Downtown Events This Summer

Looking for fun this summer? Then look no further than Downtown Cranford, where events are planned all summer long. First up is “Let’s Make Music.” On Friday, June 9th our brightly painted public piano will roll into Eastman Plaza and remain there throughout the summer for anyone to play. Join us for Family Fit & Fun on Thursday, June 15 when local businesses will be offering demonstrations for adults and kids. Bring the whole family down to Eastman Street area and join in the fun.

July will kick off with a Kids Cabaret performance by the Union County Performing Arts Center, on Thursday, July 6 at 6 pm at the Clock. On Thursday, July 20, Eastman Street will be filled with kids participating in the annual Lego Contest. Plus, Sidewalk Sales will be held at several shops July 20-22.

August 4 brings the always popular Rock Yoga, sponsored by Alluem Yoga. The fall has two big events also. The Cranford Paint Out, sponsored by The Artist Framer, is September 16 and our 10th Annual Scarecrow Stroll will kick-off on October 24.


Dogs + Downtown = 2 Things We Love!

Downtown Cranford is a place where everyone feels welcome, even our four-legged friends. A number of people come downtown with their dogs, and many of our business owners welcome them. Wondering which businesses are pet friendly? We reached out to business owners and compiled the following list.


  • Of course, no trip downtown for a dog and its owner would be complete without a stop at Just 4 Pooches! Owner Lynne Suga says “Dogs are always welcome in the store! I have water bowls in the store and I give all dogs complimentary treats and samples of dog foods.” Any dog whose owner takes them to Just 4 Pooches is one lucky pup!


Sip & Shop is May 12!

Friday, May 12   6-9PM
Join us for an evening of sipping, shopping, special gifts, discounts, raffles, and more! Tickets can be purchased in advance for $20 at Augusta MaePeriwinkle’s, Milk Money, and The Amber Feather, or online. Tickets can also be purchased at the door for $25. 
  • Check in at Ana’s Studio 24 (113 Miln St.) where the first 100 people will receive a goody bag filled with coupons from local Cranford businesses.
  • Get your shopping passport stamped at Ana’s, Belladonna’s, think d’sign print and Amber Feather to be entered into a raffle for a $50 gift certificate to Pairings and a bottle of wine.
  • Remember, parking is Free after 6PM!
Gifts, Discounts, Raffles, & More at These Businesses!

There will also be raffles and gift baskets from the following businesses: 

Elegance Nails IV, Clear Touch Massage, Fire Me Up!, Eye Level Learning, Ciao Bello, Il Gabbiano, Big Apple Pizza, Perrotti’s & more! 



Plus bring your complimentary wine glass to Kilkenny House, Thirsty Turtle, Bar Americana & Garlic Rose for Happy Hour pricing!

All of the money raised goes toward scholarships awarded by the Cranford Woman’s Club
We can’t wait to see you downtown on May 12!

Give Mom the Best from Our Downtown Businesses

One day a year, we celebrate Mom and everything she does for us. Read the list below for just a few of the ways our downtown merchants can help make Mom’s day as special as she is.

Gift Ideas

  • The Amber Feather has a number of fabulous accessories to make Mom even more stylish. Earrings, sunglasses, necklaces, and more can all be found at this downtown retailer.
    Amber Feather
  • Belladonna’s has a new look, as well as even more beautiful clothes, jewelry, and accessories that any Mom would love to receive.


  • Golden Touch Jewelers has a great selection of Mom-approved jewelry pieces, including this necklace with tri-color hearts.
  • On the search for fun or fashionable gifts for Mom? Then a stop at Augusta Mae is in order.
  • Anthem has a number of gifts for Mom, including havaianas + S’well bottle for the warm weather loving mom, Mother’s Day cards from Rifle Paper co., Power gem bracelets from Gorjana, and candles from Capri Blue.
  • Fair trade hand embroidered tunics and scarves, the perfect addition to Mom’s spring wardrobe, can be found at Simply Art and Framing.

Food and Sweet Treats

  • Vanilla Bean Creamery has beautiful cakes for Mom’s special day. If you’d like a custom cake, like the one pictured below, just make sure you order it before Mother’s Day. And Vanilla Bean is also the place to stop by if you’re looking for ice cream cakes for communions, birthdays, graduations, or any other special occasion.


  • Renowned restaurant Pairings is currently taking reservations for its Mother’s Day brunch and dinner. And remember – it’s byob!

    Fun Times
  • ArteVino will be offering several Mother’s Day themed painting classes on May 14, including Vibrant Bouquet and Mother and Baby Giraffe. Gift certificates also make a great gift.
  • Hot Yoga Revolution will be holding a Mommy & Me Mini-Yoga Retreat on May 13. This is a wonderful opportunity for mothers and children to connect, relax, and have a truly memorable experience.
  • Surprise Mom with the gift of dance by giving her a gift certificate to Arthur Murray Dance Center.
    Arthur Murray
  • Ciao Amici has some wonderfully unique gift ideas for Mom. You can surprise her with a trip to Italy – you’ll get $300 off if you book by May 31st. Or what about a gift certificate so Mom can learn Italian? Other ideas include an evening of opera and a pasta making class, both held at Ciao Amici.

