You know how important it is to shop local, right? It’s that time of year again where we visit some of New Jersey’s downtowns to do some holiday shopping and bring you along with us. Last year we went to Asbury Park’s Cookman Avenue, Montclair’s Watchung Plaza, Woodland Village in Clermont, Maplewood, Summit and Cape May. The first downtown we present this year is South Jersey’s Pitman in Gloucester County.
We found Pitman by first hearing about a chess and game shop called All The King’s Men on Broadway. Once we drove by the shop, we knew that we’d have to cover the whole town for our Shop Local series. Historic Pitman was originally settled as a Methodist summer camp in 1871. Eventually, the camp’s tents were replaced with cottages and the town of Pitman started to evolve into a year-round town. Now, it’s a great downtown with lots of cool history that’s worth looking into before or after you do some shopping.
Ed is a huge chess geek. He has loved the game for many years. Chess shops are quite rare in New Jersey so he was quite excited when I told him about this store.
All the King’s Men devotes about half of its store to chess. Look at these cool chess pieces and boards! Ed was in heaven. We spoke to Lisa at the store who told us that they do a lot of work with area kids to get them into chess. They have their own chess club that meets weekly so not only is it a great store for gifts, it’s also great for the community.
My sights were set on the other half of the store, though, with tons of board games. Check these shelves out.
I actually think I spent the first few minutes in All the King’s Men with my mouth gaping open at all the games I love and new ones that I wanted to try. We have the North America version of Ticket to Ride but we found all these other editions. If you’ve never played it, you should. Even better, they had copies of Cards Against Humanity which is a crazy fun game “for horrible people” (the game creator’s words) that’s really hard to find. We’re going to be writing up Cards Against Humanity soon for a Game Night in New Jersey article. Think an R rated Apples to Apples. Keep an eye out for our article… if you’re not easily offended by racy card games. That game even made me blush.
If you know someone who loves chess or games in general this is the store for you. I dare you to try not to pick up some games for yourself while shopping for others if you’re a fan of games as well.
The second store that totally sold us on Pitman was Just Cookies (30 South Broadway, 856-256-2441). They advertised 72 varieties of hand-made cookies. Sounded like a challenge to us.
As soon as we walked in the door the aroma of cookies baking hit us and made us swoon. Virtually everywhere we looked were beautiful displays of fresh cookies of every kind imaginable. There were your perennial favorites like chocolate chip cookies, decorated cookies, sandwich cookies, fruit bars and more. We automatically turned into children as our heads pivoted around.
We bought a pound of cookies, with as many different varieties as we could fit in there. For reviewing purposes only of course. So far, we’ve tried: molasses, burnt butter, shortbread, raspberry strudel, chocolate chip and double chocolate. They were all fantastic.
Everyone knows someone who has a sweet tooth. Why not a gift basket of awesome cookies for that someone from Just Cookies?
We also stopped in at: the Caffeinated Cyclist, a bike shop with a coffee bar (is there anything cooler);
Irish shop, A Touch of Ireland–really beautiful art and ceramicware along with fun t-shirts and goodies;
And, Chic But Cheap Thrift Store–really fun tchotchkes, toys, books and home decor.
Look at this guy we found watching us from an apartment above the stores on Broadway.
And, we saw this neat old truck.
So, get yourself down to Pitman and support our New Jersey small businesses! It’s totally worth it, we promise.
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