Downtown Vineland: Moving Forward

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swansonDowntown Vineland


By Russell Swanson, Exec. Director, VDID / Main Street Vineland


A Columnist for the Grapevine Newspaper


Downtown Vineland {by Russell Swanson, Exec. Director, VDID / Mainstreet Vineland}
We, in Main Street Vineland, want to celebrate small businesses every chance we get. Small businesses—whether they are stores, restaurants, or service businesses, are the soul and lifeblood of a downtown. Today’s businesses must offer something that is experiential to the customer and small businesses, more than big-box stores, shopping centers, and malls can do that, with personalized service and individualized attention.
We took the opportunity last Thursday to celebrate some of downtown’s small businesses, old and new, and crowned the celebration with a ribbon-cutting at our newest downtown small business.
We had some impressive company joining us. Congressman Frank LoBiondo came and gave citations to each of the businesses, as did Mayor Ruben Bermudez and Greater Vineland Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dawn Hunter. We were also joined by Mayor Bermudez’ wife, Dr. Sandrie Bermudez and Main Street Vineland Business Development Director Robert Scarpa. It was a thrill for the businesses to be recognized in this way and it showed these dignitaries how we are moving forward with our initiatives for downtown.
We started out at Spataro’s Pizza, located in Landis MarketPlace at 631 E. Landis Avenue, which has been a mainstay of the market for several years and a key destination for great Italian food prepared by Frank Spataro. We then visited three of our downtown’s longtime businesses:
• Al’s Shoes, at 639 E. Landis Avenue, is owned by Brian Lankin, who is the Vice-Chairperson of Main Street Vineland’s Board of Directors and is the chairperson of our Promotions Team. Taking over the business from his father, Al Lankin (a former Main Street Vineland Board member in his own right), he maintains Al’s Shoes dedication to fine services, which extends back over a half-century.
• Finer Flowers & Gifts, operated by Al and Vida Nassiri, has been at 645 E. Landis Avenue for over 25 years and is a model of a family-run business. Their daughter Maryam served on Main Street Vineland’s Board of Directors and presently chairs our Design Team, another example of business owners getting involved in our organization, and the betterment of our downtown.
• Rienzi Bridal Salon, at 745 E. Landis Avenue, dates to the 1940s. Josephine Stringari, co-owner with her daughter Leslie, took over the business 35 years ago. The business has become an icon of Landis Avenue and a major reason why our downtown has become a wedding destination.
More recent additions to the Avenue include La Cabana Del Tio Tom Deli Express, at 636 E. Landis Avenue. It has a location on Delsea Drive and Park Avenue, but opened its downtown location earlier this year, with owner Secundino Rodriguez and manager Tato Moldonado offering the same fine Puerto Rican cuisine in both locations.
Michelle’s Kitchen and Catering also opened earlier this year and is owned by Michelle McDonald. It offers homemade Jamaican dishes at 632 E. Landis Avenue.
The morning ended with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Tropical Latin Restaurant, at 523 E. Landis Avenue. Our downtown’s newest business, it is owned by Vanessa Sosa and continues our downtown’s growing reputation as a place to go for ethnic foods from many cultures.
For more information on Main Street Vineland, call 856.794.8653, visit www.mainstreetvineland.org or check them out on Facebook. You can also e-mail rswanson@vinelandcity.org.

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