite juice and smoothie, as well as their lunch of choice. Among the popular quesadillas are the chicken and cheese, BBQ chicken (with chicken, cheddar, black beans, corn, and onions), and the Veggie Deluxe, with roasted red peppers, portabella mushrooms, spinach, cheddar, and feta cheese.

Tacos, burritos, and enchiladas are all made to order, and many combinations are available. This is also true of the paninis, and favorites include Tico’s Signature Panini — Caribbean-style marinated steak with sauteed onions and cheese; Napa Valley Chicken Panini, including grilled chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, marinated portabella mushroms, sliced tomatoes, red onion, and parmesan pepper corn dressing; also, Turkey Habenero Panini with oven roasted turkey, roasted red peppers, red onion, baby spinach, Monterey Jack cheese, and habanero sauce.

Mr. De Bernard has been careful to keep his prices reasonable. Breakfast sandwiches start at $2.95, paninis are $7.45, lunch sandwiches $6.49. tacos and enchiladas $5.95, juices from $3.99, and smoothies $4.29.

“I’m really trying to make a difference for people,” he says. “What I really enjoy is interacting with customers and seeing them happy with what we have here. If I can help them become aware of the need for a healthier diet, that is important.”

Healthiest Place

Mr. De Bernard, who is also a wood worker with a Master’s degree in furniture restoration, has been working with a dietician to offer 3-day and 5-day juice cleanses. “This is very helpful for digestion and can also help in weight loss,” he explains. “We’re the healthiest place in town! The shelf life of anything we have is 30 minutes. There is no shelf life! Everything is completely fresh. I want people to be aware of things like expiration dates and also of how your food is made and the ingredients. This is so important for your health.

“We also work hard to keep up with what the world wants,” he continues. “We keep updating all the time. I want to be a real part of the community. I’m here to stay! This is not about getting rich for me. My satisfaction is with the community getting healthier. There are a lot of smiling faces here, and I have gotten to know so many of the customers. This is the real pleasure.”

Tico’s can seat 26 at the restaurant, and take-out is also available. In addition, he now has a juice truck, and can make juice and smoothies for special events, and he is also regularly at the Trenton Farmers Market.

Restaurant Hours are Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Customers may call ahead to order. (609) 252-0300. Website: www.ticosprinceton.com.

 

HELPING HANDS: The rehabilitation team at Princeton Care Center consists of three distinct therapy disciplines: physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Each discipline focuses on a different aspect of patient care. Shown is Carole Rotilio (above) practicing a physical therapy step-walking exercise with the help of physician assistant therapist Kasia Rebus.

HELPING HANDS: The rehabilitation team at Princeton Care Center consists of three distinct therapy disciplines: physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Each discipline focuses on a different aspect of patient care. Shown is Carole Rotilio (above) practicing a physical therapy step-walking exercise with the help of physician assistant therapist Kasia Rebus.

Providing qualified, compassionate care, a congenial environment, and stimulation through a variety of activities and events are the priorities of Princeton Care Center.

“At Princeton Care Center, we are dedicated to the ‘Art of Living Well,’” notes the staff of the long-term and sub-acute rehabilitation facility. “Our residents enjoy dignified care in a location that encourages independence and enhances self-esteem.”

For people whose physical or mental condition make long-term care a necessity, Princeton Care Center is a positive option. Formerly the Princeton Nursing Home on Quarry Street, it reopened at 728 Bunn Drive 10 years ago, and offers skilled nursing care.

“We are an independent, family-owned business, and one of the last ‘Mom and Pop’ operations in the nursing home field,” says William Bogner, owner and director of Princeton Care Center since 1985.

High Standards

It’s a very hands-on business, adds Mr. Bogner’s son Ezra Bogner, LNHA, who is the facility’s administrator. “I grew up in the business, and we are very personally involved. One of us is always here. This is such satisfying work. I enjoy being able to help and provide for people in need. Our guiding principle is that this is the residents’ home. We want them to be comfortable and feel secure.”

The staff is acutely important in establishing that atmosphere, and ensuring that capable, qualified, and caring staff members are available at all times is a priority. As Mr. Bogner points out, “We look for people with warmth and compassion. And we do thorough background checks. We have set very high standards. This is critically important.”

Princeton Care Center is very proud of its staff at every level, adds Patricia Chiorello, Vice President of Operations. “There is real longevity with our staff. One staff member has been here for 40 years, others 30, and many for more than 10 and 15 years.

“We have registered nurses, and the social workers and aides are all licensed or certified. Nurses are on-site 24 hours a day, and residents are seen by physicians, including specialists, on the premises. Dental, podiatry, audiology, pharmaceutical specialists, and a dietician are all available.”

Long-term care includes a designated expanded area for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, whose care is overseen by specialists in that field.

Also, points out william Bogner: “Every measure is taken not to have residents go to the hospital unless absolutely necessary. We have IV therapy here, a lab for blood work and other tests, X-ray facility, and EKG. In addition, hospice services can be arranged, and residents on hospice can stay here.”

Privacy and Space

119 individuals can be accommodated in the 65,000 square foot, 3-story facility, which features spacious private and semi-private rooms, all scrupulously clean. “The double rooms are Lazy L shape,” adds Ms. Chiorello, “The beds are not side by side, so there is more of a sense of privacy and individual space.”

Other features include a centrally-situated nurse’s station for each unit, lounge/recreation room in each unit, physical therapy gym, occupational therapy suite, hair salon and barber services, and attractive dining rooms. In addition, handsomely landscaped grounds, featuring walkways and patio, encourage residents to spend time outdoors.

The decision to enter a long-term care facility is one of the most difficult a person can face, and the staff is very much aware of this, says Ms. Chiorello. “We often see families in very difficult, stressful situations. They are trying to do the best they can, but realize they need more help to care for their loved one. I am so glad when we can put it together for people, and see the residents come to their new environment and have a positive experience.”

In fact, she adds, it often becomes more positive than was hoped for. “When residents are with people of their own generation, they can share memories, experiences and stories that they will all understand and appreciate. There is socialization and stimulation.”

William Bogner adds that the double room setting is also frequently a plus. “We see people from different backgrounds in double rooms who get along and become good friends. Sometimes, I thought it might be a problem, but so often, they get along very well. It’s amazing how often it works, and is a positive arrangement.”

A variety of activities is available for the residents, and they are encouraged to participate to the extent they are able. Activities are tailored to the individual. Bingo, gardening, flower arranging, painting, exercise programs, religious services, entertainment (singers, poetry reading, sing-a-longs), movies, and library setting are all offered, as well as visits from intergenerational volunteers.

Events and Outings

Events and outings are scheduled, including a birthday party with cake and entertainment each month for all those celebrating a birthday that month. Special holiday programs, such as a Fourth of July barbecue, are planned, and residents can choose to participate in restaurant, theatre, and museum outings, among others.

Pet therapy dogs are welcome to visit residents, says Ezra Bogner, and families may also bring their own pets. “Many residents enjoy this opportunity to spend time with a friendly animal.”

Dining service is the best, adds William Bogner. “Much of our dining service is restaurant-style. Residents order from a menu with a variety of choices, and meals are served. It adds a very nice touch.”

Both long-term residents and short-term sub-acute patients (those who require specific therapy after a stroke, heart attack, injury, surgery, hip/knee replacement, etc.) participate in rehabilitation care, which includes physical, occupational, restorative, and recreational therapy, and cardiac recovery.

20 beds are available for rehab patients, and they have their own dining room. They stay for varying lengths of time depending on their situation. As Ms. Chiorello notes, “We have to be sure they will have a safe discharge to home and be able to do everything they need to do in their home environment.”

William Bogner is proud of Princeton Care Center’s commitment to the highest standards, and that the facility has been awarded a 5-Star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “We keep our standards strong in today’s challenging world of health care. There are more and more demands on the system.

“The positive feedback we receive means so much to us. People will come and say ‘My uncle was here, my mother was here, and they had such good experiences.’ We get letters from people who say we have made a difference for them and their family. I do appreciate the positive feedback so much and knowing that we have been able to help people who need it.”

Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance are accepted by Princeton Care Center. For further information, call (609) 924-9000.

Website: www.princetoncarecenter.com.

CONSUMER-FRIENDLY: “We bring consumers and businesses together in one place. It is the most efficient way to see products,” says James McLaughlin, Sr., partner in MAC Events, LLC. Shown is a photo of a MAC Events Home & Garden Show at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, Va.

CONSUMER-FRIENDLY: “We bring consumers and businesses together in one place. It is the most efficient way to see products,” says James McLaughlin, Sr., partner in MAC Events, LLC. Shown is a photo of a MAC Events Home & Garden Show at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, Va.

“This industry has really been around from the time of the old Persian markets, when the caravans of camels would bring in goods, and people gathered to see what was available.”

James McLaughlin, Sr.,  partner in MAC Events, located in Spring Lake, refers to the time-honored custom of showcasing products and services for consumers to examine and evaluate in a central and convenient location.

“If you build it, they will come” was the famous line in the movie Field of Dreams. That happened to be about baseball, but the concept is similar. Offering opportunities for interested consumers to see a large number of products in one setting is a proven winner.

