NJ town named for its Great American Main Street
In all of the country and its thousands upon thousand of towns, only three winners were selected from eight semifinalists to receive the prestigious Great American Main Street Award. And one of the three is right here in New Jersey.
And oh is there going to be a party!
Along with Danville, Virginia and Florence, South Carolina, our own town of Metuchen won this year’s honor. Only two other towns in New Jersey ever won Great American Main Street. Westfield in 2004 and Montclair in 2015. So to put it in Ron Burgundy terms, this is kind of a big deal for Metuchen.
The Metuchen Downtown Alliance Executive Director Dawn Mackey said,
To achieve this recognition in a short six years is truly awe inspiring. As an outsider with intimate insight into other small downtowns, I can confidently say what Metuchen has is incredibly unique and the secret ingredient here is the community. When volunteers, the municipality, landlords and businesses put their hearts into one mission the results are pure magic.
Bobbie Theivakumaran also with MDS adds,
We are better when we’re together and when we reflect our people, our businesses, and our values. This win is a testament to all of these things and the vision that customers don’t need or want to be an algorithm - that Downtowns can be a democratizer with programming, events and experiences like no other - that Downtowns can be a place of wonder and even embrace the weird and the wonderful and the pride that leaning into all these values will ultimately bring us all success as a business owners, residents, visitors, and to our local economy.
So what did the MDA do these past six years to take home this prize? Everything. They supported a buy local effort, improved signage, improved storefronts, held events and promotions to drive traffic to its downtown, etc..
Now what? The Middlesex County town of 15,000 is throwing a party to celebrate in June. It will be a Downtown Funhouse blowout in the spirit of Coney Island and will feature not just music, food, dancing, street art and kids’ activities, there will even be sideshow performances and axe throwing.
Better be careful Metuchen. With that kind of spirit you might just find yourself winning another Great American Main Street Award.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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