MILLBURN, NJ - In an effort to bring together members of the downtown community and local merchants, local business people held the inaugural 'Meet the Merchants' event over the weekend.

As Nadege Nicoll, owner of The Book House and host of the event explained, the idea for the event came from conversations with Andy Cooper, another business owner and operator of the Tame Salon next door.

"So Andy from next door and I have always wanted to get the community together," Nicoll said. "And one day we were just discussing ideas, and we said 'hey, why not throw a party?' And that's what we did."

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Attendees of all ages were treated with several fun things to do. For the younger set, face painting and temporary tattoos were available. A pizza food truck was also on-site, and attendees received tickets after talking to merchants that they could exchange for a free pie. The tickets also entered each attendee into a raffle.

At the end of the afternoon, a drawing took place featuring raffle bags filled with goodies from each of the business in attendance. Winners were called, and after a musical performance, the crowd dispersed.

For Nicoll, the chance to bridge the gap between the community and business owners was a major step forward.

"I think it was great," Nicoll said. "We were trying to do something that was simple, for people to just come [and] talk to one another, enjoy themselves and I think we achieved that."

Nicoll also added that she was planning to turn 'Meet the Merchants' into an annual event at some point in the future.