“These kinds of shows and events are a multi-billion dollar business,” reports Mr. McLaughlin, who has been in the business since 1969. “It really started when I was in the RV (recreational vehicle) business. By Labor Day, we always had a lot left over, so we decided to have an event featuring them. We rented Convention Hall in Asbury Park, and it was a big success. So, I got into the promotion business. Now, we promote businesses with Home, Flower, and Women’s shows. We have nine consumer and two trade shows every year. They are currently held in New Jersey and Virginia.”

Three Areas

The consumer shows enable businesses to exhibit their products for the consumers. The trade shows are business-to-business. That is, a business displays items that other businesses are interested in. For example, a builders show featuring building supplies would draw builders and contractors.

The consumer shows focus on three areas: home, flowers, and products and services appealing to women.

“In the Home shows, we have everything except furniture,” points out Mr. McLaughlin. “Windows, doors, kitchen supplies, interior decorating, exterior siding, etc.”

Flower shows highlight flowers, gardens, landscape design, garden accessories, outdoor lighting, and more. The Women’s events offer an interesting variety, he adds. “They can include fashion, cosmetics, and jewelry, as well as travel and food, and information on health and medical issues. Health professionals can be on hand to give seminars and educational material.”

Celebrities are often invited to the events, reports Mr. McLaughlin. “They will come and meet and greet the consumers, sign autographs, answer questions, etc. Some of our most popular celebrities were the people from the PBS This Old House TV series. They were great, very down-to-earth and friendly.”

Mr. Mclaughlin’s specialty is looking for and finding opportunities in advertising, marketing, and research. These shows and events are a win-win situation both for businesses and consumers, he believes.

Best Value

“If someone buys an ad in a newspaper that they can afford to pay for, they hope that enough people will see it and respond. We can run ads in many newspapers that will be seen by many readers, as well as ads on line, on billboards, etc. This is the best value for a small business for display and presentation and the most efficient way to see products. Take it directly to the consumer who is interested in that product. For example, if someone is planning a new kitchen, they can see the possibilities first hand.”

Once he and his partners decide on the focus for an event, then they find a suitable location, he explains. “If we decide to have a show in Edison, for example, we have to find the right setting. This could be a shopping mall, banquet hall, college campus, arena, etc. We have had events all over, including in Giant Stadium in the Meadowlands.

“Next, we rent the place, and then find the businesses to participate. We have anywhere from 150 to 300 to 400 companies, most typically between 200 and 300. 85 percent are repeat businesses. We can get anywhere from 2,000 to 25,000 consumers coming to the event, which lasts two to four days, with consumers coming within a 20 mile radius, even 40 miles for the flower shows.”

MAC Events provides the place and the booths, and the companies are responsible for setting up their displays. All sizes of businesses, including retail stores, participate.

Planning and Execution

Mr. McLaughlin enjoys seeing all the planning for the event come together. “The organization and execution of the event is very satisfying. I also really
enjoy walking up and down the aisles, watching people buy flowers, seed, lawn care products and equipment, whatever they’re interested in, and just generally enjoying themselves.

“Also, one of the nicest things about this business is that we don’t have inventory to worry about. We don’t own a thing; we rent everything.”

The Home and Flower shows are typically held January to March and also in October and November.

For further information on MAC Events, call (800) 332-3976. Website: www.macevents.com.

 

August 7, 2013
ROAD TO RECYCLING: “When small businesses and home owners make an effort to recover scrap metals and old appliances, machinery and equipment, it reduces the need for mining, refining, and producing new metals, an extremely polluting process,” says Dan Brown, owner of Metal Recovery Systems LLC. He is shown in front of one of his collection/delivery trucks.

ROAD TO RECYCLING: “When small businesses and home owners make an effort to recover scrap metals and old appliances, machinery and equipment, it reduces the need for mining, refining, and producing new metals, an extremely polluting process,” says Dan Brown, owner of Metal Recovery Systems LLC. He is shown in front of one of his collection/delivery trucks.

Dan Brown is helping to save the planet.

As owner of Metal Recovery Systems LLC, he collects metal products, including scrap metal, appliances, machinery, and equipment, and delivers it to a junk yard, where it is targeted for recycling. Preventing these items from adding to the mass of debris in overflowing landfills is an enormous contribution to a healthier, safer, and more sustainable environment.

Born and brought up in Princeton, Mr. Brown has worked as a superintendent in several buildings, and as he says, “I saw a lot of stuff lying around that people didn’t know what to do with. I realized that there could be a business in collecting it, especially with builders and plumbers. They often have to get rid of water heaters, cast iron tubs, and other metal objects and appliances.”

In January 2012, he opened Metal Recovery Systems LLC, which is headquartered in Princeton.

Far-Reaching

It’s a simple plan, with significant and far-reaching consequences. “The way it works is that individual homeowners or business people call ahead — 24 hours notice is helpful — to let me know they have items to be picked up,” explains Mr. Brown. “I go to their location, collect what they have, and when I have filled up my truck, I take everything to an area junk yard. They weigh the truck with the contents on a giant scale, and I am paid according to the weight. Cast iron items are separated, also copper and brass, because these bring higher prices.”

The collection is free of charge to Princeton residents and businesses who provide the discarded items. There is a nominal charge to cover gas for clients in the surrounding area, says Mr. Brown. A typical job takes a half hour to pick up the items. It is a year-round business. “As long as I can get the truck on the road, we’re good to go,” he adds, with a smile.

Items include a wide array of metal objects. Appliances of all kinds — stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves, and toasters; also floor and table lamps, outdoor products, such as lawnmowers, wheelbarrows, and yard tools, including power tools, are all collected.

“We will even take junked cars, also steel shelving and cabinets, as well as electronics and IT equipment containing both metal and plastic, such as computers, TVs, cell phones, iPods and gaming consoles,” points out Mr. Brown. “Large metal-based items, including furnaces and old farm equipment are other products, and we also collect copper wires and pipes, brass pipes, and plumbing fixtures.

“I find unusual things too: for example, a golf cart,” he continues. “People accumulate many things over the years, and some of the customers are people who are moving and cleaning out. They have been really receptive. They get to clean out their house, I take it away free of charge, and it’s getting recycled.”

A win-win prospect, for sure.

Repeat Customers

Mr. Brown’s focus is Princeton and Mercer County, but he has also collected items in other areas of central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. The business has grown steadily, he reports, and he has many repeat customers and lots of referrals.

“Businesses, especially plumbers and builders, are my primary source, and I have also worked with restaurants as well as lots of homeowners.”

Occasionally, Mr. Brown finds items that he likes and decides to keep, such as a vintage, handsomely crafted metal bucket and a brass mortar and pestle from a pharmacy of long ago. “When it can be salvaged, sometimes I can give an item a second life myself.”

Mr. Brown is proud of the work his company is doing to help the environment. “Our primary goal is to work with corporations, small business owners, and our fellow American citizens to continually push the percentages of metals that are recycled higher with each passing year, hoping one day to reach a level of 95 percent of all metals being recycled.”

He also wants clients to know that they will receive an Accredited Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emmission Reduction Certification when he picks up their material.

“Whether we remove a washing machine from your house, or many thousands of pounds of scrap from your factory each month, Metal Recovery Systems issues you a signed and sealed certificate that legally accredits the GHG Emission Reduction Credit to your business or family.

Smart Sustainability

“When you work with Metal Recovery Systems to have your metal recovered by us directly from your business location, residence, school, or your company worksite, this planet-friendly greenhouse gas reducing efficiency allows for tremendous reductions in carbon emissions when compared to recovering metals further down the waste stream. It’s just one more example of Smart Sustainability in action.

“As the owner/operator of this business, I work hand-in-hand with the community to build relationships. It’s been a challenge and an adventure. I’m having fun and the satisfaction that I’m helping to dispose of metal garbage in a responsible fashion and avoid having the material sit in landfills indefinitely.

“I hope to see the company grow and to have an even bigger customer base. I have two trucks now, and eventually, I’d like a fleet of trucks!

“It’s important to build trust,” he continues. “I’m a member of the community. This is my town. I’ve been a volunteer fireman for 12 years. What I hope for is to develop the reputation in town that when someone needs to have metal products removed, they call Dan. They will know that he gets the job done well, and is courteous and responsible.”

Metal Recovery Systems is available Monday through Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (609) 577-2396. Website: www.metalreco.com.

COMPASSIONATE CARE: “We want our residents to be as independent as they can be and reach their potential. It is so important to get to know them, and we want it to be as if we are helping them in their own home.” Merwick Care & Rehabilitation Center Director of Admissions and Marketing Rowena DeCicco is proud of Merwick’s personal attention and compassion for residents. Shown in the photo are assistant administrator Barry Fliegelman (right) and assistant activities director Susan Grollman wishing a happy birthday to one of the long-term residents.

COMPASSIONATE CARE: “We want our residents to be as independent as they can be and reach their potential. It is so important to get to know them, and we want it to be as if we are helping them in their own home.” Merwick Care & Rehabilitation Center Director of Admissions and Marketing Rowena DeCicco is proud of Merwick’s personal attention and compassion for residents. Shown in the photo are assistant administrator Barry Fliegelman (right) and assistant activities director Susan Grollman wishing a happy birthday to one of the long-term residents.

Individual, personalized care and assistance are the priority of Merwick Care & Rehabilitation Center. As its mission statement points out: “Our compassionate, caring, and friendly staff provide long-term skilled nursing services addressing the medical, social, and emotional needs of each individual. We promote autonomy while at the same time providing individual support services, guided by the principle that aging should be a continued stage of development and growth, rather than a period of decline.

