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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Point, Suite A-22, Pennington 08534. Kenneth J. Stephon, CEO.
08525. James Hyman, CEO. 609-466-2900.
— Barbara Fox
in New Brunswick.
Cyanamid and Weidel Realty.
of Cornell University, he had lived in Princeton for many years.
technician for Datacolor International on Princess Road.
Manufacturers Insurance on Sullivan Way.
of Fortune magazine.
with Levinson Axelrod et al and had been deputy first assistant for
the Mercer Public Defender’s Office.
W. Bryce Thompson IV, he was retired from Thompson Lane Co.
R. Pickover of JR Associates, he was a psychologist in private
and a partner with Princeton Evaluation Treatment Services.
consultant who disappeared while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean August
16, was found August 18, three miles off shore.
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.