M&M Store—First of its Kind—Set for Hackettstown
High Street to be named after Mars Inc. after 54 years in community.
It began as a simple lunch date between a public official and some business professionals in town on a cold February day.
Eight months later, that lunch conversation will spawn two major events that could change the face of Hackettstown for years to come.
Mars Inc., makers of everything from pet food to chewing gum and candy, most notably the chocolate treats M&Ms, will open its first "pop-up" store at 160 Main St. in Hackettstown—the company’s home since 1958.
That M&M-focused storefront will only be open for two weeks, as the company tests the pilot program to see if it will be sustainable in other locations throughout the country.
Prior to the ribbon-cutting of the retail space on Tuesday, Oct. 16, the thoughts from that lunch date will become reality, as Hackettstown renames a portion of High Street (the Mars factory location) in honor of the family-owned business.
“As the new mayor, I wanted to get out and meet with the businesses in the community,” said Maria DiGiovanni, currently serving the first year of her three-year term as Hackettstown mayor. “When I met with the folks from Mars, they brought up the idea of renaming the street. My first thought was ‘absolutely.’”
The event will begin at 1 p.m. at the Mars factory where DiGiovanni, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and executives from the company will unveil the street sign and speak to those in attendance.
From there, the ceremony will be moved six-tenths of a mile south to the pop-up store’s location for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
While the pilot store will only be open through Oct. 31, town officials believe it could be a boon for Hackettstown.
“I’m hoping to see a lot of foot traffic,” DiGiovanni said. “When someone comes to town to check out the store, they can walk around and grab some coffee, maybe a bite to eat and do some shopping in the area as well.”
One of Hackettstown’s biggest business proponents believes stores in the immediate area of the M&M space will be impacted greatly.
“This is going to be fantastic,” said Jim Sheldon, executive director for the Hackettstown Business Improvement District. “For the stores right there in the area, it’s going to put them back on the map. It’s going to be a great opportunity for the town.”
While the store, for now, will only be open for two weeks, it was a long process in the making, DiGiovanni said.
“There was a lot that went into it,” the mayor said. “It’s been a long process, but it takes the right combination of people to get things like this off the ground.”
The M&M store will be open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.