SNJ Today SNJ Today_ May 24 2017 : Page 1

It’ s Our Birthday! But Even After 10 Years, Our Focus Is Still You . Our Focus Is You. 175 S. Main Road & 1234 W. Landis Avenue, Vineland, NJ • 856.690.1234 Se Habla Español Route 47, North Delsea Drive Member FDIC 0 % APR A V A I L A B L E • ON SELECT T 2016/2017 MODELS www.ToyotaVineland.com CapitalBankNJ.com Annual Percentage Rate available to buyers with approved Tier I+ through Tier I Credit through Toyota Financial. Not all buyers will qualify. Prices include all costs to be paid by a consumer except Licensing Costs, Registration g Fees, and Taxes. Bank k Fee ($650) ) and Doc Fee ($249.50) are not included. Offer expires 5/31/17. Prior sales excluded. See Dealer for details. SNJTODAY.COM • COMCAST CHANNEL 22 • WSNJ 99.9FM • NEWSCAST WEEKNIGHTS AT 7 & 11 PM INSIDE: • • • • Off the Shelves, pg. 17 Ch. 22 Schedule, pg. 12 Financial Tips for Grads Vineland High School Principal’s List, pg. 26 MAY 24, 2017 VOLUME 10 | ISSUE 16 formerly W ld W World War I vets t f from Millville Mill ill saluted l t d with ith exhibit at Historical Museum, see p. 3. {STEPHANIE FARRELL} CONNECTING YOU TO CUMBERLAND COUNTY NEWS & ENTERTAINMENT. WEEKLY. Jam-Packed Weekend Memorial Day weekend promises to be a fun-filled kickoff to the summer season. Here are some great ideas to help plan your holiday weekend. The Nuts and Bolts of An American Dream LaTorre Hardware Cruises into its 60th Year on Vineland’s South Delsea Drive. { BY JEFF SCHWACHTER } N The Millville Wheels and Wings Airshow is a traditional Memorial Day weekend crowd-pleaser, especially when the Blue Angels are in town. o excuses if you or the kids are bored this weekend. To kick off the unofficial start of the summer season, the Cumberland County region has a full lineup of places to go, things to do. For more, see the Community Calendar on page 20 or go to snjtoday.com, scroll down a bit, and click on the “Things To Do” icon on the right-hand side of the page. Always a Memorial Day weekend favorite, St. Anthony’s Greek Festival kicks off Thursday, May 25, and runs until May 28. For a variety of authentic Greek Cuisine, music and activ-ities, take a ride over to St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Church, 430 West Wheat Road in Vineland. Admission is free to the public, but be sure to bring some money along for the great eats and amusement rides. stanthonyvinelandnj.com The Millville Wheels and Wings Airshow is another heavy hitter in Cumberland County. On Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28—at Millville Airport, 104 Leddon Street in Millville—the Millville Army Air Field Museum will be hosting the U.S. Navy Blue Angels jet demonstration team. Honoring America’s military this Memorial Day weekend, the festival and air show will be running all day, both days. It will be the squadron’s third Memorial Day weekend visit to the show since its debut in 2003. The annual airshow is the major fundraiser for the Millville Army Air Field Museum and the presence of a jet demonstration squadron is a major plus for ticket sales and sponsorships. Tickets for adults are $20, age 12 and under get in for $10, children 3 and under are free, and parking is $5. The museum brought in the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds squadron for its May 2015 airshow. “This is exciting news for Millville and all of Cumberland County,” museum President Chuck Wyble told SNJ Today . “Through the dedicated efforts of our airshow committee, and many community-minded individuals and local businesses, The story of Vineland’s LaTorre Hardware is the story of the American Dream in Cumberland County. To appreciate the journey that the LaTorre family has been on for the past 60 years, all you need to do is stand in the aisle of Italian specialty items at the store’s one and only location on S. Delsea Drive in Vineland. Housing the ravioli molds, pizzelle mak-ers, hand-painted dishes, and pasta makers strung like guitars, is the original 30-by 30-foot store, which, over the decades, has been expanded upon to feature 14 large departments. As owner Victor LaTorre, Jr. tells it, the family business began with his grandfather financing a loan for his sons to open up the shop in 1958. When LaTorre’s father—Victor LaTorre, Sr.—came out of the army, he got into the clothing business at a local factory making military clothing. Then his brother came upon the opportunity to open a business and LaTorre Hardware was born. ECRWSS Local Residential Customer Continued on page 4 Continued on page 10

Jam-Packed Weekend

Memorial Day weekend promises to be a fun-filled kickoff to the summer season. Here are some great ideas to help plan your holiday weekend.

