SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. –To promote community artisans while carrying one-of-a-kind items, Stuff, a new store on South Orange Avenue, sells items such as jewelry and furniture made by area residents.

“We think it’s a great way to support people who live in the area,” Stuff co-owner Steve Rella said. “People with potential merchandise have found us, but we also find them.”

 Rella explained that the store’s “stuff” includes antiques, giftware, collectibles and vintage candy.

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“We also do upholstery and refinishing, house staging, and furniture finishing,” Rella said.  “We get our unique merchandise by cleaning out estates and (having) estate sales.”

The store’s full name, Stuff Village Mercantile, was coined by co-owner Roy Scott, Rella explained.  “Our name makes us stick out from the rest,” he said.

Stuff opened during the holiday season, and Rella said that business was very good during the holidays. “We had to keep restocking the store because we were selling so much,” Rella said.  “Since the holidays have ended, business is still steady, very steady.” 

Rella said that he and Scott have a method to draw in and keep business. 

“So far business has been booming because we try to keep our prices low, so people keep coming back,” he said. “We don’t want to be so expensive that they don’t want to come back.”

With the South Orange train station as the store’s backyard, Rella said, the location has helped draw in business.

“The location of the store is perfect,” he said. “We get a lot of commuters as well as people passing by. This end of the street is also starting to build up, so the corner will pick up.”

Rella added that Stuff’s customers have been “really great and friendly.”

“Even the junior high students from across the street are friendly,” he said. “They come in after school to buy vintage candy and they wait patiently and are well mannered.” 

Rella said that there aren’t any adjustments that they plan to make to the store.  “So far, everything is really fun and everyone seems to be enjoying the store’s old-world charm,” Rella said.

Kimberly Bolognini is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts designed to give students real-world experience.