“We are dedicated to supporting and nurturing the individual by embracing a person-centered care approach. We strive to consistently deliver the highest level of services in a comfortable setting that respects personal dignity, achieves positive outcomes, and enhances the quality of life. Our positive approach to long-term care transforms conventional institutions into diverse environments where residents participate in a rich daily life.”

Merwick’s new facility, opened in 2010 at 100 Plainsboro Road, is directly across from the recently-opened University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro.

With its 200 beds, including 80 for short-term rehabilitation, it is substantially larger than its former setting at 79 Bayard Lane, with 88 beds, notes Director of Admissions and Marketing Rowena DeCicco. The new facility is owned by Windsor Healthcare Communities, a long-time company in the healthcare industry.

Princeton History

Merwick has a long Princeton history. Opened in 1957, it was for many years the care and rehabilitation unit of Princeton Hospital. Its location at 79 Bayard Lane was the long-time home of the late Paul Matthews, Episcopal Bishop of New Jersey. His home where he lived for 42 years, contained a small chapel or “oratory” built by the Bishop.

The current facility is notable for its configuration and numerous and spacious windows, allowing light to stream in throughout the area. Patients’ rooms all have large windows, creating a view of the Millstone River and Park.

“There are more amenities in the new building,” says Ms. DeCicco, who has been involved in healthcare for 10 years. “We also have a big focus on stimulation and socializing. We have stimulation rooms and solarium rooms, as well as sitting areas and four small libraries situated at various places throughout the building. Aides and activities specialists are always there to lend assistance and guidance.

“Exercise is important too,” she adds. “We have a 3500 square-foot fitness center both for the rehab patients and long-term residents. Weight training and strength equipment and treadmills are all available. There are also physical, occupational, and speech therapists on hand.”

Therapy Dogs

Activities include arts and crafts, trivia games, Bingo, music, live entertainment with singers and DJs, a Netflix movie night every week, as well as wine and cheese gatherings. Every other week, films are shown on the big screen in the facility’s movie theater. Daily events are posted as well as televised on Merwick’s in-house channel. In addition, therapy dogs visit patients, and this is becoming more and more popular for those in long-term care. Family members may also bring a pet dog to visit, if it has up-to-date vaccinations.

Of the 120 long-term residents’ rooms, 50 are private. The spacious semi-private rooms are outfitted with wall room dividers, offering a distinct sense of privacy. All rooms have complimentary flat screen TVs, telephones, call buttons, touch light lamps, and in-wall oxygen. There is also an area set aside for patients suffering from dementia and related conditions. Hospice services are also available, when needed.

Doctors and nurses are always available, reports Ms. DeCicco. “Either the medical director or associate medical director is always here, and nurses are here 24/7. There are three social workers, as well as our physical, occupational, and speech therapists. Aides are available to help patients with medications and personal care, such as bathing, grooming, etc. We also have a dietician on staff, a beauty salon, spa therapy, yoga, and geriatric massage.”

Two dining rooms, where meals are served to patients at tables with fresh linens, are attractively designed, and patients can also be served meals in their rooms, if preferable. Outdoor areas for relaxing, reading, or socialization are another way for people to be together.

“Windsor Care has really thought of everything,” points out Ms. DeCicco. “They have added iPad services and Wi-Fi internet throughout the building. We also have a Merwick van to transport residents to outings, including shopping, restaurants, and other recreational activities.”

The sub-acute rehabilitation center, located in the Luxor Pavilion, is directed by Kessler.Core, a division of the famous Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. Short-term medical and rehab services are provided for those who are recovering from surgery, injuries, strokes, etc.

Strength and Stamina

“This is a bridge between hospital and home,” points out Ms. DeCicco. “We have 80 sub-acute rehab beds, and rehab is very individual, depending on the needs of the patient. Some stay for a few days, others for a 100 days. People are helped in so many areas, such as improving their strength and stamina, balance, walking up and down stairs, getting in and out of bed, and also going outside. We have a therapy garden with a gazebo, which will open in June. This includes all different surfaces — brick, pavement, sand, and a putting green — that people can encounter when they leave rehab.”

The rehab unit also includes Nintendo Wii, where patients can interactively play a variety of games, helping them improve balance, coordination, standing tolerance, etc.

Ms. DeCicco is proud of the experience and skill of the Merwick staff. “They exhibit the qualities of compassion, kindness, and patience so important in healthcare work. We also have volunteers, including some from Princeton University, who help in a number of ways, such as assisting with activities, visiting with patients, transporting them, and helping in administrative work.

“On May 29, we will have an event, ‘Spring Into Shape’. It’s a Senior Health and Fitness day open to the public. We will have information on health, balance, and blood pressure screenings, healthy eating tips, entertainment, and food,” adds Ms. DeCicco.

Merwick has enjoyed a fine reputation over the years, she adds. It has registered in the 97th, 98th, and 99th percentile for cleanliness, quality of medical care, admission process, and choices/preferences according to the National Research Corporation Survey Data of New Jersey Skilled Nursing Facilities.

“I really enjoy our long-term residents, says Ms. DeCicco. “I love hearing their histories and stories, and I am happy when rehab patients are able to return to their homes and resume their lives. Merwick has a long history, and the residents are really the history at Merwick.”

For more information, call (609)-759-6000, or consult the website: www.windsorhealth
care.org\merwick.

July 31, 2013
LANGUAGE OF LAUGHTER: “I hope I have created a universal platform. Laughter is a bond for everyone. It’s a bridge to others.” Actress, comedienne, and teacher Susanna Spies, president and founder of Comedy Playground, is offering a week-long Comedy Camp for kids in August.

LANGUAGE OF LAUGHTER: “I hope I have created a universal platform. Laughter is a bond for everyone. It’s a bridge to others.” Actress, comedienne, and teacher Susanna Spies, president and founder of Comedy Playground, is offering a week-long Comedy Camp for kids in August.

Helping kids find their voice through stand-up comedy is the goal of comedienne, actress, and drama teacher Susanna Spies.

The Princeton native, graduate of Littlebrook School and Princeton High School, will be back in her home town the week of August 19-23 to launch her Comedy Playground Summer Camp for kids and interested adults.

“With stand-up, I think you can show your own view of the world,” says Ms. Spies, president and founder of Comedy Playground. “I try to help students be comfortable with their own voice. They get to use real experiences, personal material, whatever is on their mind.”

An actress and stand-up comedienne, Ms. Spies has performed in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York, among other locations.

Character Work

Best known for her character work, she has introduced her “faces” on stages throughout the U.S., in “The Dryer”, featuring more than 30 characters in her one-woman show. She recently filmed Nuvo TV’s hit stand-up show, Stand Up and Deliver, and has performed at the most well-known comedy venues in Los Angeles, including The Improv, Comedy Store, Laugh Factory, Comedy Union, and many other venues throughout the U.S.

Always interested in working with young people, she was a drama instructor for middle school students in Los Angeles, and developed her own curriculum.

Eventually, this led to her establishment of Comedy Playground, a program for youth, headquartered out of the Hollywood Improv. The program started with three students, and now has reached thousands since its beginning in 2002.

Ms. Spies works with students ages eight to 19, as well as with adults, 19 to 45 in “Finding Your Funny” workshops, and for seniors 55-103 in “Senior Stand-up” workshops.

“Laughter is ageless, a universal longing, a tool helpful to all,” she points out. “One of my students was a 103-year-old woman who used a walker. She could focus on her own issues with humor. It’s never too late to laugh!”

People come to Comedy Playground classes for a variety of reasons, she adds. For many, it’s simply a chance to have fun, while others may be hoping for a career in comedy.

Point of View

“Some of the kids who have come to my classes have been successful in getting work in comedy,” says Ms. Spies. In fact, after eight weeks of classes in improvisation and stand-up comedy under her tutelage, all the students have an opportunity to perform at Hollywood Improv.???

The training process involves activities that not only examine the structure and delivery of jokes, but also encourages participants to express their point of view. “I’m encouraging them to share who they are through comedy,” explains Ms. Spies.

The three hour classes include improvisation and warm-up exercises, then developing stand-up routines. “It’s heart to head to hand,” she continues. “They feel it, think about it, and then write it. Stand-up takes discipline and focus. It’s very concentrated. You start with ‘What I feel’ and then think about it. That’s the premise, and then we develop a joke.”

The kids are free to have fun, without worrying that they may be wrong or making a mistake, she adds. “I like them to understand that there are no wrong answers. The hardest thing is to get them to believe that whatever they do is okay and won’t be wrong. They can feel free to be themselves.”

Students benefit from the classes in many ways, she believes. “It increases self-confidence and self-esteem, and also helps develop time management skills, presentational skills, critical thinking, and expository skills. It’s wonderful to see a very timid kid come of his or her shyness. They can blossom and become passionate about doing stand-up. I love bonding with the kids and giving them this opportunity. I’m really passionate about this.”

Ms. Spies is equally passionate about her own performances. As she says, “When I’m performing, I’m at home; I’m in my element, and am very free and liberated.