No excuses if you or the kids are bored this weekend. To kick off the unofficial start of the summer season, the Cumberland County region has a full lineup of places to go, things to do. For more, see the Community Calendar on page 20 or go to snjtoday.com, scroll down a bit, and click on the “Things To Do” icon on the right-hand side of the page.

Always a Memorial Day weekend favorite, St. Anthony’s Greek Festival kicks off Thursday, May 25, and runs until May 28. For a variety of authentic Greek Cuisine, music and activities, take a ride over to St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Church, 430 West Wheat Road in Vineland. Admission is free to the public, but be sure to bring some money along for the great eats and amusement rides. stanthonyvinelandnj.com

The Millville Wheels and Wings Airshow is another heavy hitter in Cumberland County. On Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28—at Millville Airport, 104 Leddon Street in Millville—the Millville Army Air Field Museum will be hosting the U.S. Navy Blue Angels jet demonstration team. Honoring America’s military this Memorial Day weekend, the festival and air show will be running all day, both days.

It will be the squadron’s third Memorial Day weekend visit to the show since its debut in 2003. The annual airshow is the major fundraiser for the Millville Army Air Field Museum and the presence of a jet demonstration squadron is a major plus for ticket sales and sponsorships. Tickets for adults are $20, age 12 and under get in for $10, children 3 and under are free, and parking is $5. The museum brought in the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds squadron for its May 2015 airshow.

“This is exciting news for Millville and all of Cumberland County,” museum President Chuck Wyble told SNJ Today. “Through the dedicated efforts of our airshow committee, and many community-minded individuals and local businesses, our Millville airshow has grown to achieve the highest status of military recognition in the country by being selected as a jet team show site.”

The museum is in Millville Municipal Airport, which opened in 1941 as America’s first air defense facility under the U.S. Army. This year is the 75th anniversary of the airport’s dedication, a fact the museum is celebrating in 2016.

Just across the line in Atlantic County, Buena Vista Township will be celebrating its 150th birthday and the 3rd Annual Richland Village Festival on Saturday, May 27. The celebration will be centered at 1274 Harding Highway in Richland, where you will find a classic car parade, toy show, food trucks and live music. 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., admission is free to the public. buenavistanj.com

Admission and parking is free. At 12 noon, the dedication of the Tree Monument in Saw Mill Park will be held. It’s quite an unusual tree, with over 40 chainsaw carvings showcasing the township’s history. Also, there will be train rides on The Historic Cape May Seashore Lines, and you can view the huge model railroad display at the Patcong Valley. Live music will be enjoyed all day with Poor Mouth Henry, Ten Eddie Drive and the Eddie Morgan Jazz Trio. For the kids, there’s the petting zoo, bouncy houses, rock climbing wall and bubble ball. buenavistanj.com

In Bridgeton, Memorial Day weekend signals the opening of Splash Park. Go to 25 Mayor Aitken Dr., Bridgeton to visit the zoo, enjoy the splash park and play some miniature golf . What a great way to kick off the summer season. New this summer, the park will feature Sunrise Catering, offering food and refreshments for their Grand Opening. The Splash Park costs $3 per person each session (two hours) and is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

cityofbridgeton.com/splash.php

Monday, May 29, marks Memorial Day and ceremonies are scheduled in many area towns. In Bridgeton, Mayor Aitken Drive will be the site of various festivities starting at 9 a.m. and memorial services beginning at 12 p.m. Admission is free to the public.

Also in Bridgeton, The Broad Street Cemetery Association cordially invites all citizens to join in the sixth celebration of Memorial Day on May 29, at the Broad Street Cemetery on Route 49 (Broad Street) in Bridgeton. This year’s theme, the first of a two-year commemoration by the Broad Street Cemetery Association, salutes World War I veterans.

At noon a picnic will be held on the church lawn. There will be assistance for handicapped individuals. A restroom is also available. The program starts at 12:45 p.m. in the church. After introductions, Mayor Kelly will speak about the first three Bridgeton soldiers who died in France. This will be followed by WWI songs, poems and excerpts from letters and diaries of local WW1 veterans.

At 1:50 to 2 p.m. the Roll Call of the 50 WWI veterans buried in Broad Street Cemetery will be given. From 2 to 3 p.m., a tour of the WWI veterans’ graves will take place and wreaths will be placed on the graves. From 3 to 3:30 p.m., the closing ceremony will be held: Honor Guard Mead-Woodward VFW Post 1795 (Bois de Ormont VFW Post 1795) will do a canon salute, followed by taps.

