Hi NJAC Families, Leighann here! With all this time at home with my family, and with having a severely compromised immune system due to Crohn’s Disease, I have had to get resourceful in order to be safe during Covid-19. The last time I set foot in a store or public place was 2 weeks ago today, and I am proud to say I have been so careful to stay away from germs and other people. This is one of our longest posts ever, but I promise it will be worth it to read everything we have to offer.
In having to stay home, I have figured out a lot of shopping hacks that I hope help each of you too! If you have ones I do not mention, COMMENT below and share with our NJAC community! Together we can keep our families safer during this time.
I also have ginormous desire to support local businesses like us during this time of need. It keeps me up at night worrying about so many of my business owner friends who are facing unprecedented hardships due to closures. If I can shop local more than anything else, I will be doing my part to help our local economy and “shop small.” All of us owners are going to need a massive amount of support now, and in upcoming months, as we work to get back on our feet after such devastating losses. If you and I can put my efforts back into the economy now, I know we are making a difference, one small purchase at a time.
Out of my need to stay home, I have learned a lot to share with you! Here goes!
Shop Rite delivery/pickup is not closed, despite what you read in all of the mom Facebook groups. Each SR store posts its “next day” for pickup/delivery which is a week out, at night. From trialing this, some SR stores post at 9pm and others at midnight. If they are listed at midnight and gobbled up by 12:03am! For best chances, fill your cart and save it. Then, get on your computer and wait, and at 11:55pm keep refreshing. Try pickup first as you have a better chance than delivery. By 12:02 they will likely be gone!
If you haven’t checked it out yet, the local farms are stocking their stores earlier than in other years and now have SO MUCH to offer! Ort Farms has a grocery box pickup now that can be delivered close by to Long Valley or ordered and picked up to go. They have two pickup days a week and all different box options and add ons. The options include meat, eggs, cheese, butter, milk, fresh mozz, cheeses, yogurt, veggies, jellies, honey, pies, bread, donuts, and so much more. You can also just stop in and buy single items of anything you need. There are sanitizer stations outside and the store is very quiet so you have the least chance of being near a lot of people. Ashley Farms , Donaldson Farms – Farm Market, Wightman’s are all open with similar options as well in case you don’t live close to Long Valley. I personally shop at Ort Farms the most because Nicole Ort and her family are NJAC swimmers and support SO much in our community and our business! You have likely seen her gorgeous face and smiling children in past Facebook photos <3
Next, getting an appointment at Target through Shipt for home delivery might be easier than Shop Rite. They don’t have everything the grocery will, but I got a next day appt via Shipt. It got pushed one more day because of volume, so I ordered Monday and it came Wednesday – but it was easy and the delivery guy was so helpful. To work this option, log in to your Target account and load your cart items for delivery. Then just keep refreshing for a delivery time. It will usually say it’s booked but suddenly times pop in, so don’t give up. Shipt is sort of like uber apparently – when a driver is available, they load their time slots in and you can grab one. The greatest thing was that my order was emailed to me, and with one easy button, I could log in 20 times if I wanted to add random items throughout the 2 days of waiting. I could edit my order up until an hour before. My shopper, Christopher, texted me throughout his shop to help me with out of stock items, and I got almost everything I ordered. He even asked what else he could pick up for me via text! I will be doing that again for sure!
Silver Birch Kitchens at the Swim and Sport Club is the place to order from if you want home cooked locally sourced comfort food (healthy too) delivered straight to your door. They added a 2nd delivery so you can get options Wednesday and Saturday! They even have extra items like orange juice, butter, local apple cider, and other randoms that you can add to your order. This catering company is owned by a local Long Valley husband and wife Jessica Geanoules who are also NJAC swimmers, so it is of course a business I love to support!
If you have not ever been, go to the Chester Meat Market. You won’t regret it. It is worth the drive from anywhere. The guys that own it are out of this world friendly (And all the local moms say the best looking staff in Morris County ). They have updated hours so check their Facebook before you go – they are no longer open until 6pm. I would suggest going early as they do sell out throughout the day.
The Pastoral Pig is also owned by a local Long Valley who also swim with NJAC! Sebastian, the owner, may be one of most knowledgeable store managers I have ever met. When you go in to visit, he will tell you every detail of where his meat came from, how it was grass fed, and why it is healthier than any other source. He will also tell you exactly what seasonings to use and how to cook it to be sure you get the perfect meal every time. Every item I have gotten there is worth its price and then some.
If you need to order for delivery, friends have ordered from Omaha Steaks. Butcher Box is an option too but pretty sold out. I have not done these yet as I prefer local, but they seem to be great options!
