Once upon a time, a time not all that long ago, you could buy just about everything you needed within walking distance from your house in Verona. There was a department store (Evenson’s) and two grocery stores, a movie theater and a hardware store (run by the father of Soprano’s creator David Chase). Malls and the Internet have reshaped our shopping habits, but there are things we’d still love to buy locally.
Now we know that some folks insist that the lack of close-in parking makes it hard to shop Verona or attract new businesses. But having just had to park half-way to Little Falls just to shop at Willowbrook, we think things at home aren’t all that bad.
So, if any of Verona’s commercial landlords are reading, here are five things we can’t now buy in Verona that we’d like to see on Bloomfield Avenue in the coming year.
1) A kid’s shoe store. Just imagine not having to schlepp the entire family to a big-box store only to discover that it has none of the sizes you need in stock. Enough said.
2) A Thai restaurant. Or Middle Eastern. Or Caribbean. Or Greek. Why should Montclair have all the dining fun? Why can’t Verona have as hot a restaurant scene as Bloomfield?
3) A bike shop. With all the kids here, Verona could be a great biking town. But we shouldn’t have to cross town lines to have the brakes tuned or a new inner tube installed.
4) A book store. Yes, Verona Library is looking spiffier than it has in decades thanks to some new landscaping. But even in the age of Kindle, a good bookstore really puts a town on the map. A used bookstore would be fine, by the way.
5) Destination retail. Imagine the old Brunner’s auto dealership at the corner of Bloomfield Avenue and Verona Place as a Trader Joe’s or a Lego Store. Imagine something that would make people from other towns want to do more than just speed through on Bloomfield Avenue. It is possible; we just have to ask for it.
What do you want to buy here? What are you buying here already?