SOUTH ORANGE / MAPLEWOOD, NJ — South Orange’s senior classic cards are now making their way into neighboring Maplewood, with SOMA Two Towns for All Ages offering the program that provides special discounts and offers to area seniors. Participating business owners determine which discounts seniors can receive.
“We’ve had a great response,” Cathy Rowe, the age friendly coordinator for Maplewood and South Orange, told the News-Record in a July 27 phone interview. “Seniors are a valuable economic asset, and it helps them to get out and get involved.”
According to Rowe, the program launched in South Orange two years ago, but with a population of 4,500 people in both towns over the age of 65, the benefits of expanding it became apparent.
“It’s kind of like having a ShopRite card,” Rowe said. “A lot of the businesses will give 10 or 15 percent off, or have things that are free for the seniors.
“There were 550 people signed up in South Orange, and in Maplewood right now we have about 150 signed up,” she continued.
In addition to the discounts that come along with the classic card, transportation services will also be available for seniors. Both South Orange and Maplewood offer free senior busing within the towns during the day. Local commuter jitneys operate at a rate of $2 each way.
Another advantage that the classic card will bring to those who sign up is the senior newsletter, which will launch in October; card holders will be able to keep up with one another and the towns when the newsletter is mailed to their home.
More than 60 businesses are already participants in the classic card program in South Orange, and, as of press time on Aug. 1, there were 21 Maplewood businesses that had signed up to begin giving discounts Aug. 1, including Maplewood Grille on Maplewood Avenue.
“We like to be a part of what’s going on,” Marcela Ulloa, manager of Maplewood Grille, told the News-Record in a phone interview on July 28. “We love the community here, so we wanted to be a part of it.”
Ulloa also cited the support the restaurant gets from senior citizens in the area.
“People really love it here and they support us, so we should support the community,” she said.
Business owners interested in becoming a part of the program should contact Rowe at [email protected] or call 973-762-8120, ext. 4005.
Residents who want to sign up for a classic card can do so at Maplewood Town Hall, 574 Valley St., and at South Orange Village offices, on the third floor of 76 South Orange Ave.
Photos by Amanda Valentovic and Cathy Rowe