THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO MY TWIN BROTHER, BILL DYKES (1943-1995). WE WERE NOT ONLY BROTHERS BUT PARTNERS IN BUSINESS AND BEST FRIENDS! AND TO ALL THE "BUTCHERS" THAT HAVE PASSED ON TO THE BIG LOT IN THE SKY!

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Opening night for the Big Apple Circus in Manville on 09/23/2010. (Andrew Miller / MyCentralJersey)
Manville merchants: Big Apple Circus spurred business growth
By PAMELA SROKA-HOLZMANN • STAFF WRITER • October 28, 2010

Luciano Anastasini, an 8th generation circus performer, with the legendary Big Apple Circus.

MANVILLE — Cash registers were ringing more than normal for many borough businesses when the Big Apple Circus set up for a nearly three weeks of performances.
The circus last month set up its big top at the Rustic Mall property, intersection of Washington and South Main streets. The circus' 33rd season, titled "Dance On!," ran Sept. 23 to Oct. 11 and included about 150 performers twice a day, five days a week. When filled to capacity, there were more than 1,700 spectators, many of which frequented Main Street businesses, merchants said.
The Rustic Mall has sat idle following a clean-up in 2008 of contaminated soil and will not be redeveloped until a year of paperwork is completed to get the site off a national list of contaminated properties. A vacant site coupled with lost parking after a paving project in 2006 eliminated spaces along Main Street has led to headaches among merchants whose back doors face the property.
Many business owners are hoping for a new beginning once the site is redeveloped and said the borough hosting the Big Apple Circus was a step toward that vision.
Phillips said the circus' Vice President and General Manager Scott O'Donnell had passed out 8,000 coupons at the box office good for two free games of bowling with a maximum of 10 people. He continues to see people coming to the bowling alley with the coupons.
"When the Rustic Mall left, people thought we left to, especially tucked back here in the corner of the parking lot," Phillips said. "The circus people helped us get more patrons over here."
Manville Pizza & Restaurant owner Anthony D'Aniello said he had to keep more employees on staff during evenings the circus had shows to keep up with the demand for pizzas.
"The Big Apple puts on a class-act show," D'Aniello said. "It felt good to see a positive use of the Rustic Mall."
Victor Bukovecky, who owns The Closet on S. Main Street said he saw foot traffic not only from circus patrons and performers, but even employees working behind the scenes. He described the folks as nice, personable, articulate and interested in his goods. No one haggled for lower prices, he said.
"They spent good money and it was cash and carry, which was nice," he said.
Mayor Lillian Zuza during a recent Borough Council meeting said she was glad the town benefited from the limelight the event brought in just a few short weeks. Borough police reported no crime incidents at the Rustic Mall site during circus events.
Councilman Rich Onderko, who initially had struck down the circus coming to the Rustic Mall before it was approved by the rest of the borough council, said Wednesday he favors the circus using any other location in town. He was against the Rustic Mall site because the property owner had denied moving the fence surrounding the property back a few feet in order for the borough to gain additional parking spaces on Main Street.
Pamela Sroka-Holzmann

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