We’re #1! Maplewood Wins NJ Monthly Downtown Showdown

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A winning combination of local pride, inspired leadership and social media savvy has propelled Maplewood to the top in NJ Monthly’s Downtown Showdown — a contest pitting 16 top New Jersey town centers against each other in subsequent rounds of voting.

Basking in the glow of the win, Maplewood Village Alliance Executive Director Julie Doran told Village Green, “We are thrilled to be named New Jersey’s favorite downtown! The sense of pride and support shown by Maplewoodians and many of our friends and supporters in neighboring towns, has been phenomenal. The best news is that we’ve already seen the results of this promotion with visitors coming to the Art Walk from all over New Jersey, even as far away as Vineland, as a result of this promotion. Thanks to our downtown merchants who work so hard to make the Village a special place and to everyone who voted. Now, let’s all celebrate by shopping and dining in downtown Maplewood!”

Read more from NJ Monthly: 

It’s not New Jersey’s biggest downtown, nor it’s best-known. But Maplewood, with its boutiques, art galleries and notable restaurants, has prevailed against all odds in New Jersey Monthly’s Downtown Showdown.

The showdown pitted 16 downtowns chosen by the editors of New Jersey Monthly against each other in online voting. Each week for four weeks the field was cut in half. To emerge on top, Maplewood knocked off Summit in Week 1, Princeton in Week 2, Montclair in Week 3 and, ultimately, Morristown in last week’s Championship round.

“All of the towns have vibrant downtowns and we are very happy to have been chosen as the favorite,” says Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca. “Just participating in the contest has brought new people to our downtown and we hope many more will now patronize our shops and food establishments.”

Maplewood’s victory was as unexpected as it was thrilling.  The Essex County community of 24,492 people entered the tournament with the cards stacked against it. Maplewood competed against a series of larger, better-known towns in the bracket-style competition.

After learning of the competition, Mayor DeLuca says the township employed both old- and new-school strategies to get residents excited about online voting.

“We stood at the Maplewood train station one morning each week handing out leaflets urging people to vote,” he says. “We put up posters in store windows. Merchants spoke to their customers about the contest.”


Read more about Maplewood’s Downtown Showdown win on NJMonthly.com.

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