Gift Certificates at To Be Continued . . . Equals Unique Business Opportunity

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Metuchen residents make no secret of the fact that they don't care for the vacant storefronts on Main Street.  As they grapple with big changes like the Pearl Street Development project and the arrival of Whole Foods, their ideas about filling these vacant spaces are decidedly small.  They want to preserve the small town feel and keep family owned businesses alive.

FROM TO BE CONTINUED BOOKSTORE AND BOUTIQUE:

As town officials contemplate a new ordinance allowing temporary "pop up shops" to fill those spaces, current business owners Sergio Gonzalez and Karen Winters are being proactive in their effort not to become another unwanted vacancy. Their bookstore boutique, To Be Continued..., has quietly evolved into a hybrid of all the things residents say they want downtown.  Metuchen has an oasis of Main Street USA mentality already in place as they provide a consignment space for many vendors at a reasonable rate, an affordable, flexible venue for area groups, musicians, authors and private citizens to use as well as the coffee, books, candy and gift items it has always had.  So...what's the catch?

It all gets back to that "quiet evolution."  Awareness must be raised and sales must increase in order for Winters and Gonzalez to make the decision to renew their lease this year.  August 1 is the deadline for them to make the decision to stay or to go.  To that end, they have taken an unprecedented step in sharing that deadline with the community and appealing to them directly for patronage to capitalize $100,000 by August 1. They won't take donations though.  Instead, they are offering $100 Special Limited Edition Patron Gift certificates for each $100 commitment from contributors. 

To kick off what has been dubbed by loyal customer and event organizer Melissa Peterson as the "Boutique Buy-In" campaign there will be a free, all-day open house on March 21, 2015.   It is the first of a series of promotional events ranging from free concerts to photo contests that she will coordinate. The community is invited to come and enjoy musical performances throughout the day as coordinated by the house band leader (yes they have a house band) Lee Caplan.  Caplan has lined up an impressive mix of professionals and students from various Rutgers music programs as well as local Metuchen acts residents already know and love.

Caplan's crew will provide free, live entertainment ranging from classical piano, violin and jazz to folk music and more from 12 noon through 10pm. Attendees can also take a self or guided tour of the store and meet authors and artists set to be featured in future shows. It will also be a forum to hear about the plans for the future from Peterson and have questions answered by the owners directly.

Basically the "Buy-In" is a presale; a commitment from contributors who believe in the store's vision to spend in the near future in exchange for a promise that the store will be there and continue to bring them a great variety of products and services when shoppers need them...at least until January 2019 to be exact. The gift certificates are valid for any merchandise or service offered in the store and the security of the renewed lease will allow To Be Continued...to avoid becoming another vacant storefront and to concentrate on showcasing its diverse selections with a variety of local vendors benefitting.

If Metuchen is serious about keeping Main Street storefronts full and big business at bay, the decision to visit To Be Continued...for the open house and to and learn more about "buying-in" to the presale should be an easy one. For more information contact Buy-In coordinator Ms. Peterson directly at Melissa@Metuchen.us or at 732-439-4423. Visit To Be Continued... on the web at Metuchen.us and on Facebook/MetuchenBookstore. They can also be found on  Instagram and Twitter @ToBeContinuedNJ

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