Ciao Amici


  • New downtown business Posh Hair Lounge will be offering a Mother’s Day special, where customers can get a haircut, Keratin express blowout, and massage for $110.
  • Bella Organici has a number of specials planned around Mother’s Day, including Mommy and Me Yoga and facial specials.
    Bella Organici
  • It’s All About Me Salon and Day Spa has a number of specials to help Mom look and feel her best.
    All About Me

Downtown Businesses Give Back to the Community in So Many Ways

Local businesses are an important part of any community. They provide dining and shopping options, as well as personal or professional services. But, local businesses do so much more and their support is essential to schools, PTAs, sports teams, civic organizations, and charitable events.

Mane Event
We wondered just what this support means in dollars, so we reached out to our more than 200 downtown businesses to get an idea of how they support and contribute to causes near and dear to local residents. We heard back from just 36 business owners, but their contributions alone topped more than $110,000 last year.

These contributions came in a number of forms. Many times businesses will donate gift cards, food, services, or merchandise, in addition to offering sponsorships and discounts. These donations were spread across local schools, non-profit organizations, religious institutions, and sports teams. Many times the businesses will also hold fundraisers to support causes, donating not only money but also time. In addition, local businesses also give back to the community by employing local residents. In the five years since they first opened, the owners of Augusta Mae estimate they’ve employed about a dozen high school students. There’s no doubt that many Cranford teenagers’ first job was at a local business. A number of hair salons and retailers also help out each year with the high school fashion show, donating hair styling services or outfits for the students to wear.

We hope you’ll join us in thanking our business owners for all that they do. Their generosity, in both time and money, is one of the things that makes Cranford so special. So from all of us, thank you!


Cake Artist Cafe and Dinner in a Pinch Re-open, Bigger & Better

Cake Artist Cafe originally opened in Cranford 6 years ago. The business was started by Ligia DeJesus as a showcase for her custom cakes, and eventually expanded to also sell cupcakes, cookies, cake pops, and additional sweet treats. Ligia and her husband Rui also purchased the neighboring business, Dinner in a Pinch, as a way to showcase their cooking skills as well. With two businesses under one roof Ligia and Rui found themselves on the hunt for a bigger space downtown. They found that space at 8 Eastman Street, and re-opened both businesses the first week of April.

Display case
One of the main reasons Ligia wanted a larger space was because of feedback from her customers. Many of them told her they would love to sit at tables in Cake Artist Cafe and enjoy their food there. Ligia also wanted to offer a bigger variety of baked goods, and the new space allows her to do that. In the morning people can enjoy a cup of coffee with a danish or breakfast sandwich, while at lunchtime sandwiches and salads are on the menu. In the evening Dinner in a Pinch will be taking orders, and customers can also stop by and pick up a dessert to take home. Cake Artist Cafe and Dinner in a Pinch will be open from Tuesday-Sunday, closed only on Mondays.

Since they opened in the new space, Ligia and her employees have been hard at work keeping the display cases stocked. All of the food is baked on premises, and Ligia also can often be found hard at work decorating her cakes. In the brief time the new location has been open, Ligia has already seen a noticeable increase in foot traffic and walk-in customers. Eventually the bakery will have a selection of dessert cakes in flavors like tiramisu, strawberry shortcake, and more. Ligia also plans to offer specials on cupcakes and cake pops for students.

We hope you’ll join us in congratulating Ligia and Rui on their successful move, and thank them for choosing to keep their business downtown. Here’s to many more years of success in downtown Cranford!

Cake Artist Cafe / Dinner in a Pinchh
8 Eastman Street
Cake Artist Cafe: (908) 967-6007
DIAP: (908) 272-5136


Celebrate Easter and Spring with our Downtown Merchants!

Spring is here, and Easter isn’t far behind. Check out the list below to see how Downtown Cranford businesses can help you celebrate.


Decorations, Clothing & Gifts

  • Periwinkle’s has their beautiful hand painted Austrian eggs for sale, as well as Paper Mache Easter eggs filled with jelly beans and German chocolate bunnies.


  • If you’re looking for an Easter outfit for your little one, then you need to stop by Milk Money. The store has adorable Easter outfits for boys and girls, as well as toys and accessories that are perfect to fill Easter baskets.


  • Breakfast with the Bunny at Giggles on April 8 is sold out, but you can also stop by and pick up gifts from Melissa & Doug or play passes, perfect for your kid’s Easter basket.
  • Embroidered keepsake stuffed animals from think d’sign print are popular Easter gifts. They’re are available in Bunnies, Lambs, Dragons, Unicorns, Penguins and Teddy Bears.