Comedy Boot Camp

Offering the Comedy Camp Workshop for kids and young people, aged 8 to 13 and 14 to 19, as well as for interested adults, is Ms. Spies way of sharing her skills with the residents of her home town. The camp will be held August 19 through 23, for one week. Cost for the camp is $375, with classes Monday through Friday at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“This is week-long comedy ‘boot camp’, with an ending show,” explains Ms. Spies. And no previous experience needed. As she says, “You don’t have to have any performing experience, as long as you have opinions, like to laugh, and have something to say. You learn your own stand-up comedy routine, develop it from ideas, and share it with the community.”

She adds that programs in the arts can always benefit from the generosity of individuals and organizations. “We will be grateful to anyone who supports us at any level.”

Energy and a sense of excitement accompany the Comedy Camp, and as she points out, “My motto is ‘Why sit … when you can stand up!’ and ‘We each have our own story … now is the time to share it!’”

Register as soon as possible. Places are limited. For more information call (323) 397-2709, email Susanna at susanna@comedyplayground.com or visit the website: www.comedyplayground.com.

FINANCIAL FUTURE: “A boutique investment advisory organization is small and focused. We do investment management only. Our career portfolio managers carefully research and analyze companies for sound investment ideas.” R. Todd Lincoln, partner and co-founder of Princeton Portfolio Strategies Group LLC, is shown second from left in the back with the firm’s team, including back row: Rob Hoffman, Bill Hamill, Ned Grassi. Front row: Lindsey Amery, Carlton Savoye, Suzanne Twitchell. New partner Alan Moucha is missing from the photo.

FINANCIAL FUTURE: “A boutique investment advisory organization is small and focused. We do investment management only. Our career portfolio managers carefully research and analyze companies for sound investment ideas.” R. Todd Lincoln, partner and co-founder of Princeton Portfolio Strategies Group LLC, is shown second from left in the back with the firm’s team, including back row: Rob Hoffman, Bill Hamill, Ned Grassi. Front row: Lindsey Amery, Carlton Savoye, Suzanne Twitchell. New partner Alan Moucha is missing from the photo.

How best to plan for retirement? What about rising college costs? How to establish a legacy plan?

Whether they are on the verge of retirement, a family with young children, or individuals deciding how best to disperse their assets when their own lives are over, many people are concerned about all of these issues.

Helping individuals, families, small endowments, and non-profit organizations to identify their financial objectives and manage and grow their assets is the mission of Princeton Portfolio Strategies Group LLC.

Established in 2011, it is a small (seven partners), independently-owned SEC-registered investment advisory firm, located at 212 Carnegie Center, Roszel Road.

Highly Focused

“We manage portfolios of publicly-traded securities for private clients and non-profit institutions who seek objectives-based investment strategies and a partnership approach to wealth management and client service,” explains R. Todd Lincoln, co-founder and partner.

In the wealth management business since 1984, Mr. Lincoln began his career with Merrill Lynch in San Francisco. He came to Princeton 27 years ago, and in 1999 joined the Princeton firm Glenmede Trust. When the opportunity to create a boutique, highly focused investment management firm arose, he and like-minded colleagues decided to take on this new adventure two years ago.

“Our clients are high net worth individuals and institutions, including libraries and foundations, who are looking for something different from what most financial services firms offer,” says Mr. Lincoln. “We can deliver proprietary, value-added advice, and portfolio management strategies not typically found at ‘platform-based’ financial services firms, such as brokerages, banks, and trust companies. We find opportunities for individuals and institutions who think out of the box.

“We invest primarily in publicly traded securities with strategies ranging from balanced portfolios of carefully selected stocks and bonds to concentrated all-capitalization equity portfolios.

“I’m on the advisory side,” he adds. “I help clients and institutions understand the options, and that this is an opportunity for a long-standing relationship with us. We help them identify their objectives and explain about risk tolerance.”

Mr. Lincoln points out that the portfolio managers spend many hours researching and analyzing companies. They visit companies and management teams, and deliberate among themselves before buying or selling a security for client portfolios.

Investment Ideas

“Investment ideas arise both through top-down and bottom-up channels,” continues Mr. Lincoln. “Many of our investment ideas are generated through research of economic and industry trends, and the companies fulfilling the needs implied by such trends. All investment opportunities are evaluated from three analytical perspectives that together help us identify individual portfolio candidates with sound risk/return profiles.

“(1) Economic or industry trends. We look for companies that will be the beneficiaries of powerful and long-lasting industry or economic growth trends. (2) Business model. We must be able to understand how a company makes money and the quality and sustainability of its competitive advantages. (3) Valuation. We look for a current stock price or company ‘valuation’ that allows us to see proper growth patterns and eventual prosperity.

“Once a stock becomes a portfolio holding, we critically and continuously monitor the company’s industry prospects, its operations, and its stock valuation to measure how these factors are evolving vis-a-vis our investment thesis.

“Diversification is always important, such as including 20 to 30 companies that are all different, but it is also important to be opportunistic and find companies that will fit our disciplined approach and investment process.

“We have a lot of client engagement,” adds Mr. Lincoln. “Many are very involved in their portfolio. We try to be as transparent as possible. We want clients to be engaged and know what we are doing and why.”

Clients are from all over — from Princeton to San Francisco — and they are all ages. “We have 20-year-olds and 80-year-olds. We want to start the 20-year-olds out on the right track. The key is trust. We find that people go to professionals who want to build trust, and then continue to build on that trust to form a long-term relationship.”

Financial Future

The economic turmoil beginning in 2008 brought with it an icy wind of worry for many who feared for their financial future. Some called it the Great Recession, almost rivaling the Great Depression of the 1930s.

“We call it the ‘Great Re-setting’,” reports Mr. Lincoln. “People began to reset priorities and values. I hope we will have a smarter planet, and I think we have smarter consumers going forward. They are paying off debts, and investing more. The internet allows the individual consumer to be more informed, to learn, and get background. It’s important to educate yourself upfront.”

People still have concerns about the U.S. economy and the uncertainty in the world situation today, he notes, “but public corporations are delivering share holder value in spite of the government’s dysfunction.

“We look forward to growing our firm over time, and getting our story and business points out to people. In the competitive landscape today, we want to explain our story and our differences, and give like-minded investors an opportunity to work with us. We have an eye towards long-term investing: that is, three to five years of holding a stock on average. Our own money is managed along with that of our clients. Princeton Portfolio Strategies Group are investors, not traders — a very important distinction.”

For more information, call (609) 436-5680. Website: www.princetonpsg.com.

 

July 24, 2013
VIOLIN VIRTUOSITY: "This is a full-service violin shop, including restoration, appraisals, acquisitions, new violins, and rentals. I make and restore violins and also continue to perform." Jarek Powichrowski, owner of Princeton Violins, LLC in Kingston, looks forward to sharing information about violins with his customers.

VIOLIN VIRTUOSITY: “This is a full-service violin shop, including restoration, appraisals, acquisitions, new violins, and rentals. I make and restore violins and also continue to perform.” Jarek Powichrowski, owner of Princeton Violins, LLC in Kingston, looks forward to sharing information about violins with his customers.

Not only can Jarek Powichrowski produce beautiful music on the violin, he also restores, repairs, and makes the instrument.

Owner of Princeton Violins LLC at 4444 Main Street (Route 27) in Kingston, Mr. Powichrowski is eager to share his expertise with area musicians and music lovers.

“This is an upscale violin shop. I specialize in and carry fine instruments from contemporary violin makers, also Italian and French violins from the 18th and 19th centuries.”

Mr. Powichrowski, who was born and grew up in Poland, began studying the violin before he was 10. He loved it right away. “I wanted to play very much. I had been fascinated by a little violin in the display window. And I was also very interested in how the violin worked.”

Master of Music

Jarek studied at the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, earning a Master of Music degree. During this time, he was also chosen to perform with Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra in New Orleans.

After studying at the Summer Academy Mozarteum in Salzburg, he later auditioned for noted violinist Professor Lewis Kaplan of the Julliard School of Music in New York. Jarek was given a full scholarship, arranged by Professor Kaplan, to study with him at the Mannes School of Music at the New School in New York, where he earned his second Master of Music degree.

Jarek then went on to study with Professor Kaplan at the Julliard School in the Advanced Certificate in Performance program. He performed two seasons with the Bowdin Musical Festival in Brunswick, Maine, and he also participated in master classes with some of the world’s finest violinists.

In 1991, Mr. Powichrowski toured the Far East with recitals and master classes in Malaysia and Japan. He also gave concerts in New York City.

Mr. Powichrowski has not only played major violin concerts with orchestra, but he also enjoys playing smaller works, especially by Polish composers.

As time went on, his interest began to focus on restoring and making violins. As he says, “I wanted to know everything about the violin. In 2003, in New York, I worked with a French violin maker focusing on restoration. Then, I began to think I could also make quality violins. I went to Cremona, Italy to work with a private tutor, and I made violins under his guidance. Sometimes, people think the greatest violins were made long ago, but I say the ‘Golden Age’ of violin-making is today!

Many Secrets

“I learned many secrets during my studies in Cremona, and have been a luthier (one who makes stringed instruments) for over 10 years. I encourage people to come in and try these beautiful Italian violins and see how they are made. I will happily divulge these secrets to passionate musicians!”