If you need frozen options without store pickup, order from the Schwans Home Food Services truck that drives around the neighborhood. It is not only convenient, but it has Schwan in the name so we have to support! (I am half Schwanhausser♥)
If you need produce and cannot get to a farm, order a Misfits Market Fruit/Veggie Box. I ordered this week and my first shipment was a HUGE amount of produce, to the point where I even shared some with a neighbor. It also came very quickly and will continue to arrive every 2 weeks. I did the Madness (larger size) box, and I may even scale back to the Mischief (small) one next time. Use my code for 25% off! COOKWME-VA3HMT.
Many CVS and Walgreens are doing drive through where you can get “necessity products”, not just prescriptions! They cannot sell everything, but they have a list of what counts as a necessity. This is a great way to get OTC meds, etc without leaving your car. CVS delivers prescriptions too.
Mama’s Cafe Baci is my favorite for takeout because of all of their allergy friendly menus. Whether you are gluten free, vegan, dairy free, or anything else, they have a dedicated kitchen for allergies so I know our GF daughter is in better hands there than anywhere else. They are giving away a loaf of bread to everyone who comes by during this crisis. Their gluten free make your own pizza kit is the best we have tried! Better yet, their other meals are huge portions, so order a few items and share for dinner, and you will likely have leftovers too.
The Coffee Potter is my fav coffee drive through. The friendly faces of owner Dave, his wife, and his team make the trip out of the house (just to get out) worth the coffee trip. If you have never driven by the center of Long Valley and seen their witty signs out front, they are sure to make you smile. Support Dave – he gives back to our community constantly! If you aren’t from LV, you can get on the Columbia Trail right in his parking lot, take a nature hike and throw rocks in the river, and then grab a coffee and a baked good on the way back. He even carries wraps (Taylor ham egg and cheese is my favorite) made by Silver Birch which I mentioned above. Supporting him is truly supporting a one of a kind local gem.
The Chocolate Shoppe of Long Valley is owned by a local family with 3 generations working in the store. Everything is handmade and they are doing shopping for you – one stop Easter taken care of! Order on their website, pay online and just drive over for a quick pickup! You can even add little stuffed animals etc to add to your baskets. You won’t want to eat any other chocolate after tasting theirs. I hide my boxes at home so no one can eat it but me! The nonpareils and milk chocolate covered sea salt caramels are my go-tos!
Party Fair Chester is owned by a local Long Valley family and they can shop for you even though their store has been shut down. Chris, the owner, and his family support so many tricky trays and events locally. If you have someone missing a birthday right now, order from Party Fair for them! He is also offering a $125 store gift card for just $100 right now, so even if you don’t need it immediately, support him and purchase one of his gift cards by calling his store number, which is forwarding to his own personal cell phone.
If you are in need of help marketing during this tough time in order to help your own business to get through this, the ladies to reach out to are Vicki Harrison at Two Girls Media. She is the designer behind our NJAC website and a vendor I have worked with for many years, not to mention a NJAC swim family! TGM does small business marketing audits, social media, and website training and development. She and her partner are huge faces in Denville and have an office downtown so they are constantly supporting all of our fellow Denville business owners.
If you are like me and trying to call every single vendor and monthly payment for your personal or business bills to try to get payments lowered, Dana King at Richard and Summers Inc. Insuror is the mama to call. As a local Denville NJAC swim family, I love supporting her, but I love saving the money she found for me. By switching my homeowners and car insurance with her, I saved over $800 a YEAR! Little known fact, my Granny and Dana’s grandfather were siblings and their parents built the downtown building in Denville in the early 1900’s. Our grandparents started the insurance business in 1963, and they are still prominent in Denville so many years later.
Last and of course not least, support our North Jersey Aquatics instructor team. Every single one of them is out of work right now. Our online shop and gift card shop is giving 100% of the GROSS of every purchase straight back to our team in the form of money to help pay their bills. You will get the gear mailed to you or gift card credit placed on your NJAC account, and our instructor team will get all the dollars. You can support them here: NJAC Store
I hope this helped someone out there and that together, we can shop local and shop small. Be safe and enjoy your time with your families. Remember that connection with your children is more important than any remote learning assignment. We will never get this much time at home with our children and spouses again. Covid-19 will change our way of life forever, so let’s make sure it changes us for the better. As my sister Becky Marcelliano in Utah posted earlier this week, “Being adaptable is one of the greatest things we can be. Because things are always changing, really. And it’s our choice to take it or leave it. Embrace it, fight it, or hide it. It’s a mindset, a drive, an opportunity.”
Owner, North Jersey Aquatics