Annette Dwyer set lofty goals when she decided to create a center for retailing, entertainment and small business in her hometown of Summit. The vision materialized in July 2012 inside a 1917 brick building with three levels of multiuse, loft-like spaces—where patrons are inspired to eat, shop and play, just as the center’s tagline suggests. In line with the inclusive community vibe Dwyer wished to foster, she dubbed the space Mondo—“world” in Italian.
On the first floor, a retail co-op showcases wares from artists and vendors. The marketplace includes pottery from Made with Clay by Laura; jewelry designs by Heather Duetsch; accessories imported from India by Magpie Designs; housewares from Kitchen à la Mode and the Summit Boosters’ Association’s Hilltop Shop, which sells goods to support the local public schools’ athletic teams. There’s also Marigolds Cafe serving breakfast, lunch, pastries and takeout dinner, while Ahrre’s Coffee Roastery brews gourmet blends.
The upper and basement levels are home to myriad activities such as music lessons, literary readings, improvisational theater, film screenings and comedy shows.
A basement Jam Stage is available for performances by budding musicians. Upstairs there is an open area for happenings like yoga, meditation and tango lessons. Walls are decorated with art for sale. Alcohol-free, life-enhancing recreation for every age is the common thread.
At its core, Mondo’s goal is to honor “community, diversity, enrichment of small business, and social and economic empowerment,” says Dwyer. The Mondo site currently houses 30 businesses.