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Working, Living on The Ave

by Russell Swanson, Exec. Dir., VDID, Main Street Vineland

There was a time when people turned up their noses at living in the downtown. People’s perception was of low-class, small, crowded, unsafe, sub-standard apartments or rooms. Even if you worked downtown, you lived on the outskirts or in the suburbs. Sometimes, the reality fit the perception,

As downtowns evolve and more of them become Main Street districts, hard work is being done to change that. With more and more millennials and baby-boomers the wheel is changing in the opposite direction and, locally, The Ave is no different.

The need for good market-rate housing in and near our downtown exists and is very real. For people of today’s generation, if they don’t find the kind of housing they want near where they work—or want to work—they’ll locate elsewhere and take their skills and business patronage elsewhere. Not only do we lose these people to other areas where that housing exists, but we lose prospective customers for our businesses, people to come to our events, and audiences for our entertainment presentations.

We must adapt to today’s mindset that an advantage exists for downtowns where people live there. It’s the way to get high-quality talent working in the downtown and it makes for a better downtown.

For our downtown, we have opportunities for such market-rate housing in and around the center-city area. We are looking at suitable lots and vacant areas. We are also taking trips to other cities that have such housing to see what they are doing.

It’s one way—a very important way—to make The Ave the best it can be. You’ll be reading about a lot more in the future, but making The Ave an attractive place to live, as well as work, is vital.


We want to convey our deepest sympathy to the family of John Wilhelm on his recent passing. John was a great friend and supporter of Main Street Vineland and was the go-to person for the music for the festivals we had on The Ave for years—the Seafood Festival, Chili-and-Ribs Festival, and others. He was a talented, dedicated person and a great guy. He will be missed. May he rest in peace and his memory be a blessing.


Remember that Main Street Vineland is here to help. We pass important business information along to our businesses every Wednesday, in the 9 a.m. hour, and on SNJ Today POP FM 99.9, and Comcast Channel 22.


This is all the more reason to make The Ave your destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment needs, as well as for fun all year round. Save money on gasoline, avoid the long lines at the big-box stores, malls, and shopping centers, and take in the rich variety of fun things to do—right in your own backyard.

For more on Main Street Vineland, call our office at 856-794-8653, visit—or check us out on Facebook. You can also e-mail me at

On the Ave