2012 Jersey Choice: The Best of NJ—Shopping

We sure do love to shop here in the Garden State. Find out which boutiques, clothing stores, flea markets, and arts and crafts supply stores our readers most enjoy.

Whether you are searching for vintage clothes and costume jewelry or art pottery and period furniture, the Antique Center of Red Bank is a good place to start. Over the past 48 years, the center has accumulated more than 100 antique dealers, each carrying treasures from the past. Open seven days a week, it is a must-see destination for designers, collectors and treasure hunters alike.  Specialty services are available on-site, including jewelry repair, antique-toy repair and furniture refinishing. (195 W Front St, 732-842-3393 and 226 W Front St, 732-842-4336; redbankantiques.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Point Pleasant Antique Emporium, Point Pleasant Beach; Antique Emporium of Asbury Park, Asbury Park; Kanibal Home, Jersey City

The three locations of Marty’s Reliable Cycle in Morristown, Randolph and Hackettstown remain committed to “not just selling a product, but selling a lifestyle,” says owner Marty Epstein. That lifestyle includes cycling events—like the Gran Fondo. On September 9, Marty’s will hold its second Gran Fondo, with four rides of varying lengths benefitting local charities. Last year’s event drew 1,000 registrants; this year, Epstein is expecting 2,500 riders. (martysreliable.com)
Brielle Cyclery, Brielle
The Peddler, Long Branch
Beachwood Bikes, Beachwood

Park Avenue Bridals in Verona has been a family business for more than 70 years, specializing in gowns for brides, mothers of the bride, flower girls and prom-goers. These days, Andrea Burggraf is carrying on the family tradition. “I enjoy working one on one with the brides,” she says. Park Avenue offers trunk shows nearly every weekend in its recently remodeled store. (341 Pompton Ave; 973-239-7111; parkavebridals.com)
Mustillo’s Town & Country, Red Bank
Red Carpet Boutique, Millburn
Jay West Bridal, Haddonfield


[NEW] For more than 20 years, Eileen Buriani has provided her Kidegories customers with unique furniture, gift items and clothing for newborns to teens. The Shrewsbury shop offers free decorating services for in-store customers, a baby registry, custom nursery items and personalization and monogramming for furniture and linens. “This store is quite unique in the merchandise it carries,” says Diane Salzano of Belleville. (468 Broad St; 732-530-0066; kidegories.com)
Little One & Co., Maplewood
JC’s Closet, South Orange
Charm, Collingswood

Larry Garmany, who owns Garmany with his son Johnell, prides himself on providing his customers with exceptional service. Garmany offers merchandise from top designers such as Canali, Zegna, Gucci and Brioni, as well as complimentary refreshments, shoe shines and alterations. (121 Broad St; 732-576-8500; garmany.com)
Sam’s Fine Men’s Clothing, Livingston
Farias Surf & Sport, Ship Bottom 

At Robyn Ross Designs in South Orange, owner Robyn Fields has a way of connecting with her clients. “In other places I’ve felt intimidated by an overly chic owner,” says Alia Ramer of Maplewood. “With Robyn, you’re hanging out together…she knows my name, my size and which jeans will look good on me.” The store recently added more custom jewelry to its fine-jewelry collection. (67 South Orange Ave; 973-913-1100; robynrossdesigns.com)
Gypsy Warrior, Ridgewood
CoCo Pari, Deal/Red Bank
Stella e Luna, Point Pleasant

A record-setting repeat winner in four categories, Sickles Market in Little Silver is a wonder. Its gourmet shop is hard to walk through without finding something you just can’t resist. A shopping trip to Italy last year by owner Bob Sickles Jr. added all sorts of artisanal goodies to go alongside the local products showcased by the market.
Sickles is also the top-ranked gift shop, florist and garden center. The staff reports increased interest by patrons in growing their own vegetables. “In the early 2000s,” Sickles says, “it was more a do-it-for-me economy. Now it’s more do-more-of-it-myself.” (1 Harrison Ave; 732-741-9563; sicklesmarket.com)
Lotus Petals Floral Design, Maplewood; Christoffers Flowers, Mountainside; Purple Iris Flowers & Gift Shop, Point Pleasant

Whether you are shopping for the prom or some other milestone event, Jacqueline DiPietro, owner of Jacqueline’s in Livingston, has a vast collection of evening wear and accessories to fit your needs. One-on-one service is intended to help you find the best look on your special day. Recent innovations include a Facebook page (Jacqueline—Special Occasion Dresses) and a sister website, promdressprincess.com. (570 South Livingston Ave; 973-992-3535; jacquelineeveningwear.com)
Garmany, Red Bank
Dante Zeller Tuxedo & Men’s Wear, 12 NJ locations

