Two New Banks


Corrections or additions?

These articles by Barbara Fox and Peter J. Mladineo were published in

U.S. 1 Newspaper on August 26, 1998. All rights reserved.

Life in the Fast Lane

Here’s the latest tutorial in mall economics: Outlet

malls are out, boxes are in. Or call them power centers. Either way,

Nassau Park is expanding again, adding a few new big boxes to its

power center.

Nassau Park Pavilion — the second phase of the development that

already boasts a Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Sam’s Club — is set

to open in October, and the co-anchor is Kohl’s, the Wisconsin-based

department store that will occupy 86,000 square feet. The center is

being developed by the Atlanta-based Hendon Properties, which has

nearly 100 percent of the 435,000-square-foot center leased. The


players," says Steve Spiegel, director of leasing for Hendon,

are Kohl’s, Target, Wegmans, Chuck E. Cheese, and the Leather Center.

"I have leases out on all but about 10,000 square feet,"



By next year the roster will likely include Gap Old Navy, Mikasa,

and the Silver Diner. When the Pavilion is finished, the combined

Nassau Park will become a 1 million-square-foot power center, second

in the Princeton area only to Quaker Bridge Mall, which has 1.2


square feet.

Nassau Park Pavilion should also benefit from the hard lessons about

traffic flow learned by the first phase of Nassau Park. The new center

"more than meets adequate parking requirements of the town,"

says Spiegel. Also, he adds, new traffic lights on Nassau Park


intended to ease the existing traffic logjams, should be switched

on soon.

Kohl’s, says Gary Vasques, executive vice president of marketing,

is "a family-focused, value-oriented specialty department store

selling moderate priced national brand apparel, footwear, accessories,

and home products."

It competes with Sears and J.C. Penneys but, Vasques adds, it carries

merchandise identical to what is found in the moderate-priced shelves

at Macy’s or Strawbridge. "We do not carry Ralph or Tommy or


he says. "Our customers are moderate income families."

The first Kohl’s came to New Jersey last fall and entered the greater

Philadelphia market in April. Since then it has opened stores in


Hill, Marlton, Mays Landing, Turnersville, Burlington, and


The $1.5 billion chain was founded in 1962 in Menomonee Falls,


and has 203 stores nationwide.

Target, a discount clothing chain owned by the Dayton Hudson


in Minneapolis, has also signed a lease but will not be opening until

next spring.

One of the more ambitious legs of this project happens

courtesy of Wegmans, a family-owned supermarket chain started in 1916

and based in Rochester, New York, known for its sprawling megamarkets.

It plans to open a 100,000-square-foot European-style store —

nearly double the size of any supermarket in the region and almost

as large as Wal-Mart. Spokesperson Jo Natale estimates that Wegmans

will hire 500 to 600 full and part-time employees. Lucky for them

— with employee scholarship programs and mondo community


Wegmans was named one of the 100 best companies to work for in America

by Fortune magazine this year.

"Our stores bring an awful lot under one roof," says Natale.

Depending on the location Wegmans stores have video shops, photo labs,

pharmacies, cafes, dry cleaners, child care, and prepared foods. Its

arrival may have been anticipated by the other supermarket chains,

which are all scurrying around trying to bolster the one-stop image

that Wegmans champions. "We do hear when we move into new markets

that other supermarkets will also remodel and update," says


"That’s a compliment of the highest order."

However, Wegmans’ first foray into New Jersey could be risky.


supermarkets have not done well when they moved to new markets,"

says one New Jersey supermarket executive. Most stick to one region

because of the logistical disadvantages of doing things like


and merchandising so far from home base.

To succeed, Wegmans stays away from the "cookie-cutter"


to moving into new areas, says Natale. "Each of our stores are

individually designed." Before opening a store in Allentown,


Natale reports, the chain dispatched its store manager a year in


to get a feel for the area’s preferences.

"What works in Rochester, New York, won’t necessarily work in

West Windsor and we recognize that," she says. "You need to

really understand the market and get a feel for what consumers are

looking for that they don’t presently have. That’s what we’re really

good at doing."

What do potential competitors feel about an expanded Nassau Park?

"There’s more square footage to the area but they seem to have

paid attention to compatible uses as opposed to direct competitive

uses, which is a wise strategy," says Harvey Siegel, the owner

of Mercer Mall. "With the exception of Target, which is right

on target, they have pretty much done a non-competitive leasing job.

We welcome well-conceived projects to the area. I see no problem with


Target, he feels will compete directly with Mercer Mall’s K-Mart —

and Nassau Park’s Wal-Mart.

Concern from Pathmark, Wegmans’ closest competitor-to-be, is more

subtle. Harvey Gutman, senior vice president of retail development

for Pathmark in Woodbridge, says "the supermarket industry is

highly competitive. We don’t comment on competitors — we just

try to run a good supermarket."

— Peter J. Mladineo

Top Of Page
Two New Banks

Two new banks aim to get chartered in Mercer County:

Hopewell Valley Community Bank as a full-service commercial bank and

Village Bank as a thrift savings institution. Because technology costs

have dropped so low, both banks think they can stay small to serve

the community in a personal way yet offer up-to-date high tech


With its five-month head start, the commercial bank is already


investors to chip in from $5,000 to $250,000 in order to raise a total

of $10 million in two months. Meanwhile the savings bank has formed

its board and is working its way through the red tape to sell shares

to raise $5 million seed money, possibly as early as September.

