The South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA) is hosting its inaugural Business Summit on October 8, at 7:00 p.m. at 1 South (click here to register). The Business Summit will be an opportunity for South Orange Village Center business owners to make new connections to help their businesses and to provide feedback for the SOVCA leadership team. In anticipation of the summit, Village Green is partnering with SOVCA to present weekly profiles of the people behind seven of South Orange’s successful and unique businesses. Here, we feature Jason Miller who is the new owner of Sonny’s Bagels located at 123 South Orange Avenue. You can also find Sonny’s online at www.Sonnysbagels.com.
1. Tell us about your business! What do you sell? What makes your business special?
Sonny’s is a South Orange institution since 1971. We make bagels the old-fashioned way with simple ingredients. The bagels are hand rolled, then boiled and baked to perfection; What some would call artisanal. I have been a customer since I moved to South Orange in 2000 and found Sonny’s as I explored town. To be honest, while I always loved the bagels, the store had certain limitations that frustrated me as a customer. At times the bagels were inconsistent, service could be slow and the store lacked other things traditionally found in a bagel store. I was fortunate to acquire Sonny’s last year and have focused on producing the best bagels with the best team of employees. Of course, a warm bagel fresh from the oven is a real treat and we work hard to always have something warm for you to eat. I used to buy my bagels at Sonny’s and then go to the bagel shop in Millburn to get cream cheese and smoked fish. After focusing on producing the best bagels we focused on producing great specialty cream cheese and sourcing the best smoked fish. The spectrum of smoked fish — Nova, Lox (yes there is a difference!), Whitefish, Sable, Herring and Kippered Salmon is known as “appetizing.” We now carry 8
store-made specialty cream cheeses and source our smoked fish from the same place as the famous appetizing stores in NYC. Why schlepp to the city?
2. What drew you to open your business in South Orange?
Really, I never planned on running a bagel store but Sonny’s is a special place. I have a financial services background and had offered to help the old owner fix up the store but instead he offered to sell it to me. I just couldn’t resist.
3. What do you like most about your customers?
It’s really fun to talk to people of all different backgrounds and it’s important that my team makes shopping at Sonny’s a great experience. I enjoy speaking to customers and helping them learn about all the different products we have and helping them explore what they might like based on their flavor profile- Do you like salty? Do you like spicy? Do you like sweet? We have things to meet all those desires. Sampling plays a huge part in what we do. We want you try new things and we want you to be happy. I am in the store every day and your satisfaction is guaranteed. If I am not in the store my contact information is on a card on the
register every day.
4. What do you like most about doing business in South Orange?
The SOVCA has helped me grow and promote my business.
5. Why should people who haven’t been to Sonny’s Bagels yet visit your
We have the best bagels, the nicest staff and appetizing and cream cheese worthy of a Sonny’s bagel.
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