When Bob Sickles’s parents operated a seasonal, open-air market, they realized that customers wanted to grow their own fruits and vegetables, so they started selling edible plants. That idea has grown along with Sickles Market in Little Silver. It is now a large outdoor garden center and greenhouse offering decorative and edible plants, as well as accessories like fountains and wind chimes. (1 Harrison Ave; 732-741-9563; sicklesmarket.com)
RUNNERS-UP/GARDEN CENTER: Metropolitan Plant & Flower Exchange, 3 NJ locations; Barlow Flower Farm, Sea Girt; Reynolds Garden Center, Manahawkin

Not your typical gift shop, Sickles Market in Little Silver, in the words of Lisa Karasic, marketing manager for the 20,000-square-foot emporium, is “sort of an eclectic wonderland.” Products range from home decor accents like pillows and chandeliers to pampering treats like exfoliating products and body creams.
Sickles Market in Little Silver. (1 Harrison Ave; 732-741-9563; sicklesmarket.com)
La Placa Pottery Works, Point Pleasant; Perch Home, Maplewood

The gourmet grocery department of Sickles Market in Little Silver is special to owner Bob Sickles because it dates to when the business was seasonal and open-air, before the family built its 20,000-square-foot store. “It’s still a big part of the business,” he says. “I like to say we specialize in quality, freshness and range of product.”
Sickles Market in Little Silver. (1 Harrison Ave; 732-741-9563; sicklesmarket.com)
RUNNERS-UP/GOURMET SHOP: Garden of Eden Gourmet, Hoboken/South Orange; Joe Leone’s, Point Pleasant Beach/Sea Girt

[NEW] Ethel and Eli Shooman opened Fair Haven Hardware in 1953 and built a thriving business on the backbone of exceptional customer service. In 1989, their son Harvey took over the Fair Haven enterprise, expanding it to 5,000 square feet to meet the needs of a growing customer base. Service remains paramount. “Our employees are extremely courteous and very knowledgeable,” says Harvey. (752 River Rd; 732-747-9500; fairhaven.benmoorepaints.com)
Buncher’s Hardware, Millburn
McGrath’s Paint & Hardware, New Providence
Ken’s Hardware, Toms River

After moving to a new and larger Red Bank location last year, Red Ginger Home can boast that more then half the store is filled with new inventory. Owners Rob Amend and Michael Yavorsky emphasize natural, organic designs, featuring neutral wood grains and green products. They also offer decorating and design services. (48 Broad St; 732-345-1000; redgingerhome.com)
The Farmhouse Store, Westfield
Perch Home, Maplewood
Seaside Furniture, 3 NJ locations

Over the past year, Words in Maplewood has held approximately 100 author events, hosting the likes of Garrison Keillor, Ed Koch and Dionne Warwick. A new website allows customers to order books and e-books online. In 2011, Words was honored with the national Disability Matters Award and featured in Entrepreneur magazine for its program to employ individuals with autism. (179 Maplewood Ave; 973-763-9500; wordsbookstore.com)
Montclair Book Center, Montclair
Paranormal Books and Curiosities, Asbury Park 

Jack’s Music Shoppe in Red Bank continues to prove that there’s a market for CDs and vinyl LPs, new and used. “It’s interesting to see teenagers and younger kids coming back into the store and buying LPs,” says John Anderson, the 29-year-old son of owner Jack Anderson. Turntables for all those vinyl LPs are also big sellers. Since August, Jack’s also has been stocking used books, especially art and music books and classic fiction. “There are still people who like to have tangible formats,” says the younger Anderson. (30 Broad St; 732-842-0731; jacksmusicshop.com)
Scotti’s Records, Summit
Princeton Record Exchange, Princeton
The Record Collector, Bordentown

Margery Bauman finds the secret to the success of Walter Bauman Jewelers is in the warmth of working in a family business. In fact, her family has been in the jewelry business since 1868. They now have five North Jersey locations, including a new store in Parsippany focusing on estate jewelry and the purchase of gold. Alina Kaminski of Linden, a longtime client of the Union store, says of Walter Bauman: “Great new merchandise, unbelievable selection of estate jewelry, affordable prices, cordial service and family atmosphere.” (walterbauman.com)
Braunschweiger Jewelers, Morristown/New Providence
Corbo Jewelers, 6 NJ locations
Earth Treasures Jewelry, Eatontown
Sunshine Daydream, Point Pleasant

“I love when style meets functionality meets price points,” says Ben Salmon, owner of Kitchen a la Mode in South Orange. In the three and a half years since Salmon opened his “fun and functional” kitchen boutique, more then 8,000 items have lined its shelves. “I always get great gift ideas and good advice from the staff,” says Elizabeth Halpin of Summit. “They have a great selection of items for the person who has everything.” (19 South Orange Ave; 973-821-5145; kitchenalamode.net)
Chef Central, Paramus
Kitchen Kapers, 5 NJ locations

