Somerset County News

Somerville Center Antiques Store Closing; Building Owner Plans Brew Pub and Restaurant on Main Street

16e0a52c2588c2d2c01f_sompixbonnieallenstorefront.JPG
Somerville Center Antiques is closing July 24th while the building owner actively searches for a brew pub to locate in the former Woolworth's at 34 Main St. Credits: Rod Hirsch
bfa22986e3f638e835ae_sompixbonnieallenstaircase.JPG
The basement of the building will be needed for the heavy-duty brewing equipment; sign asks shoppers to sign up for e-mail updates on status of the antiques dealers.  Credits: Rod Hirsch
003a57c42899e8d9518f_sompixbonnieallenstorefront2.JPG
Somerville Center Antiques is closing after 23 years. Credits: Rod Hirsch
21e2c96a32889705775c_sompixbonnieallen.JPG
Bonnie Allen, owner of Somerville Center Antiques will continue to operate a liquidation sales business and Back Home Again, a used furniture and decorator showcase at 93 W. Main St. 
8405c1078279089b412e_sompixbonnieallenthankyou.JPG
Signs similar to this are posted in the windows and throughout the store, thanking customers for their loyalty.  Credits: Rod Hirsch
5c6b73a35319505bd9f7_sompixbonnieallencostumejewelry__1_.JPG
Dealers at Somerville Center Antiques are offering deep discounts until closing on July 24th. Credits: Rod Hirsch
16e0a52c2588c2d2c01f_sompixbonnieallenstorefront.JPG

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Somerville Center Antiques, the longtime tenant of the former Woolworth’s Building at 34 West Main St., will close its doors July 24th, as the building owner has plans to renovate the space and locate the borough’s first brew pub.

The prime location is across the street from the Division Street pedestrian mall, the emerging arts and cultural center of the downtown district.

“We are trying to attract a brewery right now,” said Mark Hay, part-owner of the building, a former Woolworth’s built in the 1960s. “We have been unofficially marketing the space for about the last six months or more,” he added.

Sign Up for E-News

“The conversations that we’ve had with various people have been supportive in regards to a brew pub,” Hay said.

Hay is also owner of Turnbull Real Estate, acting as the broker in any potential sale. He confirmed that he expects a deal in place by the end of the year.

“That’s definitely the goal,” Hay said. “We are fairly confident we will get somebody with serious intentions for the borough to consider,” he added. There are some brewers that have shown interest.”

The antiques center occupies 19,000 square feet, including the basement and first floor of the three-story building; the upper two floors are office space, which will be unaffected by the conversion to a brew pub and restaurant, according to Hay.

It is likely that the space occupied by the antiques center will be subdivided, Hay said. A brew pub may need as little as 5,000 square feet, he explained. Much of the basement area will be needed for the large kettle used to brew beer as well as other equipment, according to Hay.

Renovations will include accommodations for other tenants, creating an “indoor mall” open space, new signage and potentially, a new building façade to replace the “curtain wall’ brick façade familiar to passers-by on Main Street, according to Hay.

Bonnie Allen, owner of Somerville Center Antiques, began to notify the dealers who lease space from her of the transition last week. 

Allen opened the antiques center 23 years ago at a time when the downtown district was in a slump, suffering from the demise of the Somerville Shopping Center and the flight of shoppers to the recently-opened Bridgewater Commons Mall.

She took advantage of the high vacancy rate along Division Street, and opened several other smaller antiques and collectibles stores. Years later, redevelopment pressures forced her to close those stores as the borough and downtown district management association “reinvented” Division Street, now the focus of an ongoing retail metamorphosis on the first floors and second-story makeovers into lofts and residences.

A sign taped to the plate glass window front window of Somerville Center Antiques reads ‘’The Fun Feel Good Place for Over 20 Years.”

Over the weekend, several other signs were taped to the windows:

“Turnbull Real Estate Retail Space Available 15,000 Square Feet-Plus Brewery Use Allowed;’’ a smaller sign reads, in part, “Somerville Center Antiques and all our dealers thank you for 23 wonderful years of patronage…soon we will be opening a new location. Please sign our mailing list for updates on our new home;”  “Moving Sale, Lost Our Lease, Up to 75% Off,” and “Lost Our Lease Moving/Relocation Sale Save Up to 75 Percent Off Now Through Sunday, July 24th.”

Allen said the plan is to find a smaller space and relocate her dealers somewhere in Somerville, but admits that is unlikely to happen before closing on July 24th.

 “I’m going to give the center to the dealers; we’re looking for another space, something smaller, and I will stay on as a consultant,” she said.

“It’s not as big of a deal as some people are making it,” she added. “Dealers are resilient.”

Allen also owns and operates Back Home Again, a used furniture and decorator’s showcase at 93 West Main St. and Central New Jersey Liquidators, selling the contents of estates. Last year, she held 160 on-site sales, she said.