  • Celebrate the start of spring by framing the needlework projects that you worked on all winter! The Artist Framer has a number of framing options for any of your projects or artwork.


  • Spring clothes, shoes, and accessories, perfect for your Easter celebration, can be purchased at The Amber Feather.
    Amber Feather
  • On the hunt for adorable earrings and other accessories that would make any Easter basket shine? Head over to Augusta Mae.


  • Belladonna’s has a number of unique items to fill your child’s Easter basket. Cookie cutters, bunny boxes, and decorated Easter eggs are just a few of the things you can find at the boutique.


  • s’well bottles in new spring colors & patterns are the perfect addition to any Easter basket! Check them out at Anthem’s spring shopping night 4/6, 6-9pm!


Delicious Easter Treats

  • Your Easter celebration won’t be complete with a Bunny-Shaped Bread from Breadsmith. Who wouldn’t want a beautiful centerpiece that’s also edible?

Bunny Bread

  • Looking to finish off the meal with something sweet? Pick up an Easter ice cream cake from Vanilla Bean Creamery!


  • Easter themed cookies, cakes, cupcakes – you can get all of that and more at Alfonso’s Pastry Shoppe.
  • Edible Arrangements has delicious and colorful bouquets available for Easter, as well as for Passover. Contact the store to learn about the seasonal specials they have available.


  • Easter lollipops, candy, decorating kits and so much more are available at Sweet N Fancy Emporium. You won’t have any problem filling Easter baskets with all of the goodies found here!

    Even More…
  • NJWineSeller has a number of wines that pair perfectly with Easter dinner, as well as a large selection of Kosher wines for Passover.
  • On Easter morning Hot Yoga Revolution will have classes for those who wish to practice before church, who are visiting from out of town, or for those who like to just come in and sweat. Class schedule for Easter is 7:30am, 9am, & 10:30am.
  • Fire Me Up! is hosting a Happy Easter Board Art event on April 8th from 7-9PM, and is also selling Bunny and Egg boxes and pottery-to-go kits for Easter baskets.


Mane Event
From all of us at Downtown Cranford, have a wonderful Spring and Easter!


Cloud9 Fabrics Finds the Perfect Spot for Its Growing Business Downtown

Gina Pantastico and Michelle Engel Bencsko met while working in the garment industry. They worked together for over 10 years, and continued to stay in touch even after their paths diverged. Eventually the two women began to speak about starting their own fabric company, and 8 years ago Cloud9 Fabrics was formed. Michelle and Gina set their company apart by only working with organic fabric, an eco-friendly option that was important to them. The company was started in Gina’s garage in Cranford, which functioned as their warehouse. Eventually the business outgrew the garage, and then another space, before the partners finally found the perfect home in the Riverfront building on South Avenue. They chose to have their business in Cranford not only because they both live nearby, but also because they recognized Cranford as a thriving town that offers good foot traffic and a convenient location.

Michelle is the Creative Director of Cloud9, while Gina is in charge of Operations. The designs Cloud9 puts out are split about 50/50 between in-house and designer collections. The designers who collaborate with Cloud9 are often found through connections or are sought out after sharing their work on social media. Once artwork is submitted a sample will be made by the mill, and Cloud9 will go back and forth until the finished product is perfect, a process that takes about 5 months. Once it’s completed the fabric will be sold at stores nationwide and abroad.

Cloud9 Fabrics first made a splash in the fabric business when Gina and Michelle rented a booth at Quilt Market, a trade show that bring in people from all over. People were drawn to the fresh look of their brand, and in time came to know Cloud9 Fabrics for its consistency. The company puts out patterns in a number of different cloths and fabrics, including flannel, canvas, knit, corduroy, and voile. In 2009, when the company first started, quilt making was the trend. However, in the last 2-3 years the company has morphed into one that focuses on apparel sewing, allowing it more creativity when it comes to patterns and colors. The fact that Cloud9 Fabrics chose to have its headquarters in downtown Cranford is something we’re extremely proud of. There is so much more to downtown than meets the eye!

Corner of studio

Cloud9 Fabrics
200 South Ave. East



Bombshell Portraits Captures Kids At Their Best

What parent hasn’t been frustrated when they’ve tried to take a picture of their child? Even the best effort often leads to goofy faces or blurry images, and the end result is usually less than ideal. For parents who want truly great pictures of their children, let us introduce you to Bombshell Portrait. The studio, located upstairs at Bombshell Hairdressing, is owned by Amy Kilgannon, and specializes in children’s portraiture.