Mr. Powichrowski came to Lawrenceville in 2005, where he has given concerts. “I wanted to be near Princeton. I believed this would be a good place for my business, and I have learned that many people have very fine violins here. Some need restoration and repair, and now people do not have to go to New York or Philadelphia for this work.”

Mr. Powichrowski’s workshop is at the back of the store, where he does his restoration work and where he makes new violins. He uses spruce, willow, and maple for his violins. As he explains, “Spruce is used for the top of the violin, and maple for the back and the scroll. The characteristics of maple is that it is very hard wood. Spruce is closer to soft wood, but is incredibly durable. I use willow for the block and lining.  It is very strong and light.”

Mr. Powichrowski points out that very few tools are used to make a violin. “The tools are the same as those used 500 years ago: files, gougers, scrapers, planes and the most important tool is the square.”

It is incredibly painstaking work, and he says it can take more than 200 hours just for the gouging and carving. Completing the work from start to finish may take up to six months.

Of course, strings are essential, and Mr. Powichrowski notes that string-making has evolved. “Originally, it was gut, but now it’s synthetic material. I especially like the strings from Evah Pirazzi.”

Small Violins

Violas and cellos are also available at the shop as well as small violins for children. “Children can start as young as three, although five or six is more typical. There are a lot of talented kids. I enjoy setting up instruments for children. They need a good violin to start with.

“Also, if someone says they can’t have a good sound from a small violin, it’s a lie. Sound adjustment is very important, and it’s my specialty. Sometimes, musicians come in with a violin and they’re looking for a better one, but often it just needs a sound adjustment.”

A variety of accessories, including strings, chin rests, bows, and more, is also available at the store. A rental program is offered, with violins at $20 or $30 per month. “You will find my sales prices lower than those in New York or Philadelphia,” says Mr. Powichrowski.

“I very much enjoy making violins and talking with musicians and people who love music,” he continues. “Because I am a musician, I enjoy working with musicians and talking with them about the instrument. I do very dedicated work for musicians of all ages. And I enjoy advising people. The client receives very personalized attention and service here.

“I am also very encouraged. I have clients from all over — even Australia! I look forward to having even more customers — both professional musicians and others who just love music and want to play the violin. While I don’t provide lessons, I gladly help with instrument selection and advise about what may work best for the client. I also have a bulletin board where teachers can leave class and concert information. I want to become part of the local music community.”

Princeton Violins is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (609) 683-0005. Website: princetonviolins.com.

 

 

CREATIVE COLOR: “Color, cut, and style all work together. We think of it as totally wearable fashion.” Tim and Kate Bricker, owners of B+B Hair Color Studio, are shown with stylist Jill ­Harer at their new Witherspoon Street location.

CREATIVE COLOR: “Color, cut, and style all work together. We think of it as totally wearable fashion.” Tim and Kate Bricker, owners of B+B Hair Color Studio, are shown with stylist Jill ­Harer at their new Witherspoon Street location.

Color is the key. In the hair industry today, it’s all about color. It is the major focus of nearly all salons.

“Hair color is a total fashion statement today,” says Tim Bricker owner, with his wife Kate, of B+B Hair Color Studio at 190 Witherspoon Street, Suite 4. “It’s just amazing how much color has evolved. The quality of color hair products has improved tremendously. It’s completely safe now. We have a super-nurturing hair color Nectayar from Europe that consists of all natural ingredients. Hair color actually improves the condition of the hair, and increases the shine.

“It can also add the perception of depth to fine hair. In addition, color can change and enhance the skin tone, and it can even appear to change the shape of the face.”

Mr. Bricker says B+B Hair Color Studio clients are all ages, “from 16 to 96!”, and  are both men and women. “Men often like to have gray blending, and they can look 10 years younger with this!”

Tone-on-Tone

For girls and women, the variety of choices is extensive. Blond highlights are always popular, but darker “chocolate” shades are also favorites. And, of course, color is still used to cover gray.

“What is really big now is tonal, tone-on-tone color,” report the Brickers. “It’s multi-dimensional, and gives a very natural look. We are definitely natural hair people here. Our focus is natural.

“Ombre is a popular look,” continues Mr. Bricker. “It can be achieved with hair painting or foils, and it is most often done on longer hair. The color is applied part way down, not at the top. Also, we specialize in cool color tones, and they are very popular. It can be light or dark, and it is basically the absence of red tones, so there is no brassiness. If it’s light, we think of it as ‘Fifth Avenue Blond!’”

For those unfortunate do-it-yourselfers who have had an unhappy color experience, the Brickers have corrective color treatments that can undo the damage.

Cutting and color go hand-in-hand, and Mr. Bricker was recently one of five top stylists from across the country, who trained with celebrity stylist Nick Arrojo (seen on the TV show What Not to Wear) in precision razor cutting.

“Precision razor cutting is good for all hair styles,” he explains. “It gives texture, movement, and lift to the hair. The way hair cutting is approached changes, with new techniques constantly coming along. We are always training and participating in continuing education.”

Ambassador Salon

“Also, we have recently partnered wth the Arrojo Studio in Manhattan, and we are an Ambassador salon for Arrojo. Only a select number of salons are chosen as Ambassador salons. We can send our stylists to be trained by his staff, and we carry the Arrojo products.”

The Brickers have trained other stylists throughout the northeastern U.S. As platform artists and master hair color specialists, they also style models’ hair at shows and events in New York City and elsewhere.

In business for 15 years in Princeton, they have always specialized in color and cutting. “I always loved the creativity of it, and I especially liked all the differences involved in hair color. I could see how complex it was,” explains Mr. Bricker.

While the majority of their clients have mid to long hair, the Brickers enjoy working on all lengths and types of hair. Curly hair provides its own challenges, and Mr. Bricker points out that color can enhance the curl, as it reflects the light.

Styling Products

For those with straight hair, he notes the current popularity of the curling wand, and also the variety of styling products that keep the style in place. “We believe the Arrojo products are the best because they are created and tested by hair dressers in the Arrojo studio in New York. This translates into a premium product that is completely user-friendly.”

Their recent move from their former State Road location has provided the studio with much more space, and it offers a very contemporary, sleek, and sophisticated look. “We wanted to be ‘Soho Sleek’! We feel like the Soho of Princeton,” point out the Brickers, smiling. “We are very specialized, and we’re all about being a boutique. We also wanted to be in downtown Princeton, and Witherspoon Street is great. It has lots of energy, and it’s where it’s happening.”

Their many long-time clients agree, and they are also intrigued by the studio’s high tech TV and iPad connection. “We have a big TV screen and can transfer the images to an iPad we give the clients’ says Ms. Bricker. “We can show them whatever style they are interested in. Even styles from celebrities at the Grammy’s and other events.”

“We pride ourselves on offering our clients the best service we can,” adds Mr. Bricker. “We enjoy making people look and feel better. They’re happier, and it makes a difference for them. We look forward to continuing to help our clients have the very best cuts and color.”

Studio hours are by appointment Tuesday through Saturday. (609) 683-4455. Website: www.bbcolorstudio.com.

July 17, 2013
FARM TO TABLE: “Someone can come in, have a ham and cheese sandwich on Rye with lettuce, and know that everything was grown or made within a five-mile radius. This is really farm to table.” Robin McConaughy, proprietor of the new Brick Farm Market in Hopewell, also owns Doublebrook Farm, which raises pastured, grass-fed cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens and turkeys, and in addition, features an extensive area for vegetables and herbs. Ms. McConaughy is shown spraying her sheep with apple cider vinegar to help reduce flies.

FARM TO TABLE: “Someone can come in, have a ham and cheese sandwich on Rye with lettuce, and know that everything was grown or made within a five-mile radius. This is really farm to table.” Robin McConaughy, proprietor of the new Brick Farm Market in Hopewell, also owns Doublebrook Farm, which raises pastured, grass-fed cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens and turkeys, and in addition, features an extensive area for vegetables and herbs. Ms. McConaughy is shown spraying her sheep with apple cider vinegar to help reduce flies.

Brick Farm Market has recently opened for business at 65 East Broad Street in Hopewell.

Robin and Jon McConaughy have a mission: healthy eating, humane treatment of farm animals, environmental responsibility, sustainability, and a local focus.

“The demand for healthful, local products has always driven our desire to become farmers. Like most people who care about healthful food, we want to know about everything that goes into creating what we serve to our family and friends. After a lot of research, we decided that if you want something done right — do it yourself! We started Double Brook Farm in earnest in 2006. Our passion for a local, sustainable, and humane operation has guided our approach to the farm from day one.”

As interest in and demand for the high quality products the McConaughys were providing grew, they expanded their operation to include raising sheep, pigs, and turkeys in addition to the cattle and chickens. They also cultivated a section for vegetables, including lettuce, carrots, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and a variety of herbs and other produce.

Now, where to sell all this high quality, fresh, local food?

Dedicated Outlet

As Ms. McConaughy explains, “We created Brick Farm Market to be the dedicated outlet for the farm — a full-service market within a stone’s throw of the source: Double Brook Farm. The market enables us to interact with our customers and share with them how the food they are buying is grown, raised, or made.”

Opened at 65 East Broad Street in Hopewell on May 17 at the former location of the Malek Chevrolet building, the market offers a variety of items either from the farm, made on the premises, or from like-minded vendors who share the McConaughys’ mission.

