Business & Finance

South Orange Village Center Alliance Welcomes Three New Board Members

Robin Kline administers oath to Leslie Pogany and Ed Ayuso Credits: Davie Lackey
Ben Salmon takes oath with Robin Kline Credits: David Lackey
(Left to right) Stephen Schnall, Leslie Pogany, Edward E. Ayuso.  Credits: Matt Glass

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA) welcomed three new directors to its board on Wednesday. Leslie Pogany, Ed Ayuso and Stephen Schnall joined the board of 12 governing the civic organization.

Leslie “Bunny” Pogany, President of Bunny’s Sports Bar, will serve a one year term as a property-owner board member.  She is replacing outgoing board member Randy Schmidt.  Bunny’s has been a family-run business in town since 1933 at 12-14 West South Orange Ave.  Five generations of her family have been involved. Pogany has served as the President of the South Orange Chamber of Commerce and has been a Board Member there for many years. She resides in South Orange with her husband, John. Her son Stephen (and his fiancé Brittany Klett), daughter Noelle-Pogany Van Skye, son-in-law Sean Van Slyke, son Ryan and granddaughters Alexa and Ella are all part of the family business. As a resident, business-owner and commercial property-owner, Pogany brings three different perpectives to the board.  

Ed Ayuso, Managing Member of EEA Industries will serve a three-year term, replacing Jared Hutter as a property-owner board member. Ayusoowns and is developing The Gateway, a luxury mixed-use project currently being built at 1-25 West South Orange Ave.  The $22 million project is expected to be completed in about a year from now.  Ed also owns and has an interest in the 66-unit residential building at 10 N. Ridgewood Road, and in 109-115 South Orange Avenue, a retail site slated for possible development in the future.  Ayuso owns over $50M of real estate in South Orange, and resides with his family in West Orange

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Stephen Schnall, Entrepreneur, Co-Producer of Broadway Theatricals and South Orange Trustee, will serve a one year term (replacing Nancy Gould) as the Trustee liaison. Schnall was elected to the Board of Trustees in May of this year, and also serves as the Trustee liaison to SOPAC and the Baird Center. Schnall currently serves as the fundraising chair for the Essex County College Foundation Board, as a Director for the Montrose Park Historic District Association.  He has been an active PTA member and has served as the Field Day coordinator for three consecutive years at Jefferson school and is on the executive committee of the South Orange Community Garden

The new board members were sworn in, as was Ben Salmon, owner of Kitchen a la Mode, who is the first board member to be re-appointed after completing his first term. This marks the one year anniversary for the organization, which has made great strides in its mission to boost the downtown area and support local business owners. Learn more at

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