Amy came upon her photography profession through her general love of photography and working with children. Originally employed as an accountant, Amy left the industry after having children, but found herself looking for a job with flexibility. She began working part-time with a sports company based in Red Bank and learned from the photographers at the events. Eventually she opened her own photography business in Scotch Plains, and then moved the business to Cranford last summer. Amy’s specialty is children’s portraits, which are almost always done in her studio. The studio is also used for birthday photo shoot parties, where the birthday boy or girl and up to 15 of their friends can have a fashion shoot, complete with multiple costume changes, a print provided to each guest, and a link to an online slideshow. If that sounds like something your child would love, that’s not surprising – Amy’s daughter came up with the idea for her 4th birthday!

Holiday card

The creativity and enthusiasm Amy has for her profession shines through in her pictures. She loves working with the kids, and says that one of the keys to her success is having patience. She will let the kids be kids, taking shots and just waiting for the perfect moment. Amy also enjoys the creativity photography involves. In addition to taking photographs, Amy will also use Photoshop to design special pictures or holiday cards. She can also create special moments in the studio, such as 1st birthday smash cake sessions or family portraits. Welcome to Cranford, Bombshell Portrait – we think a lot of families will be calling on you to catch their children at their cutest!

Cake Smash

Bombshell Portrait
105 South Ave. West (2nd floor)


Valentine’s Day is Sweeter When You Celebrate it with Downtown Merchants

Roses are red, violets are blue – let our downtown merchants make Valentine’s Day easier for you! Listed below are ideas from downtown businesses, from unique gifts to pampering to sweet treats and romantic meals.

Gift Ideas

  • Golden Touch Jewelers has a number of beautiful jewelry pieces for your loved one, including this stunning necklace.
  • “Lock Your Love” with one of these pieces from designer Helchi Belluni, available aMartin Jewelers.
    Martin Jewelers
  • ANTHEM style + gift has cards, jewelry, smartphone cases, and more for your valentine.


  • Belladonna’s has some stylish pieces of jewelry, perfect for your valentine.

Belladonna's necklace

  •  Just 4 Pooches reminds you: don’t forget your furry friend at Valentine’s Day! They have collars, bandanas, treats, and even some artwork for your walls. Smooch your pooch!
    Just 4 Pooches
  • Augusta Mae has so many ways to say “I love you,” including these colorful and stylish bracelets.

Augusta Mae

  • Valentine’s themed pillows, made from pure New Zealand wool, can be yours from Periwinkle’s.
  • Swimsuit Junction is offering 20% off LoLo accessories through February 18th, as well as 10% off other accessories.
  • think d’sign print has adorable embroidered stuffed bears, as well as fun Valentine’s Day shirts. Check out their website or store for additional designs.
  • The Amber Feather has cute accessories, shoes, and clothing that are perfect for your Valentine’s day outfit. It’s also a great place to pick up a gift for your sweetheart.
    Amber Feather
  • If you’re looking to decorate your home in the language of love, then a stop at Simply is in order. The store also has a unique selection of accessories, jewelry, and gifts.

Night Out

  • Fire Me Up! Studio will have a “Ghost Night” on February 10th, and also always has the option for customers to walk in and create their own homemade gifts.


  • For Valentine’s Day, Bella Organici has chocolate facials on sale for $89 and chocolate body wraps for $149. Gift certificates also always make the perfect gift.

Sweet Treats

  • Don’t mind us, we’re just busy drooling over these strawberry tarts from Alfonso’s Pastry Shoppe.
  • Cake Artist Cafe has decorated cookies, cookie pops, mini cookie packs…basically if you want cookies, they have you covered!
    Cake Artist
  • Edible Arrangements  has exactly what you need to celebrate your special someone…. freshly-crafted fruit arrangements with pineapple hearts, including a new Edible Signature Chocolate Box created by Jacques Torres with six decadent flavors.

Dining Out

  • Bar Americana will have a special Valentine’s menu that includes a complementary champagne toast.
  • Kilkenny House will be serving up their regular menu, as well a number of specials including Bone-In Ribeye, Coconut Shrimp, and Lobster Salad. Kilkenny House is the perfect place to bring your sweetheart, or the entire family. Or give one of their gift cards for a night out!
  • Vinny’s  will be offering its regular menu plus some specials, including Braised Short Ribs over Wild Mushroom Risotto, Grilled Shrimp over Arugula salad with fresh Strawberries, and Zeppoles stuffed with Cannoli Cream. And of course, they’ll be cooking up their heart-shaped pizzas!

Vinny's Zeppoles

    • Pairings will be offering a 4-course Valentine’s Day menu. Make a reservation now and you’re sure to have a night to remember.
    • Mr. Bin’s Sushi & Grill has their Sweetheart Roll, perfect for Valentine’s Day or any day you’re dining out with your special someone.

Don’t forget about all of our great restaurants and bars!

From all of us at Downtown Cranford, have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and thank you for supporting our Downtown businesses!