“With the Brick Farm Market, Double Brook Farm, our restaurant, Brick Farm Tavern (to open in 2014), we have a local sustainable operation that takes food from farm to market to table, and then back to the farm in the form of compost or animal feed. Three entities that rely on each other to create a full-circle model of responsible food creation and consumption.

“What you will find at the market reflects a culmination of informed choices and best practices. From selecting the seeds we grow, to humane animal treatment, to limiting our fossil fuel needs with clean energy, to preparing recipes with choice ingredients to educating the customers, we are taking some of the guess work out of nutritious, local, sustainable shopping.”

Brick Farm Market offers an attractive, convenient two-story setting in which to display the variety of items. Upstairs, the butcher shop features artisanal cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and chicken, charcuterie, and cheese. A long counter offers ample space for seating.

Downstairs, customers will find a juice/water/coffee bar, creamery (ice cream and other dairy), produce and herbs, bakery, and prepared foods. Tables are available for sit-down eating.

Amazing Team

The Brick Farm Market staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and happy to answer customers’ questions.

“We have very passionate, dedicated people working with us,” says Ms. McConaughy. “An amazing team of people. We want to be able to delegate and have a real partnership with them.”

General manager Deeann Lemmerling was previously with Bon Appetit in Princeton. Co-manager Jerry Baker is also a sommelier. Karen Child, formerly of The Village Bakery in Lawrenceville, is in charge of the bakery, and everything is made on the premises, including bread, croissants, cookies, brownies, Danishes, cupcakes, tarts, and cakes.

Bob Martinez, director of the creamery, makes the ice cream on-site. Single and double scoops are available in cones and cups, as well as quarts and pints. He is experimenting with new seasonal flavors in addition to the traditional vanilla and chocolate. Current specialties are blueberry gelato, salted caramel, and summer rum raisin. Ultimately, 32 flavors will be offered seasonally.

Chef Chase Gerstenbacher is in charge of the prepared foods, including rotisserie chicken, braised beef, chicken pot pie, shepherd’s pie, among many other dishes. He is also responsible for producing beef stock.

“We make our own bacon and sausage,” adds Ms. McConaughy, “and we also have a charcuterie, Salumeria Biellese, a certified slow food charcuterie in Jersey City, which uses our meat to make the prosciutto and other specialties.”

Michel Lemmerling, former owner of Bon Appetit, is the cheese guru (a “Taste Fromage”), and as Deeann Lemmerling points out, “We have an interesting cheese selection — all local, including brie-style, cheddar, Swiss, and gouda-style. Michel is an expert with cheeses around the world, and he is enjoying this new adventure, finding the best local cheeses.

“Aging Caves”

“We also have ‘Aging Caves’ for cheese and meat in three refrigerators, and customers can look into these and watch it being aged.”

Wooden bins are filled with a variety of vegetables and herbs, and Ms. Lemmerling explains that the bins were made of recycled wood from a former church in Trenton. “We also kept some of the vintage signs from the Malek Chevrolet dealership.”

Among the tempting treats customers can eat at the market or take out is the signature hamburger for $8; a variety of panini sandwiches for $7; breakfast dishes (served from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.), including eggs benedict, egg white scramble with roasted potatoes, cheddar, and greens; and breakfast croissant egg, cheese, with choice of ham, chorizo or country sausage, ranging from $5 to $7. Large plates include roasted sausage sampler, beer braised short ribs, and half rotisserie chicken — natural or BBQ, among others.

Ms. McConaughy looks forward to Brick Farm Market becoming an important part of the community. “People are really enjoying the fact that everything is local, and I know they will love having the store here. We have local employees, and we will be a local place. I can’t wait to come in and see the place humming.

“Also, we are a local market, and we can run out of things. It will reflect the season. We offer what a local farm can provide. We don’t sell anything here unless we have grown it or made it. The exceptions are coffee and drinks, but they are local. Our stipulation is: did it come from the farm? If not, is it local? If it is not local, is it within a 100-200 mile radius? And is it from a company that supports our mission of fair trade and sustainability? We will continue to evolve, and we like to show that a local farm-to-table operation can be profitable.”

Brick Farm Market offers a number of other items for sale, such as coffee and travel mugs, baseball caps, T-shirts, and canvas shopping bags, all featuring the friendly Brick Farm Market rooster logo. Fair trade large woven bags are offered for shoppers to use in the store. Gift cards are also available.

The McConaughys landscaped the property surrounding the building, and the ample parking is a plus.

Hours through June are Thursday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday 8 to 6, Sunday 8 to 1. Starting in July, the market will be open Tuesday through Sunday 7 to 7. (609) 466-6500. Website: brickfarmmarket.com.

 

FAMILY FARM: “We started the farm store in 2012. We wanted to do something for the community. We are a small full-service high quality market with produce from our own fields and products from others who share our ideas. Every farm and company whose products we carry is carefully vetted.” Shown left to right in the Blue Moon Acres Farm Market in Pennington are farm store manager Natalie Rockwell, farm manager Scott Morgan, and sales and marketing director Ashley Lyons.

FAMILY FARM: “We started the farm store in 2012. We wanted to do something for the community. We are a small full-service high quality market with produce from our own fields and products from others who share our ideas. Every farm and company whose products we carry is carefully vetted.” Shown left to right in the Blue Moon Acres Farm Market in Pennington are farm store manager Natalie Rockwell, farm manager Scott Morgan, and sales and marketing director Ashley Lyons.

“Something this good comes along once in a blue moon!” says Jim Lyons, with a smile. Describing the origin of his Blue Moon Acres Farm and Blue Moon Acres Farm Market, he is proud of this family business he started with his wife Kathy Lyons in 1992.

“Our farm began 21 years ago in Buckingham, Pa.,” he explains. “In the beginning, it was a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation. People would buy a share, and then come and get their vegetables.”

The Lyons started growing a small variety of greens and produce, and within a few years, the focus shifted to microgreens — small specialty greens for garnishment, especially in fine restaurants.

“We started with three restaurants in New York, and now we provide microgreens for 280 restaurants in New York and Philadelphia,” says Mr. Lyons. “When I first told my father about my work in farming, he said ‘Get a real job!’ Now, he’s a big supporter.”

Top Quality Produce

In 2007, the Lyons purchased 63 acres on Willow Creek Drive (just off Titus Mill Road) in Pennington. “We went from seven to 70 acres,” reports Mr. Lyons. “We came to Pennington because we needed more acreage. In addition to selling microgreens to the top restaurants and caterers in the New York/Philadelphia corridor, we now also operate markets at both of our farms.”

Ensuring that he can offer top quality produce to customers is a priority, and the Lyons have done extensive research about proper farming techniques. “We are certified organic.” points out Mr. Lyons. “We use only natural methods in our growing process — no chemical pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, or growth regulators. The premise now is the same as it was in the beginning: to grow good quality food that is in accordance with sustainable agriculture procedures.

“Our goal is to produce the healthiest, most nutrient-dense foods in the most sustainable way possible,” continues Mr. Lyons. “To achieve this, our focus is primarily to encourage the numbers and diversity of beneficial micro-organisms in the soil. With healthy soil microbiology, growing crops becomes easier. Without it, the farming methodology would require an ever-increasing amount of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and no doubt, genetic modification, to attempt to achieve the same yields, all the while producing what I feel would be a nutritionally inferior crop.

“The interaction of the various microbes with one another and with the roots facilitates nutrient cycling and nutrient uptake by the plants.

“A good balance of bacteria to fungi in the soil also helps create good soil structure by the formation of soil aggregates. With good structure comes more pore spaces in the soil allowing the soil to, among other things, retain water better. Roots are also able to go deeper because soil is not compacted.

“Disease issues become less of a problem because the healthy microbes cover the plant top to bottom. So when a disease spore lands on a plant leaf or a root is attacked, the diseases are not able to compete because the surface of the leaf or root is already covered with healthy mircro-organisms. Also, even weeds can be lessened by enhancing the fungal populations in the soil.”

Long Grain Rice

In addition to the microgreens, Blue Moon Acres Farm grows baby greens (the next step up) and kale, chard, collards, kohlrabi, corn, red cabbage, and tomatoes. The Lyons also look forward to having blueberries soon, strawberries, and ultimately fruit trees.

We have also started growing long grain rice and arborio (Italian rice for risotto) as well as 30 other strains. The chefs at the restaurants are very happy about this,” reports Mr. Lyons.

Customers will also find beets, beans, and broccoli, carrots and corn, onions, potatoes and peppers, as well as spinach, squash, and turnips, among many other choices.

“We have three categories of produce: our own, which is organic, other organic, and local, which can also be organic,” explains Ashley Lyons, director of sales and marketing, and the daughter of Jim and Kathy Lyons. “We use the word ‘traceable’ about the products we have. We have a carefully curated selection. We know what farm or company they come from, and we have a personal relationship with the owners.”

In addition to produce, the farm market carries a variety of other items, including local area jams, jellies, honey and bee pollen, homemade ketchup, cheese, ice cream, chicken, soaps and lotions, coffee and tea, and various soft drinks, bread, and homemade chocolates.

The market also features a cafe, with chocolate and plain croissants from the Terra Momo Bakery in Princeton, various muffins, biscotti, and other specialties. “We have coffee beans from Coffee Scoop,” notes Ms. Lyon. “The beans are organic and Fair Trade. Also, the decaf uses the Swiss Water process and no chemicals.”

