Newport Centre Mall
30 Mall Drive West
The word “moment” figures prominently in the philosophy of this specialized jewelry store. “Celebrating unforgettable moments” is its raison d’être. Though the company has a wide variety of jewelry, it is known for its charm bracelets, which allow women to create their own personal designs—with meanings and mementos unique to them.
“It’s about building moments on your bracelet that coincide with what’s going on in your life,” says Rhea Shivnani, president of the Pandora franchise in Newport Centre Mall.
Customers buying a gift can be assured that the charms are appropriate for anyone from age 10 to 70. “Men love buying the bracelets for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and anniversaries,” she says. The reason? Selecting a custom charm bracelet takes some of the guesswork out of buying a gift. With each annual celebration, the recipient can add to her bracelet, using the events of her own life to build a meaningful work of art.
The bracelets are handcrafted in silver and gold, and some have diamonds. Even so, with a price range of $20-$700, most people can fit a Pandora bracelet into their budgets.
“We are big on customer service,” Shivnani says. “We don’t rush people out of the store. We give each person respect and time.”
With a product that depends so strongly on personality and back-story, this individual attention is crucial. Shivnani says her sales staff helps customers make choices. They find out “what she’s like, ask questions, connect with the person they are dealing with.”
She says the Pandora experience is so much more than “just the value of the jewelry. It’s the emotions tied into the jewelry.”
SMITH AND CHANG GENERAL GOODS
230 Pavonia Ave.
Smith and Chang General Goods curates a complete line of eyewear, from vintage-inspired frames to designer sunglasses. Lester Frankel, an optician with more than two decades of experience, is on hand to fill eyeglass prescriptions. Frankel also fits and adjusts frames for customers.
Smith and Chang, a unique general store on Hamilton Square, is noted for its vintage wares, which lend a cozy, country-store atmosphere to our urban downtown landscape.
Frankel’s wife, Eileen, says that a popular item at Smith and Chang are never-been-worn vintage eyeglasses. “My husband finds old optometrists who are closing up shop,” Eileen says. “We buy out loads and loads and offer a selection at Smith and Chang’s.”
Frankel has been in the eye and eyewear business for 35 years. The Frankels had locations in Brooklyn and Middlesex, N.J., but are known for their on-site eyeglass shows at corporations.
They offer 900 frames. You pick the frame, and the Frankels fit them and fill the prescription. “We grind the lenses off premises, and then we mail them,” Eileen says. “A working person has no time to do this at lunch hour, and they love it because we save them a bundle of money—60 to 70 percent off retail.”
In addition to designer frames, such as Ray-Ban and Tom Ford, Smith and Chang offers copies of vintage frames. “Very high-end quality,” Eileen says. “The Smith and Chang customer likes copies of vintage frames.”
DR. EDWARD TJOE
66 York St.
Though Dr. Tjoe is a native of Queens, N.Y., he chose the Exchange Place section of Jersey City for his medical practice, which he opened about 18 months ago. “There are not many podiatrists in the immediate area,” he says, “so I can make an impact and a name for myself.”
The locale is perfect for his business. “It’s relatively close to New York as well as downtown Jersey City.” He says that sometimes people who work in New York opt to go to doctors in New York rather than where they live, and he wants to “remedy that.”
He also touts the reasonably priced transportation options. “Instead of paying the Holland Tunnel tolls, there’s the PATH, the ferry, and the light rail,” he says.
In our modern, active society, podiatry is an increasingly important field. “We have a variety of patients,” Tjoe says. “We’re dealing with weekend warriors, a lot of corporate people, who work out on a regular basis and get nagging injuries—Achilles pain, shin splints, heel pain, and back pain that can affect the feet.”
He also deals with seniors who often suffer from skin wounds and ingrown toenails. An important service is preventive foot care for diabetics, so that they can avoid amputations, a very dire medical intervention.
But it’s not all business for Tjoe. “I’ve done some shopping in the immediate area, there’s a nursing home, a real estate agency, and condos are being built,” he says. “It’s quite a magnificent view from the waterfront.”
HIMALAYA HERBAL SPA
95 Montgomery St.
Alan Lau is a Jersey City entrepreneur with four successful restaurants to his credit: BOX, More, Sawadee, and Sky Thai. And now, not only has he opened another restaurant, Shanghai Best, but he’s expanded his kingdom into another realm altogether: the spa business.
Himalaya Herbal Spa, right next to Shanghai Best, opened in May.
“I always wanted to diversify,” Lau says. “A spa is an easy business to manage. You don’t have a lot of overhead. You don’t have waiters. You don’t need a lot of support.”
What he does have are nine masseuses and a seven-day-a-week operation that is already going strong.
“I studied the location,” Lau says. “There were a few similar establishments in the area, and everyone is doing well. No one has closed, and our pricing is the most reasonable.”
Himalaya is a full-service spa. “We have all kinds of massages—facial, herbal, Swedish, Tibetan, chair massage, and foot massage,” Lau says. “We introduced foot massage to the neighborhood. It’s popular in China, It helps blood to circulate.”
The spa serves a lot of professional and corporate clients in the downtown area, who experience daily stress. “They have shoulder pain and neck pain,” Lau says. The spa also offers a sea salt massage and something that sounds a little scary—fire therapy.
Log on to Himalaya website, and you’ll see the full range of offerings from Jade facials and foot reflexology to stone massages.
Yet again, Alan Lau has found the right touch.