The Memorial Day ceremonies will be held rain or shine. For more information, contact Jim Bergman at 856-332-0008

Read the full article at http://www.evergreeneditions.com/article/Jam-Packed+Weekend/2794178/411525/article.html.

The Nuts And Bolts Of An American Dream

Jeff Schwachter

LaTorre Hardware Cruises into its 60th Year on Vineland’s South Delsea Drive.

The story of Vineland’s LaTorre Hardware is the story of the American Dream in Cumberland County.

To appreciate the journey that the LaTorre family has been on for the past 60 years, all you need to do is stand in the aisle of Italian specialty items at the store’s one and only location on S. Delsea Drive in Vineland.

Housing the ravioli molds, pizzelle makers, hand-painted dishes, and pasta makers strung like guitars, is the original 30- by 30-foot store, which, over the decades, has been expanded upon to feature 14 large departments.

As owner Victor LaTorre, Jr. tells it, the family business began with his grandfather financing a loan for his sons to open up the shop in 1958.

When LaTorre’s father—Victor LaTorre, Sr.—came out of the army, he got into the clothing business at a local factory making military clothing. Then his brother came upon the opportunity to open a business and LaTorre Hardware was born.

(Just a few years before LaTorre, Jr. was born.)

“It was a 30-by-30 [foot] building,” recalls LaTorre, Jr., “and the gentleman who had initially opened the hardware store had a cement block business, and he had gotten sick shortly after opening the store, and died.” That’s when the LaTorre family took over the little shop.

That original space is now just one of many sections at LaTorre’s ever-evolving business. LaTorre, Sr., who passed away in 2006, took over the store after his brothers John P. LaTorre (1927-1985) and Rocco LaTorre (1923-1986) got out of the business.

Today, LaTorre, Jr. carries on the business ideals and innovations that his father built the business upon.

Although LaTorre, Jr. started working in the shop as a kid with his dad—he estimates that nearly every member of the LaTorre family has worked at the store for some period of time—he didn’t always want to be in the family business, although he was always interested by it.

Before he took over as president of the company in 1984, he almost went in a different direction during his years as a student at Rowan University.

“I always wanted to be a dentist,” says LaTorre, Jr., “so I was taking biology classes, with some business classes, and during my second year at college I finally made the commitment to stick with business.”

Not only did LaTorre, Jr. stick with business, he stuck with the family business—and with Cumberland County.

Working in the store since he was a child, growing among the tractors and tools, and working under his father’s direction for years, LaTorre, Jr. started out sweeping floors and picking up loose screws that customers had dropped on the ground. Sorting out all the various sizes and shapes gave him a lesson in a lot of things—including fractions.

“I literally learned the nuts and bolts of the business as a kid,” LaTorre, Jr. says with a smile, adding that he always loved coming with his father to close the shop after the family’s dinner at home in Vineland.

During LaTorre, Jr.’s sophomore year at college, his father had a heart attack, and so he began taking over the operations of the business.

Although he had been helping his father and uncle out at the shop for a while, he had to learn a lot about the intricacies of the business—from purchasing, to managing a team, to running a company.

He remembers when his dad started carrying farm tractors and how they were on display outside the store. “I’d sit on them, and ride on them and they’d push me, and stuff like that. That was a lot of fun,” he says.

He also remembers when they added what is now the front section of the shop to the original 30-by-30 space in order to create a garden center.

While LaTorre, Jr. has always wanted to keep his father’s vision alive, he has had to make changes and adapt with the times to help the business grow.

The store has weathered many changes— both in the industry and in the region—and has witnessed several transformations of Cumberland County over the decades. The shop has always had nearby competition from home-supply stores and chains and even the Sears catalog early on. But, says LaTorre, Jr., there has always been more to the business than just another store.

“It started with Two Guys,” says LaTorre, Jr., “which was where the Super Wal-Mart is now. From there it went to Channel’s, then Rickels. Now you have Lowe’s, and two Home Depots in our market, and Tractor Supply, but we set a strategy to coexist. We’ve become very good at servicing and selling parts for what [those stores] sell. They sell a lot of power equipment, and power tools, etc., but they don’t sell the parts or fix any of it. So, we do all that for them. We are authorized to do all of their warranty repair—for all of them—and it allows us to coexist. They sell the equipment and we do service and get the parts for that equipment.”

