Town Crier: Future of Montclair Village


MONTCLARION: July 23, 2010

The rumor mill is alive and well in Montclair.

Almost weekly, I hear reports of shops going under, restaurants struggling and stores closing down in the middle of the night. Maybe the Montclair Business Association should borrow the sentiments of Mark Twain to issue a statement: Reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated.

The way the MBA’s Roger Vickery sees it, Montclair’s new restaurants such as Amba, Grille One Carvery, Metro Montclair, Kakui Sushi and Kotobuki are drawing locals and diners from out of the area. And he says Yogofina is a hot spot for families at night.

“It draws folks of all ages throughout the day, but the evenings are a destination for many families, especially during the summer months.”

Meanwhile, I’ve had several letters from readers concerning the future of the popular Pagarung Thai Cuisine on Antioch Court in Montclair. The restaurant’s 10-year lease is up soon and loyal customers don’t want to see them go. To that end, landlord Patrick Ellwood says he’s doing what he can to keep Pagarung in the Village. “We’re in negotiations, and I’m confident we can work it out,” he says.

Wheels of Justice is rolling in its new digs down the street at the spot vacated by Raimondi’s. This is great for Montclair because the town clock gets its power from that location.

Now for the bad news — there are still vacant storefronts in town, including the ongoing expanse of empty shops in the “minimall” on La Salle (site of the old Argentos, Movie Express and Score). I’m told there’s been little if any interest in these spaces at the rents being asked. I would respectfully request that something be done to dress up the windows so they don’t look so depressed.

 AROUND TOWN: Congratulations to newlyweds Sherry and David Coll, owners of Montclair Jewelers. They were married May 29 in Pacific Grove, and Sherry says they are very, very happy. Stop by the shop to see Sherry’s “rock” (it must be a doozy, right?) and the couple’s wedding photos.

CRIME STORY: Here’s a reminder that — even in Montclair — we need to be aware. A purse-snatching reportedly turned violent the other day near the Village tennis court parking lot. A woman was entering her office in midafternoon when a man grabbed her purse. She reportedly struggled and he hit her in the head before jumping into the car of an accomplice and speeding off.

SCHOOL DAZE: Reader Emmy Fearn is rounding up the troops for her 45th class reunion for Skyline High School. The class of 1965 meets the weekend of Aug. 21, and she says they need help finding a full 200 of the 600 students who have “gone missing.” If you’re one of these grads, check out www.skyline65oakland.weebly.com for the schedule of events, who’s already coming and to RSVP.

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