PATERSON, NJ- “A city that is moving up.”
That’s how George Pahiakos described Paterson just minutes before Mayor Andre Sayegh cut a red ribbon to welcome the new businesses owner to Center City Mall.
Describing it as a “big box store in a small package,” Pahiakos’ Ace Hardware and Benjamin Moore Paint officially opened on Wednesday.
“You can see it day to day,” he said describing the much anticipated, and in many people’s opinion imminent, “renaissance” that is set to take place in the city’s downtown and throughout its neighborhoods. “We’re banking on Paterson becoming a vibrant city again.”
Councilman Michael Jackson didn’t hesitate when asked about the impact of the store, located in the 1st Ward which he represents, opening. “Jobs for residents,” he offered before adding his hope that attracting another “major chain” would help bring additional investments into Paterson.
The store joins other nationally recognized brands such as IHOP, Marshalls, Modell’s, and TD Bank taking up residence in the downtown shopping center.
Glancing at the shelves Jackson gave his assessment of the hardware and paint store’s stock saying they were the kind of “quality items that Paterson residents are entitled to.”
Jackson was joined at the event by four of his council colleagues, including the body’s president Maritza Davila who suggested that that the show of support is indicative of their desire “move the city forward.”
Acknowledging that the mayor’s office often is charged with the task of attracting business the council is also, Davila said, “willing to do its part.”
“We want more jobs and more businesses in Paterson,” she added with more than a hint of enthusiasm. “We want people spending money in our community.”
With several mall customers stopping by to see the new store it wasn’t just the dignitaries that were excited about the mall’s new addition.
Angel Leary and her son, Knowledge, 13, told TAPinto Paterson that they had just finished buying a new school uniform when they noticed the event. There is, Knowledge said, “a big movement happening in Paterson,” before his mother added that “it’s going to take time and teamwork,” to make bring the change they are hopeful is coming.
Even eight year old Hensley showed an appreciation for the potential positive economic impact of the store opening. “If we can get a lot of people to buy, they can make a lot of money,” he said.
Asked to share his opinion of Paterson Hensley said that though the July temperatures make it “the hottest place ever” it is “a great place to live.”
Willing to do his part to improve his community, including by opening a lemonade stand, the boy shared an inspirational thought saying that “we are the people that need to make the whole world better,” before heading away with his family.
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