January 12, 2014 at 10:12 AM
MAPLEWOOD, NJ – Village officials including Mayor Victor DeLuca and Deputy Mayor Kathleen Leventhal were on hand to help rebrand the building at 1859-61 Springfield Avenue as “The Maplewood Health & Wellness Building.” The building’s owner, Harold Bobrow, renamed the building to recognize the common theme of the businesses his tenants operate there: Shakti Yoga & Living Arts; HLS Juice Bar & Grill; The Gym on Springfield; and Lee Gar Lun Ving Tsun martial arts school.
“All the businesses here have something to do with health,” said Bobrow. “Everybody in Maplewood seems to be interested in wellness, and Springfield Avenue is becoming the destination for these types of businesses.” He notes that there is a municipal parking lot with 72 spaces just across Springfield Avenue from the building at the intersection of Yale Street.
Anna Winkler brought Shakti Yoga & Living Arts to the building in 2005 when her Millburn business, The Yoga Room, outgrew its location.
“We offer yoga in a variety of styles for every body,” Winkler said. “We also do massage, acupuncture, ayurveda, pre and post natal. We’re more like a community center built around wellness.” She sees a trend toward people taking better care of themselves as going mainstream, and is pleased the concept has taken hold in the area all around her studio.
Winkler’s husband, David Robinson, opened the newest business in the building in November, Lee Gar Lun Ving Tsun martial arts school
“We teach an ancient Chinese style of martial arts which was invented by a Buddhist nun,” Robinson said. “We call it the thinking person’s martial art. It does not require a lot of physical strength, having been invented by a woman. So it’s great for females and more slightly built people that are concerned about self-defense.”
Tim Reynolds was another pioneer in bringing a health and wellness related business to the neighborhood when he opened The Gym on Springfield eight years ago. His personal training facility has a loyal following and he is pleased to see like-minded business owners finding success on Springfield Avenue, not seeing the others as competition.
“We’re all so different in what we offer,” Reynolds said. “We have a very holistic and rehabilitative approach. I work with a lot of people helping them rehabilitate injuries, fixing muscular issues, so they can be more functional in life, and that is something nobody else around here is doing. I have certainly referred people to every other business on this Avenue.”
The reception on Saturday was held at HLS Juice Bar and Grill. Emeka Onugha, who opened the restaurant along with his brother in 2009, enjoys the family vibe of the neighborhood.
“We’re making an effort to make healthier options more palatable to people,” Onugha said. “What I love about what I see here often is that families comprised of people with different dietary restrictions can all come here and eat at the same place. That is not as easy as you would think it is.”
Maplewood Township Committeewoman Kathleen Leventhal has been pleased to see this stretch of Springfield Avenue evolve into a health and wellness mecca.
“With all the different types wellness facilities here, renaming the building seems like a natural,” Leventhal said. She is pleased that the neighborhood has grown into a destination for these types of businesses. “What I might find for my life to be a good match in a wellness venture is not what you might find, necessarily. So it’s good to have a broad spectrum of choices like we have here now.”