Mary Ann Castronovo Fusco

New Jersey Monthly

Hidden Jersey: Shopping

Barneys II Bargain Store
1059 Broad Street, Bloomfield (Essex County)
This nondescript retail location has a warehouse feel and stocks inventory surpluses, designer seconds and samples, including women’s clothing, shoes, handbags and menswear. The goods are mostly high-end. Inventory changes weekly and the discounts are deep. 973-338-7672.—DPC

Basemeant WRX
Montclair area (Essex County)
At this writing, Aimee and Chris Danchise, a Bloomfield husband-and-wife, were selling their handcrafted furniture made from cast-off wood—some upcycled from 100-year-old New Jersey porches—in a pop-up shop in Montclair. Now they’re looking for a permanent space. Until they find one, visit their website to buy their round, pieced-top coffee tables on metal hairpin legs—a best seller—and other quirky, one-of-a-kind-designs. 973-842-7473.—TLG

Cauldron and the Cupboard
516 Bay Avenue, Point Pleasant Beach (Ocean County)
Equal parts magic and spirituality, this charming shop sells mystical crystals, oils and candles, each with its own purported healing properties.  Owner Angela White and her mother, Strega Nonna (Grandma Witch), opened the business in 2007. “Ten years ago people were petrified,” says White. “Now it’s mainstream.” Candle prices range from $2 to $35. Other services include tarot card and psychic readings. 732-714-6521.—LP

Cowtown Cowboy Outfitters
716 Route 40 Harding Highway, Woodstown (Salem County)
The statue out front of John Wayne on a horse alongside a fake cactus beckons shoppers to enter this big brown barn and browse its collection of Western-themed clothing and accessories. Giddyup with authentic boots and belts, plus novelty gifts like saddle toilet-paper holders, cowboy-hat air fresheners, gun lamps, shotgun-shell mugs and more. Be sure to cross the street and visit the famed Cowtown Rodeo (where a second, smaller outfitting location is open from May to September), the massive farmers’ market and the funky Ranch Hope Thrift Store. 888-761-4246.—JB

Cloister Shoppe of the Dominican Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary
543 Springfield Avenue, Summit (Union County)
Handcrafted by cloistered Catholic nuns, beeswax Cloister Candles, along with fragrant soaps—in floral and botanical scents for women; sandalwood, bay rum, and vanilla bean for men—plus hand cream, lip balm, liquid soap and room spray under the Seignadou Soaps brand are displayed on the left side of the vestibule of the monastery chapel (open daily from 6 am). In the opposite corner, you’ll find a small selection of hand-knit accessories and religious items (including wooden rosaries made by the nuns). A volunteer salesperson is usually on duty 9:30 am to 4 pm Monday through Saturday and occasionally on Sundays. Otherwise, follow the signs to the intercom for assistance, or shop online. All proceeds support the monastery’s growing community. 908-273-1228.—MACF

Local Abundance
125 Route 526, Allentown (Monmouth County)
Jennifer Hill, a former Miss New Jersey, fills orders out of her Central Jersey warehouse for salmon, tuna, shrimp, lobster tails, scallops, tilapia and more—but with a major difference from most purveyors. Hill buys directly from small, independent fishermen (many of them in New Jersey), so customers know where their fresh catch comes from and that it’s sustainable. Local Abundance also sells pasture-raised chicken, turkey, duck, beef and pork. Instead of “just slapping a label on a piece of beef that says organic,” Hill says, she can tell you what farm your beef was raised on, the name of the rancher who raised it and what the cow spent its life eating. 609-259-4199.—TLG

