Quaint vintage railroad station in Park Ridge, New Jersey. / Mary Wozniak/news-press.com
Everything has a trickle-down effect, DeGaetani said. He’s seen a considerable drop-off in business from townspeople and Hertz employees who would drop by during lunch for a quick haircut / Andrew West/news-press.com
The News-Press journalists Mary Wozniak and Andrew West are in Park Ridge, N.J., today visiting the global headquarters of the Hertz Corporation. Look for updates and follow Wozniak on Twitter at @wozisme.
“Good for you, bad for us,” said Frank DeGaetani, a barber at the town barbershop owned by his nephew.
“What are you going to do?” he said. “Jersey’s an expensive place to live.”
Outside the shop, the same barber pole stands where it’s been since a shave and a hot towel was 10 cents. They have pictures to prove it.
Everything has a trickle-down effect, DeGaetani said. He’s seen a considerable drop-off in business from townspeople and Hertz employees who would drop by during lunch for a quick haircut.( $17, buzzcut $16)
A family with a dad and three sons could be counted on for a quick trim every four weeks, which brings in about $100, he said. “You see people coming in with longer hair.”
Park Ridge has a tiny town center made up of mostly mom-and-pop businesses, surrounded by sumptuous, but understated homes owned by people who obviously have big bucks.
It has a gazebo in the park, a quaint vintage railroad station, and unbelievably to a Floridian, full-service gas stations where attendants actually pump your gas.
Townsfolk see a negative impact on their businesses, but take the move of Hertz headquarters to Estero as something logical, even inevitable, and another fact of a still-fallen economy to swallow.
The Ridge Diner is a gathering place where residents, and sometimes workers from the Hertz office, can grab a quick, home-made breakfast lunch or dinner.
The portions are large and the food is good, especially the soup of the day, tortellini, made from scratch, said Dolores Cornell, who has lived in Park Ridge for 55 years, the length of time she’s been married to her husband, Edward.
Edward, 83, was born and raised in the area. He was mayor of the town in the early to mid-70s, and said the Hertz move hurts.
“I feel real bad about it,” he said. “They should have come to us and the town first. “ Most of the residents found out through rumors, he said.
His administration worked long and hard for six years to get the woodland rezoned so Hertz could build here, Cornell said. “They owe it to us to at least keep us informed about what they want to do.”
Dolores also said both area businesses and residents will suffer. “The restaurants and everybody catered to them. They catered to the restaurants,” giving them business for lunches and corporate functions, she said.