Best of New Jersey: 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.

Jack Anderson, owner of Jack’s Music Shoppe in Red Bank, our readers’ favorite spot for CDs and good old vinyl LPs.
Photo by Marc Steiner/Agency New Jersey.

ANTIQUES
Whether you come to browse or hunt something specific, the 100-plus dealers at the Antique Center of Red Bank will easily fill a fascinating day. Opened 47 years ago with 12 dealers, this two-building center is open seven days a week and features everything from jewelry and porcelain to furniture, silver and pottery. Hard-to-find services such as antique clock restoration, caning and wicker repairs, are also on site. (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

BIKE SHOP
Marty Epstein has operated Marty’s Reliable Cycle in Morristown since 1978 and now has two additional stores in Randolph and Hackettstown. As might be expected, Epstein and his staff (including son Jesse) are passionate about two-wheeling. Their motto: “Saving the world with bikes.” Marty’s carries Specialized, Trek and other bicycle brands, and the stores cater to all ages and levels of riders. They also run weekly rides out of all three locations. “We think biking is good for people and good for the environment,” Epstein says. (173 Speedwell, 973-538-7773; martysreliable.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Brielle Cyclery, Brielle; the Peddler, Long Branch; Walters Bicycles, Ship Bottom

BRIDAL BOUTIQUE
A family business since its inception over 60 years ago, Park Avenue Bridals in Verona is a full-service salon, with gowns for the bridal party and mothers of the bride as well as for proms and other special occasions. Gary Burggraf, who runs the establishment with his wife, Andrea, daughter of the owner, features a wide range of designers, including Paloma Blanca, Avalon, Jade by Jasmine and Blush. (341 Pompton Ave; 973-239-7111; parkavebridals.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Mustillo’s Town & Country, Red Bank; Designer Loft West, South Orange; Jay West Bridal, Haddonfield

CHILDREN’S BOUTIQUE
Little One & Co., opened in 2008, scores with a hip urban atmosphere. The Maplewood store is geared toward parents interested in both style and comfort for their little ones. Merchandise ranges from clothing to gifts and room décor, and features brands like Deux par Deux and Mudpuppy. The shop offers personal shopping and frequent in-store events. (1 Highland Place; 973-763-7070; littleoneandco.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Kidegories, Shrewsbury; Lulu Rose Children’s Boutique, Little Silver; Charm, Collingswood

CLOTHING BOUTIQUE/MEN’S
Founded in New York City in 1974, Garmany expanded to Brooklyn and Summit before closing those stores and moving to Red Bank in 1989. Six years ago it settled into its current 40,000-square-foot location. “With each move the store has gotten larger,” says Larry Garmany, who owns the store with his son Johnell. “We can dress you from head to toe. People come to us for quality brands, ambience and service.” The boutique carries high-end designers including Canali, Zegna, Gucci and Brioni. Alterations are free. (121 Broad St; 732-576-8500; garmany.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Sams Fine Mens Clothing, Livingston; Farias Surf & Sport, Ship Bottom; Jos. A. Banks

CLOTHING BOUTIQUE/WOMEN’S
“I’m a neighborhood store, but I’m also a destination,” says Robyn Fields, owner of Robyn Ross Designs in South Orange. She and her staff, including husband and jewelry expert Ross Fields, provide personal attention. “We know everyone by name and we know their families,” says Robyn. Along with clothing, fine jewelry and accessories, the couple last fall added a line of watches and two lines of handbags. (67 South Orange Ave; 973-913-1100; robynrossdesigns.com)
RUNNERS-UP: CoCo Pari, Deal, Red Bank; Kanibal Home, Jersey City; Stella e Luna, Point Pleasant Beach

FLEA MARKET
The Englishtown Flea Market boasts 40 acres of outdoor vendors and five indoor buildings with more than 300 operators. There you will find hardware, produce, clothing, beauty supplies, antiques, electronics and much more. This weekend shopping smorgasbord has been operating in Manalapan since 1929 and is still run by the Sobechko family, who started the business as a trading post for farmers. (90 Wilson Ave; 732-446-9644; englishtownauction.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Meadowlands Flea Market, East Rutherford; Columbus Flea Market, Columbus

FLORIST

Corsages, boutonnieres, table arrangements, wedding bouquets, flowers from local farmers, exotic species from around the world—all that and more make Sickles Market in Little Silver a winner. “Their florists have an eye for making stunning arrangements,” writes Asbury Park reader Jason McManus, “and they always have the best quality product available.” (1 Harrison Ave; 732-741-9563; sicklesmarket.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Lotus Petals Floral Design, Maplewood; Christoffers Flowers, Mountainside; Purple Iris Flower & Gift Shop, Point Pleasant

FORMAL WEAR
Jacqueline DiPietro, a former retail buyer and merchandiser, opened Jacqueline Boutique in Livingston four years ago. The shop carries an array of special-occasion dresses handpicked by DiPietro in a range of prices and sizes (from 0 to 26). In-store trunk shows include the latest styles at a discount. Shipping is free. (570 South Livingston Ave; 973-992-3535; jacquelineeveningwear.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Garmany, Red Bank; Mustillo’s Town & Country, Red Bank; Jan’s Boutique, Cherry Hill; Dante Zeller Tuxedo & Men’s Wear