“I just don’t need to be in the antique center management business anymore; it’s a hobby that got out of control,” she said.

Besides running a business longer than most other merchants downtown, Allen has served in various capacities with the downtown district management group, now known as the Downtown Somerville Alliance for 19 years.

“I’m proud to have been part of Somerville’s growth and proud to be part of its future,” Allen said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

North Plainfield/Green Brook/Watchung

Somerset Regional Animal Shelter Offering July Adoption Promotion for Cats/Kittens

July 10, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset Regional Animal Shelter, in Bridgewater, is urgently looking for homes for its cats and kittens.

According to a release from the shelter, the population surges throughout the summer during kitten breeding season, and so the shelter is launching a special promotion to help increase cat and kitten adoptions. During the month of July, all cats and kittens that over ...

Do You Recognize These Dogs?

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Two dogs were found in Plainfield near the fire station on Central Avenue on Saturday. 

The dogs are currently with a family in South Plainfield.  If you recognize the dogs, please email TAPinto Plainfield at jpopper@tapinto.net.

3-Day ‘AddamsFest’ set to Celebrate Charles Addams and His Creations This Fall

July 14, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — It’s creepy. It’s kooky. And it’s taking over Westfield from Oct 26 to 28. AddamsFest, a town-wide celebration honoring Westfield native Charles Addams and his most famous creations, The Addams Family, will be a destination event this fall with family-friendly activities, lectures, exhibits and film screenings, the town announced Thursday.

Watch the ...

Exchange Place and WTC PATH Stations to Close For Weekend Track Maintenance

JERSEY CITY, NJ - At least they waited until after the Fourth of July fireworks were over before starting.  

PATH stations at Exchange Place and the World Trade Center (WTC) will close at 11:59 p.m. this Friday, July 6, and remain closed until 5 a.m. Monday, July 9, to allow crews to transition to a new signal system being installed as part of the ...

Make the Call, Save a Life

July 10, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - There is much focus on preventative opioid abuse education. Rightfully so. However, the goal in addressing the opioid epidemic is saving lives. Even if that means just saving one life. While people are becoming increasingly aware of resources relating to rehabilitative services, support groups for friends and family of addicts, and training parents for signs of opioid and ...

Get Ready Warren: Fireworks, Food and Family Fun At Mt. Carmel Feast

July 13, 2018

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. – It’s time again for the annual Mt. Carmel Feast, a four-day festival full of food, music, games, rides, fireworks, and other family fun, located at Mt. Carmel Field in Berkeley Heights.

The fairgrounds will be open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, July 13 through Monday, July 16. Those four nights will include concerts, games, and ...

Somerset Regional Animal Shelter Offering July Adoption Promotion for Cats/Kittens

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset Regional Animal Shelter, in Bridgewater, is urgently looking for homes for its cats and kittens.

According to a release from the shelter, the population surges throughout the summer during kitten breeding season, and so the shelter is launching a special promotion to help increase cat and kitten adoptions. During the month of July, all cats and kittens that over ...

A Guide to July 4: Fourth of July Fun Facts, a Video and Where to Find Independence Day Celebrations, Fireworks Displays

WARREN, NJ -  Independence Day 2018. “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Thomas Jefferson penned words based on what he learned as a student of the enlightenment.  John Locke’s writings were ...

Obituaries

South Plainfield, NJ – Margaret (Pascazio) Butfiloski, 99, passed away peacefully on June 2, ...
Read more

Upcoming Events

Mon, July 30, 11:00 AM

Watchung Library, Watchung

Touch the Music

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, August 2, 6:00 PM

North Plainfield Memorial Library, North Plainfield

Microwaves & Mini Fridges

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

North Plainfield Board of Education Announces New Superintendent

July 2, 2018

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - The North Plainfield Board of Education announced the appointment of Michelle Vella as Superintendent of Schools on Monday. Vella has served as Acting Superintendent since December 2017, in addition to the role of Assistant Superintendent of Schools for Curriculum and Instruction, which she has held since April 2015.

The board said in the ...

Warren Native and Watchung Hills Grad Joins 26 Nations in Rim of the Pacific, RIMPAC 2018 Maritime Warfare Exercise

July 12, 2018

PEARL HARBOR, HI -  A 2012 Watchung Hills Regional High School graduate and Warren, New Jersey, native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC). 

Petty Officer 3rd Class Stephen Vesper is an aviation maintenance administrationman attached to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 113, ...

Bedminster Woman Dies From Injuries After Being Struck by Car in Mall Parking Lot

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A Bedminster woman has died from her injuries after being struck by a car in the parking lot of the Bridgewater Commons Mall Monday.

Marion Kelley, 62, was struck by a vehicle while walking in lot four near the Macy's merchandise pick up area at around 3:20 p.m. Monday.

The 2017 Mazda was driven by Chinmayi Parikh, 33, of Piscataway.

The crash is still being ...