L.O.V.E. Furniture
8 Great Meadow Lane, East Hanover (Morris County)
Stay alert when driving to L.O.V.E. Furniture (an acronym for Limited Original Vintage Eclectic). It is tucked among warehouses at the end of a long, wooded back road on the edge of Florham Park. The furniture and decor gallery has limited display space, but makes its presence felt at statewide craft markets, including the Golden Nugget Flea Market in Lambertville and the Jersey City Project. Creative couple Peter and Tracey Lambeseder and their son, Tanner, 24, repurpose mid-century and deco furniture from estate and garage sales. They’ve turned a stainless-steel Viking refrigerator door into a sleek kitchen table; a vintage hat box into a nightstand with storage; and tons of old windows into chalkboards and mirrors. “We sell a lot to Jersey City and Brooklyn people with small apartments,” says Tracey, “so we do a lot of dual-purpose items.” The warehouse overflows with funky finds, including custom rustic signage. Weekday hours: 10 am to 2 pm. 973-585-7163.—JB

Moore Brothers Wine
7200 North Park Drive, Pennsauken (Camden County)
It’s always a cool 56 degrees in this well-stocked wine shop—the ideal temperature for storing wine. Using refrigerated trucks, ship containers and delivery vans, the owners endeavor to keep their wines cool all the way from the winery, wherever that may be. Grab a loaner fleece jacket from the rack, taste wines from artisanal producers around the world and learn why Moore Brothers goes to all that trouble (while maintaining reasonable prices). The reason is that high or prolonged heat damages wine. As Moore Brothers see it, at most shops you just don’t know what kind of conditions wines were subjected to in shipping. 856-317-1177.—MP

Old Feed Mill Auction Center
487 Division Street, Boonton (Morris County)
Bid on home furnishings from hand-woven carpets to bedroom suites, or scoop up collectibles ranging from antique toys to WWII memorabilia at the fast-paced auction held most Fridays in this barnlike former seed mill. There’s no catalogue. Preview begins at 3 pm; live auction patter kicks in at 5 and goes on…and on and on. Bidders signal by holding up their numbered paper plate. Regulars know to bring cushions to pad the stiff seats, along with lap blankets in winter and misting fans in summer. You can also grab a bite at the modest snack bar. 973-334-0001.—MACF

Portugalia Sales
109 Ferry Street, Newark (Essex County)
Immerse yourself in the heritage of Portugal at this family-owned Ironbound store where manager Rosa Mocreia curates Vista Alegre porcelain dinnerware in traditional and contemporary patterns and dazzling hand-painted Coimbra ceramics.

Floor-to-ceiling shelves are neatly jam-packed with imported embroidered and hand-crochet-trimmed table and kitchen linens; hand-painted oven-to-table terra-cotta; copper cataplanas (covered stovetop pots traditionally used for seafood); Silampos stainless steel pots and pans; folk-style shawls and dance shoes; mid-priced handbags made of cork; a wide array of giftware—from baby shoes to beer mugs—for fans of Portugal’s three major soccer clubs (Benfica, Porto, and Sporting); and an eye-popping display of roosters of Barcelos (a symbol of honesty considered good luck) in hand-painted metal, clay or ceramic. A fully licensed cargo shipper for international moves, the shop also carries an impressive variety of 220-volt appliances—from irons to full-size refrigerators—and multisystem TVs that work here and abroad. 973-589-1416.—MACF

Recycling the Past 
381 North Main Street, Barnegat (Ocean County)
You never know what you’ll find at this family-owned haven for adventurous shoppers. The goods are mostly salvaged house components like cast-brass ceiling medallions, stained-glass windows, antique tile, French doors and fireplace mantels. But there are plenty of whimsical rarities, too. In the market for an aircraft satellite, a church pew or a tobacco-leaf press? This is the place. If you enjoy quirky finds but don’t have the wherewithal to give them new life, the shop offers found objects repurposed into useable furnishings. A garden gate is reimagined as a console table, a retired baluster becomes a lamp, and farmhouse windows are revived as mirrors. 609-660-9790.—DPC

Wild Bird Seeds and Such
500 Union Avenue, Brielle (Monmouth County)
It’s all birds all the time in this tranquil store—hundreds of birdhouses and birdfeeders, both conventional and one-of-a-kind, along with dozens of kinds of bird seed and feed. Owner Debby Walther scours gift markets for unique bird-related products. She even sells CDs replete with chirping soundtracks. 732-528-4633.—LP