O Wow Cow Creamery

Laurie’s Chocolates from Bucks County, Pa. are another treat. The hand-crafted, award-winning chocolates are available in many varieties, including the popular chocolate peanut butter “Buckeyes”.

“We have small batch ice cream from O Wow Cow Creamery in Pennsylvania,” adds Ashley. “We also carry ice cream from the Bent Spoon in Princeton.”

The variety of breads includes baguettes and batards from Terra Momo Bakery and loaves from Berkshire Mountain in Vermont. Blue Moon Acres is the only establishment in the area to carry Berkshire Mountain bread, points out store manager Natalie Rockwell.

Pasta from Lucy’s Ravioli in Princeton, cheeses from Cherry Grove Farm in Lawrenceville, and chicken pot pies and fruit pies from Griggstown Farm are other popular items.

Ms. Lyons also points out the lavender soaps, lotions, and sachets from Pear Valley, owned by her aunt and uncle, Patti and George Lyons. “These are all natural products, with no chemicals.”

Customers also enjoy the variety of seasonal fresh flowers from the garden Kathy Lyons has planted.

Blue Moon Acres Farm Market prices cover a range, and include small coffees at $1, croissants at $2.50, muffins at $2, and baguettes at $2.50.

Series of Events

The Lyons family look forward to holding a series of events in the summer and fall. “On Saturday, July 14, we will have a special dinner created by elements’ chef Scott Anderson, using our own certified organic produce,” reports Ms. Lyons. “A part of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.”

In August, an outdoor barbecue is planned, followed by a Farm Camp-out in September, Fall Harvest in October, and holiday Open House in December.

Ms. Lyons adds that she is very proud to be part of the family business. In addition to her parents, her sister Alissa and brother Chris take part in the farm’s operation. “I can’t imagine doing anything else,” she says.

“I enjoy the fact that we are taking care of the land in a way that will leave it better than when we found it. And, with the store, in connecting with the local producers and growing our own produce, we are reaching out to the community. The support from the community for quality food continues to grow. People appreciate what we have, and they are knowledgeable about it. They are informed consumers.

“We look forward to expanding what we offer and to taking on the challenge of growing whatever we can grow in the area.”

Blue Moon Acres Farm Market is open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 to 5. (609) 737-8333. Website: www.bluemoonacres.net.

July 3, 2013
CROWNING GLORY: “Our focus is hair — cutting, color, and styling. We help to make people feel good about themselves. If someone looks better, they feel better.” Joanna Kulikowska, owner of La Meche Hair Design, is shown in the salon’s new studio at the Village Shopper.

CROWNING GLORY: “Our focus is hair — cutting, color, and styling. We help to make people feel good about themselves. If someone looks better, they feel better.” Joanna Kulikowska, owner of La Meche Hair Design, is shown in the salon’s new studio at the Village Shopper.

In a rut after the long winter? Are those gray days getting you down? Spring will be here soon, and maybe it’s time to shake things up, stir the ingredients! A new look, a new hair style, perhaps a new color for the new season?

All of these are available at La Meche Hair Design, which recently moved to the Village Shopper, 1340 Route 206 in Skillman.

Formerly located at the Montgomery Center for many years, the salon has a brand new sleek, contemporary look in an attractive, light-focused setting.

“I wanted to have a very clean look,” explains owner Joanna Kulikowska. “The products are hidden on shelving behind the mirrors, so it is very uncluttered. My father, husband, and brother all helped me with the design and renovation.”

Good Foundation

Ms. Kulikowska has been affiliated with La Meche for 16 years and a partner for 10. In November, she became sole owner. Originally from Poland, she came to the U.S. at the age of 16, knowing no English. She learned quickly, and eventually attended Mercer County Community College, majoring in accounting — certainly a good foundation for any business.

In time, her interest shifted to the hair and beauty industry, and she became a licensed cosmetologist. The creativity involved in cutting, styling, and color appealed to her. “My father was an artist, and my mother was very artistic, and I’ve always liked the visual aspect of things.”

The right hair cut, style, and color can make all the difference, she notes, and that is the specialty at La Meche, which means “lock of hair” in French.

“We do everything for hair — cut, color, style, and straighten. Some people still like perms, and we offer that too,” says Ms. Kulikowska. “A lot of people with curly hair want it straightened. The really popular hair style today is long and straight. Especially with young people, but also with women in their forties.”

On the other hand, Ms. Kulikowska especially enjoys cutting and styling short hair. “I specialize in that. I love short hair. You can do a lot with it and have a lot of different styles.”

When helping clients with a style, she takes into consideration facial structure, hair texture, and life-style. “I always ask clients how much time they are willing to spend on their hair,” she explains. “They may bring in a picture of a hair style that looks simple, but in reality, it requires time to get that look.”

Fashion Statement

Some people just don’t have the time or inclination to style their own hair, she adds. “We have clients who come in once, even twice, a week for a blow dry.”

What is major in nearly all hair salons today, of course, is color! “Color is huge,” says Ms. Kulikowska. “Almost everyone wants it. It’s even starting with younger girls, if their parents allow it. It’s like a fashion statement. It’s certainly not just to cover gray.”

Color products are safer than in the past, she points out. “Many have less or no ammonia now. With color, the idea is to look as natural as possible, and there are new techniques and color formulations to achieve that. Ombre is very popular now, and is a hand-painted technique, starting at the top of the head, and gradually lightening the hair throughout its length. It goes from darker to light, and is best on dark hair.

“Balayage is another method, similar to Ombre, and is hand-painted from the roots out. It is multi-dimensional and gives a very natural look.”

Traditional highlighting is also very popular, and there are many ways to achieve color  variations throughout the hair. Also, these days, many brunettes are opting for red highlights, adds Ms. Kulikowska.

All ages, and both men and women, are choosing color today, and typically, they come in every four to six weeks for touch-ups — or a complete change!

Linkage Meu

For those who may have had a bad do-it-yourself color experience, La Meche offers corrected color treatments. Doing it yourself is  not quite as easy as the ads and commercials indicate, and a professional not only has the experience but can offer knowledgeable advice about appropriate color for the client’s skin tone and overall coloring.

Special conditioning treatments are also available, notes Ms. Kulikowska. “We recently started offering Linkage Meu, a 3-step salon treatment, including aromatherapy. It provides instant smoothing, conditioning, improves the quality of the hair, and lasts five weeks. It’s very good for excessively dry hair and for hair that has been blown dry too much or improperly.

“Also, for people with thinning hair problems, I suggest they use Biotin, a vitamin helping hair, nails, and skin.”

La Meche is a family-oriented salon, she points out, and clients include women, men, and children. “Our staff is very focused on service. People want to be taken care of. They want to feel welcome. We give superior attention to each client.

“We have many regular and long-time clients, who have been with us over the years. There has been great word-of-mouth,” she continues. “This is very individual work because every client is different and has different hair requirements. All of us have continuing education here. There are always new things coming along, new techniques, and new color formulations. I look forward to expanding the staff, including younger people. We will be up-to-date with all the new styles that young people like.”

“Mostly, I enjoy making every individual happy. They always have a smile on their face when they leave!”

La Meche is competitively priced, with cuts starting at $55 and color at $75. Gift certificates are available, and also special sessions, including make-up, for brides and bridal parties.

Walk-ins are welcome, and tea, cappuccino, soda, and light refreshments are offered.

Hours are Monday by appointment, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday 8 to 5, Saturday 7 to 4. (609) 924-7800. Website: lamechesalon.com.

June 26, 2013
SWIM TIME: These three young swimmers show their form as they get ready to take a dip in the Nassau Swim Club’s six-lane, 25-foot pool. “This is a safe, peaceful environment, where kids can really have a summer just being kids without all the pressure that is so prevalent today,” points out Ansie Monaghan, President of Nassau Swim Club Board of Trustees.

SWIM TIME: These three young swimmers show their form as they get ready to take a dip in the Nassau Swim Club’s six-lane, 25-foot pool. “This is a safe, peaceful environment, where kids can really have a summer just being kids without all the pressure that is so prevalent today,” points out Ansie Monaghan, President of Nassau Swim Club Board of Trustees.

Nestled in the woods near The Institute for Advanced Study is a hidden gem. Located at the tip end of Springdale Road, Nassau Swim Club has been welcoming members for nearly 50 years.

“We are a small safe family community,” reports Anne Merrick Mavis, board member and director of marketing. “Families return year after year for the friendly atmosphere, great swimming, and good company. My kids, now 15 and 13, love it. This is a place that they look forward to. They spend all day here. It’s their summer home.”

A private, cooperative, board-run organization, Nassau Swim Club offers 200 memberships to families and individuals. Its community atmosphere is enhanced by members taking part in the club’s operation. As Ms. Mavis notes, “Members take on two responsibilities when they join. For example, mowing the lawn, getting the pool ready, or helping with barbecues, picnics, etc.”

The club has several social events throughout the season, including its Memorial Day opening, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and various other occasions, including a silent auction fund-raiser for the pool.

Princeton and Beyond

“We have a ‘Night Under the Stars’ with a special dinner, also a Texas Barbecue and a Movie Night, when we set up a big projector outside,” reports Ansie Monaghan, president of the board.

