The turkey has been picked clean. The sweet potatoes and stuffing are all gone (or at least making for some tasty leftovers.)
Today, then, is the day that strikes elation in our nation’s retailers…and terror into most other normal people.
Frankly, it’s a little sad that the Christmas season – you know, peace and good will to mankind and all that – now kicks off with a super buying day as people look to wake up super early for “doorbuster” deals. I honestly don’t know who participates in this, but I guess, at lease according to all the TV commercials, that many people still do. There’s even a website that pulls all the ads into one place.
And for the big-box stores and online retailers, that’s fine. But what about the small guys? The local businesses toiling in and out every day, pursuing their passion?
In looking at the brochure from the Allentown Business Community Association (ABCA), there are more than 50 small businesses in our little burg – everything from eateries to real estate to health, wellness and beauty. We even have a lumber mill and funeral home, as well as a combo bike shop/candy store.
This year, I wanted to profile just a few of these small businesses, the ones that I hope people will look to on November 26 – Small Business Saturday – as they continue on their shopping ways this holiday season.
There’s nothing like a good cup of coffee…or latte…or sweet treat. Or even a beet burger! You can get it all at The Moth Coffeehouse, located in the The Old Mill right on Main Street in Allentown. This this family-run business – Kris, Corky, Zoe and Alia Danch run the show – that opened in October 2015.
I met up with Zoe the other week as she took a break during a busy Fall morning, and quizzed her on a few things about the business.
Why the name “The Moth”? To open our coffeehouse, it was such a struggle and took years. So when we were finally opened we wanted to leave the past in the past and start new. Luna Moths represent new beginnings and a rebirth, which is what we wanted to capture in our business, hence “The Moth”.
What or when was your “Aha!” moment to start this business? There was no specific moment that defined whether or not to start a coffeehouse. My dad purchased the Old Mill in 1975 and ever since I was little my family and I always wanted to create a space in the Mill where people could come and exchange ideas, create friendships/relationships, and simply make memories that they would be able to take with them. A coffeehouse just seemed like a perfect idea, to turn strangers into neighbors.
What items are you most known for? Food wise, our Beet Burger for sure is our best seller. My mom created it and it is absolutely delicious. It consists of brown rice, lentils, and shredded beets which is made into a burger and topped with a vegan tartar sauce and slice cucumbers. Served on Naan bread and accompanied with a side salad. Amazing. As for coffee, we use a local roaster from Forked River, NJ and it truly is the best coffee and puts Starbucks to shame. Even though I am incredibly biased, just take my word for it!
Any advice for those wanting to be a small-business owner? My biggest advice, is to have passion. If it isn’t going to bring you happiness then don’t do it, life is too short to waste. I wake up every morning, loving what I do and excited to start my day. The service/food industry, at times can be extremely hard and very labor intensive. Without that passion, the drive, and the motivation to succeed, it would be nearly impossible to move forward. I am 21 years old running a business, and I know that I still have a lot of learn. But I can say with complete confidence that this has been the best decision of my life.
Need a fresh cut to head into the weekend or for that big night out? Joe’s Allentown Barbershop is the place to head. With two boys, plus myself, I can certainly vouch for the blade work that Hector, Nicole and the rest of the team at Joe’s does.
Joe’s has been around in town for a few years now. Co-owned by Hector and Nicole, they moved to a bigger spot on Church Street last year. The best thing about this barbershop? They are quick. They move through a busy waiting area will still delivering quality cuts. They are open Tuesday-Friday from 9 am – 6:30, Saturdays 9:30 to 2:30 and Sundays 10 am to 2:30.
Heading back to The Old Mill, The One Eyed Turtle is a clothing shop owned by Maria Carreño and Mary Schwab. It features clothing and accessories and is an “ethical fashion” boutique that offers handmade products by a small artisan community from all over the world. I see so many cool things in their shop, it reminds me of my travels, especially to Asia and India.
As for their unique name….according to their website:
“Many years ago there was a One Eyed Turtle who swam close to the bottom of the sea. One day he decided to seek a sandalwood log in which to place himself perfectly to have the sun warm on his back and cool his tummy. He went to the “wise one” to seek advice on how to find such a log. After searching without any luck, he went back to the “wise one” and wanted to know why he failed. The “wise one” said: “happiness must come from within, you have been seeking something which you carried with you all this time.” This story has Buddhist origins and you can be reminded of this great wisdom every time you enjoy the products from these innovative and creative artisans from around the world.
These are just a few of the small businesses in our little town. I wanted to highlight them even though I know a good number of you, my readers, will never get to our town to experience them. As small businesses owners, I’m impressed to hell with what they do every day. They’ve followed their passions and provide a great service to the community. I wish I could have profile more – maybe next year!
In the meantime, check out the Allentown Business Community Association (ABCA) to learn.
And, by all means, check out the small businesses in your town or area. Give them business – not just on November 26 – but all year long, and help promote their hard work.
(c) Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016