We love to shop New Jersey’s great downtowns and Montclair is one of the best. We shopped along Bloomfield Ave on Small Business Saturday and got lots of great gifts for our family.
We started out at Cool Cat Music Company, owned by our friend Ken De Poto, at 314 Bloomfield Ave. Ken was being interviewed by WCBS 880AM radio when we arrived and it was nice to see the press talking to shopowners on the importance of shopping local. The interviewer even asked Ed and I some questions. Ken and I both ended up in the write up on their website.
Cool Cat has guitars, ukeleles, drum kits, music books… all kinds of things for the budding musician or experienced rock star on your gift list. And, since it’s owned and operated by musicians, you can ask any question or get recommendations and be sure that you’re getting good advice. You can of course plug a guitar in and try it out before you buy.
We next moved a few doors down to Stokedville, at 332 Bloomfield Ave., purveyor of everything your teenage niece or nephew wants for the holidays. Pop culture t-shirts, figures, phone cases, art, hats, and much more. The store is in the former location of alternative/goth store Two-Tone Store which is a pretty cool provenance.
We talked for quite a while with owner Carl Robinson about getting people in the door, the location of the store in relation to Wellmont Theater, and the local artists who he’s given shelf space to. There was Jersey-made stuff all over the store and we could think of lots of people who would love something from here as a gift. In fact, our niece might be getting a gift certificate from Stokedville because there were too many things to choose from!
As we made our way up Bloomfield Avenue, we also popped into Vintage Montclair which had really nice women’s apparel and accessories to browse.
Next up came GiftBar across the street and by the Bloomfield Ave. and Glendridge Ave. intersection. It looked like a card shop from the window but we were happy to find that it was filled with snarky and fun gifts. It reminded us a bit of Copabananas that used to be on Church Street and also sold retro and risque items.
Near GiftBar is one of our favorite places on earth, Montclair Book Center at 221 Glenridge Avenue. In addition to tons of books they also have calendars, comics, vinyl albums, and lots, lots more. It is quite easy to spend multiple hours browsing the stacks. If you are a lover of books or know someone who is this is a must visit.
Jerry’s Antiques and Estates is also on Glenridge Ave. and has the largest selection of manger scenes and Christmas ornaments we’ve ever seen.
Diamond Cycle at 409 Bloomfield Avenue has bikes and accessories galore.
Next up, another of our favorite stores of all time: Just Kidding Around at 507 Bloomfield Ave. We have bought toys, dolls, games, and crafts from JKA ever since our first niece arrived.
They don’t have just “all the usual stuff” here. They have really beautiful toys and gifts that you are happy to present to kids.
Next up was a store that was brand new to us. The Eclectic Chic Boutique is really taking local business seriously. The young man behind the counter told us that almost all of their products come from Essex County artists. There are also goods on display from artists in nearby locales. Merchandise is handmade by folks who truly care about the items they manufacture. That’s amazingly hyper-local!
On our way up Bloomfield Avenue, we also saw Rocky’s Crystals and Minerals which looked like the perfect place to pick up a gift for a New Ager.
Fleet Feet at 603 Bloomfield Ave. has running shoes, apparel, and gadgets galore for the athletes on your list.
We had never been inside Parcel at 608 Bloomfield Ave. before and were stunned to find such a neat collection of quirky items along with gorgeous wrapping paper and cards.
They will make you invitations and holiday cards, too.
We loved our walk around Montclair’s Bloomfield Avenue shopping district and we didn’t even get to go in all the stores in the area. It’s chock full of shopping and gift ideas. Head on over on the weekends and get two free hours of metered parking, too!
Skip the mall and shop local!!
Check out all the pictures from our walk up and down Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair. And, Shop Local NJ!
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