IRVINGTON, NJ — It’s been almost two years since the Super Fresh supermarket on Lyons Avenue opened for business in town and the store’s owners plan to celebrate with a special sale to thank everyone for their support.
“It’s always, you give yourself a little bit, maybe two to three years, to hope that you can break even and hopefully help the area,” James Lee, the vice president of Super Fresh, said Monday, April 30, when U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr., Mayor Tony Vauss and New Jersey District Director for the U.S. Small Business Administration Alfred Titone stopped by during their tour of Irvington’s small businesses. “I’m extremely grateful that they can provide positive press for Super Fresh. We’ve been open for almost two years, going into August, so we’re excited to do another anniversary sale in the first week of June. We hope that everyone comes by and checks out Super Fresh.”
According to Lee, being a good corporate neighbor is as important to Super Fresh as doing good business.
“We’re going to go pretty aggressive on our sale. We did oxtails, usually all the time. We’re going to try not to do that, not to get anyone upset, but we try to do oxtail sales all the time, so it’s not a thing,” Lee said. “So we’re trying to go pretty much barbecue related. You know, summer’s coming, the weather’s getting better, so you know we’re just going to go pretty aggressive with barbecue sauce, ketchup, burgers, things like that. Anyone can eat. It’s going to be the first week of June.”
Payne, who represents New Jersey’s 10th District in U.S. Congress, said he may not make it back to Irvington in time for the anniversary sale, due to his busy schedule in Washington, D.C., but can see the positive impact of the supermarket on the community and local economy, adding that he is supportive of small businesses and their owners.
“If you’re Caribbean or Asian, there are commodities here that suit your culinary pleasures. So they get the type of food that they’re used to getting back in their home, so it really is great. He has created an oasis here that was a food desert, so we appreciate that. It’s incumbent upon the federal government to help small businesses such as Mr. Lee, because we know what it does for the community. I mean, everyone has to eat. So it is conducive for us to make sure that Mr. Lee is successful in order that the community has the food and access that it needs,” said Payne on Monday, April 30.
Vauss said this applies to all small businesses in town, including Frontline Industries on Chancellor Avenue and the Chef Roscoe restaurant on Springfield Avenue, all of which he, Payne and Titone toured Monday, April 30. He also said it applies to the new Valley Plaza Mall on Chancellor Avenue at the old Valley Fair store site, one block over from Super Fresh on Lyons Avenue.
Super Fresh and Valley Plaza Mall are connected by a street that runs through the small industrial area of town. On Thursday, Feb. 23, after his fourth annual State of the Township Address at the Christian Pentecostal Church on Clinton Avenue, Vauss said the new mall had been open for a few months already at his urging.
“It’s a great project. It’s a beautiful mall,” said Vauss on Tuesday, March 13. “I encouraged them to open early, so people could at least see the beauty of it. So he went on and opened up and it’s a beautiful facility.”
Vauss said the Valley Plaza Mall and Super Fresh are both “good looks” for Irvington but, more importantly, they are helping to revitalize the local economy.
“With the Valley Plaza Mall on Chancellor Avenue and Super Fresh on Lyons Avenue, we now have the retail anchors for that part of town in the South Ward that shares the border with Newark, that we can use to attract even more business and customers, to help continue the economic revitalization of that area specifically and the entire township in general,” said Vauss on Monday, April 30.
“We like to say anything within the township of Irvington qualifies as a small business, because we want everybody to strive to be better and become big businesses, so we’re here and we’re supporting our local businesses and we’re talking about some of the loans that have been given out to small businesses in our township and we look at Super Fresh, which is a staple of this community, which took over when we had Pathmark here. Super Fresh has come in and they’ve served the community, they’ve bonded with us and I think it’s a tremendous, tremendous environment, tremendous atmosphere and tremendous supermarket for our Irvington residents to shop.”
Lee agreed with Vauss about the mutual benefits Super Fresh and Irvington have shared since the store opened in 2016, and about the new Valley Plaza Mall being good for everyone involved, too.
“I’m actually really glad that they finally opened. It’s something that we can help each other with,” Lee said of the mall. “It was pretty empty for a while. … We’re extremely glad that we can provide a positive impact for the neighborhood and we hope that more people come to Irvington, to live here and shop here.”
Lee said Super Fresh is very glad it invested in Irvington by opening on Lyons Avenue.
“We saw the opportunity in the people,” said Lee. “We noticed that this was a pretty big space and, with big space, you’re taking a large risk, but with the large, risk you can create a bigger impact for the neighborhood in a positive way. Hopefully, we can continue to do so.”