It seems the lights never go out at Capitol Lighting. Company president Eric Lebersfeld, great-grandson of Max Lebersfeld, who founded the company 88 years ago, says the key to Capitol’s longevity is the ability “to continue to grow and evolve with the times.” This year will bring new in-store events and educational webinars. (4 NJ locations; 1800lighting.com)
Domb Lighting, Morristown
Good Friend Electric, Toms River

Used Fender and Gibson guitars are the most consistent sellers in the musical-instrument aisles at Jack’s Music Shoppe in Red Bank, but there are also occasional surprises. “Ukuleles were one of our most popular sellers this Christmas,” says the store’s John Anderson. The store also does a brisk business in instrument rentals. (30 Broad St; 732-842-0731; jacksmusicshop.com)
Monmouth Music, Red Bank
Andy’s Family Music Center, Livingston
Toms River Music Store, Toms River

Campmor, founded in 1978, offers customers a wide variety of camping, recreational and sports gear at its large Paramus retail location, as well as a full-service bike shop and repair department. The Campmor online store and blog feature tips, lessons and videos from the company’s experts. (810 Rt 17 North; 201-445-5000; campmor.com)
Ramsey Outdoor, Paramus
Efinger Sporting Goods, Bound Brook
Jersey Paddler, Brick

Pro Pets in South Orange offers more than pet supplies. Owner Don Coltenback, who has a background in nutrition, emphasizes holistic pet care in his pet-supply specialty store. His latest service is a self-serve dog wash. “Instead of getting their house a mess, they can mess up our room,” he chuckles. (154 Valley St; 973-761-6121; propetsllc.com)
Beowoof, Hoboken
Millburn Pet Shop, Millburn
Utopia for Pets, Princeton
Cutter’s Mill, Princeton, Cherry Hill

Leaving an animal behind when going on vacation can make pet owners anxious. No worries for the clients of K-9 Resorts, a day care and luxury hotel for dogs in Fanwood. “K-9 Resorts is a place where your dog will feel at home,” says Cindy Andrews of Cranford. “They have a super friendly staff, the environment is immaculate, and your dog will have fun in a safe place.” (43 South Ave; 908-490-0808; k9resorts.com)
Morris Animal Inn, Morristown
The Barker Lounge, Roselle
Lucky’s Bed & Biscuit, Manahawkin
Purr’n Pooch, Tinton Falls

Marty’s Shoes, founded in 1974, provides customers with discounted name-brand footwear and expert service at 15 New Jersey locations. “Most of our managers have been with Marty’s Shoes for over 10 years,” says CEO John Adams. In the future, look for a larger selection of wide-width shoes. Two new locations will open this year in Brick and Lafayette. (martyshoes.com)
Footnotes, Millburn
If the Shoe Fits, Red Bank

The three Pelican Shops in Whitehouse, East Brunswick and Morris Plains carry ski and snowboard products for winter, and water sports gear, backyard furniture and spas for summer. We love their consignment program. Pelican will sell your old skis and ski gear, and “you get the full amount of the sale in store credit,” says Whitehouse buyer Sherry Spilatro. Drop off of old gear starts October 1. (pelicanshops.com)
Ski Barn, 4 NJ locations
The Sports Spot, Shrewsbury
Brave New World, 3 NJ locations

With three locations in Little Silver, Point Pleasant Beach and Toms River, Brave New World is an iconic Jersey Shore destination for surfing and skateboarding equipment. The shops also carry snowboarding and skiing gear, as well as women’s and men’s apparel and accessories for all seasons. The website features an online store, video gallery, informative tips and even snow and surf reports. (bravesurf.com)
Farias Surf & Sport, 3 NJ locations
Lightly Salted Surf Mercado, Asbury Park
Alchemy Hour, Maplewood

Tracy Kuchar, owner of Jackrabbit Toys, touts her stores’ personalized service and commitment to local schools and charities. With locations in Sea Girt and Shrewsbury, Jackrabbit offers baby clothes, toys and party favors. In-store events are held regularly for children, while moms can relax with refreshments and socialize. (jackrabbittoys.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Sparkhouse, South Orange; Scrivener’s Collectibles, Maplewood; Happy Hippo Toys, Haddonfield 

With four locations across northern and central New Jersey, Milk Money provides a fun and friendly atmosphere for customers to find secondhand designer clothing, toys, shoes and accessories. Milk Money believes consignment is beneficial not only to local communities, but to the planet at large. (milkmoneylove.com)
Restyle and Renew, Denville
Sugar & Spice & Everything Twice, Morristown
Backward Glances, Red Bank
Frugal Resale, Collingswood

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  1. pure lamps

    It is really an amazing choice for all. the Antique Center of Red Bank is a good place to start. it is a must-see destination for designers, collectors and treasure hunters alike. Specialty services are available on-site, including jewelry repair, antique-toy repair and furniture refinishing. I like this shop very much.

    Shena Mah – PR at http://purelamps.com