Members include people from Princeton and beyond, she adds. “They are people from all over the area, with different backgrounds, and we might not meet each other if it weren’t for the pool. It’s nice, too, because the kids are often from different schools, so they make new friends, as well as seeing people they already know.”

Adults are pleased that there is always a designated two-lane lap area in the six-lane, 25-foot pool, except for three hours — 8 to 11 a.m — when the swim team practices.

Children of all ages enjoy the opportunities geared to their level. A baby or wading pool is available to kids five and under. Its location beside the main pool is a plus, points out Ms. Mavis. “When my children were small, I could be with the 2-year-old in the little pool, and also keep an eye on my older child in the regular pool.”

In addition, chairs and tables are set up in shady spots surrounding the pool area.

A 13.5-foot diving well is another feature, which is also available for water polo.

Two life guards and one supervisor/life guard are always on duty. They are 15 yeas old or older, and have received life guard-, first aid-, CPR-, and AED- certified.

Small group swimming lessons are free to all ages, including adults.

Focus on Fun

The club’s swim and dive teams are part of the Princeton Area Swim & Dive Association (PASDA) and teams consist of boys and girls six to 18. They compete against teams in the area, and are at all ability levels. Various meets are held, including a championship meet at the end of the season.

The focus is on the enjoyment of swimming and the pleasure of being on the team. As the club statement notes: “At the conclusion of a meet, individual swimmers are ranked and awarded ribbons. The individual swimmers’ combined scores result in a winning team. We have a number of very good swimmers, but the emphasis is on fun and being part of the team. We believe that creating an atmosphere where kids are enjoying the activity keeps them interested. We encourage team members to come to practice daily, but we understand when other summer commitments take priority.”

Team members are required to have completed the deep end test and have a desire to have fun, continues the statement. “No previous experience is needed to join the team. Parents of participants are asked to volunteer to work at three of the meets, either home or away, and to bring a baked good for the home meet. You will also be asked to work one event at the championship.”

Regulations for the dive team are similar to those for the swim team.

General pool regulations require that children under 12 be accompanied by an adult (except for team members). Those over 12 may be unaccompanied, if they have passed the deep end test, and have signed parental permission.

Children often go on to become life guards as they grow up, says Ms. Mavis. “My son Andrew, who has come to the pool since he was four, will be a life guard this summer.”

Unique Atmosphere

Supervisor David Adlai-Gail, 19, has been with Nassau Swim Club since his very earliest days, and has a singular history. He came as a baby, began swimming at two, but as he reports, he actually came before he was born. “My mom came to the pool when she was expecting me!”

Nassau Swim Club provides a unique atmosphere that results in long-standing memberships, points out Ms. Monaghnan.

“It’s such a special place. You can always count on it here. It will always be the same relaxed, tranquil environment, as well as a place to make new friends. We want to keep it this way and have it continue to be this special place where we are able to offer the joy of swimming and an atmosphere of simplicity. And, it is a joy to be part of an organization that teaches children the love of water.”

Ms. Mavis agrees, adding: “We really are set apart by the simplicity, the wonderful setting with the natural shade, and the cooperation among the members. What a privilege to be part of such a special place.”

Family and individual memberships are available at reasonable costs, including discounts for those over 55, students, and those from nearby Princeton University, The Institute for Advanced Study, and Princeton Theological Seminary. There is also a generous guest pass policy.

Members may bring their own snacks or lunch; a refreshment concession is operated by students on an intermittent basis.

The pool is open from Memorial Day through the second week in September from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (609) 436-0797. Website: www.nassauswimclub.org.

 

ROOF REHAB: We came to Princeton in 2008 because there a was a need for a roofing company like ours here. We hire only the best roofers in the business. Princeton is our customer. We do all sizes and styles of roofs — everything from sheds in the backyard to large houses and mansions.” Dan Simpson, project manager for Russell Roofing, looks forward to even more Princeton projects.

ROOF REHAB: We came to Princeton in 2008 because there a was a need for a roofing company like ours here. We hire only the best roofers in the business. Princeton is our customer. We do all sizes and styles of roofs — everything from sheds in the backyard to large houses and mansions.” Dan Simpson, project manager for Russell Roofing, looks forward to even more Princeton projects.

A good roof over your head — that’s about as important as it gets. And when you consider this very significant investment, you certainly don’t want one that leaks or will not withstand the elements over time.

Russell Roofing, known for high quality products and workmanship, has recently been taking on many more projects in Princeton and the area. “We now have a branch office at 812 State Road,” says Russell Roofing project manager Dan Simpson. “We specialize in unique roofs, including slate, cedar shake, copper, and tile, as well as asphalt shingles. Many Princeton houses have slate roofs, and also a lot have skylights. We are a 5-star skylight installer, only one of 100 in the entire country.

“We offer a solar ventilating skylight, which just became available in March. The remote control operates by solar power. We already have many orders, and today, there is a 20 percent tax credit for the solar skylight.”

A family business, Russell Roofing was founded 20 years ago in Oreland, Pa., and its motto is: “If It’s Russell, It’s Right. Guaranteed!” Known for residential, commercial, and historic renovation, the award-winning company is proud of its high ratings from customers and professionals alike.

Master Elite

“We are a certified ‘Master Elite’ contractor with GAF, the largest shingle manufacturer in North America,” points out Mr. Simpson. “That status puts us in the top 2 percent of roofers in the U.S. We are also a 5-Star installer with CertainTeed shingle manufacturer.”

Russell Roofing handles all types of roofs for private residences, churches, universities and colleges, and commercial buildings. Its employees are highly qualified, having undergone stringent instruction and testing.

“All our roofers are certified and trained by Russell Roofing and the  shingle manufacturers,” explains Mr. Simpson. “All our employees are drug-screened, background-checked, and fully insured. Safety First is our motto, and this is a year-round business. We do put roofs up in the winter; but we’re very careful, and if it’s too windy, we don’t go up.”

Roof problems come in many forms, he notes, but improper nailing is the major mistake. “I have been surprised by the disregard for application that some roofers have exhibited on roofs we have to repair or replace, “reports Mr. Simpson, who is a certified roofer himself.

“Nailing is hugely important. We hand-nail all our roofs. We not not use nail guns. Hand-nailing requires great attention to detail. There is only one layer of asphalt between your home and Mother Nature. If the shingles are applied properly and correctly nailed, they can last as long as the roof underneath. The manufacturers have specifications which require the nails to be in a particular spot. A tiny change can cause a problem.”

As project manager, Mr. Simpson comes to the customer’s house for a free consultation. This includes inspection of the roof, measurements, and a diagnosis. “After the diagnosis, I’ll put together a full, detailed proposal. Also, I can do on-the-spot repairs immediately if I see a problem.”

High Profile

The style, age, and size of the house can determine the appropriate roofing, he adds. “For example, long-lasting cedar shake is appropriate for a Tudor house, perhaps one that dates back a long time.”

Tile is very good-looking, and is often popular for southwestern or Spanish-style homes, he points out. It is also very long-lasting — perhaps 100 years or more — and Russell Roofing has installed tile roofs on some high profile buildings, including Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

“Slate is appropriate for older houses and large stone houses,” continues Mr. Simpson. “Slate, which can also last 100 years, is very heavy, and newer houses cannot bear the weight. In addition, however, there is synthetic slate now, which looks authentic, and is not as heavy.”

Complete attention to detail and personalized service is the hallmark of Russell Roofing, he emphasizes. “We believe in doing the job right the first time, and we do everything accurately according to the manufacturer’s specifications. We see the job through completely from beginning to end. We don’t stop work until the job is done. There is a foreman on the job every day, all day. A production manager also stops in every day, and the project manager comes as often as possible.”

As project manager, Mr. Simpson oversees a number of different jobs. An average house takes three days for complete roof installment. Larger houses can take a week or more, he explains.

He is very proud of the quality work Russell Roofing provides. “During Hurricane Sandy, of the 16,000 houses with Russell Roofing shingles, not one shingle blew off. In an emergency, such as trees through a roof or solar panel, or shingles blown off in a storm, we come right away and put a tarp over it. Our job is to keep the house water-tight.”

Masonry Department

In addition to residential work, the company provides roofs for many commercial and institutional buildings including stores, office buildings, factories, warehouses, schools, churches, and municipal buildings.

Although the company’s major focus is roofs, it also installs gutters, siding, and windows. It has recently added a masonry department as well. “We would get calls for roof leaks that were actually coming from the chimney. The challenge really is trying to find the water — the source of the leak,” he explains. “It doesn’t always show up where the water comes in.

“We do chimney repair and replacement as well as stone and brick veneers.”

Customers can count on Russell Roofing for the highest quality and dependable service. And Mr. Simpson points out, “According to the Better Business Bureau, the average life of a roofing company nationwide is two years. It’s so often a race to the bottom: to see who can give the cheapest price. Russell Roofing is now in its 21st year.

“Our pricing is very fair and disciplined. It varies depending on the materials and the size of the job. We do live-job costing — everything is completely identified: the numbers of hours, numbers of workers, materials, etc.

“I knew right away Russell Roofing was the right company for me,” he continues. “I am proud to be associated with a company that believes in quality and doing the best for the customer with a superior level of service. “I’d certainly have them put a roof on my house!

“We look forward to continuing to be a contractor of choice in the Princeton area.”

For more information, call (609) 630-6300. Website: www.russellroofing.com.