While today’s LaTorre Hardware & Garden Center still sells a variety of equipment and carries many quality lines, it’s “certainly sharing that pie with everybody,” says LaTorre. “But we found our niche, and we know what we’re good at. We’re good at service and we’re good at solving problems for people. We used to run an ad campaign that we were the ‘problem solvers.’ If your lamp didn’t work, or you had a mouse in the house, call us, you know.”

It was back in the mid-to-late ’80s that the shop, under LaTorre, Jr.’s direction, really started to “get into the servicing,” says LaTorre Jr., who built a warehouse around that time for all of the new work. “And we hired our first mechanic.”

Now the servicing side of the business takes up an entire building of its own, with hundreds upon hundreds of tickets in at a time. The shop repairs nearly everything with a gas-powered engine—from lawn mowers to log splitters—and also does full-service repairs on power tools, including in-warranty and out-of-warranty work.

Over the years, LaTorre Hardware has become Cumberland County’s go-to repair center.

“For quite a few brands, we’re the only repair center between Delaware and Trenton,” says LaTorre, Jr., who manages the company with his sister and another long-time employee who has worked with the business for more than 30 years and is “like family.”

His mother is still active in the business as well. Just turning 85 earlier this May, she still comes in a few times a week to help with the store’s bookkeeping.

“And now my sister’s son has come into the business, so we’re kind of at our third-generation and he’s trying to learn the business,” says LaTorre, Jr.

“We’ve started many careers at this little hardware store,” says LaTorre, Jr. “We’ve had doctors, lawyers, police officers, sheriffs, teachers—you name it. People that started here and went on to become professionals in other areas. And many of them stop back and say: ‘I wouldn’t be where I am without you guys’ and ‘thanks for giving me my first job.’ ”

Among the 14 departments—including the “shop,” aka the service department—are a small rental department, as well as hardware, plumbing, electrical, housewares, lawn & garden, paints, and automotive departments.

“We’re kind of like a small department store,” says LaTorre, Jr. “Except we don’t really do anything with clothing.”

LaTorre’s sister manages the paint-yourown ceramic studio, located in the former housewares department in the front of store. “We’ve been doing that about seven years,” says LaTorre, Jr. “Again, it was just a little niche that we found. It’s just something different that we can offer.”

While LaTorre Hardware’s roots are firmly planted in the small, family-business mentality, the owners have had to make changes, sometimes dramatic ones, over the years in order to survive.

“One of the things we’ve done over the years—based on competition and what people look for—is to adjust our inventory to what’s trending and what’s selling,” says LaTorre, Jr. “When we realized that service was going to be a key part of our business, we dedicated more space to that, and gave up a couple of other little odds and ends to make room.”

But you’ll still find almost anything you’re looking for at LaTorre—including items from bygone eras such as washboards, clothes pins, and other “hard-to-find items.”

“We’ve always been known for selling hard-to-find items,” says LaTorre, Jr. “We’ve always had that reputation: If you can’t find it somewhere else, come here.”

Now, says LaTorre, Jr., “We’re trying to change that to: Come here first and save yourself the time and trouble of looking around. And with the cost of fuel and the fact that people are very short on time these days, it makes sense to come to us first, because you’ll find what you need or get what you need fixed here.”

The piece(s) de resistance at LaTorre’s Hardware are the aforementioned shelves stocked with specialty Italian cookware offerings. Many of the items are lines that the store has stocked since LaTorre’s father ran the business, and are not usually found in the area.

The LaTorre website lists many of the specialty items they sell, and that is mainly how people from outside the area find out about the store. While LaTorre, Jr. expresses his desire to get more involved with digital campaigns and social media, he says they have shipped items to nearly every state in the country from online orders.

“It’s an area that we hope to grow, too,” says LaTorre, Jr. “The Internet sales — it’s a whole other business unto itself.”

But the idea of keeping up with digital trends and marketing, and having a robust online presence isn’t a burden to LaTorre, Jr.; it’s simply another challenge.

“It’s exciting,” he says, “and gives us another opportunity to grow.”

But not at the cost of sacrificing any of his father’s vision for the business.

Sometimes the past and present are indistinguishable at LaTorre. But any time you want to see what the American Dream looks like —stop in and take a gander.

“It’s quite an opportunity for a family to start a small business and to be here for all this time,” says LaTorre, Jr. “I was fortunate enough to get interested in the business, from early on, and being able to change my career plans to do it. I have no regrets. I’m sure I would have been OK as a dentist, but this has turned out to be even better I think.”

Read the full article at http://www.evergreeneditions.com/article/The+Nuts+And+Bolts+Of+An+American+Dream/2794181/411525/article.html.

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