HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — Chris Groome lost his sou chef job in Hoboken and bounced back to Egg Harbor Township a few years ago.

He was collecting unemployment and wondering what to do with his life sentence when he read the ad for a vacant store on Main Street. That is nowadays Brownies Squared, a cafe and bakery he opened on the historic comic strip in Mays Landing a small more than five years ago. “ It ’ s a nice placement, ” he said recently, as he cut dough for bagels in the kitchen behind the restaurant. He compared the train street to Egg Harbor Township, where he grew up. “ They would have a parade down Ocean Heights, where half of it is woods. ” The business is one of the new enterprises that have tentatively staked their title to one of the region ’ s oldest Main Streets, one that has tried to stay stream with the times evening as trends and fashions change. By day, Brownies Squared is a coffee bean shop and bakery, offering sandwiches and cakes. But a few times a month, it transforms into the Super Secret Supper Club, offering a fixed-price, set-menu multicourse meal to a twelve or so customers, often based on a composition. “ It was meant to be fun, to be an know, ” Groome said. “ It has surely not made my life any easier. ” The Mays Landing area gets its identify from the English ocean captain George May, who purchased land from an earlier settler in 1749, late setting up a deal post and shipyard near Main Street. adequate people lived here that by the prison term the state Legislature created Atlantic County in 1837, it selected Mays Landing as the county seat. Main Street starts at Lake Lenape, which has defined Mays Landing ’ s downtown ever since mill owners beginning dammed the Great Egg Harbor River to create it in the late 1840s. Boaters in the summer set off from Atlantic County ’ s Lake Lenape Park, which stretches for more than 2,000 acres along the west shore of the lake. More than equitable a launch launching pad, the park offers spots to picnic, rise. other people seek it out for cross-country ski when it snows. But the mills that created the 350-acre lake are hanker gone. Developers had announced plans to redevelop the area into about 200 condos and shops, but a pair of black fires in 2007 and the national economic slowdown slowed development. Officials have since worried the building was an eyesore and public base hit concern. similarly, Atlantic County ’ s courthouse complex defines the easterly end of Main Street. But the county opened its far more roomy and modern $ 40 million criminal courts build up in 2003, about 2½ miles east, and nowadays fewer people visit Main Street. “ It has hurt some businesses, ” Hamilton Township Mayor Roger Silva said of the county ’ south move. “ You ’ ve seen some of them close, and you have seen some of them change hands. ” now that the courthouse has been renovated, he hopes Atlantic County ’ mho freeholders will hold more meetings there. In between the lake and courthouse, life continues on the historic street, as residents and business owners work to make the street its best. A bracing wind instrument blew off Lake Lenape one recent dawn, flapping signs that advertised last class ’ second two-hundredth anniversary of Hamilton Township. They besides rattled a sign of the zodiac at the nearby Lake Lenape Antiques storehouse, which typically carries an eclectic survival of trinkets, furniture and other goods. This half of Main Street is predominately residential. Homeowners tout the ages of their kempt priggish homes with little plaques attached to the front of the build. One fleeceable property dates to the 1880s. property records show most of the buildings along the street predate World War I. The Abbott House looms over this end of the street. now a bed and breakfast, the grey and maroon victorian mansion was built in 1865 for Philadelphia lawyer J.E.P. Abbott. Near the Abbott house is the Homestead Barbershop, where Colleen Haas has cut hair for 23 years. A few things have changed in the sports-themed business — haircuts were $ 8, and now they ’ re $ 12 — but she said occupation has been steady. Haas noted the new sidewalks put down in holocene years, but she lamented the historic streets that lack ample on-street park, angstrom well as people ’ sulfur changing shop habits. “ People don ’ metric ton just do little shops any more, ” Haas said. “ They want large stores. ”

Jeanne E. Blatt moved her account and tax planning business from Ventnor to Main Street in 2005 and now shares a building with the barbershop. “ I love it, ” she said exuberantly. “ I love the atmosphere of Mays Landing. It ’ s like an erstwhile, quaint atmosphere. ” People are friendlier here, excessively, she said. “ When you walk down the street here, people look at you, and they say hello. ” For her, Main Street has been a boon. People getting their haircloth hack or otherwise evanesce by period in and see her. A short distance away, Andy Devecchio has run Main Street Hardware with a careful center. The memory has one of precisely about anything, from fertilizer to egg slicers to plumbing supplies. “ They have everything I need, ” said Clay Compton, who drove from Egg Harbor Township for some kind of plumbing doo-dad to finish his project. He left and a few minutes subsequently Bill Erdman, 44, and his son, Michael Erdman, 11, came through the door. The two had stopped in from Linwood en road to Mizpah, where they were going hunting. The elder Erdman bought shotgun, bow and fish permits, and they were out the door. Joe Spurlock ’ s kin opened up Main Street American Cafe about two years ago at the corner of Main Street and Cape May Avenue. Spurlock, 22, said he and his dad, local chef Richard Spurlock, are frequent travelers who like to find and cook the local food. When they opened, they decided to try to run a restaurant that cooked american dishes from around the country. He was gallant of the chicken gumbo, Joe Spurlock said, cooked lavishly with filé gunpowder. New Orleans cuisine is a front-runner. “ All the best food from New Orleans is based off of the food that poor people were eating 100 years ago, ” he said. In all, Spurlock said, the experience has been rewarding. Mays Landing ’ s Main Street may not be the concentrate of the earth, but for Spurlock and others who have invested in the historic district ’ s future, it is one they see is paying off. “ The people here are equitable the best, ” Spurlock said. “ The support that we ’ rhenium getting from the people, it good blows me away. ” Contact Derek Harper : 609-272-7046 @ dnharper on chirrup

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