GARDEN CENTER
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. “Sickles’s garden center is nothing short of sublime—beautiful, healthy plants and wonderful pottery displayed to their best advantage,” writes Rumson reader Christine Jahnig. (1 Harrison Ave; 732-741-9563; sicklesmarket.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Metropolitan Plant & Flower Exchange, 3 NJ locations; Barlow Flower Farm, Sea Girt

GIFT SHOP
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 has the most beautiful and unique gifts,” writes Tinton Falls reader Ellen Hemhauser. “The staff is always friendly and very helpful. And they have beautiful gift wrap.” (1 Harrison Ave; 732-741-9563; sicklesmarket.com)
RUNNERS-UP: La Placa Pottery Works, Point Pleasant; Perch Home, Maplewood

HOME FURNISHINGS
Another year, another win—plus a move to a new, larger location—for Red Ginger Home in Red Bank, the furniture and gift store that also offers decorating and design services. Owners Rob Amend and Michael Yavorsky opened the original in 2005. “Part of it is that we work to be unique,” Amend says. “We really give our customers new ideas—we create a home within a store.” Reader Carol DeFazio of Little Silver agrees. “The owners are very knowledgeable and friendly,” she writes. “They make you feel at home as soon as you walk in the store.” (48 Broad St; 732-345-1000; redgingerhome.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Perch Home, Maplewood; the Farmhouse Store, Westfield; Seaside Furniture, Tom’s River

INDEPENDENT BOOK STORE
Words opened its doors in Maplewood in 2009 to create a broad-based reading community for people of all backgrounds, interests and needs. Words events include author readings and free programs for special-needs children. A well-read and helpful staff, comfy seating and tea and coffee for sale create a welcoming atmosphere. Patrons can download Google e-books on the website. Discounts are offered for book-group purchases. (179 Maplewood Ave; 973-763-9500; wordsmaplewood.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Montclair Book Center, Montclair; Paranormal Books & Curiosities, Asbury Park; Atlantic Books, 8 NJ locations

INDEPENDENT RECORD STORE
“Independent records have been the focus of our business from day one,” says Jack Anderson, owner of Jack’s Music Shoppe, serving Red Bank since 1970. While independent record stores are disappearing, Jack’s collection of new and used CDs and vinyl continues to grow. “People walk into our store, which is big, and say, ‘Wow, you just don’t see stores like this anymore,’” he says. (30 Broad St; 732-842-0731; jacksmusicshoppe.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Scotti’s Record Shops, Morristown, Summit; Princeton Record Exchange, Princeton; Tunes CDs, Voorhees, Marlton

JEWELRY
From watches (and their repair) to wedding rings, the four locations of Walter Bauman Jewelers offer all that glitters and then some. In addition to sought-after designer lines such as Judith Jack, ESQ and Coast Diamond, the store added two new collections this year—Elle, a brand extension of the fashion magazine, in sterling silver, and Angelique de Paris, pairing sterling with enamel-like colored resin. “The high prices of gold have contributed to the popularity of silver this year,” says director of advertising Margery Bauman. (Union, Short Hills, Clifton, West Orange; walterbauman.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Robyn Ross Designs, South Orange; Braunschweiger Jewelers, 2 NJ Locations; Corbo Jewelers, 7 NJ locations

KITCHENWARE
Ben Salmon’s Kitchen a la Mode melds fun and functional. The South Orange shop is packed with more than 3,500 cooking utensils and entertaining gadgets. “I wanted to expose my customers to new and different items,” he says. “And I’ve found they have a real thirst for it.” Customer service attracts many of Salmon’s clients. “The staff is always friendly and extremely helpful,” writes South Orange reader Peggy Ledesma. “They know how every gadget in the store works and don’t try to sell you the most expensive.” (19 South Orange Ave; 973-821-5145; kitchenalamode.net)
RUNNERS-UP: Chef Central, Paramus; Kitchen Kapers, 4 NJ locations; Williams-Sonoma

LIGHTING
With five New Jersey locations (average showroom size: 12,000 square feet), Capitol Lighting is again our readers’ runaway choice for chandeliers, lamps, ceiling fans, bulbs, outdoor lighting and other fixtures, many of them energy efficient. Founded in 1924 by Max Lebersfeld, Capitol is run by the fourth generation of the family, still dedicated to stellar service, hands-on design consultations and competitive pricing. (East Hanover, Paramus, Green Brook, Flemington, Eatontown; 1800lighting.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Domb Lighting & Electrical Supplies, Morristown; Good Friend Electric, 5 NJ locations

MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Jack’s Music Shoppe in Red Bank has been selling everything from vinyl records to sheet music for four decades. Jack’s rents instruments as well as sells new and used ones. “We send all the band instruments to a professional to make sure they are in playing order before we sell them,” says owner Jack Anderson. (30 Broad St; 732-842-0731; jacksmusicshoppe.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Monmouth Music, Red Bank; Andy’s Family Music Center, Livingston; Manahawkin Music, Manahawkin; Guitar Center