It may not be difficult to attract all this cash because other


banks have recently done so well for their investors. Stockholders

in Trenton Savings Bank quadrupled their money in two years, and


Bank’s shareholders more than tripled their investment in four years

(U.S. 1, March 18, 1998).

With James Hyman at the helm, Hopewell Valley Community Bank is


to open opposite Pennington Market at 4 Route 31. The son of Scottish

immigrants, Hyman started out as a mailboy at Cartaret Savings & Loan

in Newark and went part-time to Rutgers. After a stint in the Navy,

he became senior credit officer of Ramapo Bank in Wayne and then in

1991 helped start the First Community Bank of Clinton, which grew

to $195 million in seven years.

This bank was founded by Patrick Ryan, formerly executive vice


of Ritchie & Page, a beer distributorship in Trenton. The board also

includes Joseph Gonzalez, president of the New Jersey Business &


Association; John Hansbury of Hansbury-Gibbons Associates; Chris

McManimon, former owner of the Book Peddlers; Judith Perschilli, CEO

of St. Francis Medical Center; Steve Picco, a partner in the law firm

of Reed Smith Shaw & McClay; Bob Prewitt, president of Dana


in Hopewell; Kathryn Ryan, Patrick’s mother and former principal owner

of Ritchie & Page; and Jim Vogelsong, former owner of Data Archives

Inc. Reed Smith’s Geoff Connor, former state banking commissioner,

is the HVCB’s attorney.

The bank has obtained a waiver that will allow it to raise capital

prior an October 20 meeting that could signal final approval on the

charter. Under the banking exemption of 1934, a commercial bank can

issue and sell shares of common stock without an SEC registration

as long as it has no more than 500 shareholders. All money will be

held in escrow and accrue interest.

Anyone with $5,000 to invest can participate; the minimum purchase

is 500 shares at $10 each, and the maximum purchase is 25,000 shares,

50 times the minimum. "It is all part of the measurement of the

feasibility of the bank," says Hyman. "If you can raise this

capital, you are likely to be successful." Call 609-466-2900 to

get an offering circular and subscription information.

"We are only authorized to raise $10 million," says Hyman,

"and if we raise more, we would have to come up with a means of

returning funds. It’s an incredible time to start a bank, with


costs starting to come down."

Kenneth Stephon, CEO and president of Village Financial Services,

is equally enthusiastic, but notes that "we expect our orientation

and our regulatory structure to be different from Hopewell


Village Financial Services now shares a temporary Pennington Point

office with ReMax, but it is expected to morph into Village Bank,

raise $5 million, find a home on Quakerbridge Road, and serve


in West Windsor, Hamilton, and the part of Lawrence that lies on the

east side of Route 1. "We think that marketplace is affluent,

has experienced substantial growth, and has very low


says Stephon.

Village’s board includes William C. Hart, president of Mercer Mutual

Insurance Co.; William Fogler of Van Rensselaer Ltd., securities


consultant; George M. Taber, president of Business News New Jersey;

Paul J. Russo, co-owner of Lawrenceville Home Improvement Center;

and Jonathan R. Sachs of Princeton Gastroenterology.

"The purpose of a thrift charter has always been to enhance the

ability of individuals and families to get funds for home ownership,

and we would expect to maintain that tradition," says Stephon.

"As a full service operation, we will provide a variety of


loans and services on the deposit side as well."

A Hamilton native who went to College of New Jersey, Class of 1981,

he has an MBA from Rider. He worked for Centennial S&L, Nassau, and

Mercer (where he met board-member Hart), and in 1989 went to a small

three-office bank in Pennsauken, Clover Bank, where he was promoted

from chief financial officer to CEO.

Stephon emphasizes that whatever mortgages Village Bank writes, it

will also service. It won’t foist that off to some big company in

Delaware. "Customers get very disgruntled when they decide to

do business locally and they end up doing business with someone they

have not chosen to do business with," says Stephon.

Village Financial Corporation, 23 Route 31,


Point, Suite A-22, Pennington 08534. Kenneth J. Stephon, CEO.


fax, 609-737-0003.

Hopewell Valley Community Bank, 4 Route 31,


08525. James Hyman, CEO. 609-466-2900.

— Barbara Fox

Top Of Page

Philip L. Strong, 80, on August 17. He had had a law firm

in New Brunswick.

Jack A. Gray, 79, on August 18. He had worked for American

Cyanamid and Weidel Realty.

James A. Perkins, 86, on August 19. The former president

of Cornell University, he had lived in Princeton for many years.

Richard W. Curles, 28, on August 19. He was a calibration

technician for Datacolor International on Princess Road.

Edith Williams, 40, on August 19. She worked at the Hyatt

Regency Princeton.

Stephen Thatcher, 37, on August 20. He worked at New


Manufacturers Insurance on Sullivan Way.

Herrymon Maurer, 84, on August 20. He had been editor

of Fortune magazine.

J. Stewart Husid, 50, on August 20. He was an attorney

with Levinson Axelrod et al and had been deputy first assistant for

the Mercer Public Defender’s Office.

John Golden Thompson, 56, on August 22. The brother of

W. Bryce Thompson IV, he was retired from Thompson Lane Co.

Benjamin Pickover, 55, on August 22. The husband of Janet

R. Pickover of JR Associates, he was a psychologist in private


and a partner with Princeton Evaluation Treatment Services.

The body of Ralph Capell, the Montgomery advertising

consultant who disappeared while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean August

16, was found August 18, three miles off shore.

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