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Emerson Businesses: Kinderkamack Roadwork Is Killing Us

Bryana Paino on the street outside her new shop, Bellissiimo Boutique, on Emerson Plaza East.
Bryana Paino on the street outside her new shop, Bellissiimo Boutique, on Emerson Plaza East. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Donna Dugan of Oradell, the sole customer at Alamode Nail and Spa, lives closeby. "The traffic does stop me," she says. "Why can't they do more work at night?"
Donna Dugan of Oradell, the sole customer at Alamode Nail and Spa, lives closeby. "The traffic does stop me," she says. "Why can't they do more work at night?" Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
A lonely lunch hour at Marra's Market.
A lonely lunch hour at Marra's Market. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Signs urging drivers not to block driveways are not working, says Marra's Market Manager Adelle Noia.
Signs urging drivers not to block driveways are not working, says Marra's Market Manager Adelle Noia. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
The location of Emerson Cleaners at 120 Kinderkamack Road situates it "in the belly of the beast," says Owner Craig Goulian.
The location of Emerson Cleaners at 120 Kinderkamack Road situates it "in the belly of the beast," says Owner Craig Goulian. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Diners are following detours to the Emerson Hotel at 31 Emerson Plaza East, where business has been slower thanusual though management isn't prepared to say that's because of the roadwork.
Diners are following detours to the Emerson Hotel at 31 Emerson Plaza East, where business has been slower thanusual though management isn't prepared to say that's because of the roadwork. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash

EMERSON, N.J. — In Emerson businesses along the Kinderkamack Road corridor, lasagnas are sitting uneaten, no one’s buying fall sweaters, and precious few women are getting their nails done.

The road is now under major renovations and causing traffic backups so severe that a one-mile ride can take 20 minutes.

Work started last month and is expected to last 10 months.

Entrepreneurs say they share the vision for an improved road. They just hope they’re still in business next summer to reap the benefit.

“Look,” said Tina Pyo, owner of Alamode Nail and Spa at 111 Kinderkamack, gesturing around her shop. “Nobody is here.”

A sign in the window advertising a $45 Cappuccino Spa Pedi is not getting lots of takers.

“The road will be good but maybe too late (for us),” Pyo said.

Meanwhile, across the street, Craig Goulian, owner of Emerson Cleaners at 120 Kinderkamack, has run some numbers and calculated his business has dropped off 35 to 40 percent since the roadwork began.

“We’re at a point now where people are avoiding coming this way,” he said. “They’re finding alternate routes, which is seriously hurting us, and it’s going to continue for who knows how long.”

The work started at the busiest season of the year for dry cleaners: October through December, when people turn over their closets.

The timing also isn’t great for Bellissimo Boutique at 55 Emerson Plaza East on the other side of the train tracks.

“I opened a week before the work started,” said Bryana Paino, proprietor. “What was I thinking?”

At first, she said, the traffic helped her since her shop is new. Northbound drivers who sat on Kinderkamack, not moving, noticed her white-on-pink sign.

Now that construction work is focused on the train station itself, she said, no one is walking by her place.

“Foot traffic has been minimal,” she said. “There are craters in the street in front of the shop right now.”

Paino would like to open the door since that’s inviting for customers. But when she does, the smell of gas and dirt waft into her place.

The story is similar for eateries.

At 1 p.m. Tuesday, Adelle Noia, manager at Marra’s Market at 89 Kinderkamack, had three people in the shop.

“I lost all my business for lunch because of the traffic,” Noia said. “I had a great business and it is destroyed. Nobody wants to come and spend 20 minutes in traffic and 20 minutes on the way back.”

Besides, she said, her customers barely get a chance to turn out of her driveway.

Several signs that read, “Please Do Not Block Driveway Thank You” are placed in front of Marra’s.

But drivers don’t see them, according to Noia.

The borough sent a letter to all businesses authorizing them, through Dec. 31, “to place temporary advertisements similar to sandwich boards along Kinderkamack Road.”

But drivers don’t see them, according to Noia.

Councilwoman Danielle DiPaola, who owns a shop on Kinderkamack Road in Oradell, said she understands the pain of the shopowners.

She said she has alerted Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Cresskill) and Borough Administrator Robert Hoffmann to see what can be done to help business owners through this tough time.

In the meantime, she’s calling on residents to buy from local business owners.

“I’m just looking for everyone to spread the love around,” DiPaola said, “to keep these guys afloat during construction.”

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