OUTDOOR GEAR/CAMPING
From a well-stocked climbing department to a full-service bike shop, Campmor’s large retail store in Paramus sells equipment for virtually all forms of roughing it. Popular brands include North Face, Columbia Sportswear, Mountain Hardwear and New Balance. (810 Rt 17 N; 201-445-5000; campmor.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Ramsey Outdoor, 3 NJ locations; Efinger Sporting Goods, Bound Brook; The Jersey Paddler, Brick

OUTLET SHOPPING
It’s a great rainy-day backup, but the bustling parking lot at Jersey Shore Premium Outlets in Tinton Falls shows that people don’t wait for precip to drop by. Little wonder: There are 120 designer and name-brand stores, each with convenient outside entrances, including Michael Kors, Gap Factory Store, Swarovski and Nike. Discounts of 25 to 65 percent are offered daily. (1 Premium Outlets Blvd; 732-918-1700; premiumoutlets.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Jersey Gardens Outlet Mall, Elizabeth; Jackson Premium Outlets, Jackson

PET BOUTIQUE
Don Coltenback’s love of animals prompted him to open Pro Pets in South Orange in 2005. Though stocking a full line of pet supplies, Coltenback, who has a background in nutrition, focuses on holistic pet care and offers nutritional counseling for healthy pets and those with medical conditions. “My goal is to help people keep their pets healthier and happier for longer,” he says. (154 Valley St; 973-761-6121; propetsllc.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Millburn Pet Shop, Millburn; Cutter’s Mill, Cherry Hill, Princeton

PET SERVICES
Steven and Jason Parker have been pet sitting since their early teens. “Our parents wouldn’t let us have a dog when we were kids, so we opened a business to take care of dogs,” says Steven with a laugh. In 2005 they opened K9 Resorts, a day care and luxury hotel for dogs, in Fanwood. The Parkers strive to care for each dog as if it were their own. “My dogs mean the world to me, so leaving them has long been a source of anxiety for me and my family,” writes Westfield reader Jessica Blume-Jensen. “Now that I’ve found K-9, I enjoy my vacations/travels with peace of mind knowing that my canine babies are safe and sound.” (43 South Ave; 908-490-0808; k9resorts.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Purr’n Pooch, Tinton Falls, Wall; Morris Animal Inn, Morristown; Scissors-n-Suds, Collingswood; PetSmart

SHOE BOUTIQUE
Marty’s Shoes, in business in New Jersey since 1974, continues to strut its stuff. “Our customers are educated consumers,” says CEO John Adams. He credits the company’s loyal following to factors including broad selection, ample inventory, and keeping rare sizes in stock. There are 15 New Jersey stores, including the latest, in Ramsey, and six New York stores. (martyshoes.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Footnotes, Deal, Englewood, Millburn; If The Shoes Fits, Red Bank; DSW

SKI SHOP

With three locations in New Jersey (and two more in Pennsylvania), Pelican Shops claims to be the East Coast’s largest ski and snowboard dealer. Thanks to five big snowstorms, Pelican enjoyed its best winter ever this year, reports Steven Spilatro, whose father, Angelo, launched the original Whitehouse store in 1956. Pelican also has seasonal departments for water sports, spas, pools, patio furniture, grills and game-room equipment. (Whitehouse, New Brunswick, Morris Plains; pelicanshops.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Ski Barn, 4 NJ locations; the Sport Spot, Shrewsbury; Alpine Ski Shop, Egg Harbor Township

SURF SHOP
“We’ve been here a long time and people have seen it grow,” says Susan Driber, ladies’ manager of Brave New World’s Point Pleasant Beach location. In addition to its three well-stocked and staffed stores, the company has an extensive online store featuring surf videos and informative how-to pages. (Toms River, Point Pleasant Beach, Little Silver; bravesurf.com).
RUNNERS-UP: Spellbinders, Allenhurst; Lightly Salted Surf Mercado, Asbury Park; Ron Jon, Surf City

TOY STORE
Tracy Kuchar, owner of Jackrabbit Toys, says her store provides what the Internet can’t—a local, community-based shopping experience. Her store, opened in Sea Girt in December 2004, has since expanded to a second location in Shrewsbury. Selling books and baby clothes as well as toys, Kuchar also offers free gift wrapping, personal shopping and Crafts and Coffee, a free weekly in-store breather when parents enjoy java and socialize while the tots work on a craft project. (jackrabbittoys.com)
RUNNERS-UP: Sparkhouse, South Orange; Scrivener’s Collectibles, Maplewood; Happy Hippo Toys, Haddonfield; Toys “R” Us, 32 NJ locations.

VINTAGE/CONSIGNMENT
Milk Money, is “a place to come in, hang out, and get a great deal shopping,” says Kimberly Baugh, co-owner of the Maplewood store. Parents can shop for designer finds in clothing, toys, shoes and accessories while their kids play in each store’s playroom. (Maplewood, Princeton, Morristown, Montclair, Cranford; milkmoneylove.com).
RUNNERS-UP: Restyle Renew, Denville; Backward Glances, Red Bank; Frugal Resale, Collingswood

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