During the earlier days of this Coronavirus Pandemic I ruminated that “Due To Coronavirus Reaching For Success Means a Lifestyle Change“. I pondered upon the face that Coronavirus may have slowed your dream of being the CEO of a your own small business or reduced your ability to secure your dream home. I also mentioned that in some industries like entertainment, musicians have in some cases lost it all as performance venue across the world have closed overnight. It’s been a challenge that even the most solid, consistent guaranteed path to success or at least in our pre-Coronavirus world the next steps have gone off track, like way off track.
Helping Small Business Survive – South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA)
Helping small businesses survive and thrive has been a challenge like anywhere else that the Coronavirus has made its ugly appearance. Here the South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA) went into action supporting small businesses by hosting an Open-Air Holiday Market. A huge task considering they have many other initiatives going including my beloved South Orange Live Music Summer Saturdays. SOVCA worked closely with S.O. elected officials, property owners, business owners and Village staff. Pulling everyone together they definitely were up to the task.
This major undertaking included setting up a temporary outdoor retail marketplace. This mini-marketplace was to offer finely crafted jewelry, apparel, accessories, art and gift items made by many of the area’s finest local artisans and craftspeople. In addition the market was held in the South Orange NJ Sloan Street Parking Lot and had to be emptied every Thursday before setting up the market.
The South Orange Open-Air Market located between some wonderful restaurant, also offered up some lovely live music entertainment. Considering the short planning cycles, the team stated that it had some challenges in terms of bringing new and old vendors to market and coordinating teams across government groups and local community organizations. Thankfully the market was generously sponsored by Investors Bank, Fran Lichtman and Randy Rabney of Hearth Realty.
Successful South Orange Holiday Open Air Market a Big Hit in Supporting Local Businesses during Coronavirus Pandemic
Well 5 out of 6 weekends the market came alive. Rain and cold canceled out the Dec 17th Open Air Market but all the other weekends worked out very well. Setting up a mini city in some aspects as power, lights, locations, tents, parking closures, lighting structures, along with mapping out social distancing, masking compliance and more all had to be setup before the shoppers arrived.
Vendors I talked with reported doing very well in terms of business exposure and more importantly sales. Attendees continual commented on the look of the warm and friendly feel of the market, how they loved the very festive and lively atmosphere provided by the open-air market.
At the end of the night, all was shut down again and removed until the next week. They say it takes a village, so you can imagine the amount of planning that went into effect. South Orange Government, Department of Works, Fire department, Parking Authority, Police department, Live Music and more went into setting it up. Number of vendors went from 22 to 35 depending on the week. The temperatures thankfully held out with some beautiful weather.
The South Orange Live Music Performances
As Gregory Burrus Productions was engaged to produce, promote the live music performances, it was decided to have multiple bands engaged each night to increase fan attendance and market shoppers. The following mix of bands came through the market.
12/17/2020 Live Music Event
it was an absolutely beautiful South Orange Holiday Open Air Market – Wonderful look and feel while everyone shopped, caught up with friends, of course dined outdoors at the Fox and Falcon, Mti Miti, Toro Loco amongst other places around town.
Here’s a nice summation in pictures from our local online news site TAPINTO SOMA